James Booth

James Booth – 1836-1931. ( Carolyn Booth’s – Great Grandfather) 

James Booth 1836-1931 photo Courtesy Carolyn Booth

James Booth 1836-1931
photo Courtesy Carolyn Booth

Born in 1836 – James was the second son and fourth child of William and Mary Booth both living and working on the Chatsworth Estate owned by the Cavendish family, The  Duke & Duchess of Devonshire.  At age 14 James was a groom and lived and worked in the stables caring for the estate horses.

His parents, siblings and extended family all worked on this large estate and at this period of time Edensor Village within the Chatsworth Estate had been rebuilt and was considered the model village, providing schools , churches , stores and of course a pub.

Edensor Village Chatsworth

Edensor Village Chatsworth

Chatsworth Estate circa.1880

Chatsworth Estate circa.1880


The Booths and Cavendish families had a close connection dating back over 100 years when both Henry Booth, Earl of Warrington and William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire formed a close friendship and Parliamentary alliance and fought together to restore King William 111 to the thrown of England. Perhaps the Cavendish family and the Duke knew this history and favoured the Booths of this time and, as records show , a lot of Booths took up residence on this grand estate.

No one is quite sure what the future held for young James in the mid 1800′s. The industrial revolution was transforming cities, and people were leaving the rural towns for higher paying work opportunities.  Perhaps at age 20, possibly faced with having to find employment outside of Chatsworth Estate James may have considered finding work in the cities, or should he look further a field. Australia sounds good !!!

What influenced or possessed young James to consider migrating to Australia is still unknown but this was no doubt a carefully considered decision for young James at the time , the Booths clearly had a very strong work ethic, and history has shown that Booths stuck together and carried on the traditions of a strong and supportive family.

And so it is in 1856, aged 20, James Booth of Edensor Chatsworth boarded the Sailing Ship “Conway” and with assisted passage, sailed for Sydney, Australia, his stated occupation was “gardener”and he is accompanied by his cousin Thomas aged 35 son of Robert Booth also from Edensor – Chatsworth Estate. Interestingly Thomas returns back to Edensor some time later and we are still researching his time in Australia.

H.M Training Ship "Conway" Built In Plymouth 1827

H.M Training Ship “Conway”
Built In Plymouth 1827

After approximately 4 months at sea, James finally arrives in Sydney, Australia on the 30th Dec 1856. He settles in Camperdown where he works as a clerk at F. Lasseter & Co. Universal Providors for 10 years, during this time he meets and marries Mary Collins in 1863. The family later moves to Barraba  in the New England region of New South Wales approximatley 90kms north of Tamworth where James opens what appears to be a provisions store.

In 1880 there is a record of James applying  for the carriage of the Telegraph line to link Barraba and Bingara. However it appears tragedy strikes at this time and his wife Mary dies, after an illness of two days, leaving James and 9 children, and little more is known about the joining of the telegraph.

In 1881 James is remarried to Sarah Jane Cutmore his housekeeper on 16th February, who was some 20 years younger. They had a further 8 children together, no doubt the stepchildren were of great assistance to their stepmother.

Sarah Cutmore Booth 1858-1938 photo courtesy Carolyn Booth

Sarah Cutmore Booth 1858-1938
photo courtesy Carolyn Booth

( Carolyn Booth’s – Great Grandmother)

In June 1884 James purchases 3/4 of an acre of land for 40 pounds an acre from a Mr Adams, this land was originally going to be the site for a flour mill, perhaps the mill house in Chatsworth Edensor where he grew up had inspired him to pursue this venture. We are unsure if this Flour mill was ever built,  However the land is now the site of the Community swimming pool in Barraba. http://www.barraba.com.au/

Barraba Main street - facing railway station circa. 1908

Barraba Main street – facing railway station circa. 1908

It appears that James had a yearning to get back to the land and in the early 1890’s he gave up his store and purchased more land , approx 11 acres over the river and to the west of the township. James called his property EDENSOR.

Perhaps he had plans to build his own smaller version of Chatsworth or perhaps he knew of tales of the grand old days of his Ancient ancestors the Knights and Noble Booths and their very own grand estates such as the “Dunham Massey Estate”

Further local records show that James became a Justice of the Peace and he also sat at the Magistrates court in 1896. James Booth died in the winter of 1931 aged 95 years .

James Booth clearly showed a strong genetic link to his ancestors demonstrating the qualities they possessed hundreds of years before , the enterprising young man started in a new country, started his own business, raised a large family, provided public service and pursued the progress and development of his community, and is regarded as a member of our early Australian pioneering families.

The Australian settlement of the Booth line was a success for James and his large family. He continued the family traditions of hard work, enterprise and adventure,  which can be seen in many of the Booths historic line in the past and to the present day.

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