1828 - 1880
||Brosley Shrewsbury England
||4 Dec 1880
||River Derwent Hobart
||James Harrison's descendants
||24 Jun 2011 |
||Margaret HACKETT, b. Abt 1831, Ireland , d. 9 Feb 1883, Risdon Hobart Tas. |
||31 Jul 1855
||St Johns Richmond
- 10 children in Hobart 5 boys and five girls. 8 alive when he died.
Born Broseley Village, Shrewsbury Salop England
Aaron Ashwood was born about 1828 in the Salop District of England in the town of Broseley, Shrewsbury
County. While research continues, we know little of his life in this area bordering on the Welsh border and
marshes. It was a geographic area abundant in coal, lead, copper and iron ore deposits.
The River Severn flowed through the county and was used for the transportation of goods and services for
centuries. During the 18th century, the town of Broseley was a centre of innovation. 1750 - 1820 was a time of
great riches for few and abject poverty for many. The Rev. John Wesley preached in Shrewsbury to the poor as
to how to help themselves.
By 1800 coach travel had become the main means of transportation. Shrewsbury became an important staging
post for the London- to- Ireland route with numerous coaches leaving from various inns in town; and in 1832
Family Group Sheet 7/7/2006
the thirteen year old Princess destined one day to be the mighty Queen Victoria visited Shrewsbury. All the
silver was taken out of the town’s store to make the day special.
The Navvies were building the railway to connect Shrewsbury with Birmingham. In November 1859 Charles
Darwin, a son of Shrewsbury, published his Origin of Species. Shrewsbury however has more pressing things
on its mind: drunkenness, prostitution, overcrowding all problems that had built over the subsequent decades.
It was amongst this drunkenness, prostitution and overcrowding Aaron Ashwood lived and grew to be a young
Broseley was experiencing a high rate of crime as were other economically depressed areas of Salop, and there
were no policing agencies. The well to do citizens banded together and formed associations for the prosecution
“The Anti-Felons” was the name by which they were popularly known. Their full title was “The Broseley
Association for the Prosecution of Felons”. They were one of many such associations existing in the 18th, 19th
and well into the 20th centuries, which originally had the sole purpose of bringing petty criminals to justice.
They flourished in the days prior to the compulsory establishment of borough and county police forces.
In his “Portrait of an Age Victorian England”, G.M. Young says that in 1840 there were in England “five
hundred associations for the prosecution of felons; but there were no county police; and the mainstay of the
public police was not the (parish) constable but the yeoman, and behind the yeoman, though cautiously and
reluctantly employed, the soldier”.
More than one Shropshire town had its Anti-Felon Association. Ludlow had one, rivalling Broseley’s in its long
years of existence. There was one in Louth, Lincolnshire. George Eliot, in “Scenes of Clerical Life”, writing of
the 1830 period, has a farmer, Mr. Hackit, “presiding at the annual dinner of the Association for the
Prosecution of Felons at the Oldinfort Arms”, in the Nuneaton area. Arnold Bennett writes in “These Twain” of
an architect living in the Five Towns during the late 19th century: “Osmond Orgreave had never related
himself to the crowds. He was not a Freemason; he had never had municipal office; he had never been
President of the Society for the Prosecution of Felons”.
But between the days of Hackit and Orgreave Anti-Felons everywhere were more concerned with the pleasures
of social gatherings than with the pursuit of justice.
Precisely such a system of rewards was fundamental to the formation of the Broseley Anti-Felons. Members of
the Association were owners of various kinds of property; a house, an estate, a mine, a quarry, a farm, craft on
the river, an iron-works, a pottery, a shop or a public house. They each paid a membership fee and an annual
subscription, and the money subscribed served to provide rewards for information leading to the arrest and
successful prosecution of persons responsible for thefts and acts of damage to property. The money was also to
be used to pay lawyers’ fees.
There was a fixed scale of rewards, payable after conviction of the felon. In 1837, a reward of 5 guineas was
offered in cases of burglary, highway robbery, arson, stealing horses and cattle; 2 guineas when pigs, poultry,
hay, straw had been stolen; one guinea in the case of theft of timber, gates, fencing, of fruit and vegetables, and
in the event of wilful damage to wagons, ploughs etc.; “or any kind of felony whatsoever”. In 1860 the same
scale of rewards applied as in 1837. (taken from Wilkinson Journals 9 and 11 - 1981&83 by John Cragg)
THE CONVICT YEARS
On the 27th day of June 1842, at the age of twenty, Aaron Ashwood was tried and convicted. He was sentenced
to ten years for burglary of books and for 2 months for poaching.
Shrewsbury had it's own prison dating from 1793.
Aaron Ashwood was described for prison records as being 5 feet 2 l/2 inches, medium weight, fair complected
with a round head, dark brown hair, dark brown eyebrows, grey eyes, large nose, wide mouth, medium chin,
with ______________ right arm, _______ marks on breast, large scar on throat, scar between eyebrows who
could read. He was also described as single, and a Protestant. The surgeon's report was indifferent.
REgistration Number 1890 RGD Number 35 (his death)
He departed from Plymouth on the ship Anson 1 October 1843 and arrived 4 February 1844 in Van Diemen's
Land. Data Base Number 1680 Tasmania Convict Archives
Family Group Sheet 7/7/2006
At the time of marriage Aaron Ashwood, Sr. was described as a coal miner, in 1856 as a miner of Providence
Valley; in 1858 of New Town, from 1860 as a quarryman of O'Brien's Bridge, and from 1868 as Watr Bailiff.
In 1871 while residing at Risdon Ferry he was reported missing on the Derwent December 4, 1880. His body
was never recovered, consequently thee was no inquest or death certificate. The basic details of his date and
place of birth cannot be located from that source. There were a number of Ashwoods transsported from Ireland
over the years, but none with the surname Aaron.
Wife: Margaret Ferrell Mary Hackett
Married: 31 Jul 1855
Beginning status: Married
in: The Church of St. John Richmond Tasmania Australia
Reference number: Reg # 1173
Registration Number 1173 RGD Number 37 (Marriage)
Aaron Ashwood (27), coal miner and Margaret Hackett alias Mary Farrell (21), house servant were married on
31 July 1855 by William Dunne (sic) at the Church of St. John Richmond according to the rites and ceremonies
of the Catholic church by bans . Witnessed by Jeremiah Donovan and Margaret Donovan. Marriage number
126 in the book Marriages of the District.