Fusion: Deakin Exhibits Online

Wife desertion and bigamy - father and son

In April 1882, William Clarson was arrested at Lord Howe Island and taken to Sydney to answer a charge of deserting his wife Caroline Clarson. In court Clarson was ordered to pay £1 per week to Mrs Clarson for twelve months, starting when he was able, terms that she accepted.

In May 1882, just a month after his father’s court appearance, WA Clarson was arrested on Lord Howe Island and also taken to Sydney for the charge of bigamy. For reasons unknown he married two women in December 1881. Martha Payne on 16 December and Susan Parkinson on 24 December.10 WA Clarson pleaded guilty and produced a statement of (unknown) circumstances to be considered by Judge Josephson.11 On 2 June 1882, he received ‘some severe remarks’ from Judge Josephson and was sentenced to four years hard labour, on the roads.12

The Judges remarks were quoted in the Hawkesbury Chronicle & Farmers Advocate (Windsor NSW) on 10 June 1882, ‘Four years isn’t enough under the circumstances; there should have been, at least, four years for the seduction.’ Curiously Martha Payne (whom he was living with upon his arrest) divorced him after he was released he and ‘remarried’ Susan Parkinson, with whom he had two children, Arthur in 1882 and Sidney in 1887.

 
Wife desertion and bigamy - father and son