Edmund Corbyn

An entire family was baptised at Charles, Plymouth, Devon on 31 December 1788: Flora Corbin, aged 34 (thus born in 1754); her 3 sons: Hugh, James and Edmund; and her daughter Susanna.

No father's name is given for any of the four children, nor are their ages included.

Hugh Corbyn was apprenticed as a tailor in Plymouth to Francis Wilson Sr. & Jr. on 16 June 1790. In July 1801 he is recorded as a prisoner in Newgate, for the County of Middlesex: "Hugh Corbyn, formerly of Plymouth, in the County of Devon, and late a Midshipman on board His Majesty's Prison Ship Bristol, lying in Gillingham Reach, in the County of Kent." The London Gazette listed prisoners without any indication of their offenses.

Midshipman Edmund Corbyn was killed in action on 21 October 1805 while serving on HMS Mars at the Battle of Trafalgar.

His mother, Flora Corbyn, of 19 Edgcombe Street, East Stonehouse near Plymouth, Devon, England made an application for Royal Bounty on 8 July 1806.

She made oath that she is the widow of Thomas Corbyn, and that she was married at Wilmington, North Carolina, upwards of thirty years ago. Further deposes she is a native of N. America, and has been settled in England twenty years at the time of the death of her son Edmund.

There is no record of any Thomas Corbyn that can be found in Wilmington, NC. Had he really been the father of Flora's children, why would his name have been omitted from the baptismal register?

It is possible that three of these people are the slave family (Nelly, her son Lewis LeGrand, and the child she was then big with) freed by Edmund Corbin of New Hanover county, NC in his will of 30 January 1781, probated 7 August 1782.

Two men with the same names as Flora's two surviving sons purchased the rank of Purser in the Royal Navy after she had applied for Royal Bounty. It is likely that these were her sons, using the bounty she had received. James Corbyn became a Purser on 3 September 1806 and Hugh Corbyn on 14 March 1807.

James Corbyn died on 17 May 1815. His widow Sarah (nee Alger), whom he had married on 29 September 1814 (at their parish church: St Mary, Whitechapel, Middlesex), made a submission to the Charity for the relief of Officers' Widows.

Hugh Corbyn wrote his will on 15 June 1833, when he was Purser on HMS Volage (whose captain, G.B. Martin, witnessed the will). He described himself as Purser Royal Navy and bequeathed everything he owned to his wife Sarah Corbyn of 81 Union Street, Stonehouse, Devon - which address goes towards confirming that he was Flora's son. Administration of his estate was granted to his widow on 26 January 1839.

Church Register of Charles, Plymouth, Devon covering December 1788.
UK, Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices' Indentures, 1710-1811: Record for Francis Wilson Sr.
The London Gazette, Numb. 15386. From Tuesday July 14, to Saturday July 18, 1801. pg 868.
Letter from the Right Hon. Lord Collingwood, Vice-Admiral of the Red, &c to William Marsden, Esq. dated on board the Euryalus, off Cadiz, Oct. 28 [1805]: "P.S. I enclose a list of the killed and wounded, as far as I have been able to collect it." Published in The London Gazette, Saturday 16 November 1805.
UK National Archives ADM 106/3028.
Navy List, December 1814. pg 126.
UK National Archives ADM 6/356/71 ff. 390-393.
Marriage Register of St Mary, Whitechapel, Middlesex covering September 1814.
UK National Archives PROB 11/1905.