Immigrated to Australia without his first wife.


William Rutter was born 7 August 1826 in Ludgvan, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom to James Rutter (1797-?) and Mary Dunstan (1803-?) and died 3 September 1901 in Walhalla, Victoria, Australia of unspecified causes. He married Jane Firstbrook (c1819-1886) 15 June 1853 in St Erth, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom.

First wife abandoned with child

John Firstbrook (father), Thomas Firstbrook (C1822-1900) and Caroline Firstbrook witnessed the marriage of Jane Firstbrook (c1819-1886) to William Rutter (1826-1901) on 15 June 1853 at St.Erth, Cornwall.

The following year, 17 March 1854 William left his wife Jane pregnant with child and sailed for Liverpool on the ship Saldanha, bound for Australia and the gold fields of Victoria, arriving at the Port of Melbourne 16 June 1854; he is subsequently listed as living in Queensland for a year.


Offspring of William Rutter and Jane Firstbrook (c1819-1886)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Nanny Vibert Rutter (1854-?)

Offspring of William Rutter and Eliza Baglin (c1840-1929)
Name Birth Death Joined with
William James Rutter (1858-1913)
Mary Rutter (1861-1929)
Hannah Rutter (1863-1946)
Arthur George Rutter (1866-1915)
Thomas Henry Rutter (1868-1905)
Richard Rutter (1873-1954)
Edward Dunstan Rutter (1875-1903)
John Rutter (1878-1933)
Emily Isabella Rutter (c1880-1881)
Fanny Elizabeth Rutter (c1880-1881)
Eliza Jane Rutter (1881-1971)

From the census records of St.Erth, Cornwall we know that during the ensuing years Jane lived with, or nearby, her family for most of her days;

In June 1853 Jane married William Rutter, he left her for Australia in March 1854. In the same year, on 11 November 1854 Jane’s sister, Ann Firstbrook (married as Jacka) dies and is buried on the same day that Nanny Vibert Rutter (Jane’s daughter with William Rutter) is baptised. Then in 1855 her father died. Jane’s sister, Ann Firstbook left a widower, named Jacka.

In 1861 Jane aged 42 and her daughter, Nanny Vibert Rutter aged 7, are living with her brother Thomas Firstbrook, a grocer; Thomas is unmarried and Jane is listed as his housekeeper. Nanny Vibert (Jane's daughter) is still living with Thomas (Jane's brother) in 1871 but Jane isn’t, but she returns to living with her brother by 1881 having been briefly married to John Edyvean (born 1829). Jane is buried at St. Erth, Cornwall on the 8 August 1886.

In 1891 Jane’s daughter Nanny Vibert Rutter with husband, Richard James Allen, and their two children, Eliza Jane Allen and Nanny Vibert Allen are living with Jane’s brother, Thomas Firstbrook, a grocer aged 67. Thomas Firstbrook was buried at St Erth on 16 January 1900 aged 75.

One possible reason for Jane’s daughter being baptised the same day her sister is buried is that to take a day off work without pay for burials and christenings, which was the practice then would have caused great financial hardship, and to have taken two days off within a short period of time would have been even worse. Also, apparently, in Wales at that time and it may have been the same in Cornwall, woman who had given birth would have to be "Churched" and the child Christened before she would have been able to attend other Church ceremonies e.g. the burial service for her sister, Ann Jacka.

The life of William Rutter

William was born in Ludgvan, Cornwall in 1826. In 1841, at about aged 15 he was living at Crowlas, less than a mile from Ludgvan, no doubt serving an apprenticeship there as a mason. By 1851 he was living back with his parents at Canonstown, listed as a mason. Crowlas is 0.8 miles (1.2 km) east of Ludgvan and Canonstown is 2.7 miles (4.3 km) north east of Ludgcan.

On 15 June 1853 at St.Erth, Cornwall (1.5 miles, 2.4 km east of Canonstown) he married Jane Firstbrook, witnessed by family members on both sides including his father James Rutter, occupation smelter. The following year he left for Australia, alone.

Cornwall the centre of a thriving tin mining industry since the early Bronze Age (over 4000 years earlier) was under severe economic depression by the 1850s, with lots of mines closing. In the middle to late 19 century the Cornish people immigrated in large numbers to the America's, Southern Africa, and Australia; their skills as miners were renowned and sought after by employers. Most men would set out on their own, get established and then send for their wives and family.

William sailed from Liverpool on 17th March 1854 on the ship Saldanha, bound for Australia and the gold fields of Victoria, arriving at the Port of Melbourne on 16th June 1854; he is later listed as living in Queensland, Australia for a year.

In Australia in 1857 William meets Eliza Baglin (1840-1929) and they live as man and wife; the following year, in September 1858, Eliza gives birth to the first of eleven children by William.

Eliza, born in Uley, Gloucestershire, England about 1840 was in the Dursley poorhouse in 1851 aged 11, but four years later, in 1855 at age 15, she immigrates to Victoria, Australia on the ship Stebenheath; possibly through an assisted immigration programme.

On the birth certificate of William and Eliza's first-born they listed St.Erth, Cornwall, England, 1857 as their place and date of marriage. On later entries for their other children they list their marriage as 1857 in Sandhurst, Bendigo, Australia and on one give the date as 15 November 1857. But no record of their marriage has been found for St.Erth, Cornwall, or Sandhurst, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia?

William Rutter and his family move to Walhalla in the gold rush of the 1860's following the discovery of gold in the area in 1863. As a Stonemason by trade William built the historic stone wall in Walhalla; the large stone retaining wall erected to avoid a steep gradient on the original road into the township.

William died on the 3 September 1901 in Walhalla, Victoria, Australia and Eliza died 27 May 1929 in Victoria, Australia.


The Rutter website

External links

Footnotes (including sources)