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William Boyd
Wilhelmina Loftus

William Boyd
(ca. 1851-)


Family Links

1. Johanna Elizabeth O'Sullivan

2. Julia Margaret O'Sullivan

William Boyd

  • Born: ca. 1851, Kilkenny, Ireland
  • Marriage (1): Johanna Elizabeth O'Sullivan on 29 Apr 1877 in St Stephens Church, Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia
  • Relationship (2): Julia Margaret O'Sullivan

bullet  General Notes:

William's marriage record records his parents names as William and Wilhelmina nee Loftus.

According to his Albury Prison Record William arrived in Australia on the Royal Charter in 1851 (it might be interpreted as 1857 but I'm pretty sure it's 1851), about the time he was born. On his Bathurst Gaol Card it is recorded as 1853. So far, I have been unable to find a record of his arrival into either Victoria or NSW on this vessel. The only records I can find for Boyds arriving on this vessel were a Mrs Susan, married, aged 25, with two children Margaret aged 1 and Wilhelmina an Infant on a passenger list for December 1858. There were supposed to be travelling in 2nd Class, and were recorded as Scots, but on the passenger list they are crossed out with the notation "not going". A William, Wilhelmina and John Boyd, aged 51, 50 and 20 respectively are on the passenger list for the Queen of the Seas arriving in Melbourne in Sep 1854, but no William as a child. I have not been able to find any records of his parents living or passing in Australia. I have found no records of parents with these names in Ireland so far either. Was it all a fabrication?

When he married in 1877 his present residence was listed as Corowa, but his usual residence was recorded as Melbourne so it is possible his family came into Melbourne originally. It is curious that his marriage to Johanna was a Church of England ceremony when both William and Johanna were Roman Catholic. His age was recorded as 25, confirming he was born around 1851 / 52. He was 27 when Wilhemina was born in 1878, suggesting a birth year of 1851. He was 28 when son William was born in November 1879, also suggesting a birth year of 1851. He was already 30 when son Herbert was born on 30 April 1881 suggesting a birth time of Jan-Apr 1851.

Although a farmer when he married in 1877 William Boyd was, by 1881, the licensee of the Phoenix Hotel situated on the Albury Rd in Corowa. He was certainly the hotel keeper there when William was born in November of 1879. The premises were owned by Mr Christian Schroeder. At about 2 a.m. on the 4th February 1881 a fire broke out in the hotel. According to a local newspaper report "Considerable time elapsed before the alarm was given in the town, so that although the fire brigade had their engine quickly on the spot they were too late to be of any assistance. This delay is the more to be regretted since it is generally believed that had the fire bell been rang at once the main portion of the building might have been saved, as the fire was for a considerable time confined to the back portion of the hotel. The messenger despatched to give the alarm, either through fear, or natural obtuseness, contented himself with giving the fire bell one or two solitary and not over vigorous strokes, and then stood idly by until the nearest fireman made his appearance and suggested renewed application and more vigour. The cause of the fire is not known, but it is thought to have been purely accidental. Mr Boyd on closing up for the night, states that he heard a sound like that produced by the igniting of a match when trod upon, but on examining the place found nothing alight. The building was insured, we believe, for something like 100 pounds. The greater portion of the furniture was saved, but all the stock was destroyed."

Soon after Schroeder lodged an objection when Boyd sought to remove his licence to other premises. The Court approved Boyd's application.

The Corowa Free Press carried an advertisement for a Public Auction of horses, drays, a buggy, harnesses and tools as well as the lease of the Phoenix Hotel belonging to William Boyd who was "leaving the District". The Auction was planned for Wednesday 20 April 1881.

On 15 April 1881 the Corowa Free Press reported that "William Boyd of the Phoenix Hotel sued his mother-in-law, (Mrs O'Sullivan), for assault. The evidence was voluminous, and to the public, nauseous, revealing a succession of family brawls. The complainant admitted having caught his mother-in-law by the hair, throwing her to the ground, and then taking a butcher's cleaver to defend himself !! His mother-in-law alleged fraud on Boyd's part by sending her out to her farm, with some valuable property, prior to the fire. He was fined 1/- and costs. Another case of assault by Francis O'Sullivan, brother-in-law of Boyd, was withdrawn."

Things escalated quickly and on Tuesday 5 May, 1881 at the Corowa Police Court, "Thomas Denis O'Sullivan on the part of his daughter Julia Margaret O'Sullivan, a child fourteen years of age, sued his son-in-law William Boyd for maintenance of an illegitimate child. Mr Coster appeared for the defendant, who denied the responsibility. The prosecutrix conducted her own case, and swore that Boyd was the father of her child, that he had threatened to kill her if she told anyone, and stating the different occasions of improper intimacy. The evidence was of such a nature as to render it unfit for publication. Mr Coster cross-examined the prosecutrix without in the least shaking her testimony which was delivered in a straightforward manner, but as no corroborative evidence was adduced the bench dismissed the case to the very evident dissatisfaction of a crowded court." Julia was the sister of William's wife Johanna.

It is possible that these tumultuous times took their toll on his wife, Johanna, who was pregnant at the time, giving birth to son Herbert on the 30 April 1881. Herbert died on 18th May 1881, at just 3 weeks of age, from "General Debility from birth".

On 14 October 1881 the Corowa Free Press reported that William Boyd was charged with Arson in connection with the Phoenix Hotel fire in order to defraud the Mercantile Insurance Coy. Amongst the witnesses called at his trial were Mrs O'Sullivan (his mother-in-law, Ellen) and F. O'Sullivan (his brother-in-law Michael Francis, commonly known as Frank). The Corowa Free Press reported that "His Honour summed up strongly against the prisoner who made a long speech in which he characterised himself a much injured individual. The jury returned a verdict of Guilty." He was sent to Albury Gaol for 3 years with hard labour. He was transferred to Bathurst Gaol on 2 July 1883, and appears to have been returned to Darlinghurst Gaol in 1884, perhaps before his release. According to his Prison Record he was 30 years old, 5' 11 1/2' tall with a fair complexion, light brown hair and grey eyes. He could read and write. His nose was long and sharp at the point, he had a medium chin and a medium to full beard, light eyebrows, approaching baldness, and a small scar (?) left side of forehead.

There is a W. Boyd recorded in the Census for 1891 living in Parliament St, Corowa in a household with 3 males and 2 females. It is possible he died in that year as there was certainly a William Boyd who died in Corowa then but his parents were named John and Helen. There is a record of a William Boyd who died in 1924 in Randwick, NSW, but this William, a Soldier (served WW1) and Labourer, was 35 years of age when he died, parents William and Rose, and therefore cannot be not this William. He was born in 1888. He was married to Lottie Ismay Brown in 1915. And another who died in 1889 at Murrumbateman near Yass. But he was 54 years old when he died and had been married to Rosaline Rayner since 1869 so cannot be this William Boyd. . When Johanna finally married James Monaghan in 1924 at the age of 70, after being with him for the past 40 or so years, she was recorded as "widowed" on the marriage certificate. Whether she knew she was or not is not actually known.

Nothing more is known of William after his prison time. Perhaps he went interstate, perhaps he assumed a new identity.


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

He emigrated to Australia on the ship "Royal Charter" in 1851.

He worked as a Farmer at the time of his marriage on 29 Apr 1877.

He worked as a Farmer at the time of Wilemina's birth on 20 Feb 1878 in "Carnsdale", Corowa, New South Wales, Australia.

He worked as a Hotel Keeper at the time of William's birth on 21 Nov 1879 in Phoenix Hotel, Corowa, New South Wales, Australia.

He worked as a Publican at the time of son Herbert's birth on 30 Apr 1881 in Corowa, New South Wales, Australia.

He worked as a Publican when he was convicted of Arson on 11 Oct 1881.


William married Johanna Elizabeth O'Sullivan, daughter of Thomas Denis O'Sullivan ** and Ellen Jordan **, on 29 Apr 1877 in St Stephens Church, Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia. (Johanna Elizabeth O'Sullivan was born on 13 Mar 1853 in Sutton Forest, New South Wales, Australia, christened on 10 Apr 1853 in Sutton Forest, New South Wales, Australia, died on 7 Nov 1927 in Private Hospital, Coolamon, New South Wales, Australia and was buried on 8 Nov 1927 in Coolamon Cemetery, Coolamon, New South Wales, Australia.). The cause of her death was Cerebral Haemmorhage/Cardiac Failure.

bullet  Marriage Notes:

It was a Church of England ceremony. One of the Witnesses was William Sullivan, probably the Bride's brother. The second witness name is indecipherable.


William had a relationship with Julia Margaret O'Sullivan, daughter of Thomas Denis O'Sullivan ** and Ellen Jordan **. (Julia Margaret O'Sullivan was born on 1 Aug 1866 in Corowa, New South Wales, Australia, died on 8 Jan 1919 in Oaklands, New South Wales, Australia and was buried on 9 Jan 1919 in R/C Cemetery, Oaklands, New South Wales, Australia.). The cause of her death was Cerebral haemmorhage.

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