A Willis goes to Hollywood! 1904

Ellis Island, in Upper New York Bay, was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station for over sixty years from 1892 until 1954. On Saturday, 5 March 1904, Ingram Willis, aged 48, arrived on Ellis Island from the USS Lucania,  intent on settling in the United States. Ingram had been …

Alfred Willis receives a school beating, 1842

This concerns Alfred Willis, born in Barham in Kent in 1824, but whose family emigrated to the USA in 1835, settling in West Newbury, Massachusetts. from THE COMMON SCHOOL JOURNAL Court of Common Pleas, March Term, 1842 at Salem Judge Warren presiding COMMONWEALTH VS WILLIAM WEBSTER This was an appeal from decision of a magistrate, who had imposed a fine …

Mr E. B. Hopper Esquire – New Zealand pioneer

Edward Betts Hopper was born in around 1799 in Dover, Kent into a Quaker family – his parents were Robert Hopper and Abigail Betts. Parts of his life are shrouded in mystery – indeed, nothing is known of Edward’s early life – the first official record we have of him is his baptism on 20 March 1826 in Queenborough, Kent. …

Matthew Fagg (1822-1908) – transported to Tasmania for stealing a sheep

Between 1804 and 1853 the British Government transported around 76,000 convicts to the colony of Van Diemen’s Land (now called Tasmania). One of those was Matthew Fagg, a farm labourer and hop grower from Barham in Kent. Matthew was born in the village of Barham in 1822 and christened in the local parish church of St John on 14 April …

James Augustus Willis (1865-?) – went to Australia and was never heard of again!

James Augustus WILLIS (1865 – c1931) – According to family legend, James “went to Australia when he was about 20 years old and was never heard of after that!”  Passenger lists show a James A Willis left London on 21 September 1886 and disembarked in Mackay in Queensland, Australia on 17 November that year. He was 22 years old and …