Joseph Woodcroft
Susan Thompson
- a blacksmith and a lace maker from
Bedfordshire -
My Great Great Grandparents  

Joseph Woodcroft was baptised on 6th March 1827 in Haynes Bedfordshire, son of William
Woodcroft and Ann Thompson. [a] Joseph was a blacksmith by trade.  He could sign his
name. The 1841 census shows Joseph, an agricultural labourer, residing at home with his
father William and grandfather John.  

The Bedfordshire Gaol Register [online] shows that on 9th February in 1843, 17 year old
Joseph Woodcraft [sic] was sentenced to two months hard labour for offences against the game
laws [poaching] He served his time working in the prison mill at the  Bedford New House of
Corrections and was released on 5th April 1843. His conduct during his time in prison was
described as orderly. His description was as follows: Age: 17  Height: 5 feet 2 inches  Hair
Colour: Dark Brown   Eye Colour: Black    Complexion: Fresh  Occupation: Labourer  Marital
Status: Single   Identifying Features: Slender, scars on the left hand

Susan Thompson was born in Haynes Bedfordshire and christened on 11th June 1826,
daughter of
 Samuel Thompson and Mary Woodcroft.[a] Her profession in England was a lace
maker. It is probably that Susan could not read or write as she signed her marriage certificate
with an X.  The 1841 census shows Susan residing with her parents in Northwood End Haynes
[mistranscribed - under first names]

November 1847: unconfirmed - Joseph Woodcroft of Hawnes[sic] has an altercation with
William Parker policeman of Clop Hill over 'kettle music'.  Although I cant confirm this is our
Joseph, it seems likely as the only other adult Joseph residing in Haynes had died in 1845.
The following is from the Bedfordshire Mercury dated 11th November 1847.

Marriage: On 14th February 1848 he married Susan Thompson in Haynes Bedfordshire, by
Banns, according to Church of England rights. Joseph's sister Eliza was one of the witnesses.
At the time, Joseph is shown as being a labourer and Susan a lace maker. Joseph could read
and write. As Susan signed their marriage certificate with an X it is probable she could not

Immigration: On 17th March 1848 they sailed from Plymouth in the Equestrian, arriving in
Australia on 16th July, 1848. The shipping records show that Joseph was a Blacksmith by
trade. His religion was Wesleyan.

In Australia, Joseph settled in the Cooma District. His first recorded occupation is overseer at
Maffra [see Police gazette image on page 2]

Their Children were: [b]

Joseph Woodcroft born 10th August 1848, Maffra. Baptised 11th May 1849, Maneroo
Baptism register sighted. Father a labourer of Mafra. Joseph Woodcroft aged 6 Died 28th
August 1854 at Rudds Flat, buried 30th August 1854 by E G Pryor.

Samuel Woodcroft born  15th December, 1850, Monaro. Married Rose Hannah [Rosanna,  
Annie] Burnett
in 1875.  

Joseph William Woodcroft born 16th July, 1854,  Cooma, twin. Baptised 7th January 1855.

Isabella Woodcroft born 16th July, 1854, Cooma, twin. Baptised 7th January 1855 [a]
Abraham Myers, 1875. Possible death 1896 at West Wyalong as Isobel Myers. Died
before 1897 as she is not mentioned as living on mother Susan's death certificate.

Hannah Woodcroft, born 2nd October, 1856 Cooma. Had a child, Liley[sic] Eliza Stirling
Woodcroft in 1874 Cooma. Hannah Woodcroft, spinster, is recorded on the names of lapsed
conditional purchasers of land in Cooma in February 1878 - possibly portion 23 Rosebrook
Run  [trove] Daughter Lily married as Lillian E to Richard Emerson in 1910
. Due to four DNA
matches, I now believe that Hannah assumed the name
Hannah Levy.  

Eliza Woodcroft, born 1858, Cooma. Died about 8th April 1871, Cooma following a fall from a
horse. Her death was reported in various newspapers including The Argus, dated Tuesday 18th
April 1871.
A painful incident is reported from Cooma. It appears from the proceedings at an inquest given
in the Manaro Mercury of the 8th inst., that a young woman, daughter of Joseph Woodcroft,
blacksmith, wishing to look after a horse running in the bush, obtained the use of an old mare
from a neighbour, saddled her, and went away very quietly. Her mother some hours afterwards
became alarmed for her safety, having seen the mare on the hills at the back of the house
without a saddle, and her daughter not returned. Several men started in search of her, and
she was found by a labourer named Bernard Boon, whose statement thus describes the
dreadful circumstances of her death. He says ¡-"After looking in various directions, and going
home several times to see if she had returned, I rode away again for about a mile and a half
from the house, and there came upon what appeared to be the skirt of a dress, and, a few
yards further on, a petticoat, a great deal torn, and some spots, which I took to be blood, upon
it. It was a moonlight night, but at the timo I discovered the petticoat the moon was rather over
clouded. About 70 or 80 yards further on I discovered the body of deceased, lying on her back,
the head inclining down the hill, and her right hand over her breast ; the left knee was
gathered up, and a sidesaddle over it ; the left leg was through and between the stirrup leather
as far as the knee. There was no stirrup, and tho stirrup leather was only a piece of a bridle
rein. There was one broken girth on the saddle. Deceased was quite dead and cold when I
found her. There was blood on her face and one of her legs. She had on her stays, drawers,
stockings, and boots, and a small portion of her frock and jacket was lying near her right
shoulder, with stains of blood on them. On finding the body, I cooeyed as loud as I could, and
after about a quarter of an hour Samuel Woodcroft, the brother of the deceased, came to me.
He said, ' Eave you found her ? ' I said 'Yes.' Ho said, 'Is she dead?' I replied, ' She is.'. We took
the sidesaddle off her log, and then both rode back as fast as we could to get assistance to
convey tho body home. There were two or three dry deep ruts, or small creeks, and marks as if
a body had been dragged over them, and near where the body was lying was a thorny bush,
torn up by the roots. About half way between the place where I found tho skirt of a dress and
the place where the body was lying I found some white beads, which appeared to have been a
portion of a necklace." According to the medical testimony, the loft temple was driven in by a
fall or luck, and the whole head and I body exhibited a mass of severe wounds.
Death must have resulted from concussion of  the brain.

Thomas Woodcroft, born 20th July, 1860, Cooma ref 6542. Died 1918, Cooma ref 16285
Married: - [1]
Elizabeth Sheehy, 1882 ref 5329/1882 Cooma - divorced 1899
Eliza Jane Murray, 1900 ref 8542/1900 Cooma

John Woodcroft, born 30th August 1862 at Bunyan, Cooma - My Great Grandfather

Continued page 2
Left:  St Mary's in Haynes,
Bedfordhsire, England
where Joseph and Susan
were married [2.6.2012]