Robert Bastard Morgan was born in 1796 and baptised in Bigbury in Devon on the 3rd February. His parents were Amos Morgan and Mary Ann Bastard who had married in Charleton, Mary Ann's home parish, on the 20th July 1781. Amos had been born in North Huish in 1758, and his parents, confusingly also Amos Morgan, a yeoman, and Mary Ann Bastard, who had married there in 1757, moved from North Huish to Foxhole near Bigbury between the births of their last two children in 1772 and 1774. This Morgan family can be traced back to Amos Morgan and his wife Elizabeth who were living in Ashprington in the 1690s. From Ashprington the family moved to Harberton before living in North Huish.Leah, the twin sister of my greatx3 grandmother Harriett Cox, married Robert Bastard Morgan in Chichester on the 12th April 1827. Robert was a cordwainer, or shoemaker, and they returned to Leah’s home county of Dorset where their first son, Robert William Morgan was born on the 4th of November that year. He was baptised on the 4th December in the Wesleyan Chapel in Poole, when their residence is given as Lytchett Matravers. Their next son, Amos, was baptised at St James in Poole on the 23rd July 1831, and his death has to be assumed as there is no further record of him, not even a burial.By 1836 they had moved into Robert’s home county of Devon, and were living in Dodbrooke, just outside Kingsbridge, and not far from Robert’s birthplace of Bigbury. A daughter, Elizabeth, was born on the 22nd August 1836, and baptised in the Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Kingsbridge on the 12th of September. At the end of 1840 Leah gave birth to twins, Amos and Peter, and they were baptised in the parish church in Dodbrooke on the 10th of March 1841.It would seem that by this date Robert had already abandoned his family - though as Amos and Peter are both Morgan family names his influence lingered on - for while Leah and her children Elizabeth and the twins are in Dodbrooke in the 1841 census, Robert and his oldest son Robert William are in Highweek, near Newton Abbott. 1851 finds Leah and her twins in Kingsbridge, and Elizabeth working nearby as a servant while Robert senior is now in Exeter and still working as a shoemaker. However a lot happened between 1841 and 1851.EXETER POLICE NEWSRobert Morgan, shoemaker, of Waterbeer-street, was charged by John Shears, one of the officers of the Corporation of the Poor, with deserting his wife, and suffering her to be relieved from the Poor-rates. It appeared that the defendant and his family belonged to the parish of Dodbrooke, that he had deserted his wife for many years, and lived in Exeter with another woman. The children, two boys, had been in the Kingsbridge Union for some time, but the Guardians having required the father to contribute towards their support he had taken them to his lodgings, where, it was stated by several witnesses, he and the woman who lived with him treated the children with great severity and harshness. The poor boys looked in a most emaciated and pitiable condition. The Bench sentenced the prisoner to one month's imprisonment, and to be kept to hard labour; and at the end of his imprisonment, to be brought up for judgement for assaulting and ill-treating the boys. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 5 January 1850Robert Morgan, who was sent to prison about a month since for refusing to maintain his wife, was today placed at the bar, the above term of imprisonment having expired, charged with cruelty and neglect to his children, who were living with him, and a woman he cohabited with, in Waterbeer-street. The acts of cruelty, consisting in severely punishing them when naked, were deposed to by the neighbours, and the Bench inflicted a fine of £5 on him, and in default of payment he was again consigned to prison for a fortnight. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 2 February 1850You wouldn’t get an inkling of any of this just by looking at the censuses. The poor twins have obviously been reclaimed by Leah by 1851; they are living in Duke Street, Kingsbridge, and she describes herself as a Seller of Fruit.Robert died in Exeter in 1858, and he was buried as Robert Bastin Morgan of Exe Street on the 15th January at St David’s. Leah died in 1860 and was buried in West Alvington on the 3rd June.Amos and Peter remained in West Alvington, sharing a house in Union Road at the time of the 1861 census when Amos is described as a Labourer and Peter as a Mariner in the Merchant Service. Again, it is the newspapers which enlarge upon their story with headlines such as “Heartless” or “Daring” robbery.On Wednesday, John Lopes, jun., was charged with stealing from Amos and Peter Morgan the sum of £9 15s. The prosecutors, who are twin brothers, of 20 years of age, had saved £9 15s., and kept it in a box in their bedroom. The prisoner was a friend of theirs, and was aware of the fact of the money being kept in the box. On Tuesday the money was missed, and suspicion fell on the prisoner, who had been sauntering near the house. He was taken into custody, but only a few shillings were found on him, and the case was remanded. Western Times 8 December 1860John Lopes junior was committed for trial, but at the Devon Winter Assizes the grand jury ignored the bills against him. The twins’ friendship with John Lopes does perhaps indicate a certain naivety on their part: John Lopes senior is described in 1864 as an old offender, with a history of child neglect and pilfering which had sent him to gaol repeatedly.So by the 1861 census Peter and Amos are working hard to build up their savings again, The Western Morning News’ account of the robbery had reported that the £9 15s. “was money which they had been saving for a long while for the purpose of buying a boat”. So it was back to square one for the twins. During the 1860s they both gained experience as sailors and they both got married: Peter in 1865 to Ann Maria Hoskin, and Amos in 1869 to Sarah Ann Ould. In the 1871 census the brothers are on board the Loveday in Salcombe harbour, with Amos as Master and Peter as Mate. Peter is a widower: his wife had died in 1868; Amos also appears in this census living at home with his family in Church Street, Dodbrook.Once the brothers had progressed to Master their name regularly appears in the Shipping and Mercantile Gazette tracking the voyages of the Loveday. Their regular trading route was between Salcombe and Plymouth, but Amos was also Master of the new ship Kingsbridge and ventured further around the coast to Lyme, Lymington and Fareham and to Bridgewater and Neath. As on the 15th January 1873 both the Loveday and the Kingsbridge arrived in Plymouth with a Morgan as Master, they were obviously both capable of fulfilling that role. The owners of the Kingsbridge were Messrs. Beer & Trant, described in White's Gazetteer & Directory for 1878 as coal and manure merchants, and “general merchants, district agents for James Gibbs & Co.'s and J. B. Lawe's manures, and agents for Elliott's Patent Sheathing & Metal Company, Bayly & Fox, timber merchants, & Anderson's Patent Sheathing & Roofing Felt, and shipowners, The Quay, Dodbrooke.” Though according to the Devon Register of Shipping 1863-1951, the title of the Kingsbridge, 60670, built at Salcombe in 1871, was owned by William Rendell Beer, Philip Trant, Amos Morgan, and Peter Morgan, so it would appear the brothers had a financial interest in her.According to the 1871 census the sloop Loveday belonged to the port of Plymouth, her tonnage was 25 tons, and she was employed in the limestone trade. However in May 1874 the Loveday, with Amos Morgan as Master, sailed from Plymouth with timber for Bridport, and this must have been one of their last voyages with her.Between them over more than ten years the brothers had built up a vast experience of coastal sailing around the south west of England, and had also accumulated sufficient funds to finally buy a boat of their own; which makes what happened next even more tragic. The Experiment, with a Morgan as Master, first appears in the Shipping and Mercantile Gazette in April 1875, sailing that summer between Salcombe, Exmouth, Torquay, Lyme, Fowey and Falmouth. Her previous Master had been Robert Boalch of Beer in east Devon and in the 1871 census he is on board her in Sutton Pool in Plymouth. The Dorset crew lists report that he left the Experiment in 1875 at Lyme and became Master of the Rifleman in March that year, presumably when the Morgans bought the possibly ageing smack which seems to appear first in the shipping press in 1847. Lloyd’s List on the 25th November 1873 reported that the Experiment, Master, Boalch, on the way from Plymouth to Boulogne, had had to put in at Lyme, having sprung a leak, not a particularly good omen for the Morgan brothers.The newspapers carried reports of severe weather in the Channel over the weekend of the 4th/5th March 1876, with strong south westerly gales, but apart from some delays to shipping and the fishing fleet, it didn’t seem to cause many problems: perhaps it was just too much for the Experiment.Despite the loss of their breadwinners, the families they left behind survived, and eventually thrived. Sarah Ann Morgan did not re-marry, and she successfully brought up her three children by earning a living as a laundress and charlady in and around Kingsbridge, dying in 1914. By 1891 her oldest son James Henry was working as a Tailor, while her youngest, George Alfred was a Marble Mason’s apprentice. When James Henry Morgan died in July 1939 aged 69, he was the Kingsbridge Town Crier, and had had careers ranging from Carrier to Farmer and Fruit grower. George Alfred Morgan took on the licence of the Seven Stars Hotel in Kingsbridge in 1905 and he was still there in 1939. He died in Kingsbridge in 1967, aged 92. Their sister, Elizabeth Ann married George Battershill, a Royal Navy Petty Officer in 1898, and they too settled eventually in the Kingsbridge area.The widowed Peter Morgan had married for a second time in 1872. His new wife, Elizabeth Ann Olver was fourteen years his junior, and they had a son, James Peter, born in Dodbrooke in 1874. After Peter’s death she moved with her son to North Bridge Terrace, Exeter, where James Peter was enrolled in St David's Church of England First School in June 1879. The school records show that he left the school nine months later as he had “Left the City”. It seems that they had gone to Torquay which is where Elizabeth Ann married Charles Satchwill, a sailor, in 1880. They stayed in Torquay, and when Charles died in 1910 he is described as a dairyman, and in the 1891 and 1901 censuses as Tripe dresser and Farmer respectively. He had obviously retired from the sea shortly after his marriage: he can be found on the two previous censuses as an AB in Sutton Pool in Plymouth, and in Hartlepool, on both occasions as a crew member on a coasting brigantine.James Peter Morgan married Ada Pollock in Torquay in 1900, and he is working as a Brickyard fireman there in 1901. However by this time he had had two attempts at joining the Royal Navy and a short spell with hard labour in Bodmin Gaol. Giving a false birth date of 24th January 1872 he joined the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd class in May 1892, he signed up for 12 years, and was based at Vivid II, the Royal Naval Barracks at Devonport; he was, however invalided out with heart disease one year later, and was traced for a pension on the 26th July 1893. With his correct birth date of 14th January 1874 he signed up again for 12 years on the 13th January 1897, again at Vivid II, and was discharged from the service on the 21st April “after 28 ds. H.L. for fraudulent entry”. That Hard Labour was served in Bodmin Gaol from April to May 1897 and the notes on his sentence read “Loitering about barracks and breakg. out”.James Peter Morgan, Ada, and their son also called James Peter, born in 1901, all sailed on the 28th February 1914 on the Australind bound for Fremantle in West Australia, with James senior declaring his occupation to be “F’hand”. Their names are added on in pencil at the end of the passenger list so perhaps theirs was a late decision. Travelling 3rd class they arrived in Australia just over six weeks later on the 16th April after an uneventful voyage with mainly fine weather apart from in the Bay of Biscay and after rounding the Cape. James Peter senior died in Cottesloe, a Perth suburb, on the 27th October 1926.