Howdenshire History

Emigration: Howden & Area, Yorkshire to Australia

I have been researching local history for over 30 years and, even before the age of the internet, I was contacted by people from all over the globe whose ancestors were from Howden and the surrounding villages. My own ancestors emigrated to the Port Hope area of Ontario, Canada in 1832 and from the letters I have read they knew several local families who had also settled in Ontario over the previous 10 years.

This project lists some of the families who began life in Yorkshire but who moved to many different parts of the world. I have used various sources. I have researched some of these families myself but although I have tried to check everything, some of the information below is from secondary sources. Therefore, please use it with caution.


Newham - Stephenson - Tindall - Leek - Crow - Steele


Some emigrants to Australia were transported there after conviction for a crime, usually in the early 1800s. Others emigrated voluntarily for a better life. I have listed convicts first.


Richard Newham:   Howden to Australia

Richard Newham may have come originally from the Duffield/Wressle area. He was born c.1758, had married Mary Simpson, and had at least four children. He was charged in 1799 with the theft of two quarters of oats and bran at Howden, the property of Robert Dickons, druggist. He was then described as Dicky (otherwise Richard) Newham of Howden victualler.

Two years later, and by now a butcher of Howden, he was found guilty at York assizes of stealing three ewes and two lambs from Richard Blanchard.

He was tried on the 7th March 1801 at York Assizes and sentenced to be hanged, but this was commuted to 14 years' transportation. He spent time on the convict hulk Captivity and arrived in Australia on 11 March 1803 on the Glatton.

Richard Newham married convict Mary Burnet, nee Beasley, in 1807. He was indentured to Samuel Marsden, pardoned on 31st March 1813, and was granted a plot of land at Emu Plains. He died on 2nd February 1838 aged 63 at Cartwright's Creek , N.S.W., Australia, and is buried at Goulburn.





William Stephenson:   Balkholme to Australia

William was the son of Robert Stephenson and Mary Hill and was christened at Howden. The family probably lived at Balkholme. It appears that he was transported to New South Wales. He married Mary L'Andre in 1818 and they had a family of 17 children. When he died he had 72 grandchildren. He died at Goulburn, New South Wales in 1876 and was buried in Crookwell cemetery.





John Tindall:   Willitoft to Australia

John Tindall was born in Willitoft on the 11th November 1779, the son of John and Frances Tindall nee Hawkins.  He married Charlotte Thompson on the 2nd December 1802 in Bubwith.

On the 15th July 1809 he was tried for burglary at York and received the death sentence, which was later commuted to transportation for life. He was found guilty of stealing two quarters of linseed and two sacks, the property of Thomas Gilliam of Church Fenton. He was said to have been part of a gang. John was transported from England on the Indian on 18 July 1810.  The Indian arrived in Australia on the 16th December 1810.

His wife Charlotte followed him and arrived in Sydney on the 10th October 1811 aboard the Friends. She presumably brought their four children, although if the death dates are correct the three eldest died in 1815. They had a further five children born in Australia.

John was granted a ticket of leave on the 16th January 1812. 

John and Charlotte's children were:

John Tindall 1803 – 1815
Frances (Fanny) Tindall 1805 – 1815
Thomas Tindall  1805 – 1815
Hannah Tindall 1806 – 1879
William Tindall  1812 – 1877
George Tindall 1815 – 1881
John Tindal  1817 – 1877
Charlotte Tindall 1820 – 1890
Michael Tindall 1822 - 1874





Foster Leek:   Wressle to Tasmania

Foster Leek was born at Wressle where his father Charles Leek was a tilemaker at the brickyard. In 1871 he married Harriet Firth and around 1884 they emigrated to Tasmania.

Harriet died in Tasmania in 1908. The following obituary appeared in The Advocate on 14th December 1908:

On Saturday afternoon Mrs. Foster Leek, wife of the caretaker of the Mersey Bluff, passed quietly away at the age of 62 years. Deceased had enjoyed robust health until recent years, when heart trouble became pronounced and latterly she was a victim of dropsy and she lay in a precarious state of health for some three months. She leaves a widower and one married son (resident on the East Coast). Deceased was generally respected and esteemed and the afflicted husband will have the sympathy of a wide circle of friends. Mr. and Mrs. Leek were married over 37 years ago in Yorkshire and 24 years ago came to Tasmania. Mr. Leek was for many years a member of the Tasmanian police force."

A further article appeared in the North West Post on 14th December 1908:

"LEEK – On 12th inst. at the Bluff , Devonport, Harriet, beloved wife of Foster Leek and daughter of the late John and Ann Firth of Marlpit Farm, Pontefract, Yorkshire, England, aged 62 years. The funeral will take place at the Bluff Cemetery, at 3 o’clock this afternoon."


Foster Leek died in 1920. The Advocate published the following obituary on 25th October 1920:

"The death occurred at the Launceston Hospital on Saturday of Foster Leek, who for the past 16 years has lived at the Mersey Bluff, where he had tea rooms and became known to local residents and tourists by means of the museum and many curios, which he kept on the premises. Mr. Leek had come to be inevitably associated with the Bluff and his decease will be a loss to the town. Deceased, who was 74 years of age, was born in Yorkshire, England and immigrated first to New Zealand, where he joined the mounted police force and participated in the Maori wars. He subsequently entered the territorial police force in Tasmania and remained an officer until the retiring age. His wife predeceased him about 8 years ago. The funeral takes place this afternoon at 4 p.m. at the Bluff Cemetery."





The Crow Family:   Howden to Australia

William Crow snr (b. 1746, Laxton) married Mary Leighton at Howden on the 27th August 1770. They lived at Hailgate, Howden after marriage, where William worked as a brewer. Their son, William Crow jnr (1779 - 1857), followed in his father's footsteps and also became a brewer. Another son, Robert Crow, was born about 1789.

On 20th June 1820 at Whitgift, Robert Crow married Mary Ibbetson. Mary Ibbetson had been born in Old Goole on the 18th July 1790 and was baptised in Hook. Her father was William Ibbetson (bp. 9 Jan 1759, Hook) and her mother was Mary Blackadder; they had married in 1783 in Hook. William Ibbetson died in 1845. 

After marriage, Robert and Mary Crow lived at Bridge Gate, Howden. In 1834 Robert Crow was described as running the King's Head Inn on Bridge Gate, which was owned by his brother William. By 1841 Robert Crow had become a tailor. Mary Crow died in Howden in 1869 and Robert Crow died in Howden in 1870.

Robert and Mary's son, John Crow, was born in Howden around 1828 and emigrated to Australia in 1854. He married a Welsh girl named Bridget and they lived in Bendigo, Victoria, where John Crow worked as a publican.





William Steele:   Howden to Brisbane, Australia

William Steele married Eliza Danby on 26 January 1836 at Holy Trinity, Kingston-upon-Hull. William was a tailor and draper born at North Duffield.

Their son William Steele was christened at Howden, Yorkshire, on 8 January 1840. He trained as a chemist, and emigrated to Brisbane in 1863, being described as a labourer in the passenger list. He prospered as a dispensing chemist and merchant in Brisbane and also as a farmer south of Brisbane.

William married Ann Elizabeth Waldron, a teacher from Aston, Warwick, in Brisbane in 1866. Their eldest son was William Danby Steele, who was born in 1867; next came Frank Spencer Steele, born 1872, and Alfred James Steele, who was born in 1877. Henry Steele, William's younger brother, probably emigrated too and lived in Queensland.

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