Topic: Benjamin Birkett (c1799-?)

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Benjamin Birkett (Burkett) arrived in New Zealand with his wife and three children on board the 'Slains Castle'in 1841. Whilst in New Zealand he was charged with stealing from a butcher and sentenced to four calendar months in Wellington Goal as well as hard labour. Benjamin was my fourth great grandfather - Debbie McCauley (2013).

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Benjamin was born in c1799 to John and Sarah Birkett (nee Savin). He was baptised at Wouldham, Kent, England, on 10 January 1802, his father John listed as a pauper. Benjamin worked as an Agricultural Labourer.

He married Martha Jane Hogg who was born c1806.

The children of Benjamin and Martha Jane Birkett:

  1. Jabez Birkett (c1829-1862). Jabez was born in c1829. He worked as a Sawyer at Greytown. Jabez married Isabella Gardner. Daughter Martha Isabel Birkett was born in the Wairarapa on 8 June 1856 (reg. 1856/77) (Martha married Thomas George Watson (1846-?) in Powera, Rangitikei on 1 November 1871). Their second daughter, Ellen, was born in Wellington in approximately 1858 (Ellen later married Joseph Roger Hynds at Patea on 20 October 1875 under the name Ellen Rolfe). Jabez died, aged 33, on 20 April 1862 (reg. 1862/2712). He was buried in Wellington's Bolton Street Cemetery on 22 April 1862. Isabella remarried two years later to Jessie Rolfe (c1819-1888) at the Wesleyan Church in Wanganui on 31 January 1864 (reg. 1864/8683). They had three children together: Sarah Ann Rolfe born in Pahautanunui, Wellington on 5 March 1861; Emma Rolfe born in Wanganui on 7 December 1863 and Isabella Rolfe born between 1869 and 1871 in Bulls, Rangitikei.
  2. Edward Birkett (1833-1902). Edward was christened in Wouldham, Kent, England on 13 October 1833. He maried Ellen Hart (1832-1929) at her parents home in Wellington on 5 December 1853 (reg. 1853/563). Edward died on 2 September 1902 (reg. 1902/4709). He was buried in Opunake Cemetery on 4 September 1902 (Plot: 274). Details of his descendants can be found on Ellen Hart's page.
  3. George Birkett
  4. William Birkett? A possible sibling who died in 1892 (reg. 1892/271).

In 1824 Benjamin was charged with Larcency and then acquitted. It appears that his father John was also charged with Larceny and acquitted at the same time.

In 1830 Benjamin was once again charged with Larceny in Kent and once again aquitted.

Benjamin and Martha (incorrectly named Mary on the passenger list) along with their children Jabez (aged 11 - Javis on passenger list), Edward (aged 6) and George (aged 2) departed from Clyde on 18 September 1840. They arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on board the 'Slains Castle' on 25 January 1841.

Whilst in New Zealand Benjamin was charged, along with Richard Smith, with stealing from a butcher. He was sentenced to four calendar months in Wellington Goal as well as hard labour.

On 1 April 1848 Benjamin, aged 49, was admitted to Wellington Colonial Hospital with Varicose Ulcers of both legs. He was discharged on 26 April 1848.

A date of death is yet to be established for Benjamin. It is possible that his wife was the Martha Jane Birkett who married in 1851-1852 to William Mayers.



Christina Macann (personal correspondance).

Frances Moss (personal correspondance).

Slains Castle Passenger List.

Wellington City Council Cemetery Records Online.

This page was archived at Perma cc February 2017

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Benjamin Birkett (c1799-?)

First Names:Benjamin
Last Name:Birkett
Date of Birth:c1799
Place of Birth:Wouldham, Kent
Country of birth:England
Place of death:New Zealand
Family Surname:Burkett
Occupation:Agricultural Labourer
Date of Arrival:25 January 1841
Name of the ship:Slains Castle
Date of sailing:18 September 1840
Sailed from:Clyde
Spouses name:Martha Jane Hogg
Spouses date of birth:c1806
Spouses place of death:New Zealand
Fathers name:John Birkett
Mothers name:Sarah Savin