Saturday, 8 March 2014

52 Ancestors #12 Jane Williams

Jane Williams was born in Bristol, England, in 1775. We have no information about her family in England. Some records state that she came from Gloucestershire and others Somertset. Bristol is now an independent county but has belonged to both Gloucestershire and Somerset in former times. The port of Bristol is located on the Severn Estuary which leads to the Bristol Channel.

When Jane was 25 she was arrested for stealing items of clothing from Mrs Griffith. On 12 January 1801 she appeared at the Court in Bristol, was found guilty and sentenced to seven years transportation. Jane returned to Newgate Gaol in Bristol until 20 May 1801 when she and other convicts were taken to Portsmouth and placed on the convict ship, Nile. The Nile set sail from Spithead, Portsmouth on 26 June 1801 to sail via Rio de Janeiro to New South Wales. The ship had been built in 1799 so was newer than many of the other ships used a convict transports. It was on 322 tons and carried a crew of 24. Ninety-six female convicts travelled on the ship and all arrived safely in New South Wales after the 176 day voyage. The Nile travelled in convoy with two other ships, the Minorca and the Canada. Passengers aboard the Minorca included William and Sarah Hancy who travelled as free settlers. Many years later two of their Australian born daughters, Sophie and Elizabeth, would marry two of Jane's Australian born sons, James and Thomas.

The Nile arrived at Port Jackson on 14 December, 1801. Shortly after arrival Jane appears to have been assigned as a housekeeper to John Pendergast assisting in the care of his baby son, John. In 1803 Jane and John's first son, James, was born followed by Thomas in 1805. Their first daughter, Sarah was born in 1806 followed by William in 1808 and Bridget in 1810. There is no record of a marriage between John and Jane but as they were Catholics and Catholic priests could not officially conduct services in the colony until 1820 (except for a few months in 1803) it is not surprising that there is no record of the formalisation of the relationship.

John acquired many properties in the Hawkesbury area and also near Campbelltown. He grew wheat and maize and raised cattle and pigs. Before he died he gave properties to his sons, James, John and William and to one of Thomas' sons. Thomas had properties of his own in the Monaro district. John did not leave a will. John died on 27 January 1833 and was buried in the cemetery of the new Catholic church at Windsor. On 5 February 1833 an advertisement appeared in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser on behalf of William Pendergast summoning Jane and other members of the family to attend a meeting to show why goods, chattels & effects of the late John Pendergast should not go to William.

Jane lived in Windsor until she died on 2 December 1838. She was buried the following day at St Mathew's Catholic Church cemetery. She was 63.

Jane was my great (x 3 ) grandmother

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