the emigrants

Over the course of time, various members of the family have decided to leave Eastbourne and start a new life in a different part of the world. Here is just a sample of some of them. Assuredly there are several more not mentioned.

  • Richard Boniface sailed to North America, at the age of 16. He travelled alone to Maryland, USA aboard the HMS Adventure in April of 1775. This ship was later purchased by the famous Captain Cook and used for his 3rd voyage of discovery. Thus members of the Boniface family have been sailing the high seas before some countries in the Southern Hemisphere had even been discovered.

  • Jack and Harry Boniface (sons of George and Lucy) went to the USA in 1837 and changed their surnames to Bonny. They became canning industrialists in Chicago and became rich.

  • James Boniface was a gardener on the estate of Lord Wilson. He and Lord Wilson's daughter, Lady Elizabeth Agnes Wilson fell in love, and of course it was out of her class to be involved with someone of such low stature as the gardener and their relationship was not approved, so in 1842 they eloped and sailed to Australia on board 'the Alfred', eventually settling in New Zealand, where James became somewhat of a pioneer on that countries early frontier.

  • James Boniface's sister accompanied him on board 'the Alfred'. She was Elizabeth Boniface, who married John Francisco and they have many descendants in Australia to represent them today.

  • Grace Kate Boniface (daughter of Old Tom) emigrated to Chicago in 1903 to live with her cousins who were rich in the canning business, but she was quite surprised to find out she had been hired as their servant. Not adjusting well to this scenario, she moved back to Eastbourne in 1905, only to sail to Ontario, Canada in 1911 with her new husband, Fred Lewis, where they lived out their years. Michael's father was born in their house, which was named 'Eastbourne Cottage'.

  • Henry Philip Boniface (son of Old Tom) also moved to USA, being sponsored by his rich cousins in Chicago, and he too moved back to Eastbourne, in his case after only one year, to marry his lovely sweetheart Dolly, (Violet Adelaide Butler, daughter of Doctor Butler of London, and Leonora, an opera singer.

  • Grace Nicholls, daughter of Lucy Eliza Boniface and grand-daughter of Old Tom, emigrated to Canada in 1916, to live with her Aunt Grace (Kate Boniface) and Uncle Fred in Ontario.

  • In 1923, Ethel Nicholls, (Michael's grandmother) also sailed across the Altantic, (on board the SS Aussonia) to join her sister Grace, at Byron, which would eventually be part of London, Ontario, Canada

  • Lily May Boniface (grand-daughter of Old Tom) married Herbert Rand in Eastbourne in 1936, and two weeks later departed from Eastbourne forever, to serve as missionaries for the Salvation Army, and for the next while they lived in India and finally settled in California USA, after retirement.

  • Pauline Mowbray, with her husband Phil and their sons Andrew, Paul, and David, left Eastbourne in 1981, for a new life in Australia and very much enjoy it there, but currently yearn for a sentimental journey back to their hometown.




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