William Charles Henry Raby


Submitted by

Colin Roberts <robertsot@webdownunder.com.au>


William Charles Henry Raby was born on 2 December 1875 at the Union Workhouse, St Columb, Cornwall to Maria Rabey; no Father was named on the birth certificate. William (Charles’) mother marked the birth certificate with a simple ‘X’.  William (Charles) Raby was understood to be the second illegitimate baby born to Maria Rabey at the St Columb Union Workhouse.

Eric Charles Edgcumbe Raby was born on 3 September 1905 at South Devon Hospital, Plymouth to William Charles Henry Raby and Martha Raby (nee Hawken). On the birth certificate of Eric, William (Charles) Raby is recorded as being a Clay Labourer. At the time of Eric’s birth, William (Charles) is said to have lived at Blue Anchor, St Enoder, in Cornwall. In September 1905 Eric is baptized at the Chapel of St Martin, South Devon Hospital, Plymouth.

Dorothy (Dolly) Clarice Hawken Rabey, the Daughter and second child of William (Charles) and Martha Raby was born 30 October 1906 at Blue Anchor in Cornwall.

William (Charles) and Martha Rabey had a third son, Hartley Howard, born on 22 April 1908 at Higher Fraddon, Cornwall.  Hartley’s Father is recorded as being a Miner and the birth was registered by Martha Raby on 5 June 1908.

In the diary of Martha Rabey is the following inscription: “CHARLES RABEY left for America 26 August 1907, sailed 27 August 1907”. William (Charles) Rabey is recorded as sailing on the SS Carmania from Liverpool on 4 September 1907, aged 31. The manifest of the SS Carmania for this journey confirms his arrival at Ellis Island New York.

William (Charles) Raby had an Uncle Charles Hawken, presumably a brother to the Martha Hawken who married William (Charles) Raby. In the diary of Martha Rabey is the additional inscription: “Charles Hawke sailed for America, Wed April 22nd 1891. Interestingly, this was the day of Hartley Raby’s birth.

William (Charles) Raby is said to have sent home two lots of money to the family, pending an arrangement for them to follow. After this no more was heard of William (Charles) Raby and he was considered to have abandoned the family. There is no evidence of this abandonment, other than the fact that he was not heard of again.

In the diary of Martha Rabey is a newspaper cutting as follows:


“Estate of Charles Hawkins deceased. Notice is hereby given by the undersigned Luke Williams, administrator of the estate of Charles Hawkins, diseased to the creditors of and all persons having claims against the said deceased, to exhibit with the necessary vouchers, within ten months after the first publication of this notice, to the said Luke Williams, administrator, post office address, Rupert, County of Minidoka, State of Idaho, and being the place fixed for the transaction of the business of said estate. Dated June 8 1920”.


Along with this cutting is a small photograph of a plaque stating that Charles Hawkins, born in England, April 26 1868, died April 7, 1920. The same diary has an entry for April 7, 1920 that Charles Hawken died on that day and was buried on 10 April in the same year in America.