This story is from Week 2 of 6 which was written under the subject of ‘Hooking the Reader’.  It is about my 3rd great aunt, Annie Maria Shingles and her husband Thomas Forbes Nisbet.  The charge of bigamy was definitely true, but I have written it as a piece of fiction on how it might have been during this trying time.  It was submitted on 3 December 2016.


Annie thought Thomas had been too quiet during dinner. As newly weds they usually had a lot to talk about.  Before she got the chance to ask if anything was wrong, the police arrived, declared her Thomas under arrested on a charge of bigamy and took him away.

What was she going to do now?  He was guilty.  Thomas had confessed to leaving a wife and three children behind in the Shetland Islands just before their wedding.  Although she had been upset, Annie loved him and wasn’t giving him up.

The next morning Annie sat in the crowded Police Court and heard that a Mr Jamieson had told people that he knew Thomas and had attended his first wedding.  Annie was shocked to hear that this news had gotten to her father and he had informed the police.

Annie’s happiness that the magistrates considered the evidence barely sufficient to continue, was crushed when the prosecutor stated that he hoped to get Mr Jamieson to appear in court.  Thomas was remanded for a week with bail being allowed.

A week later, Annie and Thomas were overjoyed, that despite a deposition from Mr Jamieson, the charge of bigamy was dropped.

Although the court cleared her Thomas, he was guilty. Along with sending a letter to Scotland asking for a divorce, they made the hard decision to move away. It was hard enough now for Annie to see the look of pity on everyone’s face.  What would happen when she started to show!

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I have been researching my family history since 2009. I am interested it the family names Shingles, McEwan, Snowdon & Witt around Gippsland and Wodonga areas of Victoria, Australia

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