Elizabeth Nicolle

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Elizabeth Nicolle


The two portrait photographs of Elizabeth Nicolle on this page are believed to have been taken in New Zealand in 1854, making them among the earliest in the Jerripedia collection

Elizabeth Nicolle was born in St Saviour in 1789 and travelled throughout Europe with her German husband during the Peninsular War, before emigrating to Australia among the first free settlers of New South Wales. After the death of her first husband she married a convicted forger, who had been deported to Australia, and moved with him to New Zealand

Elizabeth Nicolle and her granddaughter Laura Jane Gimbel

Elizabeth Nicolle was from a long-established Jersey farming family at La Hougue Bie, on the boundary between the parishes of St Saviour and Grouville. She was born 8 May 1789 and baptised at St Saviour on 24 May 1789. Her parents were Clement Nicolle and Jeanne Hubert who were married at St Martin in 1773.

[She eventually moved to Australia and New Zealand and there are several Australian online trees which give her name as Elizabeth de Granche Nicolle, naming her father as either Count Clement Nicholai De Granche, or Clement De La P Nicolle. Her death certificate named her father as Clement Nicholai, but this was an invention not based on any Jersey record - Ed]

First marriage

Elizabeth married George Otto, in about 1810, although there is no record of this marriage in Jersey. He was born in Hesse Cassel, Germany, but may have emigrated to England before the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars. He was attached to the British Commissariat of the Allied armies under Wellington.

Elizabeth accompanied her husband across Europe throughout the war as the birth of her eldest children in France, Spain and Belgium testifies. George later returned to London where he worked as a baker after demobilisation. The family later joined the first free settlers to New South Wales in 1833.

On 11 August 1833 George and Elizabeth Otto arrived with their children in Port Jackson, New South Wales on the Bussorah Merchant, a three-mast vessel of 531 tons, built in 1818 at Howrah, Calcutta, which carried the first group of government-assisted emigrants to Sydney in 1833.

Five months after George Otto died in July 1836, Elizabeth, aged 47, married James Rampling in Sydney. James had been previously married and had one son. James came to New South Wales as a convict and continued a colourful career in Australia.

Extract from “The Times” of 7 March 1814

On Saturday J Rampling was fully committed for trial, on a charge of uttering divers forged notes, purporting to be the notes of the Bank of England. The prisoner, it appeared, had gone into Mr Hemmings, a pawnbroker, in Fleet market, to redeem some trifling pledge, and tendered in payment a note which, on examination, proved to be a forgery. While in the shop, he was observed to be chewing some paper, which he afterwards spat out. On being secured, this paper was examined and proved to be the fragments of two other forged notes: the prisoner had also passed a forged note to a tailor in Fleet Street and another to a butcher on the Old Street road.

Rampling was sentenced to 14 years transportation to New South Wales on 20 April 1814. He arrived in on 29 April 1815, and appears on the list of prisoners disembarked from the Indefatigable and forwarded to Paramatta for distribution. Assigned to John Leadbeater of Toongabbee, then to Charles Griffiths of Seven Hills. He applied for ticket of leave in 1819, but by 1824 was again running foul of authorities in a dispute over his occupancy of premises in Sydney.

Elizabeth went to New Zealand in 1838 in the ship Diana, arriving at Korororeka. She later settled in Auckland. Among the souvenirs which she brought with her from her time in Europe were a table quilt and table glassware, such as cruets, which she bequeathed to her daughters. These were items she kept from Napoleon’s last meal before he went to Elba. The glassware remains in family care. The quilt was donated to the Auckland Museum.

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