Ezra and Mary Barham Westneat

The modern day history of the Westneat family begins in April of 1811 when William Westnot a tailor in Bourn marries Mary Ann Miller in nearby Kingston.  It is not unusual that young William would meet and marry a woman from Kingston as that is where his family roots were the deepest. After the ceremony, the young couple returned to Bourn to live.  The next year, on 23 Feb 1812, Mary Ann gave birth to their first child, Ezra Westnot.  Ezra grew up in the East Anglia country of England where he learned the trade of gardener.

At some point as a young man, Ezra made his way to London where he lived and found employment as a gardener. In 1842, Ezra married Matilda Harmer at St. George Hanover Sq, London. They had a daughter who either died in childbirth or shortly after in 1843. The daughter Matilda is buried at St. George Hanover Sq. Then in 1845, Ezra's wife Matilda died and is buried with their daughter at St. George Hanover Sq, London.

The next year, Ezra married Mary Barham and the couple remained married for the rest of their lives. In 1847, Mary gave birth to twins, John and Elizabeth, again at St. George Hanover Sq, London. But, London in 1849 was a city that was filthy, plagued, criminal and filling up with refugees from the Irish Potato Famine and the revolutionary wars on the continent...but it is on the brink of reform as stations are built, rioters pardoned and the Great Exhibition planned. Throughout the sticky summer the people of London obsessed over the fate of the Manning murder case which unfolded in London at the time: crime, noise, cholera, over packed slums, prostitution, law and order, prisons, fashion, shopping, finance, transport, Karl Marx and Charles Dickens.  It was the worst of Queen Victoria's reign. With the death of his young wife and daughter earlier and his brother Ephraim having been transported to Australia for "embezzlement" and his other brother Peter killed in action in India, is it any wonder that Ezra and Mary made the decision to find a better life out of the London squalor? 

By the spring of 1849, Ezra and Mary made the decision to join Ephraim in Australia. By this time, Ephraim had served his time and was a free man. By 1849, the transportation of convicts to Botany Bay had all but ceased. The Australian Colony was now seeking solid, skilled English labor to emigrate and help build the economy and society. The Government was even willing to subsidize the trip. Ezra applied for Assisted Immigration and was accepted.  Thus, they left behind what they must have believed was a wretched life with two small children and Mary pregnant again. In early July of 1849 they arrived in the port town of Plymouth, England.

Page 1