Thomas Triggell and Henrietta Spencer

Thomas Triggell and Henrietta Spencer were married by banns (in the church, as opposed to national registratoin) at St Lawrence Church, Downton, Wiltshire, on October 7 1832. Both signed with a mark and witnesses to the marriage were Charles Sleave (Sleane?) and William Pope.

They came to Australia in 1834 on board the Ship “James” with their daughter, Ellen (although she is named “Ann” on the Shipping Records. They left from London on June 29, and travelled via the Cape of Good Hope to Port Jackson, Australia, arriving here on November 17, 1834.

They were met at Port Jackson by Captain Francis Nicholas Rossi who employed them on his property Micalagao (now in the Monaro District, just outside the 19 county official settlement limits).

On, Saturday 8 December 1855, The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser reported the following.

CHARGE OF CATTLE-STEALING.–Be it re-membered that a few weeks ago, to wit, on
the 26th of October, one Thomas Triggell was
charged with stealing a bullock. It chanced
that, as an elderly gentleman in raggetty gar-
ments, bearing a singular resemblance to a
sick monkey, named Thomas Carolan, noticed
Triggell driving his team along the road, near
Tourang, when his little twinkling eyes dis-
tinguished a certain bullock called “Yellow
boy,” branded W.B., which he claimed as his
property, and he forthwith gave Triggell in to
lock and key, and the bullock a holiday in the
police-office yard. On the next day Triggell
was released, on conditions of finding the
person from whom he had purchased the
beast. Yesterday, a respectable-looking man
named William Bell, attended before the bench
pursuant to summons, being the party from
whom Triggell alleged that he had purchased
it. Mr. Walsh appeared for the defendant.
Thomas Triggell was placed in the box, and
informed their worships that “he be a fyar-
mur’s sarvant; he was driving past defendant’s
place, and as one of his bullocks was knocked
up, he swopped it for one of defendant’s. On
returning whoam (from some outlandish named
place) he bargained with defendant, and gave
him one of his own, and £3 to boot, for the
bullock which he had got in exchange. In
describing the bullock, Triggell gave the Court
to understand that it was a yellow bullock,
thick in the horns, (and head), blind of one
eye, and squinted with the other, branded
W.B. on one side, and an invisible brand on
the other. Triggell had delivered it up to
Carolan on condition of his bringing it to
Court yesterday, but the old gent was too
shrewd for that, acting upon the popular
axiom that “possession is nine points of the
Mr. Walsh, for the defence, called a young
man named John Lenner, a resident at the
Cowpastures; he deposed that he was present
when Bell bought the bullock amongst others,
a dray, and harness; witness was attesting
witness to the sale. [While this witness was
undergoing examination as to the color of the
bullock, old Carolan exclaimed that “it was
red one week and yellow another.”] Mr. Walsh said, that he had a declaration
from Minahan taken before Mr. M. E. Murnin,
J.P., in Sydney, admitting having sold the
bullock to Bell, and asserting that he had
bought it off one McEvoy.
In reply to a question from the bench, as to
who McEvoy is, old Carolan sang out, that
there were two warrants out against him.
Mr. Walsh said that if it was deemed neces-
sary, he could produce two persons from
Queanbeyan, named Naylor and Bryan, who
were prepared to swear that old Tom Carolan
had lent that bullock to McEvoy.
The bench discharged Mr. Bell, and ordered
Carolan to deliver the bullock up to Triggell.
The old fellow vowed that he wouldn’t do any
such thing until the thief was caught, and he
was paid £2 for keeping the beast.
Mr. Walsh pointed out to the bench what a
hardship his client had been subjected to,
through this unjust proceeding, his client
having been put to an expense of upwards of 20 pounds

On December 11, 1855, the Sydney Morning Herald reported the following…


A few weeks back a person named Thomas Carolan pre-ferred a charge against one Triggell of stealing a bullock, the property of the complainant. Triggell, happened to camp near Carolan’s place, in the neighbourhood of Collector, and one of the bullocks in his team was claimed by the complainant as his property, stolen from him some time ago. Triggell was not permitted to proceed on his joumey to Maneroo, but was given into the custody of Mr. District Constable Rabjohn, and ultimately made his appearance before the Goulburn Bench, when it was satisfactorily proved that he had purchased the beast of Mr. William Bell, who keeps an accommodation paddock at Mollesmaines, and the case waa dismissed, the bullock being handed over to Triggell, who passed it over to Carolan, for safe custody. On Friday Mr. Bell appeared to answer a charge of cattle stealing, he having been brought all the way from the Cowpsstures for that purpose, and Mr. Triggell had been hrought all the way from Maneroo to bear witness against him. Carolan was also in attendance, but wide-awake Thomas had left the bullock behind : ” it had strayed !”

Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 11 December 1855, page 3
Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 11 December 1855, page 3

Mr. Walsh avowed to the satisfaction of the Bench that his client, Bell, had purchased the bullock from a person named Minehan, then dangerously ill in Sydney, who in tum had bought it from one McEvoy, supposed to be the actual thief. Two’ warrants are out against the latter individual, but he has hitherto evaded the police. The case as against Mr. Bell was, of course, dismissed. Mr. Bell has been put to the expense of £21 in bringing himself and witnesses to Goulburn, and is naturally indignant at the treatment he has received. He therefore, threatens Carolan with an action. An amusing disputation occurred at the end of the case between Triggell and the prosecutor, as to whom the further charge of the bullock by right belonged, until the final charge of robbery should be substantiated or dismissed. The Bench ordered the animal to be given up to Triggell on fair payment of pasturage. Carolan wanted £2, but the Court only awarded 10s. Carolan grumbled a bit, but, under threat of a warrant, promised to give up the bullock after all.

Henrietta Spencer died sometime before 1857, with some confusion about when and where this occured.

Thomas then married Mary Ann Murphy, daughter of William Morton and Mary Murphy, on 19 August 1857 at Greenland, Cooma, Maneroo, New South Wales, Australia; Described as Mary Ann HOLMES, Widow, aged 39 years, of Kybean (near Nimmitabel) NSW They had several children together. When Thomas married Mary Ann, his place of residence was Doolondondoo a property near to Kybean, between Nimmitabel and Numeralla, about the Tuross area. At the time of their marriage, Thomas was a dairyman

Thomas also worked as a carrier and farmer.

The Bega Gazette of 21 October, 1865 reported


Tuesday, Oct. 17th.

(Before R. Ritchie, and J. D’Arcy, Esqrs., J.P.’s.)

Thomas Triggel appeared on bail, for being drunk, and using fowl language in the public streets. Being (he first time before the court, was dismissed with a caution.

Unfortunately I do not recall the source for this image. If it is you please leave a comment and I will reference it. The photograph is apparently a photograph of the house in which Thomas Triggell lived in later life.
Unfortunately I do not recall the source for this image. If it is you please leave a comment and I will reference it. The photograph is apparently a photograph of the house in which Thomas Triggell lived in later life.

Thanks to researcher, Steve Wilson, it can be confirmed Thomas was a witness at the marriage of Samuel Lucas and Elizabeth Hill in 1866 at Cooma.

Thomas died 10 January 1887 at Cooma Hospital NSW (with the cause being old age and general weakness) and was buried the following day.


* There is no known death record for a Henrietta Triggell. Unfortunately the search for the death record in 1857 (1180/1857) in Sydney for Henrietta Spencer whose parents are listed as Henry and Agnes has come to nothing. Alan Triggell has confirmed this was a 20 month old baby, so the search continues.


* Ellen was born about 1833 in England. She married Robert Higgins at Greenland near Cooma NSW on on June 11 1848 in (V1848364 33B/1848). Ellen died 3 February 1874 at Towamba NSW (7025/1874). Confusingly, the NSW BDM record lists her as Helen (a misheard version of Ellen, presumably), but the father is named Thomas.

* John was born at Michelago NSW on 21 September 1836 (V1836 1270 23A). He married Ellen Holmes at Nimitybelle NSW on 20 November 1864 (1895/1864). He died at Bemboka on 8 August 1914 (11337/1914). There’s an article in the Sydney Morning Herald Friday 2 May 1862 that “Before Alfred Checke, Esq , Judge. Mr. Templeton, as Crown Prosecutor, conducted the
following cases : Charles Alexander and Joseph Blaxter was indicted for stealing from the person of John Triggle in the ” Carrier’s Arms,” Eden, in the month of October last, sundry cheques ; the second count charged them with receiving the same, knowing them to have been stolen. Verdict, guilty. Sentence. twelve months each imprisonment in Parramatta gaol”. Although I can’t be sure it’s the same John Triggell or Triggle, it’s a reasonably uncommon name, so perhaps there’s a connection?


* Thomas was baptised on 26 September 1813. His parents were John and Jane, with the International Genealogical Index also confirming the birth of twins John and George on 25 January 1811, and Jane about 1819 all at Bramshaw. A daughter Mary was born 1808 in Wiltshire. All were presumably his siblings. (a couple of notes correct in the next point)

* The 1851 and 1861 Census for Fordingbridge Hampshire confirms Thomas’ father, John was alive and living at Frogham, Fordingbridge, Hampshire. He is listed on all as a widower and head of his house, occupation boot & shoe maker. Fellow researcher, Kerob, believes he was

Born at Gussage Dorset in 1784. I think I found his death on the free UK BDM in March quarter 1864 reg. at Fordingbridge. 1841 census Frogham, Fordingbridge Hampshire John Trigell (as Frigell), aged 55, shoemaker, not born Hampshire. His wife Jane is not listed with him so I suspect she died pre 1841. John’s parents are John & Jane (just to confuse matters); a sister Hannah was bapt at Gussage 29.4.1791. John was bapt 13.4.1784.

* UPDATE UPDATE: Thanks to researcher, Kerrie Beers, Thomas Triggell did have brothers John & George but they were not twins. John was baptised 25.1.1811 Bramshaw & George was born 23.1.1815 & baptised 19.2.1815 Bramshaw. Thomas’ parents were John & Jane Ann but his grandmother was Ann not Jane as I mistakenly quoted earlier.

* 1841 and 1851 Census: An online discussion about Thomas’ parents.

* Wiltshire & Swindon Record Office confirms Thomas Triggell and Henrietta Spencer were married by banns, 7th October 1832, both signed with a mark and the witnesses were Charles Sleave (Sleane?) and William Pope Parents names are not given. The name of the church is St Lawrence.

* On the Shippng Records their daughter Ellen is listed as Ann.

Researcher, Lyn Venn, notes they were met at Port Jackson by Captain Francis Nicholas Rossi who employed them on his property Micalagao. The Australian Dictionary of Biography notes that after retirement in November 1834 Rossi lived on his property Rossiville in the Goulburn district

* The death notices for Eliza Myers (Triggell) and George Triggell who were the children of Thomas and Mary Ann confirm Thomas and Mary Ann resided at Tuross, near Numeralla, which is about a 30 minute drive from Cooma. The notices associate the property name “Mountain View” with the Triggell family. This website also has photographs of Eliza.

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”. Note also that because this website is a “work in progress”, the information will be regularly updated as new information comes to hand.

13 Replies to “Thomas Triggell and Henrietta Spencer”

  1. Thomas was a witness at the marriage of Samuel Lucas and Elizabeth Hill in 1866.

  2. Hi James,
    love to pop in every now & again & see how much this site has grown!

    Just to correct some of the above information
    Thomas Triggell did have brothers John & George but they were not twins. John was baptised 25.1.1811 Bramshaw & George was born 23.1.1815 & baptised 19.2.1815 Bramshaw.
    Thomas’ parents were John & Jane Ann but his grandmother was Ann not Jane as I mistakenly quoted earlier.


  3. Thanks for the correction. And yes the site has grown amazingly. Hopefully the collective brains trust the site has allowed will solve some of these problems once and for all! :)

  4. Hi James – Long time since we corresponded.
    You are really throwing yourself into family history.

    Sorry to slip a spanner in the works, but if you check the birth certs of Ellen Higgins’ (Triggell) children, you will see she has listed herself as having been born in 1831 at South Creek, which I can only suppose was somewhere near Micalago – searched, but have not been able to locate a South Creek.
    Years ago, I searched the NSW BDMs for a birth of an Ellen (without a surname) circa 1831 unsuccessfully.
    It seems neither her birth, nor baptism, was recorded.
    And it looks obvious Ellen was adopted into the Triggell family, but when, is entirely open to conjecture.

    On the other hand, to date, no one seems to have found the English birth record of Ann Triggell, who was 18 months old on arrival in Pt. Jackson in November 1834.
    And as we all know, there is nothing to suggest when Henrietta and Ann died, and where.
    I agree with you in saying she didn’t “do a runner” from the wilds of the Monaro.

    This information means Ann Triggell was born March 1833, possibly somewhere between Downton and London, from where the “James” embarked 200 years ago as of next year.
    From all this information, Ann was conceived out of wedlock.
    Tom did the right thing.

    It looks like Thomas and probably Henrietta would have probably attended a meeting conducted by the Rev. John Dunmore Lang – somewhere between Downton and London, (London itself?) and committed themselves to emigration.
    Perhaps, Cap. Rossi could have “put in an order” with the Rev. for a couple of bonded workers?
    So next year, we can celebrate the bicentenary of the arrival of Thomas Triggell!

    I was chasing the Triggell name round the net last week (umpteenth time), and, realising the names of Triggell and Treguel were present on the Channel Isles around the same time – always thought it was a French name, with one Triggell/Treguel family going the full distance, reaching Portsmouth late 1700s, early 1800s. The Triggell name, over the generations, seems to radiate from the Portsmouth area.
    But I have never been able to unearth the name Treguel as a French surname.

    In fact, it looks like the association between the names, if there is one, is Jewish.
    Treguel is a “break down” of a number of Jewish surnames, and Triggell is the next, Anglo Saxon break down.
    I registered on a couple of Jewish name research sites to go the next step.
    My initial reaction on viewing the sites is that this is a most formidable area of research, not to be taken lightly.
    My brain is getting too old to start a learning process all over again.
    I’ll hasten slowly.

    Bob Venn.

    1. Hi Bob
      Thanks for the update, and lovely to hear from you. What you have to say is absolutely fascinating. Will absorb the info and incorporate into the main article. And thanks for your “morning after” update.

  5. Funny thing about a good sleep – you wake up with revelations sometimes.
    Like bicentenaries 20 years short.
    A seniors moment.

  6. Hi James,
    ‘Stumbled on your site again.
    Long time between visits.
    Recently found baptism of Ann Triggell, but not Ellen’s, who was born in NSW before the arrival of Thomas and Henrietta.
    Ann was baptised 3rd Nov. 1833 at Damerham, Hampshire – not too far from Bramshaw.
    The curate must have forgotten her name when he recorded the daily activities.
    Thomas and Henrietta Triggell are there, but there’s a blank for Ann.
    Bob V.

  7. Hi James
    Thank you ever so much for sharing your family history with such passion.
    This note of thanks is about 3 or so years late, which is when I first read about Robert Higgins. I didn’t know he was so close in my tree then but I loved the story. From time to time during my ancestry search, I come across your work and in doing so yesterday, a 1st cousin 3x removed and I made contact. We share Thomas Triggell and Henrietta Spencer as GGGgrandparents.
    I wonder how you and I are related or if you are sharing stories of those unrelated.
    I enjoy your blog and describe similarly to you and share interests albeit I’m female and live in Melbourne. Although I adore Sydney and spent more time there in years past
    Anyway, thank you. The impression of you is one of a kind, intelligent, thoughtful man who doesn’t mind a drink and good company. Look me up if your travels extend to Melbourne
    Thank you, thank you again
    Jo Dickinson

      1. Hi James, my g g g grandfather give or take a great was Thomas Triggell. He married Mary Ann Murphy. So hello from another cousin, many times removed… Kristine

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