James Tinson and Mary Yeo

by Janette Sullivan, nee Tinson

Dear Sheila

As publicity officer for the Milton Ulladulla Family History Soc., I read the exchange journals we receive and was interested to note in the Orkney Fam. Hist. Newsletter 56 an article by Robin Wilcockson which mentioned his Devon Yeo links. As I, too, have Devon Yeo ancestors, I contacted him and he has informed me about your site. I have just had a look and saw many related family names, so thought I'd send you what I (and other older family genies) have gleaned. My predecessor in this endeavour was Mary Cadman who was a member of the Society of Australian Genealogists and also a member of the Devon Fam. Hist. Soc – she had a brother in England and regularly visited and did research, giving me photocopies of all the old Barnstaple parish records which she was able to obtain. Initially, at 14 years of age (I am now 74) my grandfather gave me the memoirs of his father, Thomas Tinson, Devon, Royal Navy, etc. and I was ‘hooked' you might say.


My ggg grandfather James Tinson , b 1760 in Barnstaple, Devon, married 29 Mar 1784 in Atherington Devon Mary Yeo , b 1760 Barnstaple . Mary Tinson died 4 June 1844 .

Mary's parents were Thomas Yeo b 1715 in Atherington, Devon and Mary Davis, b Barnstaple, Devon .

Thomas' parents were James Yeo, b 7 May 1682 Hatherleigh Devon and Eleanor Bragg, b 1680 Devon .

James' parents were Andrew Yeo b 1650 in Devon , d 16 Nov 1729 in High Bickington Devon and Prudence Avery, b 1659 in Hatherleigh Devon. (Prudence' parents were James Avery and Emett Beer).

Andrew's parents were Andrew Yeo b 1630 in Beaford Devon and d 1662 Beaford, and Joan.

Andrew's parents were Bartholomew Yeo b 1600 in Kings Nympton Devon, m. 20 Mar 1623/24 in Beaford to Zenobia Halse b 1600 in Beaford.

Bartholomew's parent was Phillip Yeo.

As other descendants of James Tinson and Mary Yeo may well contact you, I have decided to share with you and our other relatives, the following from Thomas Tinson's memoirs, written at Goulburn NSW 1898, in which he says:

“My father's name was William Tinson, my mother's Mary Ackland, both born in Barnstaple, Devon , England . I, Thomas Tinson, was born in the same town on 2 July 1833 . My father's parents were farmers, my mother's butchers, all of Barnstaple . I well remember my grandmother Tinson ( Mary Tinson nee Yeo ) and lived with her until her death at 84. She owned a considerable amount of property in Barnstaple . At the time of her death the property was sold, my uncle, John Tinson being the purchaser. The proceeds were divided amongst the members of the family whose names were John, James and William Tinson, Betsy Turner, Sally Westacott and Jane Gatty.

“James and Jane died before grandmother and were not mentioned in the will ( copy held). This I remember hearing my father ( William ) and uncle John speaking of after the will was read.

“My uncle John was a Governor of the Barnstaple poorhouse. His first wife kept a large guesthouse in the suburb of Newport for gentry during the summer months. She died without issue but by the second wife there were several children. After my uncle John died the family lived in London .

James was a brewer and owned and kept the Exeter Inn in Barnstaple . He left two sons. James came to Australia . Stephen, the younger son (the mother's son) was a jeweler.

“After my uncle ( John? ) died, his widow sold the property, and with the son Joseph went to London and began business.

“Mr Westacott was a shipbuilder, and for many years my father was foreman of the works.

“In 1832, my father ( William Tinson ) was about to migrate to Sydney to establish a shipbuilding business but he received a severe blow on the kneecap which was the cause of the right leg being amputated above the knee, and disarranged all his plans. My parents ( William Tinson and Mary Ackland ) were both Christians and died bearing good testimony for Jesus at a good old age. Their children's names were: the first died at birth, the second James, third Mary, fourth William, fifth John, sixth Thomas, seventh George, eighth Edwin, ninth Joseph, tenth Jane (these two died young), eleventh Ellen. All the sons served in the Royal Navy and James and George became Master Mariners of very fine ships. James was killed in Jamaica by accident. George was in Nebraska , USA with my sister Mary Pitt. John left the service in1854, and settled in Port Elizabeth , South East Africa. Taking my mother's name (Ackland) Edwin settled in British North America ; he married and became wealthy but died in 1868. Ellen, the youngest, after my parents died, married George Harper.”

The memoirs go on to describe his life on board Navy ships, but were not finished when he died. His son, Harold Albert Tinson (my grandfather) took up the story to the best of his memory. I have tried to verify all the facts mentioned.

Children of James Tinson and Mary Yeo are:

  • William Tinson, b 7 Oct 1795 Barnstaple, Devon, d. 1875 Barnstaple, Devon .
  • Jane Tinson, b 14 Feb 1798 Barnstaple, Devon, d 26 Jul 1842 Barnstaple, Devon ; m. William Gatty, 30 Nov 1823 . (Genie cousin Mary Cadman wrote that a Mr Woolner of Lincolnshire UK contacted her in 1989 re the Gatty family which he has traced back to 1134.)
  • John Tinson, b 1 Apr 1793 , Devon Cert B.
  • James Tinson, b 22 Feb 1789 Barnstaple Parish Reg. PR3; d 26 Sep 1844 , Cert. A. He mar. Elizabeth Neal 25 Jul 1819 in Devon , Rec. office no 218.
  • Elizabeth Tinson, b 24 Oct 1784 Atherington, Devon , m. John R Turner, 24 Jul 1808 .
  • Sally Tinson, m. Mister Westacott. ( Thos Tinson's memoirs state that Mr Westacott was a shipbuilder, and for many years William Tinson was foreman of the works. Later, as a Contractor under Westacott, William employed his son Thomas Tinson in different portions of the shipbuilding business.)


William Tinson was b. 7 Oct 1795 in Barnstaple, Devon, died 1875 in Barnstaple, Devon . He married Mary Ackland 22 Dec 1822 in Barnstaple , daughter of William Ackland and Jane. She was b. 21 Feb 1798 in Barnstaple and died 28 June 1844 . Children of William Tinson and Mary Ackland are:

  • James Tinson, b 25 July 1824 , d. Jamaica . ( He became a Master Mariner in Royal Navy. Killed in Jamaica by acciden t.)
  • Mary Tinson, b 22 Oct 1826 Devon; m. Mister Pitt, b. USA . Moved to Nebraska , USA .
  • William Tinson, b 8 Sep 1832 , Devon , D. 1909 Goulburn NSW ref. R5381. (William joined Royal Navy 14 May 1853 . Cont. Service No 14090, ADM 139/141. 5'2”, fair complexion, brown hair, blue eyes, cut on left forefinger. AB on “ Bermuda ”.
  • John Tinson, b 27 Mar 1831 Devon . Was in Royal Navy. Left Service in1854 and settled in Port Elizabeth, S E Africa .
  • George Tinson, b 20 Dec 1835 . Was Master Marina in Royal Navy. Moved to Nebraska , USA with sister Mary Pitt.
  • Edwin Tinson, b. 13 Apr 1838 Barnstaple, Devon, d. 1868 Nth America . (Joined Royal Navy 3 Jan 1855 , Boy 1 st Class on “Impregnable”. Cont. Service No 18064 ADM 139/181. 5'4.5” fair complexion, lt brown hair, blue eyes. Thomas writes that Edwin took mother's name, Ackland and settled in British North America, married and became wealthy, but died in 1868.)
  • Joseph Tinson, b 7 Nov 1840 , d 11 Mar 1841 . (Thomas writes that Joseph died young)
  • Jane Tinson, b 27 Feb 1842 (Thomas writes that Jane died young.)
  • Ellen Tinson , mar. George Harper.
  • Thomas Tinson, b 2 Jul 1833 , Barnstaple, Devon , d. 15 Dec 1899 Goulburn, reg. CofE Goulburn R13167. (Joined Royal Navy as Naval Apprentice in 1848 aged 15. 5'5.5”, fair complexion, brown hair, blue eyes, marked with small pox. Served in ships ‘Saint Joseph', ‘Impregnable', ‘Natlis', ‘Caledonia', ‘Mehander', Algiers'. Cont. Service No. 15154 ADM 139/152 – copies held from Records Office, Kew .)


9 May 2011

From: Janette Sullivan, nee Tinson (Mrs), 78 Carroll Ave , Mollymook NSW 2539 Australia , 02.44555960, email: janettesullivan@bigpond.com

Email to Mrs Sheila Yeo, 14 Orbec Ave, Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ 12 3ED England, Tel. +44 (0) 1626 360978, email: sheila@yeosociety.com


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