The Hosken Family

Hosken is a Cornish name, derived from the Celtic Heskyn meaning 'sedge-march' and is found from the 1600s in mid and west Cornwall, especially around Penzance.  Spelling variants include Hoskyn, Hosken, Hoskin and Hosking. The economy of Cornwall was based on tin mining, farming and fishing.

Our branch of the Hosken family begins with William Hosken, a miner at the Dong Dong mine that overlooked Penzance, who on 26th December1809, at Gulval, Cornwall, England married Mary Saundry. The children of William Hosken and Mary Saundry included:

1.      James Hosken, Christened 21 Setember 1813 Gulval, Cornwall, England. Married Caroline Clemens 29 March 1834.  A large family, some emigrated to USA.

2.      Jane Hosken, Christened 18 January1816 Gulval, Cornwall, England, married Thomas Bolitho.  Several of the Bolitho family came to Australia, including William Henry Hosking Bolitho on the Essex in 1867 and Mahala Noy (nee Bolitho) who died in WA. in 1927. James and Alice Bolitho (nee Clements) and family went to the USA with brother Samuel.

3.      Elizabeth Hosking, Christened 12 July 1818 Gulval, Cornwall, England. Married 20 July 1839, Hugh Lawrey, Gulval, Cornwall, England.  William Henry Hosken was a witness at the wedding.  Children: Mary Jane 1839, William 1842, Francis 1845, Elizabeth 1848, James 1850, Hugh 1853, Ann (Nancy) 1855.  Most of the family stayed in England. A son, William Lawry immigrated to Australia, and in 1888 married the widowed Elizabeth Dunhill (nee Peel).  A stepson of this marriage became Sir Thomas Dunhill, the famed thyroid surgeon, and personal physician to King George VI.

4.      William Henry Hosken Christened 12 August 1821 Gulval, Cornwall, England. He became a Bible Christian Church preacher, married Mary Ann Read, and with their family immigrated to Australia in 1861. Many Australian Hoskens are descendants.

5.      John Hoskin, Christened 09 April 1824 Gulval, Cornwall, England. Married firstly Jane Thomas in 1847, then Elizabeth Jelbart in 1855.  The children from Jane Thomas were Mary Jane Hosken and William Henry Hosken, and from Elizabeth Jelbart were John Hosken, James Hosken and Elizabeth Hosken.  Mary Jane, William Henry, John and James all immigrated to Australia.  Elizabeth stayed in England and married John Christopher.

6.      Edward Saundry Hoskin, Christened 03 September 1827 Gulval, Cornwall, England.  Married Jane Brush and had several children. Edward was a blacksmith and lay Bible Christian preacher. Jane’s brother, Henry Brush was also a lay Bible Christian preacher.

William Hosken was killed in an accident at Ding Dong Mine, Boskednan, Cornwall in 1829, age 41 years, leaving a young struggling family.  In the 1800s, food and work were on short supply, and coupled with lack of sanitation, there were many deaths in Cornwall. Developments taking place in the United States, Canada, Australia, South America and Africa provided new opportunities for the Hosken family.  However it was hard for them to leave familiar family and friends and culture, and board a small ship for the long and risky voyage to strange new worlds, possibly with no hope of returning.  

Many of the children and grandchildren of William Hosken and Mary Saundry were forced to become global in outlook, and transplanted their families and culture overseas, with most settling in Australia.