John George Blantyre Gowlland  (1867? – 1908)


For most of 2006 we were accumulating information on John George Blantyre Gowlland, whose son Reginald was an integral part of one of the two Trees which Geoffrey Gowlland was unable to attach to the main Tree [see Loose Ends para  ].  We knew of John George Blantyre through his 1908 death certificate (click here).  The search was centred mainly in Tasmania, Australia; but spread to other locations.   Valuable assistance was given by Julia Lord.

John George Blantyre’s son was Reginald Blantyre Gowlland (1893 - ?) about whom we possess a considerable amount of knowledge.  Reginald’s son has prepared a memoir of him, which is fascinating as he had an extremely interesting life.  Some documentation regarding him exists, including BMD certificates, his 1901 census entry whilst at boarding school (at the age of seven) and his medal card from the National Archives.

However, the objective was to integrate John George Blantyre Gowlland with the main Tree.   This section accordingly begins with some brief biographical notes on him.. 

We know John George Blantyre was married three times  The second of his marriages (here) was in 1892 to Annetta Regina Lotinga (23 – spinster - daughter of Isaac Lotinga, gentleman, deceased) and the only child of this marriage was Reginald Blantyre Gowlland.   Reginald passed on the information that Annette’s father Isaac was a stockbroker in Hove who travelled daily to London by train.   This marriage ended in divorce in 1896

Annetta Regina Lotinga subsequently remarried a Michael Riney Ring, in January 1900 (here).  Annetta described herself as "27 - widow - daughter of Isaac Lotinga, gentleman, deceased".  Why the description "widow"?  John George was certainly not dead, but had apparently gone to Australia.

After the 1896 divorce, John George became a ship’s doctor, having been in his youth a medical student in Edinburgh (although it is thought that he never finished the course): he seems to have moved back to Australia/New Zealand.  He subsequently remarried (see the 1901 birth certificate below).  Reginald reported that as a boy he had received letters from his father’s third wife (from New Zealand, he believed), and she even sent him presents.

The various elements of this particular line are set out below in chronological sequence, which I think is more clear and shows how one discovery led to another.


1825  8th February            Ann Gowland (presumed convict) aged twenty-four arrives from London on SS "Henry"  -  sentence of 7 years

                                             [The "Henry" had sailed on 12th October 1824.  For convicts' arrivals in Tasmanian ports, click here, and for departures click here.

                                            Volunteers contactable here]


c1826                                  John Gowland born in England (see death certificate of 6/5/1867 below)


1833  31st July                  John Gowland (convict) aged twenty-eight arrives from Portsmouth on the SS "Enchantress"  -  sentenced to

                                            transportation for life.

                                            [Recently received from Tasmania are several documents relating to John, his repeated misdemeanours and the punishments

                                            he received for them (three days' bread and water, seven days treadwheel, twelve months hard labour in chains etc) and it is hoped

                                            to publish these within the next few weeks.  Regrettably the most interesting document, the Description List per "Enchantress"

                                            is virtually illegible  -  apart from his age and sentence, nothing else can clearly be made out.  It is possible that his place of

                                            sentence was Lancaster Assizes, and his place of birth was Belton (not very helpful as there are at least four Beltons in

                                            England), but nothing else can be deciphered.  Another documents is much clearer and tells us he was a bookbinder by trade,

                                            5ft 7.1/2 inches tall, with fresh complexion, large head, reddish whiskers, medium height forehead, reddish eyebrows, grey eyes,

                                            small nose and short chin]


1841  Census                    Ann Gowland (40) living at St James Place, parish of St Maurice, York - here

                                            [Also Richard (15), William (12), George (10), Joseph (8) and Mary (6)  -  all stated to have been born in Yorkshire.  But if this,

                                            as appears to be the case, is the the same person as the Ann Gowland transported in 1825, birth year about 1801, the two older

                                            children at least were born in Tasmania]


1843  11th April                 John Gowland (convict) arrives from Spithead, England, on the SS "John Renwick" [see next-but-one entry] 

                                            from the convict records we have, it appears he is not the same person as the 1833 convict.                                             

                                            The "John Renwick" had sailed on 7th December 1842]


1851  Census                    Ann Gowland (53 - widow) living at Rectory Building, parish of St Dennis, York - here

                                            [Also Sarah (23 - dressmaker), Joseph (18 - agricultural labourer) and Sarah Ann (8 - grand-daughter).  Of extreme interest is the

                                            "where born" for Ann, which looks like Rawcliffe  -  see entry below for 31st October 1902]


1853  26th May                  John Gowland (convict), originally arrived on SS “John Renwick”, leaves per SS “Clarence” from Launceston

                                           – “free by servitude”  -  in steerage class.


1858  28th January           George Gowland marries Eliza Page - here

                                            [This is almost certainly John's brother, born, according to the 1841 census, in 1831 - a stone-mason, like his brother]


1861  Census                    Ann Gowland (65 - widow) living at Dove Street  in an extraordinarily cramped dwelling house - here

                                            [With her is Charles Hinsley (24 - son-in-law - occupation Smith - born Doncaster).  Ann again describes herself as "widow"

                                            but there is no documentation stating that she ever married]


1861                                   Ann Blantyre (age 17) arrives on Assisted Passage per SS "Aurora Australis"

                                            [As a minor, Ann's arrival on an Assisted Passage strongly indicates that she was a convict -  reel 14-1, page Q3, ref B7/18]


1861  1st July                    Ann Blantyre (17 - single - illiterate) marries Joseph Nichols (26 - single - marine) - here

                                           [This marriage took place in Chalmers Free Presbyterian Church, Bathurst Street, Hobart: one witness was a Nichols but there was no

                                            Blantyre witness present]


1861  23rd July                 John Gowland's last Will and Testament  -  here.

                                           [This has been transcribed - a particularly long and onerous task.  But it yielded the vital information about John's mother and

                                           siblings, and this enabled the census entries for 1841/51/61 to be positively identified]


1867   15th January         John George Gowland born to John Gowland (builder) and Ann Gowland, formerly Blantyre (illiterate) - here

                                           [The birth certificate shows the location of the birth as Harrington Street.  The 1867 List of Hobart Residents shows John Gowland at

                                           110 Harrington Street.  No marriage certificate for John Gowland and Ann Blantyre has so far been traced  -  probably they were not.

                                           Richard Joscelyne points out that in the 1867 birth certificate “no other details of John G B Gowlland are recorded, [and so]

                                           he may have been a new migrant" ]


1867   6th May                  John Gowland dies (41 - builder - born England - died Harrington Street)  - here.                                     

                                           [The certificate states his birth place only as "England": it would have been invaluable had it been more precise.  The cause of

                                           death is given as "1.  Phlegmonous crysipelas of face and mouth.  2. Oedema of lungs".  "Crysipelas" is an archaic medical

                                           term (see here) and the present-day name is "Erysipelas" - a skin disease characterised by large raised red patches on the

                                           face and legs.  Authorities vary, but several suggest that these two causes of premature death are typical of the industrial

                                           injury caused by the silica dust resulting from working with stone.  Reg 35 - ref 6742].


1867                                  John Gowland's Codicil to his Will, and Probate  -  here.

                                           [Ann Blantyre would seem to have become, as a result of John's death, a young woman of property  - one may hope that the

                                           protective clauses inserted in the Will would shielded her inheritance from William Russell (see below) whom she presumably married

                                           very soon]


1868  31st March             Joseph James Gowland dies (4 months - stonemason's child - informant Jane Gowland of Harrington St) - here

                                           [The May 1867 date of John Gowland's death clearly shows that he cannot be the father of this child; and this leads to the conclusion

                                            that Jane may either (a) have married one of John's brothers, or (b) be John's sister, mentioned in the 1867 Will]


1869   24th May                Miriam Russell born to William Russell (dealer) and Ann Nichols, formerly Blantyre  -  here                   

                                           [No mention of the dead John and so she probably wasn't married to him]


1883  1st July                   John Gowland died (85 - labourer - "decay of nature" - informant undertaker), in Longford - here.

                                            [Reg 35 - ref 472.  Could this be the John Gowland who was sentenced to transportation for life in 1822, aged twenty-eight?]


1892  20th August            John George Blantyre Gowlland (24 - medical student - father John George Gowlland, railway contractor

                                            deceased) married Annetta Regina Lotinga (23 - spinster - father Isaac Lotinga, deceased) in Kensington - here

                                           [John George has acquired a second "L" in his surname - why?  Was it because he knew there were prosperous and successful

                                            Gowllands in New South Wales and he wished to be associated with them; or was it because he found out that his grandfather

                                            or great-grandfather had been a two-L Gowlland in England?]


1893   3rd May                   Reginald Blantyre Gowlland born to John George Blantyre - click here for birth certificate.

                                             [Note that the father's occupation is shown as "Medical Student" and he has acquired "St George" to add to his first names.             .                                            In the baptism certificate of 1st November, Reginald's middle name is clearly shown as "Blacklock"],


1894  13th November       George John Gowland (adult - gentleman) married Ada Elizabeth Page (adult - spinster) in Launceston - here

                                            [In 1858 George Gowland (see above) married Eliza Page  -  same surname  -  coincidence or not?   Ada was born in Hobart,

                                            Tasmania on 31st July 1860 to James Page and Jane née Rush - per IGI]


1896                                   John George Blantyre Gowlland divorce petition against Annetta Regina Gowlland - here

                                            [After the divorce, John became a ship's doctor, having been in his youth a medical student at Edinburgh (although it is thought that

                                            he never finished the course), and it was said that he moved back to Australia/New Zealand]


1897                                    Divorce came to court in February - for wife's evidence as reported in "Lloyds Weekly Newspaper" click here

                                            [The claim that he was the "amateur boxing champion of Australia" cannot be verified elsewhere.


1901 12th September      John George Blantyre Gowlland married Lucy Alberta "formerly Attenborough, late Robinson" at St Patrick's,

                                            Melbourne, Victoria [see next entry]


1902 31st October           Doris Alberta Gowlland born in Sydney, New South Wales, to John George Blantyre-Gowlland (33 - formerly

                                            physician and surgeon - born Rawcliffe Grange, near York, England - previous issue - nil) and Lucy Alberta

                                            (formerly Attenborough, late Robinson - born Castlemaine, Victoria) - here

                                           [Rawcliffe, Yorkshire, does exist, but no birth in that area in the name of "Gowland", "Gowlland" or "Blantyre" is recorded for the years

                                           1865 - 1875 and there seems little doubt this entry is mendacious, inspired perhaps by his grandmother's place of birth - see the 1851

                                           census entry above.  Note John George had now acquired "Blantyre" and hyphenated his surname.  And he has progressed from

                                           medical student to physician & surgeon]


                                            From November 1936 (click here) we have this record of Doris Alberta Gowlland, described as "Secretary  - 

                                            last permanent address Sydney  -  Australian nationality", sailing from Sydney to the USA.  


1908 18th March               John George Blantyre Gowlland died (39 - general medical practitioner L.R.C.P. L.M.C.S - "angina pectoris,

                                            bronchitis and heart failure" - informant R B Blantyre Gowlland, son)  - here            

                                            [And now John George has acquired two medical degrees, despite never having finished his medical degree course at Edinburgh!]


                                            But see  -  apparently he was still alive in 1913.  Another mystery.


1909                                    Lucy Alberta Gowlland (widow) marries Cecil Danforth Greenwood.  [From N Z Archives opened in March 2009]


1914  2nd March               Reginald Blantyre Gowlland (20 - bachelor - independent means) married Clara Eleanor Jordan (17 - spinster)

                                          -  here

                                            [The deceased John George Blantyre Gowlland is now described as "Doctor of Medicine".  The "eighteen" outside the right

                                            margin is simply showing where column seven was amended  -  this is standard procedure with these certificates]


1915  11th December      Reginald Blantyre enlists  in the 30th Training Regiment.  His military service lasted almost exactly one year,

                                            and he was discharged by reason of sickness on 1st December 1916 (click here for his medal card).


And more certificates exist, for living individuals  -  they are not entirely straightforward, either.


But the clear conclusion of all this is that John George Blantyre Gowlland is not one of "our" Gowllands.  


All the evidence at present to hand is that he and his forebears came from York, and had no connection with the Joseph Gowlland / Susannah Maple marriage which, so far, is the earliest known mention of our two-L Gowllands.  


Furthermore, as Reginald's son points out, John George was a Roman Catholic, as was his son and is his grandson, and this would have have been anathema to the previous Gowllands who were rabidly non-conformist and Protestant (Geoff Gowlland confirmed in 1952/3 that this was his belief).


So why publish his biography? 


Firstly, because he and the two generations after him are two-L Gowllands.  It seems more than likely that in fact they are not entitled to the second L, but conceivably an eighteenth-century connection may emerge.


And, secondly, because the quest for John George's ancestry has been of the greatest interest and, as will be seen from the above, he and his branch of the family seem to have lived a more colourful life than most of those on "our" side.

And, finally, we have four more Tasmanian certificates which at the moment don’t fit but which we are continuing to attempt to place:-

1858            Marriage          George Gowland / Eliza Page                                     Hobart 

1894            Marriage          George John Gowland / Ada Elizabeth Page            Launceston 

1868            Death              Joseph James Gowland            4 months                    Hobart            [Note mother’s name is given as Jane] 

1883            Death              John labourer Gowland            85                                 Longford


In November 2017 we came across a compilation of articles about him - click here.


(Source  -  J G Gowlland October 2006, with valuable input from Julia Lord)