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.