Sometimes you come across a character in your research who for one reason or another sparks your curiosity. One such person is John Phillip Gail, the second husband of my 3x Great Grandmother Christiana Sophia Boss (nee Rusch). I have mentioned him in brief twice before in relation to a newspaper report and a gaol entrance record but as he is on my mind of late I thought I’d expand a little, who knows maybe someone in the ether knows something of him.
Now, by their marriage in 1874 Christiana and John Phillip had three children; Eliza born in 1857, Louisa in 1859 and John William in 1862.
Herein lies the first question. Why did John Phillip and Christiana not marry until 1874? Family gossip has suggested that he was married at the time of Eliza’s birth, and as Christiana was only recently widowed herself, positively scandalous! The second question then; who was his wife?
A NSW BDM search pf marriages of John/Phillip/Gail/Gale’s prior to 1874 gives the following; a John Gale who marries a Mary Jane Bourke in Maitland in 1861 and a Phillip Gail who marries a Jane Watson in Cobbitty in 1840. Following up the first we find he dies the same year leaving a young pregnant widow. Not our John Philip then.
Philip Gail however, is a convict born around 1810 in Germany. Coincidence?
Philip Gail the convict arrived on the Norfolk 2 in 1829, and according to the gaol description and entrance books, John Phillip arrived in Australia in 1829 on the Medway. Unfortunately the Medway’s passenger list does not give the names of steerage passengers and John Phillip is not listed as a cabin passenger. No help then from this quarter.
Now the only death for a Gail in the NSW BDM between 1829 and 1874 is for a 60 year old Robert in Bourke. There is no death recorded for a Philip Gail/Gale in NSW, that has turned up so far in my searches. Of John Gale’s there are many. It is going to take some time for me to go through them all. But there is a John Philip Gail who died in the Liverpool Asylum in 1892. And yes, he too was born in Germany.
Mashing everything together into a handy dandy timeline of everything I have found so far:
It is certainly possible that these men are the same, but I’m not yet ready to call it.