52 Ancestors:# 6 ~ John Hunt Butcher – (1781 – 1839)

No Story Too Small

This post is for week 6 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge (2015) by Amy Crow from No Story Too Small.

You can read the list of my posts HERE

How I wished I had a photograph of John, but I don’t. He sounds a fascinating individual and lead an incredible life; he has been one of those individuals that has absolutely needed a time line so that I could understand the key parts of his life, the decisions he made and the why he made the choices he did. Unless a diary exists in an archive or with a direct descendant I can only make an educated guess on some of those decisions.

John Hunt Butcher was baptised on 10th February 1781 in Cranley Surrey (Cranleigh is the correct spelling). His parents were Richard Butcher and Sarah nee Witherall. This branch of the Butcher family lived in Hascombe Surrey and my direct branch descends from Richard’s brother, Daniel.

On 7th November 1808, at St George Hanover Square, John married Sarah Burchell and it is from this point that John’s life becomes ever more interesting.

Parish Register – St George Hanover Square

John and Sarah raised their family at Parkhatch, an estate in Hascombe Surrey. This branch of the family had inherited a great deal of wealth through connections with subsidiary branches of the family relating to both the Hunt and Chandler families.

Surrey Records Centre 85/2/1/96

In 1814 we see the estate being put up for sale and for a long time following what happened to John remained neglected on my to do list.

A few years ago the archives in Tasmania in Australia put on-line a wonderful collection of material. I had no links to Tasmania in my own ancestry, but did have a few Orlando‘s that connected to my One-Name Study and it was while I was looking for the Orlando material that I came across the will of John Hunt Butcher.

It was very clear from the details provided in the will that the John Hunt Butcher was mine as it mentioned Parkhatch. So I began delving a little deeper into the life he had in Australia. I wondered what had made him sell up and migrate and the link to that is potentially back to the siblings of his wife, but more on that another day!

John Hunt Butcher, his wife Sarah and their 5 children sailed to Tasmania, in 1822. You can read the details via Trove, a wonderful Australian newspaper site (and much more!).

Over the last few years I have established that John became a magistrate in Tasmania and whilst he died in Australia, with a proved will there there was much travelling, back and forth to Surrey and mentions of various complications with wills being proved here in England. He died in 1839 and is buried in Hobart, but is named in a 1901 edition of The Launceston Examiner as the original importer of Merino Sheep to the colony.

On the face of it, it seems rather curious to be importing sheep, but that does give us a clue as to his standing within the community both in England and Australia. He could afford to import the sheep and probably did not travel in steerage with his family in 1822. After his death in 1839 the entire estate was sold in Tasmania, and I suspected that perhaps Sarah, his widow returned to England. This she did, but only it would seem to deal with various legal matters and she returned to Australia.

John and Sarah’s descendants live on, and moved from Tasmania to Western Australia, with links to Parliament, land owning and much more.

Site of interest

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
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1 Response to 52 Ancestors:# 6 ~ John Hunt Butcher – (1781 – 1839)

  1. Jo Henn says:

    Fascinating breakthrough! Thanks for sharing it.


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