Information supplied by Colette Chinn email@example.com
William joined from Europe the 46th Regiment of Foot (South Devonshire) . The Regiment left England on the ship "Marquis of Wellington" from Dorset on 1 Sept 1814 with 200 convicts on board. The Regiment arrived in the colony of NSW on 27 January 1815 having travelled via Madeira, Rio. This party joined those of the Regiment who had arrived in the colony in February 1814. (William stated, on a letter in the Archives in Hobart that he arrived on the Marquis of Wellington)
In May 1815, a detachment of the regiment was stationed in Hobart TownVan Diemens Land and was called upon to suppress a gang of bushrangers in the interior. Maguire and Burne were subsequently tried and executed.
In 1815, William was listed on the pay list muster of the 46th regiment as a private. On January 12th 1818 William, former soldier of the 46th regiment is listed as proceeding to VDL at the Governments expense per Governor Macquarie. (Colonial Secretaries Index).
Between then and 1822 he was listed on an index to land grants in VDL. On September 17 1818, William married Sarah Gould by licence. Both were listed as free and he was 28 and she 26.
Their first child Bennet was born in 1821, followed by Sarah and later Frances Mary Jane in 1824. (Frances later married Dr John Smith, former surgeon with the NSW Corps and early settler at Port Dalrymple.)
Tragedy struck soon after the birth of Theophilus at Norfolk Plains on the 13 July 1826. Sarah died from the complications of childbirth on July 25 and William committed suicide on July 28.
On the 31st July 1826 Theo was baptised and William and Sarah were buried. Four small children were left orphans.
The Colonial Times of Friday August 4, 1826 wrote Dreadful Event. By letter, which left Launceston on Tuesday, it appears that the wife of Mr. W.F. Baker, a very respected settler residing on the Lake Plains died in childbed. The midwife, it seems was rather intoxicated, and the death of Mrs. Baker is in some measure attributed in consequence, at least such is the report in the neighbourhood. The unfortunate husband took the death of his wife so much to heart, that on the Friday following, he cut his throat, whereby in five minutes afterwards, he became a lifeless corpse alongside his deceased partner leaving four young orphan children (including the new born babe) to lament their loss. The little infant is likely to live.
This was followed on Friday August 11, 1826 by The Unfortunate Mrs. Baker. We last week briefly reported the death of Mrs. Baker in childbed ad the self-destruction of Mr. Baker leaving four orphan children. By private letters since received in Launceston we find that Mrs. Baker died perfectly sensible, and that on the following /Wednesday morning her husband became so deranged that he was put under the care of a friend, Mr. Charles Reid at the particular request of Dr.s Mountgarret and Smith. (This smith later married Frances Baker). About 10 oclock the same evening he attempted to cut his throat but was prevented. After requisite medication being administered and undergoing severe bleeding the surgeons gave positive orders that he was not to be left alone on any account whatever for one moment, but on the Friday after Mr. S. Fentrill was left in the room with him. The unhappy man made an excuse to look at a small box for some papers when he took up a lancet and cutting his throat immediately expired. Thus has terminated the lives of a good hearted married couple and four poor orphans are thrown upon the world. We have however the satisfaction to state that these little innocents have s\found a friend in Captain Ritchie who with Mr. Field are trustees, and who will we trust be joined by other humane persons in contributing to their relief.
The journal of the Land Commissioner in Van Diemens Land 1826 1828 made reference to the deaths of Mr and Mrs Baker
Into Ritchies farm which is part of delightful bend of river, thro Bakers who lately destroyed himself
Baker whose misfortunes first led him to intoxication and the premature death of whose Wife made him put an end to himself, possessed a fine farm on Norfolk Plains, he was scarcely buried when Field, the notorious Field, the King of the Rogues, (bought?) the farm together with Ritchie and taken possession of it, the plea of the tenderhearted creatures, these exemplary Christians, is, that they have secured the property for the benefit of the orphans, God help them, if no one succours them but Field and Ritchie, let Mr Ritchie be asked how he did act towards the unfortunate Eldridge ..
Williams son Bennett lived until 1871 and his daughter Frances eventually married Dr John Smith on the 23 December 1842. They had seven children, including a William and a Sarah.
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