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George Wilcox (1838 - 1917)

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George Wilcox
Born in Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Adelaide, SA, Australiamap
Profile manager: Sid Wilcox private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 5 Nov 2015
This page has been accessed 344 times.


George Wilcox, (Husband of Annie and father of Sidney George and George Seaborn)

George Wilcox, born 1838, was first employed at James Paine’s office on the Market Square at the age of 12, and afterwards served a five-year apprenticeship with S Bedells, groces, of 9 High Street, and a year with a Leicester grocer.

In 1857, at the age of 19, he sailed in the ‘Royal Charter’ to Australia and, possibly under the wing of W. Barker, got a job as a clerk at one pound a week. In 1858 he joined a small grocery business which a year later amalgamated with an old established drapery shop. This in partnership with his father, he took over under the name of J & W Wilcox, although his father never visited Australia.

In 1863 he returned to England and married Ann Fuller of Manor Farm, St Neots.

Altogether he made 13 voyages between England and Australia and was joined at Adelaide by his brother Joseph.

His knowledge of the goods needed in the new colony enabled him, with the assistance of his father, to build up a large import business as well as to arrange the export of wool, hides and frozen meat to England.

In 1899 he was the largest exporter of frozen lamb in Australia. He also practiced faming and in 1908 owned the Koonamore sheep station with 40,000 sheep.

Joseph Wilcox at his death left a fortune of 39,000 pounds.1 He had retired from his shop in 1887 and it was taken by W Seward.

The older Joseph Wilcox was very much involved in local affairs. He was a Deacon of the Congregational Church for 30 years, a member of the Committee of St Neots Gas, Light and Coke Company, founded in 1845, a member of the Local Board from 1876 onwards, and a Director of St Neots Paper Mills Company in 1888.

From notes taken by Alan Wilcox (Son of George Seaborn) from account given by his Uncle Sidney

When George was only 12 years old he was apprenticed to Bedells, a big Grocers Store at Leicester. He stayed there for 7 years, but by about 1858 George had decided to come to Australia. His first idea was to go to Sydney where he had Leicester friends (Keeps, Geards, Schlenkers, Parsons). On his father’s request he went to South Australia instead.

The eldest son of Joseph, Thomas, was apprenticed to a Linen Draper and Costumier, Geard’s at St Neots and later married one of the girl apprentices Priscilla Heydon. He was the first of this family to come to Australia, probably about 1856, with a William Barker also believed to have come from St Neots. Apparently old Joseph gave Thomas 500 pounds to go into business with Barker. They went to Gawler, possibly because Barker had friends there.

Evidently it was not long till they got into trouble. Old Joseph sent the third son, Emery, to Gawler to clean up matters. However, Emery was a drunk and made things worse.

By about 1858 Joseph heard of this further trouble, and gave the second son, George, a free hand to go to Gawler and ‘properly clean up the job, fire Thomas and Emery, and Barker, and sell up.’

George arrived in Melbourne late in 1858 ex Auxiliary Steam ‘Great Britain’, then traveled on to Adelaide in March 1859 ex the coastal steamer ‘Admella’. (The Admella was wrecked on the next voyage, off Carpenter Rocks, south west of Mt Gambier and most of the people lost.) As told by his father, he fired his brothers and Barker, and the business.

Gawler was the nearest big town to the City and to Port Adelaide, and all the traffic of the big copper mines from Burra-Burra and Kapunda had to pass through Gawler. At this time there had been talk of building a railway from Port Adelaide to Gawler to catch the Copper Mine traffic. George believed that the establishment of a General Store could be a most successful business.

Having money of his own, he proposed to go into full partnership with his father, old Joseph. The firm to be J and G Wilcox Merchants.

George returned to England to find a wife in 1863. (see George Wilcox, 1838, below).

Emery had disappeared, but later was heard of in Sydney where he had married. Nothing much is known about him, but he possibly followed his father as a Tailor. He had 4 daughters, two of which married brothers named Douglas, both in the machine Dept of the Sydney Morning Herald, and a son. The son went into the NSW Survey Dept and was articled to a Mr Koeford1 then in charge of the Wagga district. Koeford spoke very well of the youngster, but he did not use the name of Wilcox then, though Koeford knew of it.

Whilst Emery’s children were quite young, he disappeared again, this time for good. He was believed to have gone to South Africa and lost there.

It is not known why Mrs ‘Emery’ and the family did not continue under the Wilcox name, nor what name they used.

Joseph, at age 12, was sent to George in Gawler. He traveled with Priscilla Heydon who went to Australia to marry Thomas. George had to provide for young Joe and took him into the shop. Joe became very experienced working in this job for 12 years from 1860-1872.

John followed his father in St Neots as a Tailor until 1880 when he was appointed London Agent for George who was working for Wm Mofflin & Co. In 1889 John moved from St Neots to London.

Not much is known of the younger children, except of the sons qualifications, as below:

Harry B.M. of Dublin (Doctor of Medicine) Ernest B.M. of Edinburgh (Doctor of Medicine) William Licentiate of Pharmacy Lincoln with William (?) Peppercorn Sue’s (Sussanah) husband.

Extract from The Adelaide Observer 9 July 1927 on the retirement of Sidney Wilcox, eldest son of George and Annie Wilcox, on Sidney's retirement from the firm of Wilcox Moflin.

Firm's Romantic History. The firm of Wilcox, Moflin, Limited, has become an important factor in the industrial life of Australia, due to the energy and foresight of the founders. The late Mr. George Wilcox (Mr. Sidney Wilcox's father) was born in 1838, and came to South Australia in the Admella in 1858. He proceeded to Gawler and opened a grocery business, merging in 1860 with his father's general store keeping business under the title of J. and G. Wilcox. In 1860 Mr. George Wilcox was. buying wool, skins, gum bark, wheat, four and gold, or rather taking, these products in barter for stores and shipping them for sale to his father Joseph Wilcox, in England, where the proceeds were used to buy English goods for the store keeping business. Mr. George Wilcox was also interested in a small wool washing plant on the Para River, and in the sixties and early seventies in a boiling down plant, combined with soap and candle works. In 1872 Mr. George Wilcox sold out at Gawler and took his family back to England with the intention of living there, but returned to Adelaide in 1874, as he found the English climate too rigorous for him. From 1874 he intermittently bought wool, skins, and so on for shipment to England, and while actively engaged in handling these products he first came into contact in Melbourne with Mr. William Mofflin in 1876. From an historical point of view this meeting was a momentous one. Mr. William Mofflin had proceeded to Melbourne to take charge of a wool and produce brokering business, and after some acquaintance with Mr. George Wilcox he suggested a partnership, with the idea of entering into the export of wool, skins, and produce. The partnership was entered into, and the firm of William Mofflin and Co. established, and carried on until June, 1889. In 1888 a branch was opened in Sydney, and this was the beginning of a chain of offices and branches through out Australia. A few months later a branch was opened in Melbourne. In 1887 Mr. Sidney Wilcox entered the Adelaide branch.


  • Family records and research by Judy Lewington great granddaughter of George Wilcox Snr.

Adelaide Observer 9 July 1927

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with George by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with George:

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On 14 Nov 2015 at 12:00 GMT Maryann (Thompson) Hurt wrote:

Hi Sid

Thanks for your message. So you need to change this George's mother to Sarah Emery. If you look on the top right of Sarah`s profile you'll see her profile-id is Emery-2118.

You need to click on the Edit Tab on this profile.

Then over on the right of the Edit page under where it says Mother click on the link edit mother.

Another page opens. In the box beside where it says a) To set someone who has an existing profile on WikiTree ... enter Sarah's wikiTree profile-Id.

Check down the bottom of the page to see that the check box beside Joseph Wilcox is the spouse of George's mother.

Click the button Add mother for George Wilcox.

Then it should be fixed.


George is 39 degrees from Rosa Parks, 28 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 23 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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