Descendants of Caroline Gordon
Caroline Ann Gordon, daughter of Robert Gordon and Ann King, was likely born in Portsmouth in England in 1813 based on the 40 years of age given in her August 1853 church parish burial record and 14 in the NSW 1828 census 1. However she would have been born in Ireland if 40 years was a rounding up to the nearest year as after two years service in England her father's 21st Limerick County Militia regiment returned to Ireland in August 1813. She would have been born in Ireland c. 1815 if the contradictory 38 years on her below pictured Maitland cemetery headstone was correct.
Caroline Gordon never married but had at least two defacto relationships that resulted in issue. The first was with Alured Tasker Faunce, and the second dating from a least early 1835 with an unknown whose surname was likely Parker . She died from an unrecorded cause on 28 Aug 1853 in Maitland, New South Wales, Australia and was buried on 30 Aug 1853 in St. Peter’s Old Burial Ground at East Maitland 2
Headstone in St. Peters Old Burial Ground
East Maitland 4
Caroline was Robert and Ann Gordon's eldest daughter. She arrived in Sydney 3 August 1817 with her parents and born on the voyage sister Maria on the barque Matilda. From 1827 to 1836 she lived with her parents at the Parramatta Female Factory, where her mother was the Matron in charge and for a period her father the Storekeeper, and after they left Parramatta with them at Maitland until her death in 1853.
A 1836 Female Factory Committee of Management report stated Ann Gordon's eldest daughter had two illegitimate children living with her in the Factory. These two were to be Caroline's only children. The father of the first-born Jessie is known to have been Alured Tasker Faunce (1807-1856). However as the name of the father of her 1835 second born Frederick, who would have been conceived about the third week of January 1835, was not recorded in the church parish baptism book all that can be established is that his surname was likely Parker as that was Frederick's surname when he married in 1874. 3.
Because of her mother's high profile position in the colony as the Female Factory Matron the identity of the fathers of Caroline's illegitimate children was a natural target for scuttlebutt and rumour manufacture, especially for those critical of Ann Gordon's management such as some masters and mistresses of assigned convict women, current and former factory inmates, and those with a personal grudge against Ann. In regard to such rumours, the Governor of the colony of NSW from 1831 to 1837 Sir Richard Bourke resided mainly at Government House in Parramatta and had two sons who arrived with him from England in Dec. 1831. The sons were also natural targets for rumour manufacture most especially by vocal opponents of the Governor's policies such as the self-styled "Major" James Mudie and his ilk. So for those with the inclination a linking of the governor's sons with an Ann Gordon's unmarried daughter Caroline and her illegitimate children would not be unexpected.
The Governor's eldest son John was an invalid - so much so it was said when young he could scarcely see or walk because of a spinal disability. Upon the governor's death, because of his eldest son's infirmities, the younger son Richard Jr. inherited the bulk of his father's estate with John provided for by way of an annuity 39. Shortly after their arrival in Sydney the able-bodied son Richard Jr. was appointed his father's private secretary and remained so until replaced two years later in Dec. 1833 by a qualified solicitor George Kenyon Holden who also arrived with the Governor in 1831 and was his private secretary from Dec. 1833 until Oct. 1837 40.
So against that background that it is very easy to dismiss as quite absurd a rumour from those days, noted by this compiler repeated in a Dec. 2005 online published Ann Gordon biography without qualification implying legitimacy, that the father of BOTH of Caroline's children was Governor Bourke's disabled and invalid son John 41. In fact the father of Caroline's first born child was unquestionably 4th Regiment (King's Own) officer Lieutenant Alured Tasker Faunce and the unidentified in the baptism record father of her second child seemingly was a "Parker" whose name was probably not disclosed in the church register because he was married.
A similar rumour, but with the identity of the father of Caroline's second born changed from the Governor's invalid son John to his able-bodied son Richard, reached a peak of creativity when embroidered by Ann Gordon and Governor Bourke antagonist James Mudie in a February 1837 London published book by him titled The Felonry of New South Wales. In his book Mudie, employing a kill two birds with the one stone approach, vented his spleen against his two perceived colonial enemies, Governor Sir Richard Bourke and Ann Gordon, claiming the father of the son of ONE of Ann Gordon's daughters had been the Governor's younger son and private secretary Richard Bourke Jr. He also claimed such was well known, that the Governor had been aware of the relationship, and the resulting illegitimate child had actually been christened "Richard Bourke". In the Walter Stone edited 1964 reprint of Mudie's book a marginal note initialed "R.B.", taken from a surviving original and believed made by Sir Richard Bourke himself, described this claim succinctly as - "a lie"! 42.
It was absolutely a lie as the fact was that the Governor Bourke's able-bodied son Richard, who lived until his early 90's and was his father's private secretary only until Dec. 1833, actually departed the colony for England in March 1834 to further law studies in England where after admittance to the bar he practiced law as a barrister in Dublin 43. Thus Richard Bourke Jr. departed Australia the best part of a year before the January 1835 conception of Caroline's October 1835 born only son! Obviously unless such was accomplished by a miraculous telepathic means Richard Bourke Jr. could not have been the boy's father! Needless to say the church christening record for Caroline's 1835 born son Frederick, and indeed the NSW birth indexes for all the children baptised in the colony during those years, fully supports the book's "R.B." marginal comment as there is no indexed baptism of a "Richard Bourke" as was claimed by Mudie.
At the April 1837 hearings of the Molesworth ‘Select Committee on Transportation’ in London, Mudie who had been refused women convicts from the female factory as assigned servants by Ann Gordon, vengefully repeated the allegation knowing full well that when it got back to Sydney it would be grist to the gossip mill. Evidence given by a confederate of Mudie's E. A. Slade concerning Richard Bourke Jr. and likely Ann Gordon's daughters, who Mudie had described in his book as "dashing", must have been even more scandalous but the wording is today unknown because in that regard Slade's statement was expunged from the record of evidence. John Macarthur Jr., a son of Australian wool industry pioneer John Macarthur, who also gave evidence to the Committee drew it to the attention of Sir George Grey with the result that Slade was recalled for cross examination and his statement shown to be false 44.
Alured Tasker FaunceThe father of Caroline's first born child Jessie Maria was recorded in the church parish baptism book as Alured Fonce 46. This record and another with the surname spelt phonetically as Founce, leave no doubt the full name of the father of Caroline's daughter Jessie was above pictured Alured Tasker Faunce. The Fonce phonetic spelling was likely recorded in the Liverpool, NSW, Church of England baptism register, because being a unique name in the colony, the correct spelling was unknown to the cleric so he recorded it in the register spelt as heard. Confirming Jessie Maria's father was 4th Regiment officer Alured Faunce is that in 1858 Jessie Maria Gordon gave Founce as her own surname when she registered the birth of her only child Oscar Henry 5. The requirement for official registration of births was not introduced in NSW until 1856. Phonetic spellings of uncommon surnames such as Faunce are often encountered in early church and from 1856 on the official records. Usually children born out of wedlock were recorded under their mother's surname, which in this case should have been recorded as Gordon. Jessie's use of Founce as her surname for Oscar's birth registration indicates her mother Caroline or her grandparents had told her that her father was Alured Faunce. It is presumed at the time unmarried Jessie felt it appropriate, for the official purpose of her son's birth registration, that her surname be recorded as that of her own biological father which would have been her actual surname if Alured had married her mother. There is no indication from later private and official records that other than in this single instance Jessie ever used Faunce as her surname and when her son Oscar Henry drowned nine years later in the Hunter River his surname was recorded as Gordon which was no doubt the surname under which he was raised 29.
1833 portrait by Richard Reed
Confirming the Fonce and Founce spellings were phonetic renditions of Faunce, is that the NSW Birth, Deaths & Marriages indexes from first Australian white settlement in 1788 to the current (as at 2003) published index termination year of 1945 contain no instance of a surname spelt either Founce or Fonce. Also Alured as a given name was so rare in Australia it does not occur in the NSW BDM indexes except in respect of Alured Tasker Faunce and his descendants. The first occurrence in these indexes of the Faunce name spelt as such was when Alured Tasker married in 1835 in the same St. Luke's, Liverpool, NSW, Church of England where his illegitimate daughter Jessie Maria Gordon had been baptised two years earlier.
The family military service backgrounds of both Robert and Ann Gordon, and Robert's own approx. 28 years of army service, suggest they would not have been adverse to the prospect of a Caroline marrying an army officer. Their youngest daughter Sarah Ann later married the senior NCO of the 58th regiment. There is of course no evidence they encouraged the relationship with then Lieutenant Alured Faunce in the belief or understanding a marriage would result any more than in a similar four years later out of wedlock relationship between Caroline's sister Maria Matilda and Captain Frank Adams of the 28th regiment (later a Major-General), who after he and Maria had two sons similarly to Faunce married someone else - for the Adams/Maria Gordon details see the Maria Gordon Descendants web page.
Jessie Gordon's birth date of 21 Aug 1833 indicates a date of conception about the 3rd week of Nov 1832. At that time Alured Faunce had been in the colony of New South Wales with the 4th Regiment of Foot for only six weeks 6. The regiment was quartered at Parramatta. Perhaps they met at a ball held there to welcome the officers of the regiment to Sydney, or at a theatrical production in the Long Room at Parramatta's ‘Woolpack Inn’, at a debate, a regimental band concert, or after Sunday service at St. John's Church of England conducted by Rev. Samuel Marsden who was rector there until 1838 and also chaired the Management Committee of the Parramatta Female Factory. Alured Faunce could have met her at the Female Factory whilst there on official business. Perhaps some of the 200 convicts who arrived in Sydney from Cork on 16 Oct 1832 on the Dunvegan Castle, under a guard of 4th Regiment soldiers commanded by Alured's younger brother Thomas Faunce, were women who upon landing were delivered up-river to the Female Factory under a part military part civil escort. On record is that in October 1832 and, again in March 1833, there was unruly behavior at the Factory occasioning the attendance of the soldiers. After the October '32 attendance there could well have been one or more follow-up visits by an officer during which he would likely have been invited by the Matron to luncheon or to partake of some refreshment at her residence in the grounds and there met nineteen year old Caroline 37.
A history of Alured Tasker Faunce who arrived in Sydney on 9 Oct 1832 on the Lord William Bentinck is given at the link.
1. Jessie Maria Gordon b. 21 Aug 1833 4 possibly at Parramatta was christened on 10 Nov 1833 4 at St. Luke’s Church of England, Liverpool, NSW. Australia, daughter of Alured Tasker Faunce (1807-1856). She died about 1883 likely in South Brisbane, Queensland 24.
19th century Ada Gordon letters described Jessie as having been "a handsome woman very Jewish looking" and that "she was a fine girl with dark eyes and most agreeable manners" 25, 26. Ada Gordon also wrote that Jessie, likewise to her mother and aunt Maria Fullford, had been tall 27. Jessie's christening record gave her mother’s place of abode as Parramatta suggesting her mother Caroline was living at the Female Factory with her parents at the time of the birth. Her father's name appears in this record as Alured Fonce with his occupation given as "gentleman". Such was the term employed to describe the occupation of the fathers of eleven of the fourteen baptsms recorded on that page of the baptisms book. At that time he was actually a Lieutenant in the 4th regiment so if present at the baptism perhaps did not identify himself as such to the minister or as the child's surname was recorded as Gordon exercised a discretion in respect of the entry for his occupation.
1 Caroline's birth in Portsmouth, England is based on the 40 years of age given in her church parish death record and the 14 years in the 1828 census of New South Wales - both calculate to a 1813 birth year.
2 NSW BDM Indexes V1853-1679-39 & C of E Diocese of Newcastle Registers, reel #4 - Parish of Maitland East, died 28th Aug 1853, buried on 30th, age 40 years.
3 Caroline Gordon history & genealogy as advised by descendant Kathy Edwards of Queensland.
4 Image of headstone provided courtesy of Russell Gordon of Sydney, NSW.
46 NSW BDM Index, V1833-378-17 & Registers of Births, Burials & Marriages (AONSW) film reel # 5004.
5 NSW BDM Index, #1858/9023 - birth registered Maitland as Oscar H. Founce, mother's given names - Jessie M.
6   Sydney Gazette, 9 Oct 1832 - of 443 tons, left Portsmouth 7 May 1832, arrived Sydney 7th Oct. (landed 9th).
24 16 Jan 1887 letter - Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway - "Jessie died four years ago leaving no family".
25 25 Jan 1885 letter - Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway.
26 Letter circa May 1889 - Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway.
27 17 Jul 1889 letter - Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway.
28 1 Nov 1881 letter - Maria Fullford to Letitia Garmonsway.
29 NSW BDM Indexes, #1867/6006 - death registered as Oscar H. Gordon.
The Maitland Mercury, Sat. 30 Nov 1867 - Death by Drowning - On Thursday afternoon, an inquest was held before the Coroner, J. Thomson Esq., on the body of a boy name Oscar Henry Gordon, aged about nine years. From the evidence it appeared that the boy, who resided with his mother, was in the habit of attending the Public School at East Maitland. On Tuesday afternoon, he appears to have gone to the river to bathe, instead of going to school, for a party of other boys, who went down to the river, near the Pig Run, for a similar purpose, found there some clothing on the bank, but did not see anyone in the water. This excited their suspicion, and induced them to examine the clothes, which one of the boys thought belonged to the deceased. The mother of the deceased was then informed of the circumstance, and on going to the spot she immediately identified the clothes as those of her son. Search was at once made, and parties went out dragging the river on the following day without success. On Thursday morning, however a man named Alexander Ellis, while crossing the river in a boat, near Mr. Murdock's farm, discovered the body in the river, and the police having been informed it was recovered, in a state of nudity, but, of course, life was quite extinct. There were no marks of violence on the body. A verdict of "accidental death while bathing" was returned.
30 NSW BDM Indexes, V1835-2956-45B (NSWAO film #5016) & V1835-133-47 (NSWAO film #5017)
31 QLD BDM Indexes, #1874/000548
36 Lea-Scarlett, p. 102.
37 Babette Smith, A Cargo of Women, NSW University Press, 1988, p.55 - also see Factory Committee of Management to Colonial Secretary, 12 Oct. 1832, CSIL 1833, AO NSW 4/2191.3 - & Marsden to Colonial Secretary, 7 Mar 1833, CSIL 1833 #33/1907, AO NSW 4/2191.3.
39 ‘The Early Life of Sir Richard Bourke’, JRAHS Vol. 55 (1969) p. 323; For Richard Bourke Jr. (1812-1904) history see ADB op.cit. (Vol. I,1966) biography of Sir Richard Bourke by Hazel King, and also see her Richard Bourke, Oxford University Press, Melb., 1971.
40 Richard Bourke Jr. appointed Private Secretary. - Sydney Gazette 13 Dec. 1831, p.1; George Kenyon Holden replaced as Police Magistrate at Campbelltown by Robert Stewart - NSW Government Gazette, 4 Dec. 1833; G. K. Holden appointed Priv. Sec. NSW Government Gazette, 18 Dec 1833; Henry Fysche Gisbourne appointed Priv. Sec. effective 1 Oct 1837 - Sydney Gazette 7 Oct. 1837, p.4.
41 For rumour repetition - see the Australian Dictionary of Biography, (Supplement Volume 2005), biography of Ann Gordon by Hilary Weatherburn - online version.
42 The Felonry of New South Wales by James Mudie, 1964 reprint edited by Walter Stone, p.124 marginal note #128. For evidence given by Mudie to the 1837 Molesworth Committee of Enquiry into Transportation see the 1st Report ref. PP 1837 (518) XIX, I, pp 30-52, and 93-133. For Richard Bourke Jr. (1812-1904) history see ADB op.cit. (Vol. I,1966) biography of Sir Richard Bourke by Hazel King; and same author's Richard Bourke, Melb; London, Oxford University Press, 1971. For Mudie history see: Harlequin of the Hunter : Major James Mudie of Castle Forbes by B. T. Dowd and Averil Fink, Part I (1968) 54 JRAHS p. 368, Part II (1969) 55 JRAHS.
43 For R. B. Jnr's. March 1834 sailing for England (perhaps incognito with Archdeacon Broughton and family on 15 March on the Henry) see: ‘Sir Richard Bourke Papers, Letters to His Son Richard, Vol. 6, Mitchell Library A1733, CY336, frames 829-38’ - specifically a 15 May 1834 letter informing his son of the 11 April death of wool industry pioneer John Macarthur and of four sheets of "twaddle" sent him by Mudie advising on how convicts should be managed etc.
44 Hazel King, Richard Bourke op. cit. - from Select Committee on Transportation 1st Report, Evidence, 5 Feb. 1838 PP 1837-38 (669) XXII, pp. 12-13; Richard Bourke to his father 27 May 1837, Bourke Papers, Mitchell Lib., Vol. 12.