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

19 thoughts on “The Story of Silas Cole born in Chilbolton in 1820 – Deported to Tasmania

  1. Some recent information supplied by David Griffiths and an article by Marion Gilmour in one of last year’s village magazines, sheds some light on some other members of the Cole family.

    David Griffiths identified that the land opposite the shop and Post Office was owned by James Cole and they were linked through marriage with the Tilbury Family, another large local family. There are also several Coles mentioned in marriage records in the mid 1700s. James was the father of William, who is mentioned in Marion’s article.

    Marion Gilmour researched the Inn on the common and identied that inn 1851 the Innkeeper “on the Common” was William Cole (37) born in Wonston, together with his wife, Harriott (36) (formerly Tilbury), four of their children (Mary, 9; Harriott, 7; Edward, 5 and Caroline, 2) and three lodgers (John Prangell (66), labourer; Edmund Roofe (Rolfe) (38), farm labourer and George Young (60), farm labourer). William and Harriott‟s eldest child, William (10), was included on the census with his grandparents George and Mary Tilbury. George’s occupation was grocer.

    The Cole and Tilbury families were well established in Chilbolton. William’s father, James,
    was a farmer and in 1841 William was also a farmer, living in The Street, Chilbolton, with Harriett and son, William (aged 1). He changed his occupation to publican sometime between June 1841, when the census was taken, and January 1842, when his daughter, Mary, was baptised. William Cole also appears as a victualler at the New Inn in White’s 1859 Directory.

    The 1861 census for The Common shows William’s occupation as a victualler. In the household were his wife, Harriett, their five children (William, Mary, Harriett, Edward and Caroline) and Edmund Rolfe (their lodger who was a hurdle maker). By 1861 William Cole, junior, was a
    joiner’s apprentice, Mary and Harriett were victualler’s daughters and Edward and Caroline were scholars.

    On July 6th Mary Cole of New Inn, aged 19, was buried at Chilbolton. The family’s time at the New Inn was coming to a close because William Cole, aged 48, was buried at Chilbolton on 5th April 1862. His son, William, was buried at Chilbolton on 27th March 1867, aged 26. Edward took up his father‟s profession and on the 1871 census he is shown as a ‘licensed victualler’ in Hayes, and his mother, Harriett, and sister, Caroline, were included at the same address.

    Was this the end of the line for the Coles in Chilbolton or is there more strands that can be identified. We’ll see what can be found out.

    • I too am a direct descendant of Silas Cole……..Silas being my great great Grand Father. His youngest daughter Elizabeth (Bessie) was my grandmothers Mother ! All very intersting to hear so much more of the extensive & very intersting family tree that is out there !

      Andrew Potter

    • Silas Cole was my Great-grandfather. My Grandmother Charlotte Cole and two of her siblings married members of the Davern family in Tasmania. My grandmother and her husband John Davern moved north NSW where he built shearing sheds for a living. My mother, Bessie Tryphena Davern, was named after two of her mother’s sisters. I live in California, and see that many of Silas’s descendants are now scattered worldwide.

  2. I am the daughter of Silas John Cole who’s father was William Cole of St George Queensland Australia. William is the third son of son the above Silas Cole, who was married to Jane and born in Tasmania. Thanks for the history. Tricia (Cole)

  3. I am Valerie -sister of Tricia also Mona, Brenda, Annette and Pauline. No boys. Daughters of Silas John -(Jack Cole). Yes thanks for the history – I did not know those details before. Val (Scott nee

  4. Hey there,
    I have known my whole life that i am a decendant of the man Coles bay is named after, though I have only just researched who this man actually is. My grandmother, originally olive margret cole, daughter of valentine courtney cole is from Sydney. She moved to new Zealand to work when she was 20 something, found a man, got married, had 4 children and has lived here in new Zealand since. She is now margret olive jenman. it took a while to find actual information on Silas, and your article interested me. I wondered if you know anything about the children; where they went to on the mainland, if they had any children? Maybe valentine was one of their sons? I’m not sure when he was born, but since my grandmother was born 1942, I’m guessing it was around the 1910’s.
    Please get back to me I would love to know more,
    Tom Eden

    • Hi Tom

      Thanks for the comments and its been fascinating to see so many branches of the family coming together. Chris Cole has provided me with the information from Tasmania, personally I’ve looked into the local history for the village, but nothing more. Hopefully this thread will continue to grow, filling in more of the gaps.

  5. Tom – this is what I know of Silas Cole who married Jane Martin in 1855 in Tasmania. They had Alfred b 1856 who died aged 7, Walter b 1857, William b 1859 (My Grand Father), Samuel b 1861, Anthony b 1863, Tryphena b 1865 Charlotte b ? Silas b 1869, Minnie b 1871 and Elizabeth (Bessie) b 1875. I do know William and Silas moved to the mainland – Qld. Andrew Potter may know more. Not sure where Olive Margret or Valentine Courtney fit? Hope this is helpful for you

  6. I researched all the offspring of the above list of Silas Cole’s children, plus their descendants. Then we held a family reunion in Hobart in 1984. I do not have any Olive Margaret or Valentine Courtney in the list of Silas Cole’s descendants. There were several other Cole convicts, other than Silas (after whom the bay was named). Best wishes, June Hopkins (nee Cole)

  7. My 3x great grandfather was James Anthony of Chilbolton. His second wife was Jemima Cole who he married in St Mary the Less in 1812. My 2x great grandfather, was the son of James’ first marriage to Sarah Cooper. Apparently James owned “5 tenement houses in Chilbolton. At his death he willed the land and houses to Jemima. Records indicate that James and Jemima died only days apart and were buried on the same day, 1st Dec 1858. Jemima is listed as 73 and James as 81. I wondered if Jemima is a relative of Silas Cole? I know of Coles Bay in Tasmania and have visited this beautiful place many times.

  8. Hi there
    This is fascinating!
    I’m cousins with Tom Eden (posted above) and also trying to figure out how (AND if!) we fit into this picture?
    Anyone know of a Henry Cole? I have very little information, only:
    -he is the father of my G-Grandfather Valentine Courtney Cole
    -Henry’s wife died at the age of 41.
    Still in the process of asking around the relatives so any ideas would be great

  9. I too am descended from Silas and Jane via Silas John Cole, youngest sibling to Bessie, Anthony, Charlotte and others. I have written the life story of Silas John’s wife Elma Cole which outlines their descendants and Silas John’s premature death caused by a stroke. seems like this ailment might have plagued many of the family. thanks for the information.

  10. Hi, I am the gggranddaughter of William Cole (Silas Cole’s son). Thanks for the information. We are heading to Tassie for a family holiday in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to exploring more of the area.

  11. Hi,
    I am the great great granddaughter of Harriet Cole who I believe was the sister of Silas, the convict who went to Tasmania. Harriet married John Watts of Leckford and the two of them came as assisted immigrants to Australia ( Victoria) on the Duke of Richmond in 1853.

    I would love to find out more about Tryphena Kemp or Kent who I believe was her mother.

  12. 29th September 2015
    I am a direct descendant of Silas Cole, Silas being my great great grandfather.
    Silas son William is my great grandfather. William married Elizabeth Roberts in
    Tasmania, Australia. William &Elizabeth moved to St George Q.L.D. Australia. They a
    Daughter named Belle Cole. Belle married Sidney Arthur Prince.
    I have enjoyed the information about Silas Cole.
    Rae Prince.

  13. for Chris Cole – Tasmania
    my Great grandparents were Tryphena Cole (1865/1931) & Thomas Davern (1863/1941) married 1886 in joint ceremony with Charlotte Cole & John Davern.
    Have only recently obtained copies of your ‘Coles of Chilbolton & Tasmania’ plus ‘Minnies Memories’ – via Sonia (Cole) Vine (see above) & I’m very grateful.
    Have also done considerable research into my branch of the family.
    You & I have a great deal in common. By the way, I have Mary Fitzgerald on “Calcutta” with Jane Martin? The saga continues………..Richard Sternes

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