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Private James Rayner ( George Spence) (c 1823......)

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Court case that was reported in The Argus (30/8/1877) and the Sydney Morning Herald (27/8/1877) (articles found on TROVE digital newspapers). It is about a Joseph Rayner who was born ca 1823, enlisted in the 40th regiment in 1845, married in Ireland (Dublin or Galway) in 1848 to a Mary Mather, had several children but only a son John born 1849 survived. Joseph came to VIC in 1852 with his family. Mary deserted him in 1857 to live with a Chinese man named Sing Song in Daylesford, and soon after Joseph was tried by general court-martial for drunkenness and assaulting his superior officer. He was sentenced to 4 years hard labour. Upon release he took on the name George Spencer and married under this name in Kyneton in 1862, having been working on farms in Malmsbury. They had several children and in 1871 moved to Arcadia VIC. George died in 1874 intestate after making efforts to located his son John in 1871. The court case was over John’s claim to Joseph’s estate but George’s Spencers parents are given as John SPENCER and Mary Gleed born Suffolk At death in 1874 George’s Spencers parents are given as John SPENCER and Mary Gleed born Suffolk, and there is a John RAYNER who married a Mary Gleed on Suffolk in 1827 in Kersey Suffolk who had a son Joseph in 1828. A marriage between a Joseph Rayner and Mary MATTHEWS is recorded for Ireland in 1848 and a Joseph Rayner and Mary Matthews had sons William and James in Melbourne in 1854 (died 1854) and 1856 and a son died in 1854 aged 2 born in Cork, which puts the family here at the right time and arriving from Ireland. There are 2 children born in Daylesford for Charles Sing Song and Mary Rayner or Linder in 1864 and 1867 and there are some earlier births that may be the same family but the mother is given as Polly Leonard. Mary died in 1891 in Hepburn. I found an article in the Sydney Morning Herald of 18/12/1854 about the trials after the eureka stockade where Joseph Rayner of the 40th Regiment was a witness. The Argus article of 30/8/1877 described how Joseph/George contacted a George Groves a warder at the Castlemaine gaol to help him find his son John; George supposedly having served with Joseph in the 40th regiment in Ireland and VIC.


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Last revised: Thursday, 27 May 2010 05:12:12