It was a challenge to narrow down this week’s subject because many of my ancestors have proved elusive in one way or another and are thus a challenge, or have themselves faced what can be considered challenging times. But today we consider Jesse Friend who
Well, at least that’s what the family stories say.
Jesse Friend was born in Salehurst, Sussex in 1817 to Jesse Friend and his wife Mary (nee Crittenden) and one of seven children.
Records suggest that the family was often at the mercy of the Poor Law Union and it was thus that in 1839, Jesse the younger, his wife Mary (nee Baker) their child of 6 weeks and various other relations and in laws were shipped off to New South Wales as part of the 99 souls sent by the Salehurst Poor Law Union on the Neptune.
The couple settled in the Maitland area of New South Wales and a second child, Sarah, was born in 1854. Somewhere between that birth and the marriage of Sarah to James Nash in 1869 we lose Jesse.
As is, he disappears from the records. Or at least this Jesse does. The tale is muddied by the presence of other Jesse Friend’s in the colony, Jesse the Elder arrives in 1855 under the sponsorship of Thomas King husband of his daughter Mary Ann (one of those relatives also on the Neptune) and there is also a Jesse Friend settled in the Monaro district who is often conflated with ‘our Jesse.’ The latter’s extensive criminal records make him somewhat easy to rule out.
Now if ‘our Jesse’ he was ‘murdered by aborigines’ as the story suggests, wouldn’t I be able to find some sad tale narrated in a newspaper of the time? I have a rather sneaking suspicion that the true tale may have something to do with goldfields and abandonment but that too I can find no record of. So Jesse Friend is my challenge because I’d rather like to know what happened to him.