Emily Sandford

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Memoir of Emily Sandford

Emily Sanford's father belongs to the middle class. At an early age he was clerk to a solicitor at Prescot, in Lancashire; and subsequently, it is probable, that he was in an office, either as clerk or principal, in Yorkshire, for Mrs. Sandford is a branch of one of the oldest families in that county; who, when Mr. Sandford paid his addresses to her, were strongly opposed to the union, and the young lady was, as we are informed, placed with a relative, on the borders of Scotland, to remove her from the vicinity of her lover. The precaution proved useless; Sandford followed her, and we believe an elopement was the consequence. Certainly they were married; and although it is said, that Mr. Sandford acquired a large fortune by his marriage, the fact is, that the lady brought nothing but her own beauty and virtue as a dowry.

After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Sandford removed to London, - where they lived in good style, and had a large family, - who all received excellent educations; and were led to look forward to respectable, if not great fortunes, on entering life. Unfortunately, a blight, from some cause or other, fell upon their prospects. Mr. Sandford is said to have embarked largely in those railway speculations which were so prevalent a few years since, and was one of the unfortunate many, not the successful few. He lost all - or nearly all - his property; and his family were obliged to resort to their talents for support. The acquirements of Emily fitted her for the important and responsible situation of a governess; and Rush having, in the latter part of the year 1846, advertised in the Times for a lady to take the charge of his children in that capacity, - Miss Sandford applied for the situation. The result of this application was an interview with Emily (accompanied by her mother) and Rush, at the lodgings of the latter, in a very respectable house in town, when arrangements were made for Emily to enter Rush's service as governess.

Before the engagement was concluded, however, Rush was very particular in his inquiries; and especially desired to see her handwriting, which he did.

Every preliminary being adjusted, she left London with Rush - her parents having the most perfect confidence in his honour and integrity. He took her to Stanfield Hall Farm, which he then occupied; and after a short time, made overtures to her, for the purpose of forming a nearer connexion than that of governess: he offered her marriage; she accepted the offer; and on the faith of his promise, and in reliance on his sincerity, she yielded to his entreaties - forgot her bond of virtue - and became a mother, without the legal claim of a wife upon the father of her child. This child was born early in 1848; and was not long an inmate of that world which has been to its mother one of so much care and trouble.

It may be asked, what Emily's parents said and thought of these transactions? They were kept in utter ignorance of them. When she had agreed to accept Rush's addresses, Miss Sandford wrote a letter to her mother, with his sanction, and with his knowledge, informing her of what she considered a happy change in her prospects. This letter, there is no doubt, Rush intercepted in its transit to the post-office, and destroyed: and it would appear, that he also intercepted the parent's letters to her child, for none ever reached her, and for several months the mother and daughter were in utter ignorance of what befell each other; and each accused the other of neglect and unkindness. At length Rush had to go to London, - he then called on Mrs. Sandford, who expressed great surprise at her daughter's unkind conduct, - as she naturally supposed it to be. He then told her, that she had engaged herself to a commercial traveller, named James, with whom she was going to France; but thinking that it was an engagement her mother would not approve of, she had not communicated with her. On his return to Stanfield, he told Emily, that he had seen her father, who had given his consent to their union! A subject which he had never mentioned to either father or mother, The mother and daughter did not meet till after the latter was located in Milne Street: when the former was filled with anguish, at the position in which she found her child placed through the villainy of Rush. Mrs. Sandford had repeatedly made inquires for her daughter; - and having obtained some clue to the object of her search, she proceeded to the house in Milne street, where, on inquiring for Miss Sandford, she was told that no such person lodged there, but a Mrs. James. Being rather minute in her inquiries, she ultimately discovered that this Mrs. James was her lost daughter, and on learning the exact situation of her living under the protection of Rush - she fainted.

Miss Sandford is about twenty-six years of age; very diminutive in figure, but pretty and lady-like, displaying evident signs of being well educated.

Ref: Anon. 1849. The Stanfield Hall Assassinations! Authentic Report of the Trial, Conviction, and Extraordinary Defence of Jas. Bloomfield Rush; including Every incident in the Most Appalling Tragedy of real Life ever Recorded in the Annals of Crime. Cleave, London. 26pp.

The Norwich Mercury

Saturday June 2 1849

Emily Sandford, in conformity with the plans of judicious friends, sailed from Gravesend for Port Adelaide, on Saturday last, in the barque Casper. Her behaviour, when on board, is said to have been retiring, and indicative of a mind fraught with care. A brother accompanied her. It is a curious fact that some emigrants from Wymondham go out by the same vessel, and the Captain comes from an adjoining parish.

The Norwich Mercury

Saturday June 16 1849


The subscribers to the Fund in behalf of Emily Sandford are informed that she has emigrated, at her own request, to Australia, accompanied by her brother Mr. Henry Sandford. She evinced strong feelings of gratitude towards those who, compassionating her situation, came forward to rescue her from ruin.
The total amount of subscription was £983 13s 3d; of which £556 5s 6d has been expended in providing for the wants of herself and her brother, inclusive of £60 given by her desire to members of her own family. The balance of £427 7s 9d remaining at Messrs Gurneys & Co to be remitted as may hereby be deemed advisable.

Life of Emily Sandford in Australia

More recent research has established some additional details about Emily Sandford's life once she had emigrated to Southern Australia.

The South Australian Register of 22 September 1849 reports the following:
An inquest was held, on Thursday, on board the barque Caspar, at the Port, on the body of Henry Sandford, a passenger by that ship, and brother of Emily Sandford, who, the night before, fell from the wharf and was drowned. - James Steward, a seaman belonging to the Lady Clarke, stated that, about ten o'clock, as he was going to his ship, he saw several people on the gangway of the Caspar, and was told that a man was overboard. A light was brought, and he descended between the side of the Caspar and the wharf, and there saw the body jammed between the skids and the ship's side. The head was under the water. Witnesses caught hold of the body, got the ship shoved off, and then handed the body up to those above. The deceased did not breath for two or three minutes after he had been brought up. - Charles Seale, passenger by the Caspar deposed that the deceased and two other passengers were going towards the ship from the wharf gates, and, as they neared the ship, the deceased went a little in advance. Witness was the last to reach the plank which connected the ship with the wharf, and, as soon as he got there, he heard a splash. Witness crawled up the plank, and got on board. Went to get a light, but, before he came back, the body had been taken up. After being rubbed for a short time, the deceased spoke, but breathed with great difficulty, and was eventually put into his berth. Although he had had a little drink, the deceased could walk perfectly straight and firm. - Thomas Cowper, Surgeon Superintendent of the Caspar, deposed to being called to the deceased, who was lying on the wharf insensible. After five minutes, he began to breath. He was taken on board, undressed, and put into flannel, and the rubbing continued. Shortly after he spoke, but he died in about an hour and a half after being taken out of the water. There was a wound on the right side of the forehead, as if caused by a dreadful blow. Should say death ensued from drowning, which was facilitated by internal injury from the fall. Verdict, Accidental death from drowning.

The Times of 9 October 1850 tells of an assault on Emily by a Mr. R.W. Bennett of Adelaide who threatened to blow her brains out if she did not pay back money that Bennet had lent to her brother Henry whilst on board the Caspar. Apparently Henry had obtained the loan on the strength of the money due to Emily from the subscription fund. Emily denied all knowledge of the loan and Bennet was bound over to keep the peace.

The money due to Emily had in fact been sent to the Bishop of Melbourne for safe keeping until she and Henry arrived there. However after her brother's death she decided to stay in Adelaide. On 11 May 1850 she married a 46 year old German merchant named Moses Edler. The couple had three children born in Adelaide, and subsequently moved to Germany in 1855. She died on 6 September 1901 and is buried in Bielefield, Westphalia, Germany.

Ref: Meeres, F. 1998. Death pay me a visit. Privately published. 54pp.