Reverend James Elphinstone Roe

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Reverend James Elphinstone Roe

Birthdate: (78)
Birthplace: Kirkby on Bain, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: May 3, 1897 (78)
East Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev Thomas Roe; Rev. Thomas Roe; Catherine Sarah Roe nee Elphinstone and Catherine Roe
Husband of Susannah Roe and Susannah Roe
Father of Louisa White; Georgina Alice Roe; Thomas Elphinstone Roe; Dymoke Roe; James Elphinstone Roe 2 and 8 others
Brother of Thomas Roe; Georgina Alice Roe and Catherine Moore nee Roe

Occupation: Clergyman
Managed by: Ian Alexander Stone
Last Updated:

About Reverend James Elphinstone Roe

From Wikipedia: James Elphinstone Roe was born in Kirkby on Bain, Lincolnshire, and baptised there on 18 October 1818. His father was Rev. Thomas Roe, the town's rector, and his mother was Catherine Sarah née Elphinstone. Nothing is known of his childhood, but in June 1836 he began studies at Worcester College, Oxford. During his university years he was a member of the Oxford Movement, an organisation that aimed to return the Church of England to its Catholic roots, and which later collapsed after one of its leaders renounced the Church of England and converted to Catholicism. Although Roe himself remained an Anglican throughout his life, he was often sympathetic to and supportive of Catholic causes, and had a number of Catholic friends.

Roe graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1841, and is thought to have taken his holy orders shortly afterwards. In August 1843, he married Susannah Moore. They would have fourteen children, of which nine survived beyond childhood.

England & Wales Marriage registration index record for James Roe marrying Susannah Moore, July-September quarter 1843, Glanford Brigg registration district, Lincolnshire, Vol. 14, p. 469.

1851 England census - James Roe, 28 (born about 1823), born Lincolnshire, England, Curate Of High Ham. Also in the house: wife Susanna Roe, 26 (born about 1825), born Widdington, Lincolnshire, England, Curate's Wife; daughter Georgina Alice Roe, 6 (born about 1845), born Galleywood, Essex, England, Curate's Daur Scholar; daughter Mary Susan Roe, 1 (born about 1850), born High Ham, Somerset, England, Curate's Daur; daughter Catherine Agnes Roe, 5 months (born about 1851), born High Ham, Somerset, England, Curate's Daur; mother Catherine Sarah Roe, 75 (born about 1776), born Alverstoke, Hampshire, England, widow, Independant; visitor, sister-in-law (wife Susanna's sister) Frances Moore, 24 (born about 1827), born St Peters, Derbyshire, England, Independant; servant Hannah Hobbs, 26 (born about 1825), born Dulverton, Somerset, England, Nurse; servant Sarah Scriven, 29 (born about 1822), born High Ham, Somerset, England, Hous Servant; and servant Hannah Taylor, 21 (born about 1830), born Upperton, Herefordshire, England, Cook.

Address - High Ham, Langport, Somerset, England.

From Wikipedia: In 1861, James Roe was convicted in the Old Bailey of forging a money order. Apparently Roe had expected to be left money by an uncle, Edward Roe, but a cousin had induced the uncle to make a will in the cousin's favour only a week before the uncle's death. After the uncle's death, Roe had produced a money order for £6000 apparently made out to him from the uncle. The cousin challenged the authenticity of the order, and Roe was charged with forgery. The prosecution's case mainly hinged upon evidence suggesting that the date stamp on the envelope in which the money order was claimed to have been sent had been faked. Roe was found guilty and sentenced to ten years' penal labour. According to Rica Erickson, his family always believed in his innocence.

Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 19th August 1861. 665. JAMES ROE (42) , Feloniously forging and uttering a warrant and order for the payment of 6,000l. with intent to defraud. Decision : GUILTY .— Ten Years' Penal Servitude.

Roe was transported to what was then the British penal colony of Western Australia on board the York, arriving in December 1862.

Convict Passenger List record for convict transport York, left Portland, England on October 8, 1862, with 300 convicts and 108 passengers (mainly convict guards and their families), and arrived Fremantle, WA on December 31, 1862.

Reg No. 6709; Name : James Elphinstone Roe; Age : 44; Criminal Offence : Forging a money order; Trial Place : Central Criminal Court; Year : 1861; Term : 10 years; Comments : aka [ELPHINSTONE, John]

Description - Occupation : clerk; Married, nine children; Height : 5' 5 1/4"; Hair : dark brown; Eyes : dark hazel; Face : long; Complexion : pale; Build : middling stout; Distinguishing Marks : none.

He received his ticket of leave in August 1864, and took work as a privately employed schoolmaster at York. Four months later his family arrived in Western Australia on board the Hastings.

Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth, WA), Wednesday 21 December 1864, page 2

Shipping Intelligence.


19 [ie 17 December]. ... — Hastings, 541 tons, Captain McQueen, from London, with general cargo. Passengers — ... Mrs Roe, Miss Roe and 8 children, ...

Roe met his family at Fremantle and immediately escorted them back to York. It is said that Roe's wife refused an offer of hospitality from Bishop Hale's wife Sabina at Fremantle, because the offer did not include her husband. During their time at York, the financial needs of the large family kept Roe and his wife separated. Susannah Roe found work teaching a class in the town, and James Roe worked at the Seven Mile Spring on the road to Guildford, probably also as a teacher.

Roe was probably more highly qualified to teach than anyone else in the colony at the time, but his convict status, especially the fact that he had not yet received his conditional pardon, would normally have precluded him from being offered an official teaching position. However Bishop Hale, who was also chairman of the Board of Education, sympathised with the family's plight, and in 1866 he tried to secure for Roe and his wife a joint appointment to a new school at Greenough. Unable to organise accommodation for Roe's large family, the Board of Education eventually appointed only James Roe to the position, but arranged for Susannah Roe to be offered a position at a private school in Geraldton.

James Roe started at Greenough early in 1867, and by April the local Education Board reported positively on his progress. Susannah Roe was then transferred to his school, and the couple were finally able to live under the same roof. This arrangement was to last only nine months, however, as in January 1868, Susannah Roe was transferred to a new school at South Greenough.

Roe's relationship with his local Education Board began to sour in 1870, after the appointment of Hayes Laurence as its chairman. Roe and Laurence immediately found themselves on opposing sides of one of the most controversial issues of the day: the question of whether Catholic schools should receive a government grant. Laurence and other Protestants on the Board interpreted Roe's support for the measure as "a sign of pro-Popery". It is also thought that Roe contributed to his disfavour with the Board by voicing his strong views on school management. These issues were cited in a list of complaints sent to Roe in the middle of the year. A few months later he was late to school one day, and the local Board unanimously asked the General Board to dismiss him. The parents of forty-two of the forty-six school children signed a memorial to the General Board stating that Roe had their full confidence, but the request of the local Board was endorsed nonetheless, and Roe was dismissed.

For the next two years Roe and his family remained at Greenough. Susannah Roe continued in her teaching post at South Greenough, and Roe leased a small farm and cut sandalwood. He also acted as agent, auctioneer and clerk for Henry Gray. He also began to work as a local correspondent for the Fremantle Herald, and in 1873 this resulted in an offer of full-time work as a reporter on the newspaper. At the end of the year, Susannah Roe resigned her job as a teacher, and the family moved to Perth, where Roe took up his position with the Herald. Shortly afterwards he joined James Pearce and William Beresford as co-editors. He worked at the paper for the rest of his life, by which time Beresford had died, and Pearce had sold the Herald to the Inquirer.

Wife Susannah died in 1887. James Roe found it increasingly difficult thereafter to live on the money he made from the Herald, so from 1890 he also worked in his daughter's market garden. He died in May 1897.

James Roe's daughter Helen married Patrick Stone, who later became a Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. His daughter Georgina married Joseph Walton, and another daughter Agnes married Herman Moll, who had also been convicted of forgery and had traveled on the same convict ship to Western Australia.

Western Australian Death registration index record for James Roe, father Thomas, mother Catherine Elphinstone, born Kirby England, died aged 78. No. 1907 of 1897.

The West Australian, Tuesday 4 May 1897, p 4.

ROE.-At the residence of his daughter, Mrs. H. Moll, James Roe, B.A., Oxon., son of the late Rev. Thomas Roe, of Kirby, Lincoln, England, aged 78 years.


The remains of the late Mr. James Roe will leave the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Moll, Fitzgerald-street, at 3.30 o'clock THIS (Tuesday) AFTERNOON for interment. Friends will please accept this intimation. BOWRA & O'DEA, Undertakers, Mackie-street, Perth. Telephone. 308.

The Western Mail, Friday 27 July 1917, p 37.

'Old Fremantte' writes appreciatively of my recent reference to the late Mr. James Roe's celebrated articles. in the Fremantle "Herald" on the subject of production and value. The old ex-wrangler's strong point, as a writer, was his unassailable logic. One of Mr. Roe's contentions was that the Creator placed man upon the earth with the evident intention that the race should prosper, and there are certain physical and moral laws which conduce in the highest degree to ensure his preservation, increase, well being, and improvement. Natural justice is the conformity of human laws and actions to natural order, and while their observance produces the highest degree of prosperity and well-being among men. the non-observance or transgression of them is the cause of the extensive evils which affect mankind. The freedom the individual has of acquiring useful things by labour supposes necessarily that of preserving them, of enjoying them, and of disposing of them, without reserve, and also of bequeathing them to his family, who prolong his existence indefinitely. Thus liberty conceived in this manner becomes property, which may be conceived in two aspects as it regards movable goods on the earth, which is the source from which labour ought to draw them. A grandson of Mr. Roe's is in the civil service, and resides at Fremantle. There are, also, several of his descendants at Geraldton, one of his daughters having married Mr Patrick Stone, who for some time represented that district in the State Parliament.

National Trust East Perth Cemeteries record for James Elphinstone Roe, died 3 May 1897, buried 4 May 1897, died 51 Fitzgerald Street Perth, aged 78 years. Mother : Catherine Sarah nee Elsphinstone; Father : Reverend Thomas Roe, of Kirby Lincolnshire; cause of death : Chronic Diarrhoea; location : Church of England ; grave : Perth 1907; born : 08 October 1818, Kirby on Bain, Lincolnshire; arrived in WA : 31 December 1862; ship : York; spouse : Susannah Moore; married : 02 August 1843, Redbourne, Lincoln, England; children : Georgina Alice 1845; Thomas Elphinstone 1845-1850; James Elphinstone 1847; Catherine Agnes Moll 1850; Mary Susan 1850; Edward Henry Lionel Denman 1852; Laura Frances Eliza 1852; Helen Emily 1856; Una 1858; Louisa 1859; Annie Susan Ethelrida 1862; residence : West Perth; Educated Worcester College Oxford University; BA 1841; Gentleman; Convict No 6709; Schoolmaster; Journalist on The Herald. Funeral left daughter's residence Fitzgerald Street; See "A Brand on his Coat: by Rica Ericson

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Reverend James Elphinstone Roe's Timeline

October 18, 1818
Kirkby on Bain, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
June 24, 1844
Age 25
Essex, England
July 1845
Age 26
Lincolnshire, England
December 10, 1846
Age 28
Somerset, England
Age 29
Somerset, England
September 1849
Age 30
Somerset, England
November 1850
Age 32
Somerset, England
February 6, 1852
Age 33
Somerset, England
January 11, 1853
Age 34