Nat Gould

His life and books

Samuel Francis Marryat

Samuel Francis Marryat
Born: 1826
Died: 1855 London
Frederick Marryat 1792-1848
Catherine Shairp
Frederick Marryat 1819-1847
William Marryat 1819-1826
Norman Marryat 1822-1823
Charlotte Blanche Marryat 1827-
Florence Marryat 1833-1899
Caroline Cecilia Marryat 1836-
Augusta Marryat 1834-1898
Emilia 1835-1875
Frances Alice Turner
Francis Henry Marryat

Samuel Francis Marryat was born on 3 April 1826, the fourth son of the novelist Captain Frederick Marryat 1792-1848 and his wife Catherine Shairp. He was sometimes called Francis Samuel Marryat, and usually known as Frank Marryat.

He was educated first in Paris and afterwards at a school in Wimbledon, London. He followed the family tradition by joining the Royal Navy, as had his father and older brother Frederick Marryat 1819-1847.

From 1843 to 1847 he served on board the Samarang in the East Indies on a surveying expedition, and published an account of his experiences in his book Borneo and the Eastern Archipeligo, illustrated by his own sketches made during the voyage. He returned home briefly to Langham in Norfolk, but in 1848 set off for California where he travelled widely at the time of the Gold Rush and witnessed the burning of San Francisco in the Great Fire of 1850. He wrote an account of his experiences in his book Mountains and Molehills, or Recollections of a Burnt Journal, which was not published until after his death in 1855 following a second visit to California in which he caught yellow fever. Although he recovered, his health was seriously damaged, and he contracted tuberculosis (1).

He married Frances Alice Turner)) in 1854 in London. Although in his Will dated 2 July 1855 he mentions his "infant children", only one appears to have survived. He was Francis Henry Marryat born in 1850.

In his Will Samuel Francis Marryat left everything to his wife, making her the guardian of his infant children. He also appointed her his executrix, but she renounced that task, as did also his mother who was next-of-kin. Instead his sister Augusta Marryat became the administrator of his Will (2).

He died at his home Mercer Lodge, Kensington Gore in London on 12 July 1855, aged only 29 years (3).

(1) Life and Letters of Captain Marryat by Florence Marryat Volume II (1872) pages 291-295.

(2) There was probably little that Samuel Francis Marryat had to bequeath. He himself seemed to acquired debts, and his father Frederick Marryat had lived so generously and extravagantly at his estate at Langham in Norfolk that "It follows as a matter of course that his only surviving son, Frank, found Langham a worthless inheritance." Life of Frederick Marryat by David Hannay (1889) page 136.

(3) The Morning Post 17 July 1855; Gentleman's Magazine volume 199 page 330 (1855)