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The Antram Family
1) Captain Antram drowned in the Rangoon River in 1854.
2) His daughter Elizabeth married a Captain Sheppard, died in 1858, and her children emigrated to Sydney.
3) Anne returned to England with her mother after her father’s death.
4) marriage and death of an Edward Antram in Burma in 1871 and 1878, and gave some facts about his career and those of his brothers, Charles Henry Antram and John Potts Antram (probably the origin of this Potts-Antram surname idea). The name Joshua was given for Edward Joshua Antram's father on his marriage certificate, i.e. "Captain Antram" = Joshua Antram.
Royal Navy and Army records were searched. No records were found in this period with the names Joshua Antram or Edward Joshua Antram. The possibility was then the Merchant Navy.
The Internet showed that the barque City of London left London on 12.11.1839 via The Downs and arrived in Adelaide on 19.3.1840 with 22 passengers. Master = Captain Joshua Antram, i.e. he was a Merchant Navy Captain on the Australia run in 1839-1840.
Church plaque gives Thomas Barneby as the Rector, but this is not the minister’s name on the marriage record. The witnesses were:
Richard Speer (unknown connection) and Mary Ann Antram (Joshua’s sister-in-law, see below)
Joshua was positively identified by a baptism record:
Joshua Antram: born 7 April 1797, baptised 10 July 1797 at St. Mary Magdalen church in Bermondsey, Borough of Southwark in Surrey. His parents were Mary Webb and Simon Antram I, Purser and paymaster in the Royal Navy. No rank mentioned.
1871 census both lodgers in Hackney St. John (mother and son):
Elizabeth Antram b. about 1799 British Honduras, aged about 72.
John Potts Antram b. 1833 Stepney, retired Paymaster Indian Navy, aged about 38.
The records list 6 baptisms at St. Dunstan & All Saints Anglican church in Stepney, the children of Elizabeth Potts and Joshua Antram, profession Master Mariner.
Joshua Thomas bpt. 8 Oct 1824 (born 16.9.1824)
Elizabeth bpt. 6 Jun 1827
Amelia Patience bpt. 7 Oct 1835
Charles Henry bpt. 7 Oct 1835
John Potts bpt. 7 Oct 1835
Simon Edward III bpt. 7 Oct 1835
Elizabeth Antram (daughter) married Robert Sheppard on 12.4.1847 in Moulmein.
There is no mention of an Anne Antram or an Edward Joshua Antram. No records have been found for Anne’s existence. No baptism/birth records have been found for Edward Joshua Antram either, but other records confirm his existence.
What happened after the 1835 baptisms? The 1841 census lists the following 4 children at two schools in London:
Parish of St. Giles in Camberwell:
Elizabeth Antram aged 15 b. 1826
Amelia Patience Antram aged 12 b. 1829
Catherine Headley aged 25. Schoolmistress
Parish of St. Mary’s in Lambeth:
Charles Antram aged 13 b. 1828
Edward Antram aged 10 b. 1831
Henry Mathews aged 30 Schoolmaster
Address: Northampton House, High Street, Lambeth.
Note that Simon Edward (III) is now just called Edward. The other 4 family members are not mentioned. A conclusion could be that the parents left these children at school and took baby John Potts with them to Burma (1835-41?) to “spy out the land”, though Joshua first settled in Burma alone in 1846 and was joined by his wife, 2 daughters and youngest son in 1847. The 2 other boys arrived later (1847-1851), as none of the family is listed in the 1851 census.
Joshua Thomas would have been listed in the census if he were “under training” in England. No death record was found for him, but he must have died. He is not mentioned as having accompanied his parents to Belize in 1826 or as being in Burma.
None of the family is listed in the 1861 censuses. The 1871 census lists John Potts Antram and his mother Elizabeth in England; they both must have returned between 1861 and 1871. No mention of Amelia Patience Antram was found.
Joshua Thomas: Baptism record only. Probably died in infancy. There is a record of Joshua Thomas, mariner, at the baptism of his daughter in Liverpool in 1863.
Elizabeth: Parish register transcripts Presidency of Bengal 1713-1948 record her marriage: Elizabeth Antram (aged 19) m. 12.4.1847 Robert Sheppard (aged 27?) in Moulmein – also a Master Mariner.
Possible birth record: Robert Sheppard b. 10.8.1819 in Plaistow Essex, son of James Sheppard and Lucy Harris. She died in Moulmein in 1858. No records found of their children, but tradition says they emigrated to Sydney.
The passenger list of the City of London en route to Moulmein via Madras shows Elizabeth on board in 1847. She married very quickly after arrival, suggesting that she knew her future husband before arriving in Burma.
Papers relating to hostilities with Burma contain a letter written to Lt. Col. Bogle, Commissioner of the Tenassarim Province, by Captain Robert Sheppard, Master and owner of the barque Monarch, 249 tons, cargo ship coming from Singapore, commenting on an incident at Rangoon on 7.6.1851. The ship ran aground, damaging its rudder. The Burmese say Sheppard threw the pilot overboard, who subsequently drowned. Sheppard says the pilot jumped overboard to escape the consequence of his incompetence, and alleges a wrongful fine, imprisonment and ill-treatment of himself and his crew by the Burmese. Statement signed by Edward Antram, Second Mate.
Thacker’s Directory records British residents in India and Burma employed as civil administrators and as Army and Navy personnel. The three brothers are recorded:
1867‑9 Postmaster Thyetmyo.
1870‑8 Head Clerk/Postmaster Rangoon.
1879‑89 Postmaster Lucknow, India.
He is said to have become the Postmaster General of Burma and is last recorded in 1908 as a government pensioner, aged about 77. The 1841 England census says he was born in 1828. No record of his death was found. His only child Elizabeth was born in 1867/8. No record found of a marriage, wife’s name unknown. My mother says she remembers a photo of her grandmother as a tall, fashionably dressed woman.
Amelia Patience: No marriage or death records found. Was she nicknamed Anne? The Madras-Moulmein passenger list shows that she went to Burma in 1847.
Simon Edward: He seems to have used the name Edward Joshua because he disliked his baptismal name. The 1841 census shows that he was then already known as just Edward. Elizabeth Anne Antram confirmed that her parents were second cousins, i.e. Charles Henry and Edward were brothers.
The incident on the Monarch in 1851 and the 1841 census show that he must have first come to Burma between 1841 and 1851. RN records in the Public Records Office did not show anyone with the name Edward Joshua, but a Simon Edward with his date of birth was not checked. The records of Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth do not go back this far. The significant dates in his life are difficult to interpret if he were born in 1839, as the marriage and death certificates imply, but become logical if he were “Simon Edward” born in 1831.
His baptismal name of Simon Edward Antram at St. Dunstan’s was also confirmed by Grace Carmichael 11.5.2011. He married Prasiavy Matilda Calogreedy on 28.1.1871, but she was not the mother of his children (see below).
Edward Antram was the Second Mate on the Monarch in 1851. This proves he could not have been born in 1839 (marriage record says aged 32). A Second Mate cannot be 12 years old, and again shows that Simon Edward and Edward Joshua are the same man, i.e. born in 1831. The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company was founded in 1865 and he served with this company from 1865-1878. This is not inconsistent with Royal Navy training.
1864 Customs collector Bassein
1865 Captain of SS Damoodah
Not recorded after this date. This shows that Thacker's Directory is not complete as he was still with the Irrawaddy Flotilla Co. when he died in 1878.
Irrawaddy Flotilla Company manager Swann wrote in May 1864:
Since the government gave over the Steam Flotilla to the present proprietors, Captain Antram has acted as the Commander of the (illegible) and COL PHAYRE. In the latter he had been in charge for over 3 years and during the last year in which the mails were carried under the old postal contract, he worked the service twice a month between Rangoon and Thayetmo with most creditable energy. With passengers of all kinds, but more especially those who travel first class, he is very popular and he also stands well in the opinion of native shippers. From the heavy draught of the COL PHAYRE, Captain Antram has not been able to take his vessel to Mandalay in the dry season, but notwithstanding this the earnings throughout the year are fair compared with those of the other steamers. As a Commander he has been successful, never having damaged his steamer in any way and he has always shown a disposition to put first his best exertions to advance the interests of the Company. He takes command of the RANGOON when ready. His salary is R300 per month with 2% commission on the steamer’s gross earnings minus the Government Bills from both of which sources of income he has received during this year about R510 monthly.
His marriage record (28.1.1871) describes him as a Captain and death record (7.2.1878) as the Commander of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company respectively, and give incorrect ages. He was a bachelor when he married Prasiavy Matilda Calogreedy, spinster, b. 8.6.1853 (Amarapura), d. 6.3.1929 (Mandalay). Matilda Antram married Henry Noyce in 1887 and has 2 sons by him. She was known as Mattie Antram and Granny Noyce in the family. Mattie was 17 and Edward 39 when they married.
Her true story is told in the novel “The Lacquer Lady” by F. Tennyson Jesse (1880-1958). The Captain Silas Bagshaw of the book is based on Edward Antram. Bagshaw is described as a large, florid European, with dark hair and light eyes, bald, suffering from gout, prone to perspiring, Protestant, in the Royal Navy Reserve, wealthy, much older than her, a bit gauche, but kindly in his way, and in favour with King Mindon (he attended the King’s funeral). The author met Mattie in 1929, who must have given her this description, based on her husband Edward Antram.
Edward’s death certificate states that he died of "fatty degeneration of the heart". This would mean that he was a large, ponderous sort of man. This is consistent with the description of “Captain Bagshaw”.
A witness named Antram was called in the Fowle vs. Fowle divorce case, Calcutta 1878. Support was given to Mr. Fowle’s ex-partner Mahkin (or Ma Khin) of Moulmein.
John Potts Indian Navy records show:
25 Jan 1855 Captain's Clerk on HMS Constance.
31 Oct 1858 Purser HMS Clive.
These are NCO ranks. Service records were only kept for ranks of Lieutenant and above. The Indian Navy was disbanded in 1863 to become the Royal Indian Navy.
John is not listed in the 1861 census, so must have returned 1861-3. The 1871 census describes him as a Paymaster in the Indian Navy. Died 13.10.1881 at Combe Cottage, Combemartin Devon. Rtd. His widow Mary Shew Antram describes him as a Naval Captain and registered the death on 20.1.1882. She probably “promoted” him to a Captain to lend him status, as he was not old enough to have reached this Indian Navy rank in 1863 (only 30).
John Antram and Mary Shew had 2 children:
1. Charles Edward Potts Antram, bpt. 19.9.1864 at St. Nicholas in Guildford, s. of John Potts Antram and Mary Shew, m. 1885 Alice Hurry in Romford (b.1861 Liverpool, d. 1937 Dorset). He died 22.1.1934 in St. Pancras. No records of children found.
2. Miriam Helen Lloyd Antram b. 1866 Brentford, d. 1942 Sturminster (which, Newton?) Dorset. Presumably unmarried. No records of children found. Alice and Miriam (sisters-in-law) were probably living together, as they both died in Dorset. The 1911 census gives her name as Miriam Helen Lloyd Antram, resident in Eastbourne.
Note that John’s Aunt Rachel Antram married John Lloyd.
1871 census in Guildford: Charles Edward Potts Antram and Miriam H.L. Antram, Mary Antram (mother), George and Mary Wilkins (grandparents). Mary Antram’s maiden name was Shew, so was Wilkins her stepfather? John Potts Antram was in London with his mother.
1891 census in Church Road, West Kirby, Cheshire:
Mary S. Antram b. 1830 Ilfracombe, widow
Miriam H.L. Antram b. 1866 Spring Grove, daughter.
and in Broomhaugh, Northumberland:
C.E.P. Antram b. 1866 Guildford, Baptist minister, son.
Alice H. Antram b. 1861 Liverpool, daughter-in-law.
Another record states:
Rev. Charles Edward Potts Antram, Vicar of Blean, Submarine K17, 31.1.1918, i.e. he was a RN chaplain in WWI.
Elizabeth Potts Antram is not listed, so had probably died.
Probable record: Elizabeth Antrim (sic), d. Apr-Jun 1881 in Barnstaple Devon aged 85, i.e. born about 1796.
Joshua and Elizabeth’s children with approximate dates were then:
Joshua Thomas Antram 1824 – no further record - Joshua Thomas died in infancy, 1824-6.
Elizabeth Antram 1826 – 1858 aged 32
Charles Henry Antram 1828 – 1908 aged 80
Amelia Patience Antram 1829 – 1841 died at school
Simon Edward Antram 1831 – 1878 aged 47
John Potts Antram 1833 – 1881 aged 48
Elizabeth married Merchant Navy Captain Robert Sheppard in Moulmein in 1847, and died there in 1858, possibly of childbirth.
Charles Henry had a career in the Postal Service in Burma and India.
There is a family memory of a second daughter, who was thought to have been called Anne, but was actually Amelia Patience.
Simon Edward disliked his first name and continued through life as just Edward, subsequently adding Joshua himself.
John Potts joined the Indian Navy, retiring as a Paymaster around the time when it was disbanded in 1863 and returned to England with his mother (and sister Amelia?).
Joshua Antram was the fourth son of Simon Edward Antram I, a purser and paymaster in the Royal Navy, possibly with the rank of Warrant Officer. He entered the Merchant Navy and soon became a Master Mariner. He was on the British Honduras run, captaining the Rosalind and Petrel for example, shipping mahogany to England (1821-1837). This is how he met Elizabeth Potts.
Elizabeth Potts was a member of one of the leading English families in the future British Honduras colony. The Potts were wood merchants, slave owners, self-made men, not highly educated, and quite wealthy. She went to live with her relatives in London for her schooling, which is where she and Joshua Antram were married and where their six children were born.
The family’s fortunes fell when the Belize mahogany trade slumped after the emancipation of the slaves. Joshua initially transferred to a passenger service between England and Australia. The Burmese teak and the family’s experience with mahogany attracted him to Burma. He began contemplating a move in 1835, and could have first visited Burma in 1837 as tradition says. The fact that the children were in boarding schools in London in 1841, with no mention of the parents, suggests that perhaps the parents went there first to see how things were. He settled there in 1846.
His wife, 2 daughters and probably John arrived in Burma in 1847, Charles and Edward between 1847-1851. Joshua seems to have had ended his permanent naval career by 1845 and concentrated his efforts on the new teak trade. He was drowned in the Rangoon River at Botataung in 1854. Botataung = 1000 Military Leaders in Burmese. Joshua could be interred in the Rangoon Cantonment Cemetery.
John Potts Antram took his widowed mother back to England between 1861-1863 when the Indian Navy was disbanded, after having lived in Burma for about 15 years. He married in England, had 2 children, both born in England, and died in Devon in 1881. Elizabeth Antram, née Potts, also died in Devon in 1881. The rest of the family ended their days in Burma, except possibly Amelia Patience Antram, who may also have returned to England with them. No death or marriage records have been found for her in either England or Burma.
The Antram family originated in Hampshire, the men from Portsmouth, due to the Royal Navy connection. The Potts family were from County Durham. The family surname was never Potts-Antram.
Edward Antram Sr. had 3 children:
1. Charles John. He joined the Bombay Burmah Trading Co. Married Ma Huron 1894 - had children.
2. Edward Joshua Jr., died 7 October 1922 aged 68, i.e. b. 1854. Married Ellen Anderson Yarde, probably 1894/5. No record found -> 4 children.
3. Ethel Alexandra, d. 1911. She was nicknamed Ettie. Married but had no children. Husband’s name unknown.
No record was found of a marriage of Edward Senior before this period, or of his children's births, though deductions can be made from the records that do exist:
1. Matilda Calogreedy was not the mother of his sons. She was born 8.6.1853, one year before Edward Joshua Jr and after Charles John.
2. Edward, a bachelor in 1871, not a widower, was not married to the mother(s) of his sons.
It cannot be certain that his children all had the same mother but, if they did, three children suggest a settled family with a common law wife and not a casual relationship. Hilda Antram (wife of Valentine Hugh) suggested an association with a woman named Daw Goon prior to his marriage in 1871. Daw means “Aunty”, and usually denotes more respect that “Ma”, which means Miss. Note Ma Huron (wife of Charles John), Ma Khin in the Fowle case and Ma Yew below.
Ethel Alexandra’s second name implies she was born after the engagement of the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) to Princess Alexandra of Denmark - 10 March 1863 – i.e. before her father’s Calogreedy marriage. The evidence does not suggest that she was Matilda Calogreedy’s daughter either.
Charles Henry Antram had 1 daughter:
No record found of his wife. His only daughter Elizabeth Antram II married Alexander William Bernard on 18 May 1886 at the Holy Trinity Anglican church in Rangoon, though he was RC and their children were raised as Catholics. No RC church in Rangoon at the time? Her age is given as 18 and Alexander's as 26, so Elizabeth was born in 1867/1868 and Alexander in 1859/1860 ‑ but a death certificate for Alexander on 25 October 1932 gives his age as 77, i.e. born 1854/55.
My mother said he looked much older and was an Englishman from Devon. This suggests that he may have known John Potts Antram and Elizabeth Potts Antram, who were living in Devon until 1881, and came to know his wife Elizabeth Antram II through them.
Note that John’s wife, Mary Shew Antram, was born in Ilfracombe, which must be why they were living there.
Alexander is described as an Engineer and his father as James Bernard on the marriage record. English records searched in the years 1837-1871 gave no match for our Alexander William Bernard. No records were found in India, Burma or Australia either.
A James Bernard b. 1818 Tavistock Devon, d. 1891 Cornwall
A James Bernard b. 1823 Devon, d. 1891 Cornwall. Same man?
Three marriages are recorded of men called James Bernard: 1847 Faversham, 1852 Strand, 1859 Shoreditch.
Alexander William Bernard and Elizabeth Antram II had the following children: William, Elizabeth, Charles, Ethel, Grace, Myrtle, Tiny and Edward.
Edward Bernard was born in 1901 and his mother Elizabeth Antram II died in about 1906/8, aged about 40, from complications arising from a pregnancy. No record was found of the death of Elizabeth Bernard (née Antram) in 1906/8. Their fifth child was my grandmother.
Grace Hilda Bernard b. 15 December 1897, bpt. 16 February 1898, d. 9 November 1930, (aged 32), all in Rangoon.
Edward Joshua Antram Jr.
Thacker's lists E. Antram as the Head Clerk in the Depy. Consvr's Office in Rangoon in 1906. He married Ellen Anderson Yarde b. 11 April 1864 d. 30 July 1951 in Rangoon (m. possibly in 1894). Her antecedents could not be traced. No records were found of her or her parents' births, marriages or deaths. Edward Joshua Antram Jr. and Ellen Yarde had 4 children:
1. Edward Charles Antram b. 24 August 1895 Rangoon. This is my grandfather. He died on a trek between Burma and India in 1942, m. Grace Bernard -> 7 children + son Harry by 2nd wife (see below).
2. Valentine Hugh Antram b. 14 Feb 1897, d. 5 April 1976, m. Hilda Phillips -> Geraldine, Clive, Dawn and Alexander.
3. Edna Gordon Antram ‑ d. 1917 (unmarried).
4. Vida Ellen Antram ‑ died on the trek with Edward in 1942. Unmarried ‑ but Elizabeth Anne Antram thinks she may have had a child.
Edward Charles Antram married his second cousin Grace Hilda Bernard. Their daughter Elizabeth Ann (sic) Antram was b. 6 July 1922 in Rangoon. The Church of England baptism certificate spells the second name without an "e". She was later re-baptised in the Roman Catholic Church as Bernadette Anne Righton (with an "e"). She is known as Anne - another example of somebody not being known by their baptismal name, and being baptised twice.
The children of Edward Charles Antram and Grace Hilda Bernard were: Edward Joshua III, Margaret Edna, Camille, Elizabeth Ann, Rudolph, Maisie and Grace. Rudolph died in infancy. Three family members survived the war, viz:
Edward Joshua Antram III m. Enid Fowler (British Army service)
Margaret Edna Antram m. Dionisio Antonio Ferraz (Air flight via Dinjan)
Elizabeth Ann Antram m. Walter George Righton (British troop ship to Calcutta)
The family was scattered due to the Second World War. These 3 reached India by the means stated above after the Japanese invasion. All the others died.
The rest of the family were to take a plane to India, but there was no room for their father. They all then left the plane, with the exception of the grandmother (Ellen Yarde), who was considered too old to attempt the trek, viz.: Edward Charles (father), Vida Ellen (sister), Ethel (nee Bernard – 2nd wife and sister of the 1st wife), his daughters: Camille (22), Maisie (16), Grace (12), and his son Harry (10) by his 2nd wife. The grandmother reached Calcutta on the plane.
Misses Nancy and Olive Thompson reported at Margharita on 4.9.42 that the whole family had perished on the trek between Shinbwiyang and Tagap Ga June/July 1942. Vida Ellen was not mentioned.
Known present day Antrams of this family are descendants of:
Edward Joshua Antram III ‑ in Perth West Australia.
Valentine Hugh Antram ‑ in Atlanta USA and London.
Charles John Antram ‑ in Beldon West Australia.
No grandchildren of John Potts Antram were found. The last known English born Antram descendant of Joshua Antram and Elizabeth Potts was Miriam Antram, daughter of John Potts Antram, who died in 1942 in Sturminster, Dorset. Is this the reason for the idea that the Antrams originated in Dorset? There are 3 Sturminsters in Dorset.
The Trek out of Burma 1942, Evacuees List gives 7 entries with the surname Antram, including Miss A. Antram (my mother).
The Antrams are said to have a family crest of a lamb with a ring around its neck. A coat of arms - a bend argent on a field sable - is given on the Internet. This must be spurious; the Royal College of Arms records do not show Antrams with the right to bear a coat of arms.
Records were found of 19 children born in the Bengal Presidency in 1875‑1910 with the surname Antram, none of whom can be fitted into the family tree as it stands. These must be members of other families. The first Antram recorded as being born in the Bengal Presidency is Emily Antram in 1869. No link with our family has been found.
Ann Antram, the sister of Joshua Antram, was the ancestress of some well-known people:
Elizabeth Dean (daughter) m. Henry Robertson, Liberal MP and owner of Pale Hall in Llandderfel
Joshua Dean (son) was the father of Henry Roy Dean Master of Trinity Hall Cambridge, who was the father of Sir Patrick Henry Dean, UK Ambassador in the US 1965-1969.
Ann Dean (daughter) married Edward Dring, purser on HMS Beagle.
Thomas and another John Potts both signed Rear Admiral Sir William Burnaby’s code of laws on 9.4.1765 when Thomas was 25. They may have been cousins or brothers, as none of his nephews were old enough. Our John Potts Senior was 10 in 1765. Neither are ancestors of our family, unless the John who signed is another unrecorded brother.
Thomas Potts was baptised 12.10.1740 in Durham. He is called a Durham man in the Belize records. He became the Chief Magistrate of Belize and was the acting Superintendent between 1791-7 after Superintendent Despard was dismissed in 1790.
A photo has been seen, which is reputed to be of Thomas Potts, but this must be another man, as ours died in 1808, well before the development of photography. He did have an elaborate sarcophagus with a carved profile (since destroyed), which does not resemble the photo.
The father of the Belize man = Thomas Potts b. 1701 Marske Cleveland Yorkshire, m. 8.11.1726 to Mary Stonehouse, b. 1705/6, also in Marske. The children identified were:
Richard bpt. 13.08.1727 Gateshead, Co. Durham
Robert? bpt. 22.07.1733 Heworth, Co. Durham
James bpt. 12.01.1737 St. Nicholas, Durham
Thomas bpt. 12.10.1740 St. Oswald, Durham
Elizabeth bpt. 17.02.1741 St. Nicholas, Durham.
A gap of nearly 10 years between Richard and James makes it possible for there to have been a brother called Robert and possibly a John between them.
Clerical records list three daughters of Thomas Potts and Susannah Burrell: Helen, Elizabeth and Sarah. Susannah couldn’t have been Thomas’ legal wife as Catherine Ferrall was still alive in 1806, and she is mentioned too casually in the will.
Thomas’ will directed that his daughters by Sue Burrell be sent to New York to be educated by Isaac Hicks, a wealthy Quaker merchant, ship owner and active abolitionist. This Elizabeth (Thomas’ daughter) was baptised in Belize 1.1.1809. Her sister Helen was baptised 3 days earlier, and is described as an adult, i.e. she was nearer to 21 and not about 12, as was our Elizabeth (John’s daughter).
The will also mentions a Sarah Burrell who had a son called John Gill in New York. This again suggests that this Elizabeth (Thomas’ daughter) also went to NY after 1.1.1809 and not to England like our Elizabeth (John’s daughter).
The 1810 US census lists John Gill and S. Gill (née Sarah Burrell or Potts?).
Susannah’s brother built Burrell’s Boom and did not sign Burnaby’s Code. Thomas Burrell, also a slave owner, could be Susannah’s father.
Thomas Potts died in 1808, the richest man in the colony, and had at least 3 or 4 female companions, none of whom he seems to have married, and all of whom were still alive when he made his will, in which he disposes of his slaves, etc. Companions and children:
Catherine Ferrall (buried 22.9.1823):
Ann Grace b. 29 07 1779 St. George’s Caye (passenger on a ship, arrived Belize 1792?).
Jamesb. 18 06.1781Merida (during his parents’ capture by the Spaniards).
Maryb. 01 07 1784Tower Hill Bank
Johnb. 26 06 1786St. George’s Caye (went to Leipzig)
Robertb. 00 04 1788St. George’s Caye
Catherineb. 10 07 1790(not mentioned in the 1806 will, i.e. had died)
The Sarah Potts who died in 1797 could only have been Thomas’s daughter if she were born in 1791 to Catherine Ferrall (or another woman). This would make her 6 years old in 1797. but would exclude her from being the mother of Catherine Potts (b.1791/2). Sue Burrell’s daughter Sarah was alive in 1809. Thomas would probably not call two of his daughters Sarah, even if they had different mothers. The 1797 Sarah must be another woman to be the mother of the Catherine who died on St. George’s Caye on 5.11.1800, i.e. Sally Baldwin’s married name? This Catherine who died is not the one born on 10.7.1790, as she was Sarah Potts’ daughter and not Catherine Ferrall’s.
The Ann Grace, who died on 5.10.1800 aged 33, was 12 when Ann Grace Potts was born (1779) and was not Thomas’ daughter. Was she the 1792 passenger?
Susannah Burrell (still alive in 1834):
Helen bpt. 29 12 1808
Elizabeth bpt. 01 01 1809 (went to NY)
Sarah bpt. 01 01 1809 (went to NY)
Note that Thomas and our John both had children called John, Sarah and Elizabeth Potts. There were about 18 people in contemporary Belize records with these names!
Susannah survived Thomas by at least 26 years, so may well have been much younger. Catherine Ferrall survived him by 15 years.
Mimba a woman of colour (Maya?): 5 children, not named.
Possibly by Clarissa, a Negro woman:Implies, but doesn’t actually say that they were his children:
Martha, Deptford & Scipis
The First Parish Register and Censuses of Belize give Susannah Burrell the designation 000 011 000 032. This means that in her household were: No whites (000), 0 coloured men, 1 coloured woman and 1 coloured child (011), no free blacks (000) and 5 slaves (0 men, 3 women and 2 children). The woman Mimba above, by whom Thomas also had 5 children, was one of her slaves. Susannah was still alive in 1834, when a third Elizabeth Potts brought a legal action against her about slave ownership. This was Elizabeth Tillett, daughter of Capt. William Tillett and Mary White, who had married John Potts Jr. (probably our John’s son, as Thomas’ son went to Leipzig). Our Elizabeth Potts had become Elizabeth Antram by then and was living in England.
The historical facts distorted by Dagon Khin Khin Lay have been accepted without further questioning by later novelists. A writer of Myanmar historical fiction during the closing years of the 20th century, Seint (Pyin-nya-yei) wrote a popular novel entitled Daing Khin Khin. First published in 1976, it has been reprinted 4 times, the 4th edition appearing in the year 2000.
This novel is an interweaving of parts of the plot and the mixing of some characters from Dagon Khin Khin Lay’s Sarsodaw with the plot and characters of the English novelist F. Tennyson Jesse’s (1888-1958) The lacquer lady, where the true story of Mattie Calogreedy, a European maid-of-honour at the court of King Thibaw and Queen Supayalat, is narrated against the political background of the rivalries and intrigues between two colonial powers, Britain and France, which led to the British annexation of Upper Burma in 1886.
The name Calogreedy was adopted. Matilda’s biological father was a French-Italian called Panioty. He was adopted by George Calogreedy from Greece. The Calogreedy family is extensive and well documented, but they are not blood relatives of the Antrams.
Bernard. The surname is suggested to have originally been Bernard-Shaw. No record found for Alexander William Bernard-Shaw. This sounds like the "Potts-Antram" idea.
Sir Charles Edward Bernard (1837-1901) was the Chief Commissioner (Governor) of Burma between 1880-3 and 1886-7. There is probably no connection with our family. He was of the same generation as Alexander William’s father.
Yarde was originally Yarde‑Buller. A Doctor Yarde is said to be listed as an apothecary in Somerset House. His relationship to Ellen is not mentioned. Nine people called Yarde are listed in the Trek out of Burma record.
The Yarde‑Bullers are a well‑known family in Devon. The most notable member is Baron Churston who has his seat at Lupton House, Churston Ferrers, in Devon, and has an authentic coat of arms. General Buller of Devon, a member of the same family, was the C-in-C South Africa during the 2nd Boer War.
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Data and images on this website are the copyright of the Anglo-Burmese Library, all rights reserved. Page updated 4th Sept. 2018