Bott, William Joseph

Date of Birth/Death:


William Joseph Bott was born on 1 June 1803, the oldest of six children born to Thomas Bott (1772-1851) and Mary (née Marriott) (1778-1856) in Brigstock, Northamptonshire, England. As a young man William worked as a shoe-maker, first at Great Doddington and then by 1851 at Brigstock. He married Mary Ann Carter (1812-1852) and they had seven children, only four of whom survived. Unfortunately, Mary Ann then died in 1852, leaving William to support four children aged from about 9 to 17 years.

William’s three younger brothers migrated to South Australia which no doubt influenced William’s decision to also emigrate. He arrived in Adelaide on 25th May 1855 on the ship Punjab, accompanied by his four surviving children (including his oldest married daughter Ann Elizabeth):

  • Ann Elizabeth (1834-1917) m. John Wade Pratt (1829-1903) on 19 Oct 1854 at Thrapston, Northhamptonshire, UK d. at Hindmarsh, SA.
  • Francis (1839-1915) m. (1st) Sarah Anne Bridges (1847-1879) on 17 Feb 1877 at Adelaide, (2nd) Catherine Mitchell Boath (1853-1917) on 21 May 1886 at Adelaide, d. at Adelaide.
  • Lucy (1841-1933) m. William Illman (1842-1924) at the residence of W.J. Bott, Willunga on 8 Sept 1864, d. at Willunga
  • Thomas Leonidis (1843- 1926) m. Jane Richards (1845-1896) at the residence of H. Bishop, Adelaide on 28 June 1896, d. at Brighton, SA.

In 1856, soon after arriving, William Bott bought land near his brothers’ properties at Nairne. Also on 12 May 1856 William married Mary Patrick (née Redhead), a widow with a child, Eliza. Mary had arrived in SA in June 1855 with her husband William Patrick who died a few months after they arrived. She, too, came from the Brigstock area, so it is possible that she and William Bott knew each other before they all sailed for SA.

Following their marriage, William and Mary Bott and children moved to Willunga where they set up a boot-making business in their home at 17 Aldinga Road]]. William was joined in the business by his son Thomas (by then in his early twenties) and also by a young local lad William Illman who was later to marry William Bott’s daughter Lucy. William and his second wife Mary then had two sons:

  • Daniel Reddin Bott born at Willunga in 1857, who became a boot-maker with the Federal Boot Company in Adelaide, then moved to Perth. He married Bertha Bridges and had 14 children, nine of whom survived.
  • Samuel Solon Bott born at Willunga in 1861.

In March 1864, William and Mary Bott decided to move further down Aldinga Road and bought the property at 43 Aldinga Road which became their family home for the next sixteen years. Meanwhile, the shop and cottage at 17 Aldinga Road became home to their daughter Lucy and her new husband William Illman after they married on 8th September 1864. They possibly leased the place until five years later, when, in September 1869, William Illman bought the shop and cottage from his father-in-law.

William and Mary Bott became involved in social and community activities in Willunga. William was chosen as foreman of the 13-man Jury at the Inquest into a fire which occurred on 30th December 1869 at the house, store and stables of Henry Malpas, storekeeper, in St Peters Terrace. The jury found there was no evidence to show how the fire originated. In September 1871 William Bott along with many other citizens signed a petition in support of the candidacy of Philip Santo, Esq., J.P., of Clapham for one of the vacancies in the Legislative council.

William Joseph Bott, died at Mt Barker on 4 January 1880, aged 76 years and was buried at the Wesleyan Cemetery at Mt Barker. His widow Mary Bott died at Nairne in 1922 aged 94 years.


1870 ‘FIRE AT WILLUNGA‘, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail8 January, p. 5. , viewed 19 Feb 2024,
1871 ‘Advertising‘, Evening Journal 22 September, p. 3. viewed 19 Feb 2024,
1922 ‘CONCERNING PEOPLE‘, The Register 5 April, p. 6. , viewed 19 Feb 2024,
Willunga National Trust folder 41-1-4
Willunga National Trust folder 42-2-42 to 42-2-51 courtesy of Bott family descendants.

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