52 Ancestors # 4 Ebenezer Davey

Ebenezer Davey (c1792 -1862), my great great great grandfather,Ebenezer to me was the fourth of my direct ancestors to migrate to Australia. This makes him the fourth of my ‘boat people’ and, at 61, the second oldest!


Ebenezer and his brother Elijah appear to have been born in Truro, Cornwall in about 1792 and 1794 respectively. I have yet to identify their parents or any other siblings. In 1814, Ebenezer was a witness at Elijah’s marriage to Johana Randall in St Mary’s Truro.


By 1823, Ebenezer is listed as watchmaker at West Bridge in Truro. He also married Elizabeth (Trewhella?) at about that time. They had four children: Ebenezer (c1824), Mary (c1826), Elizabeth (c1828) and Jane (unknown).


Ebenezer Davey's St Austell advertisement: “Watch & Clock Maker, Silversmith & Jeweller.
Ebenezer Davey’s St Austell advertisement (c1830s):
“Watch & Clock Maker, Silversmith & Jeweller”.

The family may next have moved to St Austell, Cornwall where Ebenezer advertised his services:


“Ebenr  Davey
Watch & Clock Maker, Silversmith & Jeweller.
Jewellery neatly repaired &c.” 


By the time of the 1841 Census, the Davey family was living in Basset St, Falmouth. Ebenezer (aged 49) was listed as a Watchmaker J(ourneyman), born in Cornwall. Also living with him were his wife Elizabeth (41), son Ebenezer (18, Cabinetmaker Ap.) and daughter Elizabeth (15) but not Mary. The 1851 census lists him as having been born in Truro.


His son, Ebenezer James Davey married Mary Holditch in 1848 and emigrated to Australia the following year. Daughter Mary Davey sailed on the same ship. The news from Melbourne must have been good as Ebenezer and Elizabeth and their remaining daughter, Elizabeth followed them four years later.


Ebenezer (aged 61), together with his wife Elizabeth (50) and daughter Elizabeth (20) were amongst 190 “unassisted” immigrants in steerage on the barque “Arrogant” which sailed from Plymouth on 29th November 1852 and arrived in Port Phillip on the 3rd April 1853, just in time for his grandson Robert Ferres’ first birthday.


Ebenezer obviously intended to continue his trade in Melbourne as he brought with him this reference (decorated with a bright red seal) from the Mayor of Falmouth, Eli Cuttance:

Ebenezer Davey brought this reference from the Mayor of Falmouth to Australia in 1853.
Ebenezer Davey brought this reference from the Mayor of Falmouth to Australia in 1853.


Borough of Falmouth

This is to certify that Mr Ebenezer Davey of Falmouth Watchmaker & Jeweller has been known by me and the Inhabitants generally of this Borough for more than twenty years as a sober, honest, and respectable Tradesman and a man of Talent and ability in his Profession and he is therefore worthy to be admitted to any place that requires implicit Confidence Perseverance and Fidelity.

E Cuttance

Novr 20th 1852



Ebenezer died of “Acute Peridontitis” on the 4th July 1862 at Gipps St East Melbourne. This was probably the residence of his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and John Ferres. He was described as a watchmaker, aged 70 years who was born in Cornwall and had lived 9 years in Victoria. Ebenezer Davey was buried on the fifth of July 1862 at the Melbourne General Cemetery.


Questions and Ideas for Future Research
When and where was Ebenezer born?
Who were his parents?
When and where was he married?
When did he live in St Austell?
Where was his daughter Mary living for the 1841 Census?
Where was his wife living for the 1851 Census?
Did he move back to Truro before coming to Australia?
Did he work as a Watchmaker/Jeweller in Victoria?
Where did he live for the 9 years in Melbourne?

9 thoughts on “52 Ancestors # 4 Ebenezer Davey”

  1. Hello I am descended from Elijah Davey, Ebenezer’s brother. I have extensive information on all his descendants but unfortunately have not yet found their parents. I am hoping to visit Truro again this summer.

    1. Wow, Barbara, that is exciting news! I had no idea of the existence of Elijah Davey until researching for this post. One of Ebenezer’s death notices had the phrase “West Briton, please copy” added to the end. A search of the British Newspaper Archive gave me this snippet: “At Port Albert, Victoria, Australia, on the 4th July, Mr Ebenezer Duvey, formerly of Truro, watchmaker. (brother of Mr. Elijah …”. I would love to find out more about Elijah and his family. Hopefully we can eventually identify their parents.

  2. I am descended from Elizabeth Crossman Davey born in Truro in 1799. I am also looking for her parents. I’m wondering whether she’s a sister to Ebenezer and Elijah, particularly because she used both the names Elijah and Ebenezer, twice each (!) in her children’s names. I can’t find any direct links even though I’ve trawled through the cencus as they often used to look after each other’s children or similar. The Elijah born in 1794 was Elijah Samuel Davey. I’m very interested if you know any more today than when you posted last year.

    1. Thanks Jane for your interest.

      Other than locating the record of Ebenezer’s marriage on 7th January 1822 in Kenwyn Parish to Elizabeth Tremellan Trewheeler, I have been unsuccessful in finding anything further about Ebenezer. His wife’s family can be traced several generations further back in Kenwyn. As the family were connected to the Independent Church in Melbourne, I suspect that they may have belonged to a non-conformist group in Cornwall before emigration. To date, however, I have been unable to find them in any that I have found online.
      It does seem quite a possibility that your Elizabeth could have been Ebenezer and Elijah’s sister. I wonder if the ‘Crossman’ part of her name refers to her mother’s or grandmother’s maiden name.

  3. Fascinating Jane. I’ve done very little investigating lately but now you have given me an impetus to look again …..another trip to Truro I think.

    1. I have assumed the Crossman is a family name as she also called a daughter Elizabeth Crossman (Jennings) but I can’t find any marriages between Daveys and Crossmans. (Btw I wrote wrong, – her name was Eliza Crossman Davey).
      Unfortunately there seem to have been a huge number of people called Davey/Davy/Davie/Davye in Cornwall.
      I live in Norway, and find a trip to Truro a little far, but one day I’ll have a dedicated trip to many places in England, as there’s a lot to sort out!

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