Bushranger connections for the Taylor family

Sir Frederick Pottinger wrongfully arrested Ben Hall in 1862. Hall was acquitted for this, although named as part of Frank Gardiner’s gang who on June 15 in 1862 staged the biggest gold robbery on record in the district. Photo supplied

Sir Frederick Pottinger wrongfully arrested Ben Hall in 1862. Hall was acquitted for this, although named as part of Frank Gardiner’s gang who on June 15 in 1862 staged the biggest gold robbery on record in the district. Photo supplied

This is the second installment of Adam Taylor, who later became the father-in-law of bushranger Ben Hall’s widow. 

Adam Taylor’s son James married Emma Dower in 1849 and had one daughter, Sophia Sarah.

In 1856, James purchased 44 acres on Portion 10 on Meadow Flat in his daughter’s name, which was later sold to William Newham.  

In July 1861, James was present shortly after a fight between the bushranger Gardiner and Police at “Fogg’s Shanty”.  

According to Frank Gardiner’s bushranger mate John Piesley’s statement, he contributed £5 to the £50 bribe to engineer Gardiner’s escape.  

Four months later he left his wife Emma to live with Bridget Hall, nee Walsh, wife of bushranger Ben Hall. Bridget took their young son Henry to live with them. Bridget had had enough and when the opportunity arose for her and Taylor to elope and take her son Henry with her she took it.

Ben and the stockmen had gone away for several days to gather wild horses and so the trio set off and never returned.  Bridget and James had two sons: John (1869) and James (1871).

They were finally able to marry after the death of their respective spouses. Ben Hall died on March 5, 1865 and Emma Taylor nee Dower died at Wheeo, on 23rd March, 1876 - the cause being “Exhaustion from the excessive use of ardent spirits”.  

Just 13 months after their marriage on the June 1, 1876, James Taylor died at Cadalgulee near Forbes. The cause of his death was due to the excess of drink. Bridget lived at Ford’s Bridge, near Bourke for many years she died in 1923 a well-respected citizen known as Granny Taylor.

In 1862, Ben Hall’s life went from bad to worse, Ben was wrongfully arrested by an Englishman Sir Frederick Pottinger, who had been promoted to outback Police Inspector.  

It was April 1862, when Pottinger arrested him for armed robbery. He was acquitted for this. Again Hall was named as part of Frank Gardiner’s gang who on June 15th, 1862 staged the biggest gold robbery heard of in the district.  

The Eugowra Rocks gold robbery netted the gang about £14,000.

Hall was arrested at Sandy Creek on 27th July, 1862.  He was granted bail of £500 and two sureties of £250.  Hall was forced to sell Sandy Creek. He was not committed for trial. However Hall’s relatives and friends had continued squatting on the run and Sir Frederick Pottinger under the direction of his friend John Wilson the new owner of Sandy Creek Station.

According to Constable Hollister’s diary on Saturday March 14, 1863, after some days’ notice their belongings were removed and the home fired. From then on Ben Hall was committed to his life of crime. Allegedly he was accused of up to 600 armed robberies, many with Frank Gardiner and Johnny Gilbert.

Police ambushed him on Goobang Creek near Forbes on March 5th, 1865. It is said that at least 30 gunshot wounds were found in his body.

Taylor’s wife Sophia eventually left Adam and was living at Narrawa in 1855.

Adam died on December 28, 1858 at Meadow Flat, three weeks after his death in January 1859, Sophia married William Atkins. After the death of William Atkins, Sophia married in November 1867 for a third time to George Evans of Goulburn, and she died in Forbes in 1879.  

Nothing is known of George Evans and Sophia’s headstone is in the Forbes Cemetery in the name of Atkins.

Prior to Sophia's marriage to George Evans, she made a property settlement to certain family members, from her vast estate. One of her beneficiaries was Henry Hall, son of Ben Hall and Bridget Taylor.

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