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Photos of the Terry family

Letters to Tasmania

Transcription kindly contributed by Gwennith May Smith (1929-2010), great-granddaughter of Richard Terry, through her daughter Virginia Ling

Richard Terry (1805 - ) and his nephews Richard (1823 - ) and Joseph (1825 - ) were transported to Tasmania in 1843/44 for their (indirect) involvement in the rape of Ann Pepper at Gawcott. These are some of the letters sent to them by the family 'back home'


Letters To Richard Terry junior

from his parents Joseph and Elizabeth in Tingewick

  1. August 14th 1855
    ... the wages now in England are very low and the price of provisions are very high, indeed on account of the Russian war in part, so that a person scarcely knows how to live.... ... Your sister Ann is living in London and her husband has a good place. They have four children. Your sister Sarah is married and has two children and are living up again the church and her husband is shepherd for Mr Arnott
  2. February 12th 1858
    …. We was pleased to hear Richard has joined the matrimonial state … . Fanny married about twelve months ago and has one child and her and her husband and child are quite well and also Ann and her husband and family and Sarah and her ditto. Eliza is married this Michaelmas and they are quite well and living with us. Elizabeth is at service in the same situation she has been for the last four years.

  3. October 25th 1862 (but I think the date should be 1860)
    … we was sorry to hear of your brother's illness, but happy to hear he is recovering … your sister Ann has been the mother of six children but has but two living, the eldest and youngest. Sara is the mother of four, all living. Your sister Fanny has two and Eliza has had two sons, Richard and Joseph but Richard is dead. Your sister Elizabeth is still in service living with a clergyman whom she has been with seven years and going on the eight.
    we have a long weary wet time for our harvest in our old England this time for we have had it about now 8 or 9 weeks and a great many beans and other grain out now. This is what our old laborers call one of the old fashioned harvesters but blessed be God no scarcity but everything very dear to what we have had it lately.

  4. From mother Elizabeth (father died Aug 1862)

  5. undated probably written around 1863 to Richard? from his mother,
    I have Eliza and her Husband and two little ones with me .... your old friend Everet has come to the Days long since he as been troting round London selling halfpenny Books or any thing for a crust, which is often seen with such men as he was

  6. March 14th 1865 your sister Sara has seven in family all well, Thomas and Eliza have had five two dead and three living they are well, Ann, has had seven but only two living, Fanny has four living they are all well, Elizabeth is still in Service she has been now twelve years in one place with a Clergeman ... we have had two particular good harvestess, for we had plenty of corn and fine weather to get them and our potatoe crop has been better from the disease this last year than we have had it for many years...

  7. May 17th 1867 (prob 1866) (to Richard junior and his wife Mary (nee Baulch)) we are very Sorry to hear you had so bad a harvest, ... we had a good moderate harvest in old England last year thank God for it, we have the loaf good bread for sixpence, other provisions are dearer than we have them ... we say the whole are all well, and all wish to be remembered to you, Elizabeth is still single and in her old place, where she as been thirteen year, please to give all our love and best wishes to the Uncle Richard and is wife, and tell them is Brother James and Sister Hannah are well as usual

  8. May 17th 1867 (same date as above) This letter in Elizabeth's own hand writing, with an addition by sister Sarah [now Mrs Heritage]
    sister Eliza as incersed her family sinc then She was confined with a boy a fortnit ago ... old England as Been full of Trubble this last 12 months for we have had a plage amung the cattle which as destroyed hundreds of thousands of cows and calves and the calria as been very bad in some parts of the cuntry and a grate maney pepol have died; and mutton is still 10 per pound and bread 7 the 4 pound lofe wheat is 6 to 7 per buchel

  9. March 17th 1868 (prob. 1869) … for I must inform you that your Sister, Fanny is Dead she died twelve month ago this March, poor Dear she left a family of five children but her Husband Father, takes two of them of his hands, and that is a good help for him, … Corn is Dear now in Old England, we give eightpence halfpenny for a 4 pound loaf I tell you that Uncle Richards two Daughters are well, and their Husbands and Familys they are both lately confined Elizabeth as four and Ann as three, Elizabeth your Sister is still living at the place where she as been fourteen years …

  10. from brother-in-law Joseph Heritage, m. Sarah Terry

  11. September 18th 1863 ... she goes out a washing and some times a nursing a little for pepol and so erns herself a few shillings ... the Parish alone alow her 1s6d per week and one lofe ... … you want to know abought Dear Fathers Death… on the 24th of may 1862 he was taken very much worse …. on the 3rd of July at four oclock in the morning he departed this life … tell uncle Richard that is Sister and daughters sent thear kind love to him Ann is just confined of her first child a son … ... we have had a very fine harvest this year it is abundant and the wheat turns out from 12 to 16 sacks per acer and onley makes from 5 to 6 shillings per bushal ... ... pleas to tell uncle Richard that is Sister and daughters sent thear kind love to him Ann is just confined of her first child

  12. October 19th 1866 … now i must tell you uncle James Terry is no More as he as been Dead too months and was buried close by the side of dear father … we have had a very wet time hear this harvest but we got ours in very good for we was a little before some of the farmers the Bulk of the wheat crop was got dry and good but the Barley as been out a long time some of the farmers have not done harvest now ... i am still working for Mr J arnatt as is shepard i have been with him for the last 16 years … tho I was but a lout when you left Tingewick and now have wife and seven children a round me and thank God they are all looking well my age is now 34 and Sarah 38 years old

    from sister Elizabeth


  13. prob. 1866 or 67 - i have been heare for 13 years this week … i am living with a Mr law you know i dearsay he came from gawcott … i went to see my dear mother in law last and was very pleased to find her very comfortable and our sister Eliza lives with her and her family of five little ones and i think they are very happey togathere for her husband is very kind to our dear mother and Sarah leaves at tingewick to with her family … now dear father is gone …

  14. Oct 10th 1868 - … i went home this summer for a fortnight i had not been for ten years so it was quite a trate for me and … because my intended went with me … as it not think of being married this year now as the times are bad i have been hear 13th years now in my place … about poor fannys death you cant think what a blow it was to me for i was the nearest to them at the time and her husband came for me. There is five little children left without any mother … they live 8 miles from me … mother is now in London she is there to service our sister ann she as not had a little for six years and she is expecting one now i hope she may have good luck and get them all rite She as had seven and only two living

    Letters to Richard Terry senior

    from his sister Hannah [now Mrs Thomas Benbow] at Gawcott

    It was Hannah who raised Richard's two daughters from his first marriage after his transportation

  15. Feb 14th 1858 … that neither my health or my husband health is so good as it used to be my Husband breaks very fast and has a very bad cough on him … what we have done for your two children we have done with pleasure and they apear to us as if they was our own. … I must also inform you that Elizabeth was married to a man a Native of Gawcott his name is James Osborn he is a very steady industrious Young Man, and i quite believe she has got a good partner and quite a sensible young man she was in service up to the week before she was married she was Married on last Tuesday the 9th day of Febuary, her sister Ann is in service and has a good place and she bears an eccelent charricter she is a dairy Maid and a fine stout Girle she is larger than her sister they both bear excelent charicters and are much repected they can both read and write well and that is a great blessing as these are so many poor girls which can do neither. …..

  16. Nov 18th 1861 Gawcott … my Husband has not been able to do any work since last May on account of his Eyes failing … the Parrish only alow us 3/6 and 3 loaves this together amounts about five shillings pr week to keep us on ... both your daughters are quite well Elizabeth is married and doing well they have one child a Son, Ann is single and has a good place at service, Your Brother Joseph is very poorly I must also inform you we have lost our Son Joshua now nearly 2 Year the remainder of my family are quite well

    From son-in-law James Osborne [and dau Elizabeth], Buckingham


  17. February 26 1859 ... we was married on the 9 Feb 1858 … they have sunk their men to eighteen pence a day But thank God I have not had to work for that yet I in general follow thrashing and haypressing But it has been very scarce this winter But I have been working at a tanyard this winter and we have got along very comfortable for I get 12 shillings a Week ... you have got a grandson My wife was confined on the 24 of November … Ann has got a good place at service she lives at Mr Millers at Preston [Bissett] .. she is of going to have eight pounds this year ... we conclude with our kind Grandsons Name George

  18. January 18 1866 I am a Letter Carrier out of Buckingham to Radclive Water Stratford Shalstone and Westbury you will know the places very well I dare say and I get 13/- Per week and I am able to Earn a little extra sometimes We have got 3 sons the oldest 7 most 4 the youngest 2 and we have had a daughter but she died at seven weeks old ... meat is very Dear now owing to the cattle Plage … we live in Buckingham now we moved about 3 months ago from Gawcott and I find it a great Benefit as I am much nearer to my work … we have got a comfortable Home … Only we have not got any garden we live close to the National School and we hope that all the children go to School

  19. Sept 29 1870 we was very Sorry to hear of your sad loss in losing your Dear wife so sudden, and we feel much for poor Richards Wife, it is a very sad Trial for her to be left with such a large family and all so very young … we have 5 alive 3 boys and 2 girls and we have buried 2 girls so that we have had seven in all 3 boys and 4 girls the youngest is 6 weeks old …. & she is such a nice curly headed girl she will be 3 years old the 16 February the baby name is Elizabeth … the oldest is 12 next year and the youngest albert will be 7 in January …. we have not seen Ann or her husband for some time But we hear from them some times they are gone to live at Fringford Mill and he has got a very good place he has 15 shillings a week and house rent free and I think they are getting along better than they have since they have been married we shall see them before we write again and we will get them to have their likeness taken so that you will have all your children and grandchildren to look at Ann has four children

  20. October 26 1870 we send you our likenesses as I Promised & I hope that you will send us yours as I can assure you that we shall prize it very much we did not have the baby taken as she is so small … I went over to frinkford to see Ann & her husband yesterday … Aunt Elizabeth Terry was at our house yesterday was at our house yesterday … I met James Terry your Nephew this morning at waterstratford … he was all right he still lives at Tingewick and goes about Rat Catching and I dare say gets a very good living as he is not married and no one to keep but himself ... the corn turns out very well indeed or we should have had it very dear on account of the war But I hope the war will soon be over as it will make things cheaper and it very shocking to read the papers to hear of the thousands that have been killed and the country done about as that is

  21. January 15 1872 (probably 1873) my wife who I have to tell you brought me the Hansome New years Present in the shape of twin Sons … on we have now Eight Children 4 besides those you have in the likeness the Eldest of the last 4 is 2 years and 4 months and the next who is 14 months old Tomorrow and cannot walk yet … the four you have in the likeness are growing and getting along very well the eldest goes to work as Errand Boy and gets 3 shillings a week which is a little help the others go to School … we have not heard from Ann for a long time they are gone to live at Burton on Trent Derbyshire and I Don't think they are getting very well or Else we should have heard from them I was very sorry when left for he had a good Place at Fringford Mill But I am afraid he is not very Steady But we have not heard from since they have been gone.

  22. September 17th 1878 … we got the money Safe to day & Ann has been over & received hers & Promised to have all the family taken & send to you they have six in family … but have had a Great Deal of trouble with our family we have had 13 in family 9 are living & have buried 4 we have 5 living younger than the youngest in the likeness will have them taken or else all be taken again in Larger Picture … our oldest son George who I am grieved to say is a very Poor Creature indeed he as been ill for about 18 months all together with Desease of the brain he has been paralised one side but has recovered from that but now it has affected is Eyes and he is nearly Blind I taken him to Guys Hospital in London last wendesday & we had a letter yesterday From the nurse saying they was going to operate on him this week & they think they will do him good & we Pray that they might for it the greatest trouble we had Ever had with all our family he is 20 years old in November & a fine grown man he is he has prenticed to a shoe maker & got first rate till he was 18 & he never been quite well Since all the others are very healthy Tom the next one is a saddler and stands about 5 feet and 8 and is only 16 years last August albert is 15 a fine strong chap and lives with a Doctor but Sleeps at home and 2 next ...

  23. from daughter Ann [now Mrs Hall] at Fringford

  24. Sept 26 1870 … my Aunt at Tingewick had received a Letter from my Cousin Richards Widow which stated that she had lost her husband after a very short Illness, and that you have been very kind to her in asisting her in getting her seed in and also the Letter brought the information that my Mother in law was no more ... I have quite a young Child my eldest Son whose name is Richard Terry Hall … it still gets worse everything very dear in accordance with wages Meat Bacon 11 pence per lb Lamb 1/- per lb and a great many more out of work in every parish ... my husband is at work at the Fringford Mills for Mr Waters and her husband is a Post Messenger under Government, they and their Family are quite well their two eldest boys go to work at shops in Buckingham as Eran boys, I shall be glad when my son is old enough to go to work, but that will be a few years yet.