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Thursday, October 13, 2011

[Part One] Ann Jones: New Beginnings and Same Old Endings [Sharon Hollingsworth]

Have you ever wondered what happened to Mrs. Ann Jones in the years after the siege and after her fight for compensation for both the burning of the Glenrowan Inn and the death of two of her children?  Many know that she rebuilt the Inn in 1882 with the meager proceeds from the compensation for the Glenrowan Inn and she rented out those premises to the police for a barracks for a few years. Prior to that she had built a small cottage on the site of the burned out Inn. After the police took other quarters she opened up the larger premises as a wine shop in 1895. There are those researchers and writers who say that Ann Jones did not get a Colonial Wine License until 1895 but I have found that to be untrue. The earliest record I have found is that she had one at least by 1888! I found the information in a couple of newspapers from 1888 in which Ann Jones was charged with selling whiskey without a license (sly grog selling). In it was the statement that "she is a holder of a Colonial Wine License." She was fined 25 pounds and court costs. Also charged in the case, but the charges were withdrawn, was Henry Winstanley Smith. The following year Henry Winstanley Smith was again charged with selling whiskey without a license. The article said that he was "employed as barman at Mrs. Jones's wine shop." That case wound up being dismissed. Henry Winstanley Smith was a young Englishman (born in 1860) who came out to Australia in 1886. I have no idea what he was up to in the previous two years in the colony before turning up in the papers in Glenrowan but he was to play a major role in the life of Mrs. Jones for more than a decade. Remember that at this time her husband Owen Jones was still alive (though many writers have wrongly said she was a widow at the time of the siege in 1880!). Owen Jones died on June 20, 1890 at Toorak at age 63. He was buried in the Wangaratta Cemetery. The newspaper article about his death (The North Eastern Ensign of July 4, 1890) said that he was a native of Carnarvon (Wales).

Yet, in the 1910 interview that Ann Jones gave to B.W. Cookson for "The Kelly Gang From Within" newspaper series she made the comment: "I have been married twice..both of my husbands were Englishmen."

Less than a year after Owen's death, Ann Jones wed her employee Henry Winstanley Smith on May 15, 1891. (Why do I keep hearing that old Billy Paul soul classic "Me and Mrs. Jones" running around in my head?)  I have read two different years for the birth of Ann Jones, one 1830, the other 1833. I am not sure which, if either, is correct as I have not seen any official records, but,  regardless, it seems that she was still quite a bit older than her new bridegroom. 

Photo from B.W. Cookson's The Kelly Gang From Within

There were a few more bits and pieces I have been able to find about the Smiths during the 1890s.

 In 1894 Ann complained to the council about "cattle straying about the streets and trespassing on adjoining properties." She also complained about "a dangerous drain 3 ft deep" and suggest that the build a small footbridge for it.

 In 1895 Ann tried yet again to get a publican's license so she could sell whiskey. Her previous conviction for sly grog selling probably did not help her cause. She was denied the publican's license but she was allowed to renew her Colonial Wine License. That same year Henry Smith had an unfortunate accident. He was attempting to  remove a cartridge from a revolver and put the barrel in his mouth to blow grit out. You can guess the rest. The gun went off and split his tongue and lodged in his neck. He was charged with attempted suicide by the police. He was remanded with no bail for a week. It was eventually ruled an accident and he was let go.

In 1896 Henry Smith took part in a concert during the annual Glenrowan picnic. He accompanied a singer (the article did not say what instrument he played) and they garnered much applause.

In 1897 Ann had trouble with a bad drain in front of her premises and asked council for a row of sleepers to be put down but the council would not fix it for her despite her pleas. One council member "moved that no action should be taken." Another moved to refer it to the engineer. Cr. Ashmead (yes, the Ashmead who wrote the Kelly manuscript we refer to now and then on this blog) "denied that the drain was a deep one" and agreed with no action being taken. Yet another council member "remarked that Mrs. Smith wanted a boarded floor in front of her premises" and agreed to no action being taken. Two years later she was still trying to have it fixed even offering to pay up to a certain price for repairs. This time it was approved by Ashmead. Maybe it was deep enough for him by then??

In 1898 Ann again had trouble. She had rented a paddock to graze her cows on and a neighbour built a fence that denied her access to the cows. Once again she went to the council with her complaint. The council decided to wait a month to decide! I have no idea what the decision was. What about those cows needing attention and milking in the meantime while these councilmen put her off?

Also in 1898 a Corporal Hennessy of Glenrowan who was a Victorian Rifleman was visiting London with the Rifleman where he received an invitation to dine with "the sister and brother-in-law of H.W. Smith of Glenrowan." The address was a swanky one...Sheen House, Mortlake.
I suppose Henry had written or telegraphed ahead for the invite for his friend.

Tragedy struck again for Ann when Henry Winstanley Smith passed away on March 4, 1901 at age 40.  In the newspaper write up about it it said:

"Mr. Smith had been for some little time ailing and his medical advisor did not anticipate any serious results until the day of his death. Deceased had been for some years past in the Navy and also came from a distinguished military family. His uncle Lieutenant-Colonel Smith was a Crimean war veteran.....Deceased leaves a widow for whom much sympathy is felt."

I looked for his name in the Royal Navy Archives and found a couple of dozen Henry Smiths, with no middle name given, and of the other Henry Smiths with middle names not any of them Winstanley as a middle name for the pertinent time period. In looking in old newspapers I did find a seafaring bit presumably about him. In 1879 a Henry Winstanley Smith was an apprentice on board the Hermione docked in New Zealand when he was charged with deserting the ship. He plead guilty, but the master did not press the case and Smith was ordered on board the ship. 

I made mention of Henry's will in an earlier blog post called "Mrs. Jones Makes Her Mark." In his will Henry Smith left Ann 2000 pounds which had been in a trust fund left to him by his late father. Henry had made the will out in 1891, the same year he and Ann were married.

Of course, this, like everything else in Ann's life did not come easy! I found something in the London Gazette in early 1902 where there was a listing for a legal case of  Jones V. Smith. In that there was being sought information on whether Henry Winstanley's first wife was still alive and if there were any children sired by him.(they married in 1882, he left for Australia in 1886, per the listing.)

Ann must have triumphed in this as I remember reading about this 2000 pounds in B.W. Cookson's "The Kelly Gang From Within" series in the interview with Mrs. Jones circa 1910:

"I don't want any help now. I get my living - enough to keep me - from England - from my last husband's estate. His name was Smith.

My husband - the last one - was a gentleman. He came from the West End of London. And I am living now on the interest of 2000 pounds that he left me when he died."

But let's rewind back to 1901, Ann had lost her (second) husband of nearly a decade (actually she had lost 2 husbands in a dozen years), but she still had her wine shop to tide her over financially until the probate of the will and then the UK legal wrangling was done. In November of  1901 she transferred her Colonial Wine License to Mrs. W.H. (Sarah) Hill. Mrs. Hill rented the wine shop from Mrs. Jones and tragedy struck for Ann yet again in just a few months. History seemed to be repeating itself. Details of that will be in my next blog posting! Stay tuned!

Part two can be found at

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