Convict Records.                  




Ann Martin, the second child of John Martin and Sarah Ann How was baptised on 22 December 1769, at St. Matthew's Church, Bethnal Green, London. Ann and her family lived in an area of London which, at that time was well known for the production of silk garments. In common with so many Londoners in those days, Ann was forced to survive as best she could. She was employed as a servant girl in John Tenant's house, which was located on the south side of the river Thames in Rotherhithe. Possibly motivated by the desire to possess an attractive garment, or perhaps simply with the intention of selling it at a local market, Ann who was just 17 and in league with AmeliaLevy, aged 19, from the same area of London, stole some silk handkerchiefs from John Tenant's house, the items were, no doubt, the property of his wife. Ann and Amelia were later apprehended and charged with theft of silk handkerchiefs. These items of decorative apparel were made from ornamental material and were garments worn around a lady’s neck and shoulders; they were also described as ‘neckerchiefs’. (Amelia Levy’s name is mentioned at the Sydney Jewish Museum)


‘Ann Martin and Amelia Levy committed the 13th day of December 1786 by William Mason Esq. charged on the oath of John Tenant, Anthony Shearcroft, and Ann Brown, (an accomplice) with having feloniously taken and stolen, in the parish of Rotherhithe, some silk handkerchiefs the property of the said John Tenant’ Both girls were tried at the Quarter Sessions at St. Margaret's Hill, Southwark, Surrey, on 9 January 1787. They were found guilty and sentenced to transportation beyond the seas for seven years. On 31 January 1787 Ann and Amelia were delivered by wagon to Gravesend and later embarked aboard the 338 ton convict transport ship Lady Penrhyn, together with 107 other female prisoners {A. B. Smyth pp. 3, 177, 178}; none of whom was a member of the upper echelons of Britain’s privileged classes.

On 16 March 1787 the fleet, comprising the ships Alexander, Borrowdale, Charlotte, Friendship, Fishburn, Golden Grove, Lady Penrhyn, Prince of Wales, Scarborough, Sirius, and Supply, assembled at Spithead, but two months passed before it set sail. On 13 May 1787, Ann Martin left England forever. The voyage took eight months, which included 68 days spent in ports en route.

The Lady Penrhyn arrived in Botany Bay on 20 January 1788. However, it was not until 6pm on 6 February 1788, following the move from Botany Bay to Port Jackson, that Ann and her compatriot female convicts were finally landed.


At Port Jackson, In the evening of 19 August, Mr. Smith the constable found Ann Martin so drunk that she could hardly stand. She was throwing things about and shouting abuse. Two days later she was accused of drunkenness on the night of the 21st of August. She pleaded that it was her first offence, and was sentenced to make pegs for a month{J. Cobley, Vol. I, pp. 208, 210}. The little wooden pegs were used to secure the wooden shingles to the roofs of the crude dwellings which had been erected in the settlement.


Ann had created another disturbance at night on 30 March 1789, and it was for this offence that Captain David Collins initially ordered that Ann be stripped to the waist, tied to the back of a cart and be given thirty lashes with the cat-o-nine tails {J. Cobley, Vol. II, p. 24}. Apparently Collins subsequently softened Ann’s scourging to twenty five lashes; although there does not appear to be any record of the punishment having been administered, that is not to say it did not occur!


Later that year, on 11 November, Ann was sent by the ship Supply to Norfolk Island, arriving on 3 December with seven other women convicts. This was not punishment because she was a second offender, but possibly because of the need to reduce the stress of the food shortages in the colony, and the need to contribute to the population growth of the settlement on Norfolk Island. It was considered advisable to make the convicts self-sufficient in animal products, so livestock was distributed amongst the convicts at the rate of one sow for every three convicts. With Francis Fowkesand Thomas Hill, Ann shared a sow which produced a litter of eight piglets in October 1791. Ann cared for the piglets and shared the proceeds. Ann returned to Port Jackson in September 1792 aboard the Atlantic, one of the Third Fleet vessels {M. Gillen. P. 238}.


By mid-June 1796 Ann had managed to acquire some belongings. During the night of 19June 1796 some thieves broke into the house of William Miller. However, on the following morning, the greater part of what had been stolen was found placed in a garden where it was easily discovered and later restored to the owner. Suspicion fell upon William Slater, William Merchant, John Barnes and Richard Bayliss, all of whom were subsequently charged with breaking and entering the house of William Miller and stealing goods to the value of £56, some of which belonged to Ann Martin. A court of Criminal Jurisdiction met on 5 August 1796; all four men were acquitted of the charges because of inadequate evidence to identify the property {J. Cobley. Vol. V, pp. 68, 80}.


In the year 1800 Ann was listed on the muster as living in Sydney, and in 1801 she was listed as a Time expired convict. Ann and William Miller never legally married, and it appears that they did not remain together. Ann was unable to care for her six year old daughter Sarah as well as working to support herself, and although Ann and William were still alive, Sarah was taken, sometime in 1801, to live with some suitable people, quite possibly the family of  WilliamCox, until she could be admitted to the Orphan Institution {G, Grammeno. p. 11}.


The Female Orphan Institution, also known as the Female Orphan School, was established by Governor King in 1801, to care for orphaned and abandoned children in the colony of NSW. The Institution was situated about 350 metres South from William Miller's dwelling along Sergeant Major’s Row (now George Street), near to its intersection with Bridge Street {Bryan Thomas: Map, “Early Sydney” c.1802-1809}. When the institution was officially opened girls aged between 7 and 14 years were in residence {G. Grammeno p. 12}.


In 1803 an event occurred which sheds further light on Ann's life at that time. She was called as a witness at the trial of Mary Turley who had been indicted for perjury. Mary had been transported aboard the Hercules which departed Ireland on 29 November 1801 and arrived at Port Jackson on 26 June 1802. Mary Turley had declared under oath that Moses David and John Sullivan, who were both boatmen, had made statements of a libellous and seditious nature. Ann Martin and Mary Cole were called by the prosecution and examined, because they were both in the Parramatta Passage Boat on the January day when Mary Turley said she had overheard the seditious conversation. They both recollected abusive language being exchanged between Mary Turley and John Sullivan, but only of a personal nature {G. Grammeno, p. 11}.


By 1808 Ann had formed a relationship with SamuelHowell, a convict of the Second Fleet, who had been transported aboard the Scarborough. Their affair saw the arrival of their son James on 9 August 1809 when Ann would have been 39 years of age; sadly, though, the child died in infancy {Howell Genealogy p. 2}.


It's quite likely that during the intervening years between 1809 and 1822, she may have had some association with the Female Factory at Parramatta and possibly died there on New Year’s Day 1822.

It appears that Ann Martin was also known as Mary Martin, as her Christian name was recorded not as Ann, but as Mary, on at least three documents. First, on AO COD 132, page 316, her date of death is shown as Parramatta Dec. 11, 1821 aged 52 (however there is no formal BDM record of her death on that date). Secondly, on AO fiche 620, her name is bracketed together with that of Amelia Levy her co-accused and that of Mary Dickenson with the accompanying statement Tried at the Quarter Sessions for Southwark on 9th January 1787.Thirdly, the burial records for St. John's Church Parramatta 1821/22 page 73, states: Mary Martin aged 52 of the Parish of Parramatta was buried January the 2nd 1822 Registered same day by me Joseph Kenyon. However, in other colonial records, as well as the journal of Arthur Bowes Smyth, she is named Ann Martin.


Crucially, immediately preceding Joseph Kenyon's interment record for Mary Martin is the interment entry for an Elizabeth Jones aged 33 on Dec. 11th, 1821. Elizabeth’s death is formally recorded in the NSW BDMs, clearly being the same date that was recorded for Mary Martin in the early convict list but who was in fact interred at St. John’s Cemetery Parramatta, on 2nd January1822, as recorded in St. John's Register of Burials. The date that was recorded against Mary Martin’s name in the convict register was indeed that of Elizabeth Jones. Clearly a transcription error had occurred in the recording of Mary Martin's date of death on the early convict roll. The handwriting in both the burial and convict records, are rather similar. There can be little doubt that Ann (aka Mary) Martin was buried, probably in an unmarked grave, on 2nd January 1822 at St. John’s Cemetery Parramatta.  Joseph Kenyon was a convict who had been assigned to Samuel Marsden as a clerk and as a tutor to his children.

#6610 C.H.McNeil 20-07-2019



Sydney Cove; Vols. I-V; 1965-1986. John Cobley.


The First Fleeters 1981. Paul Fidlon & R. Ryan,Eds.


The Lady Penrhyn; 1997. Gaby Grammeno.


The Founders of Australia; 1989. Mollie Gillen.


Lady Penrhyn 1787-1789; 1979. Arthur Bowes Smyth.


The Women of Botany Bay. Portia Robinson.


Convict Records. NSW State Archives & Records.


International Genealogical Index. Church of Latter Day Saints.


NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages. NSW State Government.


Register of Burials. St. John’s C. of  E. Parramatta.        





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