Robert Martin Higgins who was the son of convicts Robert Higgins and Ann Owens, was born at Bargo NSW in 1824 (V18246805 1B/1824).
On March 26, 1829, his parents asked for he (aged 5) and his sister Sarah (aged 7) to be placed in the Orphan Schools. at Cabramatta, which occured on April 16, 1829. I haven’t established yet, how long they were there for.
The Male Orphan School was authorised to admit destitute boys aged between seven and ten. The boys received a basic education (reading , writing ‘arithmetic) and industrial training . On Sunday they were to attend service at an Anglican Church. The boys became the legal responsibility of the School and remained in the care of the Master until they turned 15 when they were apprenticed out to tradesmen, or as farm labourers for 5, 6 or 7 years. The School was intended to house only 50 boys, (4) ( but at its most populous in 1834 there were 160 boys in residence.
Although aged only 16 himself, he gave consent to the marriage of his elder sister, Sarah to William White in Goulburn in 1840.
Robert married Ellen Triggell at Greenland near Cooma NSW on on June 11 1848 in (V1848364 33B/1848). Her parents were Thomas Triggell and Henrietta Spencer. Thomas Triggell was born on November 8, 1812 at Bramshaw Hampshire to John and Jane Ann Triggell. Ellen had come to Australia with her parents on board “The James” arriving as an infant. She spent her early years in the Cooma district, before settling with her husband at Towamba.
The birth records of their children illustrate their move from Cooma to Towamba, via Bombala betweem 1857 and 1859.
Not long after their arrival in Towamba, two of their children died in infancy.
Aged 42, Robert died 29 July 1866 (4110/1866) and is buried at the Towamba Cemetery, NSW.
As Robert died without a will, the family was forced to petition. Kerrie Beers has located the associated papers which includes the following…
The above named Robert Higgins my late husband deceased died on the 29th day of July last past at Towamba aforesaid intestate and without a Will having we his lawful widow and Robert, Sarah, Eliza, James, William, Charles, Ellen, and Joseph Higgins his lawful children him surviving.
Another page states…
that the above named Robert Higgins departed this life on the 29th July _____(something can’t read) leaving we his lawful widow and Robert Higgins aged 18 years, Sarah aged 15 years, Eliza aged 13, James aged 10, Charles aged 6, William aged 8, Ellen aged 5 and Joseph aged 5 his lawful children him surviving.
Aged about 44, Ellen died 3 February 1874 at Towamba NSW (7025/1874). The NSW BDM record lists her as Helen, as does the Towamba cemetery record. But Thomas is listed as the father, so it’s very likely it was her despite a perhaps misheard version of Ellen.
When Ellen died, their property passed on to their son Robert.
* Robert Higgins was born 19 March 1848 (V18482006 33A/1848) at Cooma NSW. He married Mary Ann Laing at Eden in 1874 (2300/1874). He died on May 25, 1907 (4671/1907) and is buried at Towamba. When Robert died, he left the farm to his daughter Isabella Ann who married Faulkner then Donald Laing son of Allan Laing. Researcher, Kerrie Beers found this referral – “He (Donald Laing) married the former Miss Annie Higgins of Towamba (who predeceased him) and on doing so took over and managed the well known Higgins farm for 58 years. This he did with his only son Charlie with marked success right up until the time of his death.”
* Thomas Higgins was born in 1850 (V18502573 37A/1850). He died on May 17, 1860 (3763/1860) and is buried in the original Towamba Cemetery.
* John Higgins was born in 1851 (V1851720 42A/1851) and died in 1861 (2871/1861) and is buried in the original Towamba Cemetery.
* Sarah Higgins was born about 1852. She married Donald Laing on October 8, 1872 (1872/2071) at Eden in a Church of England ceremony. Sarah died in 1920 (11406/1920). Her death certificate states she was 68 years old
* Eliza Higgins was born about 1854.
* James Higgins was born at Cooma in 1857 (6111/1857). He married Emma Linger at Bega in 1878 (2437/1878).
According to Monaroo Pioners, Emma Linger was the daughter of William Linger and Sarah Garner. Emma was born in 1855 in Bedfordshire, England, was baptised on December 25, 1855 in Harlington, Bedford, England. She immigrated to Australia with family on the vessel “Regina” arriving June 23, 1857. James died at Bega in 1894 (2909/1894) and Emma and died in 1897 in Bega, NSW27 at age 42.
* William Higgins was born at Bombala in 1858 (5256/1858).
* Charles Higgins was born at Eden 1859 (7218/1859) – Although the record lists Eden, it’s more than likely Towamba. With thanks to researcher, Judith Ann Carton (see comments below), I can confirm he married Amelia Plumb in Bega 1879/2507/1879. According to Monaroo Pioners, Amelia was the daughter of William Henry Plumb and Mary Anne Winning. Amelia was born in 1859 in Picton, NSW40 and died in 1930 in Canterbury, NSW41 at age 71. Amongst their children was Henry Vervaine Higgins born 22 October 1885 (registered at Bega 19014/1885). Charles died at Newtown in 1929 (22273/1929).
* Ellen Higgins was born on February 9, 1861 at Towamba, NSW (7219/1861). Thanks to researcher and descendant, Alan Agnew here is some information about Ellen. Hi read your info. I’am a G.G.grandson of Robert Higgins & Ellen Triggell. Their daughter Ellen married Alfred James Newlyn. Martha Florence Newlyn married Charles Henry Lawless, Charles & Martha are mums parents.
* Joseph Higgins was born at Eden in 1862 (7511/1862)
Towamba Cemetery: The early cemetery has no official burial records connected to that site. However a list of early burials in Towamba between 1860 – 1918, recorded at the Bega Court House, has nine burials between 1860 and 1886, the year the present site was dedicated- Source Kate Clery’s Towamba History pages)
Cooma Monaro Pioneers for the information about the children of Robert and Ellen.
Information about the Male Orphan School comes from NSW State Records.
Sharing Around: Please feel free to copy any of the information on this page which may help you in your own research. My feeling is that family research is hard enough, without the need to constantly re-invent the wheel. It would be great, however, if you’d leave a comment below just to say “hi”.