ALLEN, Crawford (Snr.) born April 1819, Ireland & ADAMS, Jessie born 30 January 1825

Page updated 10 July 2020

Much research has been devoted to the story of the life of Crawford ALLEN (Jnr.) in an endeavour to show his place in the ANDERSON family of NSW, Australia.

Many hours of diligent investigation and enquiry lead us to believe that we now have a story to tell.

It is a complicated story to be sure, to be sure......

NOTE: Some of the details on these family lines have been provided by other researchers - some have been extracted from various online sites and some have been proven by the relevant documentation.

Anyone with additions or alterations please contact me.

Once you have read the following very confusing tale, have a look at a more simple 4 Generation Descendant Chart by clicking here.

And please keep in mind that it is a "work in progress".......!


The story begins of course with Crawford ALLEN Snr. born April 1819 in Co. Galway, Ireland and Jessie ADAMS born 30 January 1825.

[His parents were Samuel ALLEN born 11 May 1778 died 16 October 1827 and Margaret EWANS born c1786 died 20 February 1851 (death details from Memorial Tablet, Greyfriars, Edinburgh, Scotland).

Jessie's parents were John ADAMS born c1791 Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland died 30 April 1867 Portobello, Scotland and Alison CHRISTISSON born 27 February 1794 Oldhamstocks, Midlothian, Scotland. Her death details are not known.

The parents of Margaret EWANS were Alexander EWANS and Margaret STEWART. Margaret was born c1745, died 6 March 1820.

Parents of John ADAMS were John ADAMS (Snr.) b. c1750 and Giles INGLIS.]

Crawford ALLEN and Jessie ADAMS were married 27 July 1848, Edinburgh Parish, Scotland..

Jessie died 3 January 1897 - Crawford died 11 April 1898; they are both buried Kilconnell Churchyard, Co. Galway, Ireland

Children of Crawford ALLEN and Jessie nee ADAMS were:
1. Alice born c1850 died 1 April 1936 Dublin, Ireland married 1875 Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Ireland to Marmaduke Backhouse died 30 August 1927 Dublin, Ireland.

2. Jane born 14 April 1851 Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Ireland died 26 October 1875 Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Ireland buried Ahascragh near Ballinasloe, Co. Galway married 13 June 1872, Kilconnell, Co. Galway, Ireland to William Adams Purves born c1845 Maitland, NSW, christened 14 Jun 1846 Macquarie County, New South Wales, Australia, died 11 January 1880 Portobello, Scotland buried Ahascragh near Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

3. Jessie born c1852 Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Ireland died Northwich, Cheshire, England March 1882 buried 22 March 1882 Witton-cum-Twambrooks, Cheshire, England married 13 June 1872 to Thomas George Kerans, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Ireland born October 7, 1839 Ahascragh, Co. Galway Occupation - Doctor died June 1, 1921 (aged 81) Cheltenham Gloucestershire England. (Jane & Jessie married same day, same church).

4. Crawford born 09 May 1855 Caramana, County Galway, Ireland. Information from Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh on May 24, 1855: "At Caramana, county Galway Ireland, on the 9th current, the wife of Crawford ALLEN, a son".

5. It is also possible/likely that there was a 4th sister Eliza ALLEN born c1858 as shown on 1881 Census Scotland to be "niece of Eliza ADAMS" (b c1819 never married) - 2nd wife of Lyons Kerans, brother of Thomas George Kerans, married 1898.


A note in the possession of descendants is believed to be from Crawford's sister Jane who by the time she wrote the note had been married to William Adams Purves. The marriage was celebrated on 13 June 1872 in the Parish Church at Kilconnell, Co. Galway, Ireland. Her husband W A Purves was born in 1845, Maitland, N.S.W., Australia.

William Adams Purves had graduated as B.A. at Sydney University and been called to the bar by the English Society of the Middle Temple (England) on 13 April 1872. December 1872 he was admitted by the Chief Justice Mr Attorney General to the bar of New South Wales.

The note written by Jane to Crawford was dated 4 August 1872 - no envelope has been sighted and the folded pages did not include the surname of sender. Address of sender was 41 Torrington Square - presumed to be London...... UK Census for 1871 for that address does not shed any light as far as we can tell.

An intriguing section of the note states "A Greater Villian (sic) never lived to treat you as he did. Poor Jane."

Another snippet is at the end of the note "P.S. Willies sends you a knife with his love. & ???? (illegible)".

Much thought has gone into what this is all about with nothing being agreed upon!

Possibly "Willies" is Jane's new husband William....?
Sending him a "knife".....?

Crawford's sister Jane wrote him the note from London in August 1872; by December 1872 her husband William Adams Purves was living and practising as a Barrister in Sydney, NSW. Nothing is known as to whether or not she remained in the UK or came to Australia with her husband and then returned to the UK.

NOTE: whether she came to Australia or not, on 21 October 1875 she had a daughter Jane Alice Purves, born in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Ireland. The baby did not survive, neither did her mother. Jane Purves died on 26 October 1875, baby Jane Alice died 14 December 1875. Mother and baby were interred in the St Catherine's Church Cemetery at Ahascragh near Ballinasloe. They share (with husband William Adams Purves d.11 Jan 1880, Portobello, Scotland) a quite grand final resting place, while there is a Memorial Marker in the Greyfriars Private Cemetery, Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland.

NOTE: further research (see Trove entry below re their departure from Sydney in 1875) has revealed that Jane did travel to Australia in August 1872 with her husband William Adams Purves on the "Sobraon" from London arriving 19 October 1872 at Port Philip, Melbourne, Victoria.

The ship's passenger list shows Mr and Mrs Purves, Miss Purves (William's sister Alice) and William's cousin Miss Whiteside.

William, Jane and Alice departed Hobson's Bay on 30 October 1872 on the Coastal Steamer "City of Adelaide" arriving in Sydney 1 November 1872.

William's cousin, Miss Whiteside (could this be Lucy Whiteside?) was not mentioned on the passenger list departing Hobson's Bay or arriving Sydney.

An entry on the NLA website Trove shows that on March 30th 1874 a premature daughter was stillborn while the family was living at "Rathglasse", Tupper Street, Stanmore, Sydney, NSW.

Further details show an entry on Trove for an Auction of the whole of the familie's "superior furniture and effects" at their "Rathglasse" property on Tuesday 2 March 1875.

On either 3 or 5 March 1875 (difficult to read on the Trove newspaper entry) Mr and Mrs W A Purves set out for London, England aboard the "Hydaspes".

The dates suggest that Jane was expecting their 2nd child when they made the journey to England.


Whatever the strange words in the note mean and for whatever reason, at age 22 Crawford left his home in Galway, Ireland and headed for Australia.

On 31 December 1874 he boarded the ship "Loch Eck" in Glasgow, Ireland and arrived in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 15 April 1875. He was 22 years of age and shown on the Passenger List as "Gentleman".

NOTE: what unhappy timing! Crawford Allen arrived in Melbourne, Victoria 15 April 1875, just over 1 month after his sister Jane and her husband had departed for London 3 or 5 March 1875. Who knows what transpired between that date and the next time we have information on him...?

There is one and only one, located record of a Crawford ALLEN as an Engineer (stated on a particular BDM certificate) that could possibly relate to him working for a short period in NSW - "On probation" for the NSW Public Works - Roads - from 3 June 1875 resigned 2 August 1875. (NOTE: this could be a red herring...!)

Does it have any bearing that his oldest sister Alice was married to Marmaduke Backhouse, celebrated Civil Engineer in Ireland - maybe Crawford had begun a career along those lines which had been left behind when he emigrated Down Under...?

Family lore tells us that in 1882 Crawford ALLEN fathered a son named Crawford Eric Leslie ANDERSON whose birth is said to have occurred in Berwick, Victoria. The mother of the child was a married woman - Emily Augusta Wood Anderson ANDERSON - yes her maiden name was Anderson, and her married name was also ANDERSON. Despite untiring scouring of endless genealogy sites no record of this birth has been located.

A handwritten entry in a very small diary, believed to possibly have belonged to Crawford Allen himself, notes the birth of Crawford Leslie (the Christian name Eric is not shown in the entry) on 29 August 1881, no place of birth was noted.

Research has shown that Emily ANDERSON aged 16, married her cousin William ANDERSON aged 22 in 1873 in Sydney, NSW. For whatever reason it seems there may have been no issue from their union, possibly the cousin situation could offer an explanation?

However, it seems they did not divorce.

Somehow Emily came to be in Victoria, somehow she came to meet Crawford ALLEN, and somehow between them a son was born who they named Crawford Eric Leslie Anderson. (NOTE: shown on a BDM transcription as Crawford Eric Leslie ALLEN - known as ANDERSON).

What happened in the next few years...? Apart from the fact it is believed he managed to meet Emily Augusta ANDERSON and father Crawford Eric Leslie in 1882 in Berwick, Victoria - we don't know.

He arrived Melbourne, Vic. as a "Gentleman" in 1875 and by May 1885 he was charged with Forgery and Uttering at Wagga Wagga, NSW.

Thomas Fletcher, alias Crawford ALLEN, was charged with this offence.

The very long report sounds confusing, but the upshot was that even though he had been working in Albury and had been paid off after completing a contract for doing up the Albury Cemetery, various complications (possibly due to drink) meant he had lost his swag containing his money and one thing led to another.....

(NOTE: following text is from the official report. This is of interest, lending credence to his being the son of Crawford ALLEN with sisters Alice, Jane and Jessie, and possibly Eliza, the surname ADAMS was his mother's maiden name.) "for the arrest of the prisoner, who gave his name as Thomas Fletcher; he did not give the name of ADAMS, or Crawford ALLEN."

He received a sentence of 9 months H.L. (Albury) in July 1885 and was discharged 14 April 1886.

Another child was born to Emily Augusta ANDERSON - Myrtle Jane (came to be known as Linda/Lynda as did not like the name Jane) 4 December 1887, 225 King Street, Newtown, Sydney, NSW. A record does exist for this birth and name of father is shown as William. Was this a deceptive entry by Emily...?

This record has now been obtained and muddies the waters even more!

It states the father of the child was William ANDERSON, occupation drover, birthplace Galway, Ireland, age 31. We know that William ANDERSON was a clerk/accountant and was born in St Peters Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands and was born 1851 which would make him 36.

We know that Crawford ALLEN was a drover, born Galway, Ireland, age 31 (born 1856).

It also states that he (William ANDERSON or Crawford ALLEN?) and Emily Augusta Anderson were married 14 September 1879 in Richmond, Victoria. No record found.

It also states that Emily Augusta formerly Anderson, was born Brunswick, Victoria. No record found. Her age was shown to be 28 born - c.1859 - she was born 1857.

From records we can see that Crawford ALLEN was released from Albury Gaol 14 April 1886. It appears he has come back to Emily as Myrtle was born 4 December 1887.

How confusing....!

In 1894 another daughter was born to Emily - Murial Alice Anderson - once again - no record has been located.

A second handwritten entry in the small family diary shows the birth of Muriel (using her pet name of "Wink") on 27 August 1893. Once again, no place of birth is mentioned. To date no official entries for Crawford Eric Leslie or Muriel Alice have been located.

In October 1899 Crawford was charged with assault and threatening in Newtown, Sydney.

Wherever Crawford has been for the past few years, it seems he has become aware that Emily, possibly mother of his children, has married again. Although still married to her husband William Anderson, in 1898 she became Mrs Scates when she married Charles Durham SCATES in Redfern, Sydney, NSW.

Possibly he may have thought she wouldn't, couldn't marry him while remaining wed to William Anderson....?

He then finds that his children (NOTE: if they are proven to belong to him) aged 16, 11 & 4 now have a step-father....! Why wouldn't he be angry!

The assault took place in a shop belonging to Charles and Emily in King Street, Newtown. Crawford ALLEN was found guilty and served 3 months gaol being released 29 January 1900...... Gaol records show that he had a tattoo on his left forearm - C.A. with 3 dots.

We then think he may have gone droving or working around the bush. Electoral Rolls 1906 - 1917 show him in and around the Wangaratta vicinity of Victoria. (NOTE: a descendant remarked that Emily "was unlucky in love - her husband may have been a sea captain or a drover". In actual fact her father was a sea captain and it appears her paramour may have gone a-droving...).

In 1914 Crawford ALLEN was tried at Wangaratta, Vic., charged with igniting flammable material and sentenced to 14 days. Mention of a tattoo of the initials C.A. on the left forearm identify him as definitely the same Crawford ALLEN. Wangaratta is approximately 12 miles from the Glenrowan area stated on the Electoral Rolls for him which puts him in the right place at the right time.

He is shown on the Electoral Rolls for Victoria, Australia at Myrrhee (43 kms 27 miles from Benalla) 1906, 1909, 1912, 1913 and at Glenrowan in 1914, 1915, 1916 & 1917.

There are two known items on the NSW Police Gazette
1. Crawford ALLEN b1856 Residence 12 February 1919 Sydney Missing friends Crawford ALLEN age 63 years inquiry of the instance of Sarah Cooper. Currawang House Via Goulburn".

2. 12 FEB 1919 Page 82. MISSING FRIENDS. Inquiries requested to trace the present whereabous of Crawford Allan, 63 years of age, tall, thin build, very grey hair, clean shaved except moustache, thin face, grey eyes, stooped shoulders. In reduced circumstances through illness and drink. Left Goulburn on 31st December last for Sydney, and stayed at the Central Methodist Refuge, 7 Nicholson-Street, Woolloomooloo, on the 17th and 18th ultimo, and may be found at some of the lodging-houses about the city; carried a wicker carry-all. Inquiry at the Instance of Sara Cooper, Currawang House, South Currawang, via Goulburn.

Research into Sara Cooper has not revealed anything.

Nothing more is known of him.

We believe he was from a very good family back in Ireland, may have been the only son, who knows why he ended up so differently to his sisters who all married extremely well.

Research continues!

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