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Guilford Onslow was born in 1842 in the State of Virginia in the United States, enlisted and served in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War and died in Queensland, Australia. His name, however, is shown on the Queensland Death Index as being ‘William’ Onslow, the son of William Onslow. It appears he may have used the name ‘Guildford’ as an alias for some reason, taken perhaps from the name of a county in North Carolina, Guildford County, N.C.; perhaps because of his age or maybe over the objections of his family. There were a number of Onslow’s that enlisted with the Confederate States Army from Virginia; all being related, but not all served in Virginia. J. Satterfield Onslow and B. Sims Onslow, however, we definitely know served within the state of Virginia. ‘Guildford’ Onslow’ who died as ‘William’ Onslow in Queensland, may not have even been born as ‘William’; he may have changed his name again, as many did, or he may have in fact been one of the two we know that did serve in Virginia, since he said he served there.

It also could have been he was a Virginian of French heritage, as the original name
 Guilliame is often corrupted to Guilford; and  the name ‘Guilliame’ usually, when translated into English, becomes ‘William’. One must keep in mind too, that someone who did not realise that Virginia split during the Civil War and could
have erroneously connected him to what we now call a West Virginian, or he could have been from that part of Virginia that is now Tennessee. A lot of unknown possibilities.

There is a ‘Guilford’ Onslow that appears in Norfolk, Virginia in the ‘1874-1881 Sheriff & Co's Norfolk Directory’; the ‘Portsmouth Directory 1875-76’; ‘Sheriff's Richmond City Directory 1877’ and the ‘1891-1892 Chataigne's Directory Of Richmond, Va’, but it may have no connection to this individual.

In any case, records reveal that at some point a Guildford (William) Onslow migrated to Australia at the age of 24, arriving in Melbourne, Victoria in March 1862 on the ship ”ORWELL” from a British port. There is also a record for Onslow travelling from Melbourne, Victoria to Sydney, New South Wales aboard the “BALCLUTHA II” in Nov. 1862. Unfortunately, there are no indexes to departures from Sydney as yet and he may have at some point returned to Australia directly to Queensland. Eventually he ended up living in the community of ‘Consuelo’ in Rockhampton, Queensland. While in Rockhampton he applied to the Colonial Secretary for a position as a Clerk of the Court. In it he stated that he had spent a short time in the late Confederate States Army in America and had also served 6 years in the 83rd Regiment of Foot, serving in Central India during the mutiny.

William Onslow died in Queensland in 1894 at 52 years of age; reference number 1894/C3086.


Barry Crompton, ACWRTA

Beth Davis, Captain Matthew Flinders Chapter, NSDAR

Broadfoot Publishing, Wilmington, North Carolina

Christine Smith, Genealogical Society of Queensland Inc.

Colonial Secretary in-letter 66/5641, container 4/583

Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Virginia

Generations database

Index to Convicts and others 1861-1877, NSW State Records Authority

National Library of Australia, Microfiche 200; Microfiche Drawer No. mc N 1655, 31

Queensland BMD

Rhonda Campbell, State Records Authority of New South Wales Soldiers and Sailors database


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