1841 census: George [aged 10 but ages rounded down - he would be 15] is recorded in the
home of his father John and step mother Elizabeth at Redcliffe Hill, St Mary Redcliffe. No
occupation is given. Matilda is recorded as Matilda Chick aged 20, of independent means, in
the home of her father and mother John and Johanna Vernum at Vernum Court, St Thomas
Bristol, with her is daughter Johanna Chick aged 1.
Marriage: George and Matilda were married by Banns on 28th April 1845 in the parish
church of Bedminster, Somerset [f] At the time they were residing at Bright Bow. Benjamin
John Room [the parish clerk] and Mary Ann Landsdown [Sextoness of St John's parish -
1851 census] were the witnesses [k] Daughter Matilda Ann had been born out of wedlock in
1844, although she was registered with Sheppard as her surname.
Their Children Were:
SHEPPARD; Matilda Ann born 23rd August, 1844, Tennis Court, Parish of Redcliff, Bristol
[c, g] My Great x 2 Grandmother
SHEPPARD; Louisa Emma born 12th July 1846 'behind' Redcliffe Hill, -parents George
Joseph Sheppard, labourer and Matilda Sheppard formerly Vernum. Informant was mother
Matilda who made her mark rather than sign. Baptised 27th September 1846, St John
Bedminster Birth registration Sept Q Vol 11 page 170, Bristol. Emma Louisa Sheppard aged
6 months, daughter of George Sheppard, labourer died 8th January 1847 at Pipe Lane,
Temple Bristol. Cause of death was fever 20 days and pneumonia 7 days. Informant was
Elizabeth Ford who was present at the death. Jan Q 1847 Vol 11 page 153
SHEPPARD; Elizabeth Emma, born 17th October, 1852. Baptised 7th November, 1852,
Norfolk Island [registered 1852 NSW] [j] Died 9/11/1854 Launceston, Tasmania of
convulsions. Informant, Henry Bennett [Colour?] Sergeant, 99th Regiment, Launceston,
SHEPPARD; John Thomas, born 1st November, 1854, Launceston, Tasmania [reg 767, 33][n]
Informant, John [Jonathan?] Kendall, Corporal, 99th Regiment, - Friend. Died 19/7/1855,
Tasman Peninsula [Port Arthur] aged 8 months. No cause of death is given. Informant
Lieutenant H W Despard, 99th Regiment, Port Arthur [possibly refers to Lieutenant Colonel
Despard, commander of the Regiment]. It should be noted that Lieut. Despard appears as the
Informant on another death of a child of the Regiment on the same page. [p]
SHEPPARD: George Edward, baptised 4th September 1856, Holy Trinity Church, Adelaide,
South Australia [v] I have been unable to find a record of this birth in the SA BDM index.
George's birth appears on the GRO Regimental Birth Index but incorrectly dated 1846.
George appears on the 1871 census with mother Matilda and brother William at Catherine
Mead Street, St Paul's, Bristol. He is a labourer. George married Mary Grace HOCKIN/G in
Sept Q 1880 at Stratton District in Cornwall. By the 1881 census, George and Mary are living
in Lunstone, Stratton with Mary's parents, John and Mary Hocking. George is a Sailor. The
couple have one son, William, aged 1 month. By the 1891 census, George and Mary are living
in 1 Summerle? Cottages, Stratton. George is a sailor/marine. The 1901 census shows
George, Mary and son William living at 40 King Street Stratton. George is a Harbour Pilot and
son William is a Postman with the GPO. Known ships: - Annie Davy 1874-76 OS. Isabella
Helen 1877- 1878, Ant 1878, Elizabeth 1880-81 AB, Friendship 1890-91 [cook and seaman]
SHEPPARD; William Frederick, born 16th August 1858, Victoria Barracks, Paddington,
NSW [reg 3453] baptised at St Matthias Paddington on 19th September 1858 [Ancestry
Sydney Anglican Parish Records] The 1871 census shows William living with mother Matilda
and brother George at Catherine Mead Street, St Paul's Bristol. William is an Errand Boy.
The 1881 census shows William as an ordinary seaman in the Royal Navy serving on the
'Royal Adelaide' at Devonport in Devon. HMS ROYAL ADELAIDE was a 1st Rate 104 gun ship
built at Devonport in 1828, which was flagship of the Commander-in-Chief Devonport from
1872 until 1890. William is also listed on the 1881 census at home with his mother Matilda.
The 1901 census shows William as a Naval Pensioner [CPO RN SEAMAN] living at High Ham
Somerset with wife Ann and daughter Lillian.
SHEPPARD; Rebecca, born 20th July 1861, Victoria Barracks Paddington, NSW [reg 3539]
[k] At the time of the 1871 census Rebecca, a student, is living in 6 George's Lane, St George,
with father George Joseph Sheppard and a woman named Miriam Walters. The family is
listed under the surname WALTERS. Rebecca was a domestic servant unemployed at the
time of the 1881 census. In 1882 she married Henry Charles Haydon, in Bristol. Henry was
a coach painter. Their children include; Alfred C, born 1889, Bristol, Bedminster; Henry G
born 1893, Bristol; Elizabeth R A born 1897,Charles William, born 1899 and Alice Grace
born 1902. Rebecca was baptised in 1904 at St Mary's Redcliffe, Bristol. The 1911 census
shows the family residing at Ship Lane, Redcliffe Bristol. Rebecca died 1942.
SHEPPARD: James, Born about 1866 probably in New Zealand. James Sheppard aged 3
died on 5th October 1869 at the general hospital. Cause of death was scarlet fever. Present at
the death was Matilda Sheppard of Bishop Street, Bristol. [cert held]
The birth certificate for Rebecca  lists two males and two females as living and
two males and two females as being deceased. [k] The living children would be
Matilda Ann, George Edward and William F and may include Joanna Chick. The
deceased children would include Louisa, Elizabeth and John and may include Henry
Chick. It is possible there are other births that I have not located.
Children of Matilda Vernum and John Chick [first husband] Click HERE
On 28th October 1846 George enlisted in the 99th Regiment at Bristol. He joined the
Regiment based in Chatham 4th November 1846. George served for 21 years 248 days,
spending 15 years 118 days in the Australian Colonies and 3 years 316 days in New Zealand
in first the 99th [No 2226] and then later the 12th Regiment [No 3710]. He received one
Good Conduct Badge.
George left England for Australia on 6 May 1847, arriving on 5 October 1847. It is unclear
when Matilda left England and came to Australia but it was some time between April 1851
and January 1852. Matilda and her children were still in England at the time of the 1851
census [end of March]. By examining the known postings of the 99th and 12th Regiments
and the birth places of their children it is possible to trace George's and Matilda's movements
in England and Australia. Below is a time line of events and a more detailed report on
George's military career. Mention should be made of George's repeated reprimands and
punishments for drunkenness. It should be noted that such behaviour was not uncommon
for the times and alcoholism had long been a problem among the rank and file of the Army.
Also George served at Norfolk Island under Commandant Price, a man noted for his brutality
towards prisoners. One can only imagine what effect witnessing such scenes daily could have
on a young man.
1841: George is residing at home with his father and step mother at Redcliff Hill. Matilda is
living with her parents in St Thomas Bristol.
1842: First members of the 99th Regt. left England for Australia. In the following years there
was a steady flow of soldiers to and from England and Australia.
1844: Daughter Matilda Ann born. Matilda and possibly George are living in Tennis Court,
Bristol. George's occupation is recorded as 'labourer'. They are not married although Matilda
gives her name as Sheppard when registering her daughter's birth.
1845: George and Matilda marry. Their place of residence is given as Bright Bow,
Bedminster. George's occupation is listed as 'plumber'.
1845-1846: Members of the 99th were sent to New Zealand to fight in the Maori Wars.
1846: George enlists in the 99th Foot on 28th October. He joins the regiment based in
Chatham on 4th November.
1847: George embarks for Australia on 6th May. He is recorded as 'joined from England' on
5th October. It is not know where in Australia this occurred although it is probably Hobart
aboard the convict ship 'Waverley' which departed Dublin on 18th July 1847 with 134
female convicts aboard and arrived in Hobart on 25th October 1847. This is the only convict
ship that fits the time frame.
1848: George is transferred to Sydney on 1st June. September finds him on Norfolk Island.
1849: Norfolk Island
1850: George returns to Australia in May. In July he spent 37 days in hospital. Cause
1851 British World Wide Army List shows George as stationed in Van Diemans Land for
the period 01/01/1851-31/03/1851
Continued Page 2 References: Click HERE
|George Joseph Sheppard and Matilda Vernum
- a soldier of the British Army and his family -
My Great x 3 Grandparents
George Joseph Sheppard, born about December 1824 in Somerset and
baptised on 6th August 1826 aged 1 year and 8 months, St Mary Redcliffe,
Bristol, son of John Sheppard and Sarah Fackrell [u] George's mother Sarah
died a week before his baptism and his father John remarried the following
year. On the birth certificate of daughter Matilda Ann  George is listed as
a labourer. His marriage certificate in 1845 shows George as a plumber
although this is the only time he is referred to as such [k]. On 4 November
1846 George enlisted in the 99th Regiment in Bristol. His trade once again
was labourer.[r] George could read and write.
Matilda Vernum was born 7th April 1820 in Bristol and baptised at St Mary
Redcliffe on 25th May, 1823 daughter of John Vernum and Johanna Jones.
[u] It is probable that Matilda could not read or write. She signed her name
with an X on several documents.
First Marriage: Matilda married John Chick in 13th May, 1839 at St Thomas
Parish Church in Bristol.[f] Click HERE for more information. John Chick died
George had the unenviable task of serving on Norfolk Island at the time when Commandant John
Giles Price was the Administrative Head of the Island [1846-1853] Price was known for his
brutality and harsh punishments. Below Left: Military Barracks on Norfolk Island.
Below Right: Remains of the building that housed the treadmill used to discipline prisoners.