James and Elizabeth Cubit
James and Elizabeth's parents uncertain
James Cubit (b 1787, m Elizabeth, m Amy (Essy) Fullerton 1848
Evandale, d 1857 Chudleigh Deloraine Tas)
Elizabeth (b 1786, d 1846 Longford
Sarah Cubit (b 1811 Agahalee County Antrim IRL)
(b 1814 Agahalee, m Mary Chilcott
1845 Longford Tas, d 1874 Deloraine Tas)
Ellen Adelaide Cubit (1856
Westbury, m William Mitchell 1880
Sandridge, Melb, d 1937 Wodonga, Vic)
Mitchell (b 1887 Whiteford, m 1914 Liela Muriel Roach, d 1960
Ann Jane Cubit (b 1816 Agahalee)
Antrim is NW of Belfast. Irish records have gaps, reflected in our
knowledge of James and Elizabeth in Ireland. See Note on Irish Records
Peter Cubit has extensive genealogies of the Norfolk Cubits, but as
the Norfolk connection is speculative, this material has not yet
been put on the website. See discussion below.
James The Castle Forbes Stocker's Hut Dolly Did James Cubit kill
When was James born?
The death notice in the "Examiner" has him 70 years old on 19
October 1857, making his birthdate probably 1787.
The headstone in Perth cemetery has him 63 years old on 19 October
1857, making his birthdate probably 1794
When he married Essy Fullerton he gave his age as 54 in 1848 making
his birthdate probably 1794
Possibly son John organised the death notice in the paper and gave
his correct age. Later on Essy organised his headstone, and loyally
gave the age he told her. Its a nice thought.
The description list for the Castle Forbes on which he arrived have
him 24 years old at the time of his trial in 1819, making his
birthdate probably 1795
The indent list for the said ship states he was tried in Antrim and
his age as 34, therefore born probably 1786.
We know the first child Sarah was born in 1811, so 1787 looks right,
and assume James lied about his age to his 25 year old bride in
When was Elizabeth born
The Tasmanian Archives Office record of her death has her year of
birth as 1786. In view of the comments below about Elizabeth Cole
not being the Elizabeth that James married, it is a little
disconcerting that Elizabeth Cole was born 12 Nov 1786
(1) The Norfolk connection.
Did James and Elizabeth come from Norfolk? At the moment there seems
to be no solid evidence that they did. There were lots of Cubit
families in Norfolk, but research also provides Cubits in Ireland
who could be ancestors. Link to
discussion of the evidence.
(2) Those left behind. How
did Elizabeth, Sarah (nine), John (six) and Ann Jane (four) manage
without James. Presumably things were desparate for a father with
three young children to steal a sheep in the first place? When
Elizabeth came to Australia with John, Sarah would have been 25 and
Ann Jane 20, so perhaps they were in domestic service or married? I
could find nothing on family search for Sarah or Ann Jane. Perhaps
we can find Sarah and Ann in 1841/1851 census information.
(3) The Reunion, Probably
unanswerable human interest questions come to mind around Elizabeth
and John coming to Tasmania sixteen years later: Did he know
she was coming? What were James’ domestic arrangements at the time,
and what happened to them?
An answer has arrived in the form of an email from Dr Ian
Mcfarlane, Cradle Coast Campus of the University of Tasmania, in
prime Cubit country
Lieutenant Governor Arthur petitioned
Earl Bathurst on behalf of 12 convicts requesting that their
wives and families be sent over from England, as the characters
of the applicants were good. James Cubitt was the 4th man
on the list. The date was 24 May 1827.
Interestingly, there is an eight year gap till Elizabeth arrived.
So her arrival might not have been as a resuly of the petition.
James' increasing prosperity may have allowed him to finance
the trip himself.
(4) 1848 Tasmanian Census. Where was James? We have a
Census creturn for John as Head of the house in January 1848
at Brook Mount, and James as proprietor. There is nobody James' age
in the household. The houshold consists of six people, four free,
two on ticket of leave. James was to marry Essy Fullerton in April
1786 Elizabeth born
1787 James Cubit born
1811 Sarah born Antrim, Ireland
1814 John born Antrim, Ireland
1816 Ann Jane born Antrim, Ireland
1819 James Cubit and David Millar convicted of stealing two sheep, 7
1820 James Cubit arrives Hobart on Castle Forbes
1827 James Cubit listed as
petitioning wife and family to join him
1831 Stocker's hut incident (see below)
1836 Elizabeth Cubit and son John arrive Launceston on the
Bolina as Unassisted Immigrants
1846 Elizabeth dies at Longford
1848 James marries Essy Fullerton
1857 James dies at Chudleigh
Val Trickett supplied some James Cubit research commissioned
in 1984. It does establish the three children as born in
Agahlee. Full Text of Research Report.
The source of this article was Val Tricket, but I believe it
originatyed with Simon Cubit
Val also supplied a writeup of James and John, an extract of which
born in County Antrim Ireland in 1796, was transported in 1820 per
"Castleford" at the age
of 24 years to Tasmania. After his release, James worked as a
stock-keeper, and was mentioned by Gov. Arthur's
Land Commissioner, Roderic O'Connor in 1828 when he visited the
Deloraine area.... he notes on March 6, 1828…."At about four miles
distant on the opposite side of the Western River, Stocker, of the
Derwent Hotel, has established himself on Crown Land of great
extent and fine quality, and has a large herd of cattle. A free
man, named CUBIT who looks after them, has frequently been speared
by the natives. He had received dangerous wounds a few days before
we were there, the Natives telling him that they would have him
yet." Cubit was at constant war with the blacks... he is said to
have shot more blacks than any other man in the Colony, and in
return received a number of spear wounds, none of them,
unfortunately for the blacks, fatal. In September 1831, he was
wounded 8 times before he could get back to his hut and gun, after
going to the creek for a bucket of water, (Deloraine History.)
prospered thereafter and at one time owned…. 400 acres at "Brookhill', Chudleigh;
500a :'Homewood'; 644a at Cressy; 185a "Dungal" Deloraine and land at Gawler & North Motton,
His is later
days were spent at Chudleigh, and he died at "Brookhill", in 1857,
the age of 61 years, and is buried at Perth. (Note this is
Perth in Tasmania). Full Text of Val's
James was illiterate. He only made his mark when
he married Essy Fullertion. Though Essy signed.
Simon Cubit commented to Jenny Mitchell "James Cubit was an unemployed weaver
in Ballymena. He was convicted of
sheep stealing. The other guy was
caught, and James was recognised later (23/3/1819)"
A good read to get a feel for the
world James found in Tasmania is a book "An Account of the Colony of
Van Diemen's land, principally written for the use of Emigrants" . Selected extracts
The Castle Forbes
This is of interest, in that it was the subject
of a plot by 20 convicts to seize it, after all its convicts had
disembarked. The plot was discovered and foiled. No suggestion James
was involved. It is described in Bateson's book "The Convict Ships"
Stockers Hut seems to be the frontline in a small
war. Other accounts of the Stocker's Hut incident above have him
assisted by Dolly, a half caste woman who lived with him. Also
Fred Mitchell found in "Convicts Unbound", The story of the
'Calcutta' convicts & their settlement in Australia by Marjorie
Thring published by Viking O'Neil a subsidiary of Penguin Books ISBN
0 670 90068 0, p 192 records:
'In January 1826 natives attacked
James Cupid, one of Stocker's stockmen, near the Western
Creek. They ran away after he fired, but not before a spear
had lodged between his neck and shoulder leaving a four-inch
wound. For weeks his recovery was doubtful. Later he guided George
Robinson around the Eastern Marshes. Cupid believed the
natives in the area had been very peaceable at first but were
driven to commit atrocities because of the outrages inflicted on
them. When he has asked why they attempted to kill white
men, one who understood English had said, 'If black man came and
took away his lubra and killed his picaninnie would he not kill
black man for it?' This man lived amicably with his own
half-caste woman and they had two children, one with very fair
One Stockers Hut account describes James
as a free man in 1828. His seven year sentence had been completed by
The following account was provided by Dr Simon Cubit, a professional
historian. I don't know why they bother with TV series on Mary
Briant, Dolly seems to had just as eventful a life.
Mountgarret Briggs, commonly known as Dolly Dalrymple was the
daughter of English sealer George Briggs and Woretemoteyenne (c.
1797- 2847), a full blooded Aboriginal woman of the Trawlwoolway
people of Cape Portland.
At thirteen, in
an arrangement sanctioned by her father Mannalargenna,
Woretemoteyenne went to live with Bass Strait sealer George
Briggs. She had five known children to Briggs: an infant girl
(died in 1811 after being thrown in to a campfire by Aborigines
near Launceston), Dalrymple (1812-64), Eliza (1817- 37), Mary
(1818-39) and John (1820-79).
abandoned in Launceston and was fostered by Jacob Mountgarret in
Port Dalrymple in the early 1820s and taught to read, write and
sew. In her late teens Dalrymple left the home of Mountgarret and
drifted west to the edge of the European frontier beyond the
Meander River where she cohabited with a number of convict
stockmen including Thomas Baker, Thomas Thompson, James Cubit and
Thomas Johnson. She had children to Baker (in 1826) ,
Thompson (in 1828) then another 11 children to Johnson whom
she married in 1831.
to prominence in 1831 when she defended the remote building in
which she lived from attack by a large group of Aborigines. Her
long and valiant defence was rewarded by the colonial authorities
with a pardon for Johnson and a 20 acre block of land at Perth.
and Johnson became overseer of the Frogmore Estate near Latrobe.
They later bought their own property which they names Sherwood a
couple of miles up the Mersey River from Frogmore. In the mid
1850s Johnson had a public house called the 'Native Youth'
at Sherwood and a little later owned a coal mine, the 'Alfred
Colliery' which shipped its coal from Ballaho Creek , where he had another inn
called the 'Dalrymple'. Dalrymple died in 1864 and Thomas in 1867.
trace their ancestry from Dalrymple Briggs whose life and
struggles encapsulate much of the experience that has shaped the
identity of Palawa (Tasmanian aboriginal) families today.
A couple of links of interest :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmanian_Aborigines
Did James Cubit
Dr Simon Cubit contributed the following comments
Table based on Plomley, The
Aboriginal/Settler Clash with additional information.
|31 December 1826
|James Cubit (ST)
‘On Friday last a party of 150 native attached Stockers
Hut near Western Creek and wounded one of his servants,
James Cupid, in three places with spears after which he
succeeded in driving them away by firing at them
|26 February 1828
| Western Mountains
| James Cubit
‘A free man, named Cupit, who looks after them [Stocker’s
cattle] has been frequently speared by the natives. He
received three dangerous wounds a few days before we were
there, the natives telling him that they would have him
yet.’ Land Commissioners Journal 6/3/1828
Land Commissioners Journal 6/3/1828
|23 August 1831
|‘On Tuesday the 23rd, speared James Cubitt at the
run of Mr Gibson; this is the ninth time this unfortunate
man has been speared.
| CSO 1/316/7578
Friendly Missions, 25 September
George Augustus Robinson visits the Western
Marshes (Deloraine to Mole Creek area) and reports conversations
he has with stockmen concerning contact with the natives. On the
day after he learns of Arthur’s plan to mount the Black Line he
writes that ‘numerous massacres have been committed here among the
unprotected natives’ and lists them. Among them: ‘Punch said that
when the half-caste woman [Dalrymple Briggs] lived with Cubitt she
assisted in killing natives.’ p 219.
Daily Telegraph, Saturday 11
‘The Tramp’ (Daniel Griffin) recounts stories
about the early history of the Deloraine district. In one of these
stories he tells some stories about Aboriginals. One of these is a
modified version of the 23 August 1831 event in which he focuses
on attacks on ‘Mr. Cubit.’ In completing this story he offers the
comment that ‘it is said of this Mr Cubit that he shot more blacks
than any other man in the colony, but these statements may be
taken with the proverbial grain of salt, for there are many very
much exaggerated stories told of adventures with the blacks in the
early days. Still, by all accounts Cubit potted a great many of
Greg Lehman ,
descendant of Dalrymple Briggs, in an honours thesis
University of Tasmania 1998? and in other writings (eg.
‘Matriarchs of Survival’ in The Companion to Tasmanian History,
edited by Alison Alexander, 2005, pp 229-30) quotes Robinson and
Griffin in asserting asserts that James Cubit was an Aboriginal
Windschuttle, in The Fabrication of Aboriginal History,
pp 275 – 279 argues that Punch, the source of the information that
suggests that Cubit killed Aborigines, fabricated the information
that Robinson presented as fact. Windschuttle, in fact,
demonstrates, how implausible and unbelievable Punch’s claims are.
James Cubit, a stockman in a remote area, was
repeatedly attacked by Aboriginals (they will have him yet!). The
story that Robinson tells (and it is the only such story) suggests
that Cubit helped kill Aborigines. This understanding is
perpetuated in local white traditions in the 1890s. It is accepted
as fact by Lehman in the 1990s but challenged by Windschuttle in
2002. Did James Cubit kill Aboriginals?
Researchers on the Cubits have shared their work
generously, and I have not been good at noting sources. However,
much is owed to Val Trickett, Sue Royce, Beris Wilkinson. Jenny
Mitchell and Fred Mitchell. Sue Royce is happy to be contacted by
email at <email@example.com>. Also thanks to Peter Cubit
for his help on early Cubits. Thanks to Dr Simon Cubit both
for his contributions, and patient attempts to introduce this
genealogist to the concept of intellectual rigour.
James Cubitt - 400 acres grant Woodbridge January 1844 (LSD 1/75 p.
James Cubitt - 400 acres Woodbridge (SC 285,269 19/3/1846)
Tasmanian Electoral Roll for Legislative Council Longford 1856 lists
Cubitt James Chudleigh
Numerous references: Archives Off. of TAS 88/1873.
Convict 240, "Castle Forbes", 1820. CON 31/6
J Land Commr VDL 1826-8 p.80
Launceston Examiner 20/10/1857 p1 col3
Presbyterian Records NS 435/1/201.
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