All’s well that ends well – Matthias & Eupham

As well as blogging to caretake my sanity I also dabble in family history. I love it, mine or anyone else’s. There’s always interesting stuff to rummage through.

With the advent of the internet and various ancestry and genealogy websites, depending on the depth of research you want to undertake, web searches can offer up information previously only obtainable via considerable effort, research and cost.

It was during a period last year of Google-based family history research on my mother’s family which morphed into the G.O.’s paternal grandmother May’s ancestry that I stumbled across what many Australians consider family history gold – convicts.

We’re not quick movers as evidenced by it taking us until a week or so ago to visit the final resting places of the G.O.’s convict ancestors and their families, but I guess they weren’t going anywhere…

This is the short version but if genealogy holds no interest for you, read no further…

The G.O.’s convict ancestors are Eupham (sometimes referred to as Elizabeth) Graham and Matthias (often referred to as Matthew) Lock and who were described in one bit of research as “Australian Royalty”. That description might be taking it a bit far but many Australian’s hold convict heritage in high regard. Indeed the G.O. would only have been more pleased had I found a familial connection to Ned Kelly or his ilk.

Matthias Lock was born in London, England c. 1763. He was an educated craftsman and worked as a plasterer in the London area. In 1787 changing his lodgings, he was accused of stealing from his landlord, convicted for theft and sentenced to 7 years transportation to the colonies. After 7 months in an overcrowded Newgate Goal he moved to one of the hulks ‘Stanislaus’ for 18 months. In November 1789 Matthew was moved to the transportation ship ‘Surprize’. In January 1790, the Second Fleet of six ships set sail, arriving in Sydney Cove on 3 June 1790 followed, over coming weeks, by what remained of the surviving vessels including the ‘Surprize’.

Two years later the ‘Fourth Fleet’ docked and on one of these ships ‘Pitt’, carrying 410 convicts of which 58 were women, was 19 year old Eupham Graham. Eupham was born near Edinburgh, Scotland c. 1772, daughter of a Spoonmaker. In 1790 she appeared in Perth court with her cousin Helen Lowrie, charged with the theft of napkins from a shop. There was some dispute as to who was responsible as the circumstances were vague but Eupham and Helen were found guilty and sentenced to 14 years transportation to the colony of New South Wales aboard the convict transportation ship, ‘Pitt’ in June 1791, arriving at Sydney Cove in January 1792.

In the short ensuing period, Eupham settled with Matthias Lock and although they were unable to marry due to the laws precluding convict marriages, they lived as man and wife.

At the end of 1792, Governor of the colony, Captain Arthur Phillip, departed for England leaving the colony under the control of Major Francis Grose who placed settlers west of Sydney Cove on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. Matthias was given a ‘Permit to Settle’ and it was here that Eupham gave birth to her children: twins, Thomas Graham and Elizabeth Graham in 1794; and Mary Graham in 1795. The children were ascribed their mother’s surname as due to their convict status Eupham & Matthias weren’t allowed to marry.

Matthias Lock received a grant of 30 acres of land in late 1794. Eupham Graham died in April 1797 at the age of 25, leaving twins Thomas and Elizabeth, aged 2 years 10 months, and daughter Mary, aged 1 year 7 months, motherless. Eupham was buried at St Johns Cemetery in Parramatta where her headstone still exists and is believed to be the third oldest remaining in the cemetery.

Although the cause of Eupham’s death is unknown there is information indicating there were 120 sick on board the Pitt when it arrived at Sydney Cove. One of these was probably Helen Lowrie, who died five weeks after landing. Eupham may have also been affected by the illness and it may have contributed to her early death.

With 3 children to bring up it was fortuitous for Matthias to marry Alice Burrows at St Johns church, Parramatta less than 3 months after Eupham’s death, and burial nearby. Matthias & Alice bore no children together. Sadly Matthias’ daughter Elizabeth, one of the twins, died in 1803 aged 9, so he and Alice raised Thomas and Mary.

Matthias played an important leadership role in the new settlement, and was well rewarded:
By 1802 he was the owner of a horse, somewhat of a privilege in those times.
He received several additional numerous land grants: 1802 – 50 acres, 1804 – 30 acres, 1816 – 60 acres, 1827 – 100 acres.
1803 – he aided a friend, Constable Thompson, to recapture 15 Irish escapees.
1806 – he had a hand in saving over 100 lives in the floods.
1808 – he was appointed District Constable.
1809 – held a liquor licence.
1810 – appointed as Chief Constable of the Hawkesbury district.
1811 – his fairness with the local Aboriginal people was evidenced by his arrest of local European-origin settlers who fired upon a group of Aboriginals.
1812 – he resigned as Chief Constable to attend to his farming interests.

1818 – Matthias’ surviving daughter Mary Graham married Irishman Thomas Maloney (1787-1873) at Matthew’s Church of England, Windsor. Mary Maloney died in 1835 at Wilberforce, at age 40. Both Mary & Thomas Maloney are buried at the Windsor Catholic Cemetery.

Matthias Lock died in April 1836 at the age of 73 survived by his son Thomas, 18 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. He is buried at St  Johns Cemetery in Wilberforce.

Generation 1: Matthias’ son, Thomas Graham married Mary Maria Hodgetts (1795-1844) at St Matthew’s Church of England, Windsor in 1813. Mary Maria Hodgetts was daughter of Second Fleet convict Thomas Hodgetts* and Harriet (surname possibly Duce but sometimes recorded as Luce).

After their marriage, Thomas and Mary Maria farmed a land grant on the HawkesburyRiver and by 1815 were supplying the Government with meat. By 1828 their land holdings had increased to 145 acres.

Thomas and Mary Maria had 14 children before she died in 1844.  

Thomas remarried in 1846 to Margaret Louisa Mills (1825-1882) 2 years after Mary Maria’s death. Together they had 7 children, making Thomas the father of 21 children in all. Mary Maria is buried at St Johns Cemetery, Wilberforce.

Thomas died at Wilberforce in 1862, and was buried in St Johns Cemetery, next to his father and his first wife.

Generation 2: Frederick Albert Graham, son of Thomas Graham and Mary Maria Hodgetts was born at Wilberforce in 1841. He married Annie Maria Organ (1842-1905) in 1862 at Bukkulla. They had 12 children. Frederick died in 1924, age 82 and is buried at Inverell, as is Annie Maria.

Generation 3: Ernest Richmond Graham, son of Frederick Albert Graham and Annie Maria Organ was born at Inverell in 1885. In 1906 Ernest married Amanda Maria (sometimes recorded as Marie) Kachel (1886-1968) of German free settlers, who the G.O. remembers and refers to as Old Mummy. They also had 12 children most of them known to the G.O.  Ernest died in 1960 age 75 and is buried at Urunga with Old Mummy.

Generation 4: Thelma May Graham (1906-1992), is the G.O.’s grandmother. May is buried at Coffs Harbour with the G.O.’s grandfather, Vincent who died in 1963 age 59 years.

With grandchildren of his own the G.O.’s family has 8 generations born in Australia descended from Matthias & Eupham.

Cases of wrongful convictions or not, the future Graham-Lock family caught a lucky break when fate stepped in and transported their forbears to Australia. The British ruling parties’ solution to economic pressure and ‘undesirables’, i.e. convicting its citizens of petty crimes based on ‘convenient’ evidence gave those citizens’ descendants the most wonderful punishment of being Aussie born n’ bred.

*Rechecking the myriad of links and information I’ve collated, I found details of a third convict ancestor Thomas Hodgetts, father of Mary Maria Hodgetts married to Thomas Graham (Generation 1), another interesting story but one I will save for another post.

Disclaimer: Should you endeavour to undertake this type of research and resulting blog post be prepared to get side tracked and spend endless time clicking on links and sources leading you to snippets of various information which does not necessarily marry together necessitating the approximation and cobbling together of a story. With more material coming to light (such as I have found for Thomas Graham) be prepared for revisions and updates, which I will also save for another post.

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46 thoughts on “All’s well that ends well – Matthias & Eupham

  1. What an excellent post ED, that was totally fascinating reading!!

    I too have done some family research, spurred on by my late Uncle Gerald, but nothing anywhere near as interesting as you’re GO’s history.
    What I find so poignant, are the minor reasons (a slap on the wrist and a possible fine these days) they became ‘convicts’ to be transported away from all they knew, to a complete unknown. It must have been terrifying.
    The one thing that shines out is their strength of character, that they were able to turn it around to their advantage.


    1. Thank you. I’ve always loved family history but my own isn’t nearly as interesting as this branch of the G.O.’s. It’s so easy to research now via the world wide web 🙂 Many of our ancestors lived in hard times and the journey via ship to Australia would have been worse than awful. When we visited the graves we felt truly grateful to them. So many convict stories are evidence of that strength of character you mention. Despite appearances we come from good stock 🙂


  2. The pictures of grave stones were unique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen ones with the red ‘moss’ on them. Also, I’d never heard Australian Royalty / convict heritage concept before. It makes sense and is probably similar to those of us in the USA trying to link our family back to Pilgrims on the Mayflower.


    1. Thank you. The red hue was just the way the light was. I’d never heard of ‘Australian Royalty’ in that context either. A generation back convict heritage was thought to be shameful, and hidden. Now it’s trendy, I guess somewhat similar to the Mayflower association.


    2. Hi, distant cousin! I, too, am a descendant of Matt and Eupham through Mary, who married Thomas Maloney, a convict from Co Waterford. His ggg grandaughter Irene Maloney was my grandmother. Poor old grandma used tell me that she was descended from a British Army officer! (At a time when one was reluctant to acknowledge convict connections). I thought, growing up that, yes, he may have been in the Briotish Army but as a Catholic I doubt he would have ben commissioned. I only discovered the wonderful truth in recent years. It was only yesterday that I revisited Matt’s grave at Wilberforce. It is nice to visit and acknowledge that without him and Eupham, I and countless others would not be here today!
      When I got home I googled him and found your blog.
      Best wishes,
      Kerry Myers (a bloke)


      1. Thank you! What fantastic bonus to blogging! We were really moved by our visits to Eupham and Matthias and the family graves. We are hoping to visit Thomas & Mary’s graves which I believe are at Windsor Catholic Cemetery.
        Attitudes to convict heritage have certainly changed. It appears the G.O.’s family had no idea they had convict links, but also have never researched.
        The internet, and Google is a wonderful thing.. I would never have been able to do any family history research without it.
        Thanks so much for the comment 🙂


      2. Hi Kerry, I am also a descendant of Matthew & Euphemia (Graham) through his gg grandson Thomas & his 2nd wife Rose Adelaide Hessler, my mother was Mona Isabella Pretoria Graham. Now there’s a story for the history books. Have researched most of Thomas & Maria’s issue.


        1. Hi Maureen, I’ve received a message from Christine, another of Matthew & Eupham’s descendants who asked me to put her in touch with you. She is related to the Grahams via Sophie Dovey Graham who is Mona Graham’s cousin, and is hoping for a photo of her grandmother. Comments were turned off for older posts, so Christine was not able to reply to your comment on the thread. I have turned comments back on, and also forwarded Christine’s email to you (your email address is attached to your comments in the back end of the site). Regards, Dale


    1. It is fascinating… I unearthed Prussian/German free settlers in Mum’s & the G.O.’s family histories and it’s very difficult to get European info pre-Australia. The web is making it easier though all the time as more people are researching and recording what they find. Good luck.


  3. Absolutely fascinating Ella – loved this. I read a book recently called The River by Kate Granville all about the early convict settlers near the Hawkesbury River. It was a fascinating book. You have researched well!


    1. Thank you. I haven’t read that one although I’ve read a couple of her others, but I believe it is quite reminscent of what actually occurred. I must read it though. The research was easy – there’s so much information out there, it’s just sifting through it that makes my head spin 🙂


  4. Truly fascinating, EllaDee. I love this “stuff”. it is incredible that people were sent to Australia for such petty offenses. I think you’re right and there was more than crime and punishment going on here. As they say, however, the best revenge is living well. Their’s must have been a hard life but they certainly did flourish, much to your own benefit. 🙂
    I’ve started doing some research into my family but we’re relative newcomers to America. Records elsewhere in Europe aren’t necessarily as complete as those kept in England and its colonies. Still, it is an interesting endeavor. You really never know what you’ll find.


    1. Thank you. When you read enough of the convict records you start to see the pattern of how flimsy the pretexts of arrest and conviction were… leads me to agree with you that there was a underlying scheme. Haha, “the best revenge is living well” is one of my favourite sayings. Maybe we should make it the great Australian motto…
      I know what you mean with the European records. I unearthed Prussian/German free settlers in Mum’s & the G.O.’s family histories and it’s very difficult to get info pre-Australia.
      Good luck with your research 🙂


  5. I have been to see where some of my convict ancestors (highway robbers) are buried (small cemetery, unmarked and exact location of graves unknown) and I felt the same. Sad that such a terrible thing happened to them, but so glad that they went on and had good lives no matter what. I can’t entirely hate the transportation system, without it I wouldn’t exist. I love the motto “the best revenge is living well” I expect that applied to many of the convicts.

    Great post, and good luck with the rest of your research, I am looking forward to reading more 🙂


      1. You are a star. This is fantastic. I’ve trawled Trove myself and found other clippings of various familiy history relevance but I’ve not seen this one 🙂


      2. So glad to be of help 🙂 I can’t tell you how many variations I have made of some of my family names to try to find more articles! Often they are scanned badly too so just one word will work and then you have to go through all the Msfkhias Lock or Lack or whatever interpretation their scanning software comes up with!
        I love finding an article like that which gives a little insight into the real person, Alice sounded like a nice lady.

        I think we are lucky to have such an interesting history to delve into. Finding that you have a convict ancestor is a very exciting thing 😀


        1. Thank You. I thought/hoped Alice was nice, to take on Matthias & the kids. I learned same also along the way as I was Google-researching, that spelling & details are variable & flexible. The G.O. went from being ho hum re family history to reasonably interested, and once at the cemetery, slightly moved… I couldn’t find any convicts on my side (only a near miss) but I found on Mum’s the Voss family from Prussia who have an interesting background, so you will see a few more family history posts from me 🙂 One more way blogging adds value… I’d sort of gotten over family history research until it occurred to me to blog about it 🙂


  6. Very intriguing. It’s hard to imagine what life was like back then. Thanks for taking us back there for a second.


    1. Thank you. I must admit I hadn’t considered it much, jut absorbed what was taught to us in modern history studies in school… which of course followed accepted protocols. I looking forward to combining blogging & family history from time to time 🙂


  7. Have you ever watched “Who do you think you are”? It’s one of my favourite shows at the moment.

    Wow – Matthias was a hero helping to save all those people in the floods.

    We have family history where the mother has had about 14 children and then died and the husband has remarried to have more – they certainly did it tough in those days!

    This is a great post, a very enjoyable read! 😀


    1. Thank you. We often watch Who Do You Think You are 🙂 I think there are probably too many stories where the women just dropped dead from ongoing over work and childbirth, sadly. I really do love anyone’s family history or story or journey. I’m a dorrie, I guess. I found an interesting Graham-Lock back story while I was putting the final touches to this post – it seems like every time I searched, a new link appeared with slightly different or additional info, so this post is to be continued 🙂


  8. Excellent read. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are interested in family history (I’m not per se) if you are interested in history at all then this is fascinating. I too agree that the feebleness of the trumped up charges was unbelievable. Then as now, people never knew the hidden agenda. Peopleing the colonies? Lock sounds like sensible one to send out anyway, a good craft trade and responsible worker – which of course, was exactly what he turned out to be, and good for him that he made such a success out of it. Shame about Graham dying so young 😦

    Amazing to be able to trace your ancestry back to the first immigrants to aus though. Great piece of research. I used to work in country archives at one point. What a pain – far too much information in England.


  9. Thank you. I simply researched others’ research via Google, and it’s so interesting you get caught up in it… all I have been doing is sift through all the variations to come up with the stories as I see them. Yes, stories. I’ve realised blogging is a great way for me to take all those bits and make something of them, so I have a few WIPs and ideas to come but it may take some time. I’ve found a lot of the ‘convicts’ were good, skilled workers…would have been useless to ‘export’ them otherwise 😉 Marianne reminded me of a book I’d been meaning to read “The Secret River” by Kate Granville set in the Hawkesbury in a similar scenario. We found it in a book shop this mornning, and it will have greater significance than if we’d read it before. I find I can only do family history research in fits & starts, as you say – all that information – messes with my head 🙂


  10. Hi, I have come on over from East of Malaga to check out your blog. I love your line “There’s always interesting stuff to rummage through”. I love the thought of being at a market or second hand stall, rummaging through and throwing stuff away, but then finding a real gem and cherishing it. I wonder if I have any convicts in the closet?


    1. Thank you, I’m glad you came over 🙂 Marianne was lovely to feature me, and this post. I also love to rummage through second hand stalls, shops etc looking for gems – you have come up with a perfect analogy there 🙂 We had no idea there was convict history in the family. I had a few names, googled & searched, and up popped the details. If you enjoy puzzles, research and family history, you never know what you will find. I’ve dabbled my way through several family lines, picked it up and put it down… and enjoy the personal aspect of what we were taught at school as part of modern history. Good luck if you decide to investigate 🙂


  11. Thank you, and all others, who have researched and offered this information on Matthew, Eupham and Thomas Graham. His daughter, Margaret Louisa Graham, married a Prussian from Koenigsberg (now Kaliningrad) Franz Wilhelm Friedrich Meader. Margaret/Maria and William are direct ancestors of my late husband. This information will be sent to his grandchildren who are citizens of and resident in USA.


    1. 🙂 The internet and world wide web is a boon to those interested in family history. It’s made it so easy to find and share information. I’m glad my post was of interest to you, and I’ll be sure to tell my partner of the interesting information you’ve passed on about Margaret Louisa. Thank you


    2. Hi Elizabeth, Thomas Graham’s wife Margaret Louisa (Mills) Graham (1825-1882) was buried at Sandgate Cemetery. You and the grandchildren may also be interested in the Sandgate Cemetery Virtual Tour (which was mentioned in a family history newsletter by a completely different lot of family). The link for Margaret Louise Graham’s headstone is . Although her middle name is spelled Louise, and the year of death is correctly 1882 (rather than 1881 I found online & will correct in my post), the July month is right and age of death 57, calculates back to her birth year of 1825. Best wishes, EllaDee


  12. I have just found this helpful blog, as I have been tracing history. I am a 6th generation from Matthias and Eupham, and I have grandchildren that makes them 8th generations. In addition, my two grand sons have a relative also from the ship “Surprize”.


    1. The internet has made it much easier for us to find out about our family connections, and I am grateful to all the people who put in the hard work and share it so generously. The G.O.’s grand-daughter recently had a school project on family history and was so happy to be able to share the story of Matthias & Eupham. I hope you’re able to visit the cemeteries, as it was quite moving for us.


  13. May Welsh was my aunt. She was the elder sister of my mother Phyllis. I was wondering who was your GO’s parents. I was able to copy some of the early info about the court cases and the language and the spelling used for the Grade 4/5 class I work in. Makes history a bit more interesting.


    1. Hi Carolyn, Fabulous. The G.O.’s granddaughter used a form of this post for a family history assignment. It makes modern history more relevant, I think. I’ll reply via email re the family connection 🙂


  14. Hello,
    My wife is descendant and a distant cousin of yours, therefore. Wonderful to see that their graves still exist. Interestingly, my forbears also arrived on the Second Fleet, are buried in St Johns churchyard and settled in Windsor around the same time. The internet re family history seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. Cheers,


    1. Thank you Rian, It’s lovely to read comments from fellow descendants. The internet has connected me with family history researchers and much information. I try to pay back in kind from time to time with blog posts re same 🙂


  15. Hello, a descendent here. My family name is Graham.

    Great read. How very interesting! I grew up as a child in the early 90s in Wilberforce, until now never knowing the background of my family and their link to the very same place. Thanks for sharing this info.


    1. Hi Brooke, The internet has enabled much family history info to be shared. I hope to find and share more in the future. You might also want to read about the Hodgetts who are connected with the Grahams & a timely Christmas story, and also
      Another blogger, Nola Mackey -who unlike me- is a proper family history researcher. Her husband is also descended from the Hodgetts (as is mine) and she & I share a common Bell ancestor. Small world. Nola has an interesting blog post that relates to “a good missus”.
      If you have the opportunity a visit to the cemeteries is really interesting.
      Best wishes,
      Dale aka EllaDee


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