THE CALL TO AUSTRALIA

In the mid 1800's in England, an increasing influence on many families was the call of emigration. England's population was increasing rapidly and the new lands opening in America and Australia called for workers. They were seen as the doors of opportunity for many families. In 1832, after the death of their father, William, in the previous year, William and Edmund Seamons heard the call of America and answered it. More on their movements can be found on the call to the Americas page.

Meanwhile, the men in Buckinghamshire were hearing the call to Australia. Many men from Weedon answered that call and at one point groups travelled to the Antipodes together. Sixty years later, men in the area still talked of the farewell service that was held in the Wingrave Methodist Chapel and conducted by William Rolls of Weedon, the night before a party of families left for Australia. He took as his text Psalm 139, verses 9 and 10, which reads:

"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." With dramatic power, Rev Rolls drove home the message of the Psalm, and with the words still ringing in their ears, men and women said their farewells, smiling through their tears. The verses lingered on, and were recorded by a heart-broken mother in Weedon after her loved ones had sailed for Australia.

William and Edmund had both travelled to, and separately returned from, America; Australia however, was seen as "the land of no return" for those who had to travel by way of an assisted passage.

The first of the Seamons' clan to go to Australia was Charles Judkins, the oldest survivor of the family of eleven born to William Judkins and Sarah (Seamons), the second daughter of William and Ann Seamons . William Judkins was sturdy and healthy, and Sarah, his wife, had the Seamons stamina and lived to be 91, and yet only three of their family reached a mature age. It is almost certain that today the ailing children would be diagnosed as having Cystic Fibrosis, the result of a certain incompatibility of genes in the parents. Charles Judkins, a local preacher and a school teacher, was advised that south-east Australia might give him some relief from this illness. In 1846, at 24 years of age, he married Margaret Dukes at Aylesbury, and in 1848 they sailed for Australia. They took their infant son, Fred, with them. At the Franklinford Mission Station in Victoria, Charles Judkins became the first teacher to the aboriginals. Sadly, Victoria brought only temporary relief for his health problems, and on 7 September 1864, at the age of 42, he died leaving a widow and a family of four children. Later, the only two brothers of Charles who were unaffected by cystic fibrosis, also emigrated to Australia and lived to be a good age. Details related to these two brothers, George and Henry, can be found at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~judkins/index.html

The second of the Seamons' family to go to Australia was John the Fifth's eldest son William, and his young wife, Mary Hedges. At the young ages of 21 and 20 respectively, they departed Weedon in early 1848 on the schooner "Thetis". Their arrival was not without incident, as two weeks after leaving the port of Sydney, and almost within eye distance from Melbourne, the "Thetis" was wrecked at Point Lonsdale on the 26th May 1848, with 4 lives being lost. The survivors, including William and Mary, were saved by the cutter "William" , which arrived in Melbourne 2 days later. The "Thetis" passenger list showed William as a farm labourer from Weedon, who could both read and write, and Mary as his wife from Aston Abbotts, who could read only. Both were recorded as being of Church of England religion. William and Mary had a family of 2 sons and 5 daughters; tragically, 3 of the daughters, including twins Ada and Alice, died in infancy. From the remaining family, a further 33 grandchildren were born, and the Seamons' name grew wider, particularly throughout the central and northern regions of Victoria, as well as into New South Wales.

The descendants of William and Mary Seamons:

1. George SEAMONS (1853 - 1906), married Isabella WILSON in 1879, Murchison Vic.
                 Their children were:

  •     George Wilson SEAMONS (1880 - 1951)
  •     William Alexander SEAMONS (1882-1949)
  •     Sarah SEAMONS (1885 - 1923)
  •     Charles John SEAMONS (1887 - 7 August 1916 {K.I.A.})
  •     Albert Ernest SEAMONS (1890 - ?)
  •     Alexander Robert SEAMONS (1892 - 1941)
  •     Margaret Isabella SEAMONS (1895 - 1964)
  •     Maysie SEAMONS (1898 - 1898)
  •     Alfred Edward SEAMONS (1902 - 1941)

2. Charles Leslie SEAMONS (1855 - 1941), married Rosanna Birney in 1890
                 Their children were:

  •     William Henry SEAMONS (1891 - 1971)
  •     Charles Leslie SEAMONS (1893-1963)
  •     Bertie John SEAMONS (1901 - 1997)

3. Sarah Jane SEAMONS (1858 - 1940), married William STEART in 1881.
                Their children were:

  •     Mary Elizabeth STEART (1882 - 1969)
  •     William Seamons STEART (1884-1885)
  •     George Richard STEART (1886 - 1960)
  •     Alice Maud STEART (1888 - 1972)
  •     Ann Maria STEART (1889 - 1980)
  •     Janice Beatrice STEART (1891 - 1892)
  •     William Charles STEART (1891 - 1892)
  •     Ruby Pearl STEART (1891 - 1986)
  •     Frederick James STEART (1894 - ?)
  •     Henry Harold STEART (1896 - 1970)

4. Anna Maria SEAMONS (1861 - 1862)

5. Mary Anne SEAMONS (1863 - 1959) married Richard ACKLAND in 1893.
            Their children were:

  •     Mary Isabella ACKLAND (b. 1894)
  •     Margurite Fanny Seamons ACKLAND (6 June 1897 - 23 Sep 1915)
  •     Olive May ACKLAND (b 25 December 1902)
  •     Sarah Anne Ivy ACKLAND (1900 - 1985)
  •     Grace Ethel ACKLAND (3 April 1907 - 13 June 1990)

6. Caroline SEAMONS (1867 - 1868)

7. Ada SEAMONS (1870 - 1870)

8. Alice SEAMONS (1870 - 1870) (Ada and Alice were twins)

9. William SEAMONS (14 February 1873 - 26 May 1963), married Mary Jane MILNE (29 June 1875 - 17 January 1918) on 20 February 1896, at Daylesford Vic
             Their children were:

  •         William SEAMONS (12 March 1897 - 18 July 1974)
  •         Sarah Jane Christina Elizabeth SEAMONS (12 June 1899 - 18 April 1969)
  •         Caroline Annie SEAMONS (12 December 1900 - 12 May 1943)
  •         George Milne SEAMONS (5 August 1903 - 26 August 1977)
  •         Leslie Charles SEAMONS (11 June 1905 - 30 June 1987)
  •         Alexander James SEAMONS (1909 - 11 August 1985)
  •         Robert Henry SEAMONS (17 March 1910 - 2 May 1992)
  •         Stanley John SEAMONS (29 December 1912 - 11 August 1929)

William Seamons (b 1826), with his daughter Sarah, grandson George Richard Steart, and g-grandson Fredrick George Steart.

 

The third member of the Seamons' family to undertake the long voyage to Australia was Edmund, who had earlier failed to take the strain of an emigrant's life in America. Possibly the report he had received from his sister, Sarah, of her beloved son Charles' life at Franklinford, spurred him on. Certainly, his prospects in England were very restricted. He had his public house at Thame, with a few acres of land attached, and this represented the goal as far as many younger sons of small yeoman were concerned. But he had only to look at his brothers Charles, William, Joseph and James to realise that he was losing in the prosperity race occurring within the family. The great depression of the years following the Napoleonic Wars had passed, and recovery had begun soon after he and his brother William went to America in 1832. With the single exception of John, all the other brothers were doing quite well;

  • Charles had become one of the principal farmers in Weedon;
  • William, after working hard in America for 10 years, was comfortably placed in his own farm at Weedon;
  • Joseph was back in Weedon, farming very desirable land; and
  • young James, still in the old house with Charles, not only had his own stock, but could expect to inherit from Charles who was nearly a quarter of a century his senior, and who had no family.

Edmund could only reflect that he and brother John had missed their place in the family prosperity race. At more than 40 years of age, Edmund resolved to sell up, quit the Inn, and emigrate to the "land of no return" with his young family. In 1849, he said farewell to the beloved Chapels where he had been so delighted to preach; to kinfolk, among whom were brother Charles to whom the family owed so much, and sisters Sarah, whose life had contained so many sorrows through the early deaths of her young children, and Betty (Elizabeth) who had married her cousin when she was 43 years of age ( and even then was able to present him with a son and a daughter!).

Therefore, it was with hurt and hope that he boarded the ship "Orator" with his wife and family for the long voyage of several months to Adelaide, in southern Australia. Off the west coast of Africa, the storms were cruel to the ship, and in a fall his young son, Joseph, was injured. Although lingering on for three weeks, with severe suffering, he died on the 8 July 1849. During his suffering, Joseph made it clear that all he wanted was to return to Weedon, and to see his cousins once again. The ship's carpenter made a coffin and a fellow local Methodist preacher on the voyage committed the little body to the sea. When at last Adelaide was reached, Edmund quickly made his way to the home of a Methodist preacher, and showed him his credentials. He received a hearty welcome, found congenial work and accommodation for his family, and wrote home enthusiastically, " This is the place for a man with a family". For several years, Adelaide remained his home; there he worked and saved before setting off for the south-east of Victoria, where he would finally became the master of his own farm. When that happened, he had passed his half century in age, but his dream had at last been realised.

Edmund Seamons (1808-1899)

 

Photo of local preachers group, probably taken in the 1880's.
Edmund Seamons is sitting middle row 5 from the left.

The descendants of Edmund and Mary Elizabeth (nee Loader) Seamons:

1. Elizabeth SEAMONS (1834 - 1903), married George WALKER in Magill SA, in 1854.
           Their children were:

  •     Mary Elizabeth WALKER (1855 - 1855)
  •     Elizabeth Anne WALKER (1856-1912)
  •     James William WALKER (1859 - ?)
  •     George Edmund WALKER (1860 - ?)
  •     Frank WALKER (1863 - 1951)
  •     Sarah Emma WALKER (1865 - 1924)
  •     Charles Seamons WALKER (1869 - 1948)
  •     Annie WALKER (1870 - 1878)
  •     Eleanor Mary WALKER (1873 - 1878)
  •     Clara WALKER (1876 - 1878)

2. Anne SEAMONS (1835 - 1836)

3. Sarah SEAMONS (1838 - 1898)

4. Anne SEAMONS (1839 - 1839)

5. Edmund SEAMONS (1840 - ?)

6. Charles SEAMONS (1842 - 1862)

7. Mary "Polly" SEAMONS (1844 - 1921)

8. William SEAMONS (1844 - 1844)

9. Joseph SEAMONS (1846 - 8 Jul 1849)

10. Martha SEAMONS (1850 - 1909), married John CHANDLER in 1879

Other members of the Seamons' clan to make the long voyage to Australia were Edmund's brother John, his wife Anna, and their young son James. James had a family of 12 children, and the resulting descendants are widespread across Australia. Some of the surnames that have descended from James' children include:

The descendants of James and Elizabeth Ann (nee Roberts) Seamons:

1. Elizabeth Anne SEAMONS (1871 - 1933), married James HATT in 1898.
           Their children were:

  •     Henry SEAMONS (1893 -1918 {KIA})
  •     Alex SEAMONS (1897- 1897)
  •     Albert James HATT (1899 - 1965)
  •     Charles Frederick HATT (1900 - 1969)
  •     William John HATT (1902 - 1982)
  •     Stanley HATT (1904 - 1972)
  •     James Leo HATT (1907 - ?)
  •     Joseph Francis HATT (1911 - 1911)

2. John James SEAMONS (1873 - 1946), married Mary Thomas in 1901
               Their children were:

  •     Stanley Charles SEAMONS (1902 -1976)
  •     Hazel Winifred SEAMONS (1905-1979)
  •     Ivan Thomas SEAMONS (1908 - 2001)

3. Joseph SEAMONS (1876 - 1939), married Clara Owen Thomas in 1901
               Their children were:

  •     Fred Joseph SEAMONS (1901-1954)
  •     Olive Edna SEAMONS (1907 -1933)

4. Edith Emily SEAMONS (1878 - 1949), married George Marshall in 1898
               Their children were:

  •     Sidney James MARSHALL (1900 -1974)
  •     William George MARSHALL (1903 -1967)
  •     Vera MARSHALL (? -?)
  •     Ellen Louisa MARSHALL (1905 -?)
  •     Frederick Thomas MARSHALL (1907 -1960)
  •     Harold MARSHALL (? -?)
  •     John George MARSHALL (1909 -?)
  •     Albert Ernest MARSHALL (1912 -1914)
  •     Alfred Walter MARSHALL (1914 -1914)
  •     Violet Elizabeth MARSHALL (1915 -?)
  •     Claude MARSHALL (1916 -1917)
  •     Stanley MARSHALL (1916 -1917)

5. Ann Maria SEAMONS (1881 - 1972), married Henry George HALL in 1905
               Their children were:

  •     Ethel May HALL (1905 -1973)
  •     George James HALL (1907 -1968)
  •     Matilda Ann HALL (1909 -?)
  •     Frederick Thomas HALL (1912 -1982)
  •     Olive Elizabeth HALL (1915 -?)
  •     Amy Rubina HALL (1918 -1983)

6. Edmund Brookes SEAMONS (1883 - ?), married Ethel Grace BAKER on 17 September 1913 in Queensland.
               Their children were:

  •     Evelyn Alice Marquis SEAMONS (1914 - 1920)

7. William Buckingham SEAMONS (1884 - 1961), married Mary Ann Arkley in 1913
               Their children were:

  •     Robert Frederick SEAMONS (1915 -1988)
  •     Gladys Edna SEAMONS (1917 -)
  •     Winifred Jean SEAMONS (1919 -)

8. Walter Charles SEAMONS (1886 - 1972), married Merth May SUTHERLAND in 1914.
           Their children were:

  •     Arthur William SEAMONS (1921 -?)
  •     Hugh Charles SEAMONS (1915-?)
  •     Andrew James SEAMONS (1916 - 1972)
  •     Margaret SEAMONS (? - 1974)
  •     Robena May SEAMONS (1920 - ?)
  •     Elizabeth Penuel SEAMONS (1919 - 1919)

9. Frances Ellen SEAMONS (1889 - 1969), married Henry Mathew LEE in 1910
           Their children were:

  •     Flora Maude LEE (1910 -1986/7)
  •     Ernest LEE (1915 - 2001)
  •     Allen Henry LEE (1917-1998)
  •     Leslie Matthew LEE (1920 - 1988)
  •     Rosetta Harriet LEE (1924 -)
  •     Herbert Richard LEE (1925- 1994)
  •     John Charles LEE (1926 - 2009)
  •     Sidney James LEE (1929 - 2000)
  •     Agnes Ellen LEE (1935-)

10. Richard Billington SEAMONS (1891 - 1974), married Ethel RAMSEY in 1913.
           Their children were:

  •     Ethel Florence SEAMONS (1916 -1974)
  •     Ivy SEAMONS (?-)
  •     Phillip John SEAMONS (1920 - 1983)
  •     Elsie SEAMONS (1919 - )
  •     Frank SEAMONS (1929 - )

11. Alice Maud Mary SEAMONS (1893 - 1963), married Benjamin NICKELS in 1912
           Their children were:

  •     James EileeNICKELS (1913 -1930)
  •     Percy Neville NICKELS (1914 -1958)
  •     George Anzac NICKELS (1918 -1994)
  •     Christopher Aldane NICKELS (1920 -)
  •     Frederick Judkins NICKELS (1916 -1974)
  •     Amy NICKELS (? -1958)
  •     NICKELS (1902 -1976)
  •     NICKELS (1902 -1976)

12. Albert Edward SEAMONS (1895 - 1974).
 

 

Charles Michael Seamons, along with his brother Joseph Josiah Seamons, arrived at Melbourne in January 1853 on the ship "Atalanta", which embarked from London on 29 September, 1852. Charles and Joseph were descendants of James Seamons' twin brother, William. Little to no information has been found on Joseph Josiah in Australia. It is possible that he returned to England, however further research is needed on this aspect.

The descendants of Charles Michael and Elizabeth (nee Packer) Seamons:

1. Agnes A. SEAMONS (1860 - 1861)

2. Elizabeth SEAMONS (1861 - ?), married Henry MAKIN in 1883
           Their children were:

  •     George N. MAKIN (1884 - ?)
  •     Florence S. MAKIN (1886 - 1887)
  •     Alice G. MAKIN (1890 - ?)
  •     Elsie E. MAKIN (1894 - ?)

3. Joseph Josiah SEAMONS (1863 - 1943)

4. Edward SEAMONS (1866 - 1900), married Alice Maud Mary FORD in 1895
           Their child was:

  •     Ernest Charles Edward SEAMONS (1896 - 1971)

5. Charles SEAMONS ((1869 - 1933), married Nora FLANAGAN in 1922
               Their child was:

  •     Charles J. SEAMONS (1922 - 1976)

6. John SEAMONS (1872 - 1926), married Edith Osborne TAYLOR in 1898
           Their children were:

  •     Hector Charles SEAMONS (1899 - ?)
  •     Albert Edward SEAMONS (1901 - 1971)

7. William SEAMONS (1874 - 1874)

8. Ernest B. SEAMONS (1875 - 1879)

9. Septimus SEAMONS (1879 - 1881)

 

Finally, William Henry Seamons, at the age of 16, sailed for the distant world, working his passage on a small boat (the "Harbinger"), and landing in Australia on August 20th, 1889, with less than $5 to his name. William Henry was a further descendant from "twin" William of Hulcott (William Henry's grandfather, Josiah, was a brother to Charles Michael's father, Joseph). Australia became William Henry's home for 65 years. He married Bertha Ellen Oakes in 1918, and they lived in Kyneton, Victoria for an extensive time. William and Bertha had no family.

Hence, it is almost certain that anyone in Australia today with the surname "Seamons", will likely be a descendant of one of those early pioneers, William, John, James, or Charles Michael. As such, each of those descendants can then be shown to be a direct descendant of John Seamons the Third; the strong willed John who settled once and for all the spelling of the Seamons' name.