The Story of Silas Cole born in Chilbolton in 1820 – Deported to Tasmania

Silas Cole - Born in Chilbolton 1820 - Deported to Tasmania, Coles Bay

Silas Cole Born 1820 in Chilbolton, Hampshire – Deported to Tasmania in 1842

One of the joys of looking after the Shop Gossip Blog and the Chilbolton Village Facebook Page is that I get contacted by some amazing people who have lived or have an attachment with the village.

Early this year I was contacted by Nadia Cole, whose relations lived in Georgian and Victorian Chilbolton. I passed on some information and contacts and her Uncle, Chris Cole, who lives in Tasmania, responded with the following story of Silas Cole who was born in Chilbolton in 1820 and was deported to Tasmania in 1842.

Chris Cole takes up the story of Silas Cole.

Silas was baptised on December 31 1820 (one of 14 children to John and Triphena Cole (nee Kent) in Chilbolton).  His father died in 1835 when he was only about 15. He made the local Hampshire papers between 1838-1841 for petty crimes such as stealing a drake and ‘destroying fish’.  His later record showed he was also guilty of stealing apples and poaching.  He received small periods of a month or two in gaol for these misdemeanours.

On February 24 1842 he is up before the Southampton assizes on the more serious charges of housebreaking and stealing 28lbs of bacon.  He is found guilty and sentenced to 10 years transportation.  He spends time on the hulks at Gosport before leaving on the ship Moffatt in August for Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) arriving November 28 1842.  Most of this information is on his convict record which states his native place as Chilbolton and mother as Tryphena.

Oyster Bay - Coles Bay Tasmania named after Silas Cole born in Chilbolton Hampshire

Oyster Bay – Coles Bay Tasmania named after Silas Cole

As a convict he absconds 2 or 3 times and at one point is given 75 lashes.  By 1845 he is calmer and receives a probation pass and then a Ticket of Leave (free to work and get paid) in 1848.  He works as a shepherd on the East Coast of Tasmania and to earn more money he builds a kiln and burns oyster shells, left by the aborigines, for lime to make cement in a beautiful, secluded bay.

He finally receives his free certificate in 1852 – fully serving his 10 years.

Three years later at age 34 he marries an Irish girl Jane Martin who is 19 years old.  They have 10 children- 6 boys and 4 girls.  Two of the boys die in their teens or 20’s, while 3 others head to the mainland of Australia due to a severe drought in 1888.  Only one son remains in Tasmania, Anthony, who ironically becomes a policemen and from whom Nadia and I are descended.  Anthony only had one son to produce heirs and this son only one son to produce heirs as well.  So if any Cole in Tasmania asks are we related we are 99% sure they are not.

Silas died on June 3 1899 aged 78 in Hobart Tasmania.

Now for his legacy. Because of Silas the name Cole remains known to everyone in the state of Tasmania.  The reason: – when he burnt shells in that secluded coastal area; that bay now carries his name – Coles Bay as well as the small seaside town nearby.  Coles Bay has become part of Freycinet National Park – a hugely popular tourist attraction in Tasmania.

This is a wonderful story of a historic resident of Chilbolton and if anyone has links to this family Chris and Nadia would be delighted to hear them and add your comments hear.

Further to writing this various people have come forward with information, which started me digging and it seems that the Tilbury and Cole families were very intermarried. The following image was found on the Family History of Margaret Watson and shows how the families are linked. At this stage I think James Cole was John Cole’s brother and therefore Silas’ Uncle.

Family Tree of the Cole and Tilbury Family Chilbolton

The Cole and Tilbury Family Tree during the 1800s in Chilbolton

Further information can be found on their website on the Tilbury family history here