Friday, March 14, 2014

James LeBoeuf (1825-1883) "52 Ancestors"

I am now on week 11 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I amaze myself. In all of 2013 I only wrote 12 posts to this blog and between 2009-2012 I only wrote 5 posts. So this is pretty good. This week my wife and I had to give talks at church. It was our farewell talk since we will be moving soon. My wife focused her talk on how our ancestors give us perspective for the changes we experience in our lives. My talk was about change and service. In my talk I used the following quote, "We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." ~ Joseph Campbell

I decided that this quote would be the inspiration for my blog post this week. The subject of this week's post is James LeBoeuf, my wife's 3rd great grandfather. James is the brother of Frederick LeBoeuf who I wrote about previously.

James LeBouef was born around 1825 to Philippe LeBoeuf (1790-1835) and Jeanne Ann LeGeyt (1790-1840). He was christened on 21 August 1825 and was the 11th of 15 children. His siblings included Jane (1812-??), Eliza (1813-??), Philippe (1814-??), George (1815-??), Jean (1816-1904), Elias (1818-1890), Elizabeth (1819-??), Anne (1821-??), Charles (1822-??), Louisa (1823-??), Susanna (1827-??), Mary Ann (1829-1904), William (1830-??), and Frederick (1832-??). His family lived in St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands.

James grew up in an area known for its mariners and many members of his family took to the sea at an early age. In 1851, James, his sister Mary Ann, and brother Frederick were living in the home of George Vickery. George Vickery had married Louisa LeBoeuf, James' sister, a couple years earlier. James (age 25) and Frederick (age 19) are listed as Seamen in this census.

Hindostan (1857)
A news article from The South Australia Register (25 May 1854) announced the arrival of the Hindostan with J. le Boeuf as Captain. James was 28 in 1854, that seems a little young to be a captain of a transoceanic voyage. These voyages lasted months. The ship left London on 2 February 1854 and arrive in Port Adelaide on 23 May 1854. According to newspaper records, the Hindostan was still in port through at least 12 July 1854. The Hindostan was a 708 ton, 65-meter long, 3-mast ship. It was built in 1840 at Greencock, England and was owned by Hammond and registered at London. The ship made several voyages between England and Australia carrying immigrants.

James married Mary Ann Vickery (1826-1904) around 1855. The Vickery and LeBoeuf families were very close. As I stated earlier, the 1851 census lists James living with George Vickery, Mary Ann's brother. James and Mary Ann's first child, James Vickery LeBoeuf was born in St. Helier on 1 March 1856.

The ship was refitted in 1856 with felt and yellow-metal on the hull to add strength and stop marine organisms from growing on or burrowing into the wood. On 27 October 1856, the Hindostan left Southampton, England bound for Sydney, Australia carrying 278 passengers consisting of 109 male adults, 106 female adults, 25 male children and 37 female children. There were 52 married couples and 16 infants on board. Two male children died during the voyage. They arrived in Sydney 109 days later on 12 February 1857. Tickets for the voyage were £13 17s per adult. At least one child was born during the voyage. Henry and Mary Bellchambers' son George, was born one week before they arrived in Australia. However, George Bellchambers died four weeks later on 8 March 1857. One of the crew members was Alfred Vickery (age 21). Alfred is listed as a 2nd mate and is the younger brother of James' wife Mary Ann. We have found an interesting newspaper post concerning this voyage. The passengers wrote the following:

The Empire, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Saturday, 14 February 1857, p. 4

Sir- At the termination of our anxious and prosperous voyage, we, the emigrants on board the ship Hindostan, desire to convey to you our best thanks for your courteous and gentlemanly demeanour towards us, and further to express to you the satisfaction we have enjoyed and the pleasure we still feel in having made the voyage with so skillful a commander; and, Sir, in separating from each other, you have all our best wishes for your prosperity and happiness and that of your family.

Believe us to be, Sir, your grateful and obedient servants,
Thomas J. Douglas
R. Haswell
Joseph Newman
John Badcock.
[On behalf of the emigrants at large.]
Sydney Harbour, Friday Morning, February 13, 1857.

Even though the voyage seems to have been enjoyable for many of the passengers, the time in port and the voyage home seems to have been a little more eventful. On 25 February 1857, twelve of the crew from the Hindostan were convicted of continued disobedience and sentenced to six weeks in prison. On 3 March 1857, James Muric, a baker on the ship, sued James for wages in the amount of £8 11s but failed to convince the court and the case was dismissed. On 22 March 1857, the Hindostan left Australia for Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia) with one passenger, Mrs. LeBouef, and presumably 12 less crew members. Mrs. LeBoeuf was over eight months pregnant at the time and gave birth to their second child, Jessie Clara LeBoeuf, two weeks later off the coast of Australia on 4 April 1857. Jessie Clara is listed as having been born at sea, Latitude 38S, Longitude 142E. Imagine spending the last 4 months of your pregnancy travelling on a ship during this era. There were no luxury suites and I can imagine the combination of morning sickness and the typical effects of ship travel. The ship arrived at the Port of Calcutta on 23 April 1857.

James LeBoeuf returned to Australia again in February 1858 with more immigrants. This time he made port in Hobson's Bay. The 1 March 1858 edition of The Argus in Melbourne, Australia had a small post in it that read "Should this meet the eye of JOHN or ELIAS LE BOEUF they will find their brother on board the Hindostan, Hobson's Bay." This voyage was also a little more eventful, at least his time in port was eventful. James was arrested on immigration charges. He was caught bringing in Chinese passengers beyond the number allowed to the tonnage of his vessel. It appears that he made a stop in Hong Kong on the way and picked up at least 84 additional passengers. He claimed ignorance of the law and was fined £2 per passenger in excess for a total fine of £168. He departed from Australia on 26 March 1858 on the way to Christmas Island.

James and Mary Ann had their third child, Horace Frederick LeBoeuf, on 23 July 1860. He was born in St. Helier. According to the 1861 census, the family was living at 2 Fair View Place, Gorey, Grouville, Jersey, Channel Island. The family consisted of James (age 35) a master mariner, his wife Mary Ann (age 34), their children James (age 5), Jessie Clara (age 4), and Horace (age 8 months). In addition to the family, the following people were in the house: Louisa Laurens (age 16), Margaret Walsh (age 17), Clara Vickery - sister of Mary Ann (age 15), and John Tepier (age 32).

The Hindostan was wrecked during a cyclone at Calcutta in 1864. I am not sure if James was still the captain of the ship at this time. In 1869, the Hindostan was rebuilt and was later lost in another cyclone in 1879 near Bombay.

The 1871 census lists James LeBoeuf (age 45) as a farmer. He and his family were living at Anneville Farm, Vingtaine de Faldouet North, St. Martin, Jersey, Channel Island. The family consisted of his wife Mary Ann (age 44), their children James V. (age 15), Jessie C. (age 13), and Horace F. (age 10). All of the children are attending school. Additionally, their niece Amelia L. Peter (age 13) and farm hand, John Bedel (age 33), are living in the home.

James appears to have been a real family man. He took his wife on the ship, even when she was pregnant. James may have taken up farming to be closer to his family as the children grew up. But the stationary life may not have been for James since he returned to the sea for at least one more voyage. This is where the quote comes into play - "We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." This final voyage did not end as expected. James departed England with his entire family on board. We have not found the name of this ship yet but we are lead to understand that it was wrecked and James and the family never returned to their home in the Channel Islands.

The story does not end tragically though. The entire family survived the accident and made it to land. They decided that this place would be where they spend the rest of their lives and settled there. On 5 October 1883, James died of typhoid fever at the age of  58 in Fernandina Beach, Nassau County, Florida. His wife Mary Ann Vickery LeBouef died on 18 January 1904. I guess Florida wasn't such a bad place to retire after a long life on the ocean.


  1. Are you able to confirm the pic you have is of the correct Hindostan? My ancestors were also on the Hindostan arriving in Sydney in 1857. But a family member provided me with a photo of a ship with a black hull that I suspect only sailed from England to India. Any clues?

  2. Sorry it took me this long to reply. I can only go as far aas my research has provided evidence. I don't personally have any pictures of the ship. The picture I used here is from a database on ships. This picture was captioned as the Hindostan with a date of 1857. However, I do know there were other ships called the Hindostan in different time periods.