Samuel Darby

#608, (circa September 1818-11 October 1856)
FatherGeorge Darby (c 1779-4 Mar 1853)
MotherElizabeth Aylott (c 1777-Jan 1821)
ChartsAylott Family - descendants
Brett Family - descendants
Darby Family - descendants
Descendents of Richard Darby
Last Edited2 Apr 2019
Samuel Darby - signature from the wedding certificate of Martha Darby and John Speller Wright, 1837
     (For a brief history and context on the Darby family see this page)

NOTE: The information on this page is my research to date and is subject to change as I become better informed. I very much welcome any corrections or additional info you might have - my email address is at the bottom of this page. Whilst historical facts are not copyright, my writing about these facts are. If you wish to use any text from this site on Ancestry or on any other website, please ask me first - Tim Hill.
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Samuel was born circa September 1818 at Hertford.1 He was the son of George Darby and Elizabeth Aylott. The city of Hertford dates back to at least 673, and was an important market town surrounded by agricultural land. From the late 16th century, it had access to the London corn markets via the Lea river.

He was baptised at Lady Huntingdon's Connexion on Sunday, 23 May 1819 at Hertford.2 Lady Huntingdon's Chapel was one a series of chapels founded in the 18th century by the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion as part of a Calvinistic movement within the Methodist church. She insisted that they should all subscribe to the doctrines of the Church of England and use only the Book of Common Prayer. It was apparently founded in 1800, and started keeping registers from 1806.

His mother died circa January 1821. He was about 3 when this happened.3 Samuel Darby was indentured to George Darby to learn 'the art of a millwright' in consideration for work and labour for 7 years on 6 June 1834. Samuel's brother William was apprenticed as a millwright on the same day. However, Samuel's apprenticeship was cancelled just over 2 years later.4 Samuel Darby was a witness at the wedding of John Speller Wright and his sister Martha Darby at St. Pancras Parish Chapel on Wednesday, 11 January 1837 Martha was daughter of a millwright and builder from Hertford at St. Pancras, London.5,6,7 Samuel Darby was an engineer in June 1841.3 Samuel lived on 27 June 1841 at Old Brentford, Middlesex.3

He married Mary Ann Taylor, daughter of William Taylor, at St. Mary on Sunday, 27 June 1841 at Ealing, Middlesex. Mary's father was a victualler. Witnesses to the wedding were William Taylor.8,9

Samuel and his wife Mary emigrated from Plymouth on 27 September 1841 on the 'Himalaya.8,10' Samuel and his wife Mary arrived at Port Phillip, Victoria, in January 1842.8,10

Samuel Darby was a carpenter in February 1842.8 He arrived from Sydney on the barque 'Mary White' on 9 May 1846 at Adelaide.11 He and Mary Ann Taylor were found on a passenger list on 10 February 1849 from Port Adelaide to Port Phillip, Victoria.12

In George Darby's will on 16 May 1850 Elizabeth Darby, Samuel Darby and Eliza Darby were named as heirs. Of his other children, three other surviving sons (John, Thomas and William) are not named in the will. Perhaps this was because they had emigrated to Australia, but Samuel had also emigrated and is named. In any event, both John and William died in the three years that followed, both before their father's death. Further, George did not name his second wife in the will either, and may have been estranged from her. Elizabeth got the newly constructed house and its grounds, as well as the household goods furtniture and effects that it contained but was required to pay one hundred pounds into the estate (for the ultimate division between her married sisters Mary Ann and Eliza, and Samuel)..13

His father died 4 March 1853 at the approximate age of 74.

George Darby's will was probated on 20 April 1853.13 In mid 1856 Samuel made a living as a ship's engineer.14

Samuel died on 11 October 1856. An inquest was ordered on Samuel's death. He was at the time the engineer on board the Lady Augusta travelling along the Murray River from Goolwa to Albury, and died when one of the boilers exploded.15,16 The inquest into his death (and the death of the stoker, Francis Clems) concluded that he "came to their death by the collapse of one of the flues of the boilers ... during the upward river voyage to Albury" Samuel remarked to the captain "that if I could keep her afloat he would keep her going ahead." A little while later, Samuel was heard to say to the stoker "don't be afraid to give us plenty of steam" About 40 minutes later the boiler exploded, scalding Samuel severly. He was still alive when they got to him 10 minutes later, but died almost immediately after they brought him up to the deck by rope. the local manger of the company said that he believed "Mr. Darby to have been a very excellent engineer, and was sure the accident could not have arisen from want of sound practical knowledge on his part, for he believed him to be the most competent engineer on the river." The accident is believed to have been due to a valve being set the wrong way, and the Samuel might have been the one who unaccountably set it like that.

The jury returned a finding of accidental death.

The reported concluded that "the whole catastrophe has caused a sad gloom over our district. The deceased engineer had obtained a high character for professional ability, and the stoker (Clems) for his prudent habits and intelligence. Nor were these the only sufferers by this sad calamity. A Chinaman had also his body severely scalded, but I believe there is every probabllity of his recovery."17 He was buried on 12 October 1856 at Old Goolwa Cemetery, in Goolwa, South Australia.18

Samuel's will was probated on 22 March 1858. With the sole beneficiary being his widow, who had apparently moved back to England. The total estate was valued at less than £450.19


1819BaptismLady Huntingdon's Connexion, Hertford2
1841ResidenceOld Brentford, Middlesex3
1841MarriageSt. Mary, Ealing, Middlesex8,9
1842Immigratn-newPort Phillip, Victoria8,10
1849Passngr listPort Phillip, Victoria12
1856Note memo only17
1856BurialOld Goolwa Cemetery, in Goolwa, South Australia18


Mary Ann Taylor (c 1819-)


  1. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 18 Oct. 1856 p.2 Col. E.
  2. [S236] Parish Registers for Hertford Back Street Bethel - Lady Huntingdon, Batch/Film C066111 Serial/Sheet 0014.
  3. [S549] E-mails from Eve Mintern to Tim Hill, 2012- 22 Aug 2012.
  4. [S465] The National Archives, England Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, (
  5. [S494] London. London Metropolitan Archives, London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Pancras Parish Church, Register of marriages, P90/PAN1, Item 069.
  6. [S541] The Hertford Mercury and Reformer, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England, 17th Jan 1837 p.3.
  7. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1876 'Family Notices.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 30 August, p. 4, viewed 14 January, 2012,
  8. [S338], ( New South Wales Government. "Persons on bounty ships arriving at Port Phillip (Agent's Immigrant Lists)". Series #5318, Reel: 2144, Item: 4/4814. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood New South Wales, Australia (
  9. [S242] General Register Office, England - Marriage Certificates, Certified copy of an entry in a Register of Births, Brentford Vol.16 p.3.
  10. [S612] The Australian, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1841 'SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE.', The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848), 23 October, p. 2, viewed 21 April, 2013,
  11. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, Adelaide Shipping - Arrived 9 May 1846 p.3.
  12. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, Adelaide Shipping - Cleared out - 10 Feb 1849 p.3.
  13. [S468] The National Archives, England ( Will of George Darby, Brickmaker of Bengeo, Hertfordshire - Reference: PROB 11/2170/145 (
  14. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, Obituaries, 14th October 1856 p3 col. G and 18th October 1856 p.2 col. E.
  15. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, Obituaries, 14th October 1856 page 3 column G and 18th October 1856 page 2 column E.
  16. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, "Melancholy Accident on Board the Lady Augusta" 14 Oct 1856 p.3.
  17. [S244] The South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1856 'MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT ON BOARD THE LADY AUGUSTA.', South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), 14 October, p. 3, viewed 31 August, 2012,
  18. [S549] E-mails from Eve Mintern to Tim Hill, 2012- 30 Aug 2012.
  19. [S515] England & Wales, National Probate Calendar, Samuel Darby, 22 Mar1858.