Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Story of Patrick McCarthy - Part 3

Part 3I know - it’s been a long time coming!  And that’s mainly because I don’t know too much about what Patrick did after the first convicts were landed in Van Diemen’s Land.

I can infer that Patrick was in a trusted role (as far as convicts go).  There were marines at Sullivan’s Cove, but no civil police.  Patrick’s military background and his reliable service as a nightwatchman at Port Phillip Bay may have resulted in him being used for a policing type role in  the early days of the settlement.  Records show there was certainly a Sgt. McCarthy as a policeman (Rev Knopwood’s diary), but nothing that links this police sergeant to Patrick specifically.  Other records show a Lance Corporal Justin McCarthy was among the marines present at the time. 

Patrick attended the Hobart musters in 1811, 1818 and 1819.  One historian (Marjorie Tipping) may have confused Patrick with Dennis McCarty, a well known identity (and ex-convict) in those earliest days of the settlement. Marjorie wrote "For a time he was a boatman and hired out his boat". Dennis McCarty certainly operated boat at New Norfolk (the Geordie).

Patrick received a conditional pardon in 1816 and was officially free by 1818.

In August 1816, Mary Ellinor Walsh was convicted at Kilkenny County, Ireland, of 'Receiving stolen goods'.  She was sentenced to 7 years and transported to Tasmania aboard the ship 'Canada' from Cork, Ireland. She was transferred at Port Jackson onto the ‘Elizabeth Henrietta’, which arrived in Hobart Town (as the area was now known) on 27 August 1817. A note against her name on the Canada's muster appears to state 'Pregt. and very quiet'!

Patrick and Mary met very shortly after her arrival, possibly even the same day (in those very early times, free men attended the wharf when a convict ship arrived in order to receive an ‘assigned’ convict).  Assigned convicts generally became labourers or servants for their ‘master’ more so than prisoners. Labourers were desperately required to build the settlement.  So too were female companions for the many single males!  I suspect Mary was assigned to Patrick.  What we do know is that before her marriage to Patrick on 26 March 1821, Mary had three children (John, James and Mary). Their fourth child, a daughter (Eleanor), arrived after their marriage, in late 1823 or early 1824 (baptised 28 March 1824). Eleanor was my great-great-grandmother.

The historian Marjorie Tipping also wrote “Patrick McCarthy was one Irishman who was never in any trouble in the colony, although he had chosen to live alongside the discontented Irish from Norfolk Island”. Small wonder he chose to associate with fellow Irish, given the disregard the British meted out to the Irish and to Catholics. By September 1819, the McCarthy’s were living in the Elizabeth Town (New Norfolk) district. Patrick had purchased a parcel of land sometime around 1818-19 and I suspect that his land was actually in the Hamilton area (then called Sorell Plains), as that area was considered part of the Elizabeth Town district.

Anyway, by 1824, Patrick, was a stock-keeper at Sorell Plains (the old name for the area of land between the Clyde River and Bothwell). 

One day, during 1824 (don't know exactly when), Patrick was speared by an Aborigine named Black Jack (who had also been given the name Jack Roberts). It's unclear exactly what the course of events were, but a contemporary source suggests that while returning home through the bush, Patrick, his wife Mary and a child in her arms (Eleanor, I believe; my G-G-Grandmother) were attacked by several natives.  Patrick urged Mary to flee while he bravely held the natives at bay.  This act cost him his life, but saved that of Mary and her child. Patrick was one of the first victims in the escalation of the war between the British and the Aborigines.

Black Jack/Jack Roberts was subsequently captured. He was gaoled, along with notorious Sydney native – Musquito (convicted of aiding and abetting the wilful murder of a stock-keeper at Grindstone Bay).  Both men were were tried, found guilty and hanged on the morning of 25 February 1825 in the Hobart Town Gaol, alongside six white bushrangers.

So ends my tale of Patrick McCarthy, my great-great-great-grandfather.


  1. Looks like you've done a lot of research. Where did you find the reference to Patrick's death? Eleanor is a direct descendant of mine also - she married Joseph Best. She is my great-great-great grandmother.
    Kylie Best, Tasmania

  2. Mark's Reply:
    Hi Kylie. Patrick McCarthy's death is described in the Colonial Times newspaper (Tuesday 31 May 1836, page 4-5). This can be viewed online on the Trove website. This is a direct link to the article (hope it works):
    Can you please tell me how you're connected to Joseph Best. My connection is:
    Joseph Best>John Joseph Best>John Leslie Best>Kathleen Best>me

  3. Thank you. I love Trove.

    I've recently made a breakthrough with the Best line.

    John Best (1781-1854) (came over from Ireland, born in Kinnagad, as a convict in 1818 on the "Minerva" - tried at Trim, in 1817 for burglary and robbery, sentenced to transportation for life). You can find records on him at the Tasmanian Archives website. He applied to have his family brought over - his wife Mary (1747-1847), children Joseph, Thomas, Michael and Eleanor arrive in Sydney on the "John Bull" in 1821, and then on the "Royal George" to Tas. Eleanor/Ellen married a John Doran and was murdered in 1834 at the age of 22. Her father was implicated in her murder (was in the papers at the time - found on Trove), but he was never charged. Michael Best murdered a Richard Garner in 1830 and was hung for the crime (long account in Trove).
    Joseph - John Joseph - John Leslie - Trevor (1921-1961)- Anthony John - me.

    There's a scan of The Mercury Sat Oct 8 1949, page 17 on Trove which has John Leslie's death announcement - lists Trevor, Ellen, George, Kathleen, and Max. I never met Trevor and my dad knows little of his family.

    I have microfilm copies of Joseph and Ellen's marriage and the birth records of all the children if you want me to email them to you. A lot of info I have found online and on Trove. I have access to Ancestry and Findmypast UK in the library where I work.

    The early stuff I have found though using a friend's Ancestry subscription - someone had just updated their Best profile with the John Best link to Joseph. I'm still confirming some of it but it looks pretty accurate.

  4. Hi Mark,
    thank you for posting this story. Patrick's story is amazing and I can only imagine the kind of man he was, with such a fascinating story behind him.
    I am descended from Mary Ellinor Walsh and her illegitmate son Peter McCarthy. An enjoyable read. thank you.
    Sharee Cooke - Tasmania.

  5. Hi Sharee, wonderful to hear from you. Yes ... Patrick and Mary's story is fascinating. You probably already know that Margarte Keys has done a lot of work to unravel Peter McCarthy's descendents. If you want Margaret's contact details, write to me at the email address given under 'View My Profile'. If you DO write to me, let me know how you fit into Peter's line, as I would be interested to know. Cheers ... Mark

  6. Hi Mark,heard of your blog through my daughter, Sharee, first made my connection to Mary when looking for information on the McCarthy's for my mother before she passed away. Coincidentally made connection with Margaret Keys as she was in Tasmania searching for the same information that I was at the time. Fascinating story about Patrick and Mary, Mary being very elusive after his death in regards to her partner/partners, it was at this time that we found she had more than one illegitimate child (Peter,Margaret,Rosina).
    Peter named his first and third child after his sisters. My connection to Mary is through Peter. Lucy Ellen(Peter's daughter) was my Grandmother.
    Lucy was also secretive about her past as little information can be found out about her before 1915.My research shows two Lucy McCarthy's(Lucy Alice married William Brazendale, Lucy Ellen married John Thomas Hodge) have only been able to find one birth certificate(Lucy Ellen)
    Maybe you could shine some light on this?

  7. Hi Sharee's Mum! Unfortunately I have little information about Mary's descendents apart from what Margaret Keys has supplied me with. Sorry - I wish I could help.

  8. Thank you Mark for the work you have done. I am descended from Elinor and her daughter Maria. Maria's illegitimate son,Henry McCarthy, was born in 1851. At that time his mother, Maria McCarthy, was living at the Ross Female Factory in Ross, TAS, Which was a place for convicts. Maria had at least three illegitimate children.
    Henry McCarthy immigrated from Tasmania to Victoria where he met and married Thomaszina Paterson. They lived at Birchip, Victoria where they are buried. Janice McEwen

    1. Hi Janice,
      I don't have much information on Mary/Elinor McCarthy (nee Walsh)'s daughter Mary (Maria). Another researcher told me Mary jr. (Maria as you call her) married a James Thompson at New Norfolk in 1840, then they moved to the Huon Valley. I would be grateful to learn a bit more about Maria/Mary. Thanks Janice.

  9. hi mark, is there anyway I can send you a copy of Henry McCarthy's birth registration. It has Maria's name on it. I also found very usual a state govt website about tasmanian pioneers and you can find them all on that. It would appear that Maria had at least three illegitmate children. Janice McEwen

    1. Hi Janice. If you send me an email with your email address we can then correspond. Cheers, Mark

  10. Hi Mark, due to your comment about Maria marrying a James Thompson, I thought I would go further researching about my Maria. I discovered that there was a Female Convicts Research Centre in Tassie and they mention Ross Female Factory. On spec I sent an email giving Henry McCarthy's birth date and that his mother Maria was at Ross Factory when she gave birth. They tracked her down. It seems that my Maria is a different Maria than I thought. So excited as I was I am now a wee bit disappointed that my ancestor is not descended from Elinor and Patrick. So thanks for your help in putting me on the right track. Janice

    1. That is a touch disappointing :( But at least you now have a new pathway to follow. Thanks for reading my blog and good luck with tracking down Maria, regards from Mark

  11. Hi Mark
    An interesting read and thanks for the Blog. Patrick is my G G G G grand father.
    Jenny (Jennifer) Best Brisbane

  12. hi Mark
    I am direct descendant of Johanna Clark/Sculley who was I am told listed in the 1823 Muster as being at Patrick McCarthy's place. Any idea what she might have been doing there? Or any info at all?

    1. Hi. I'm afraid I have no information about a Johanna Clark/Sculley, nor have I seen the detail of the 1823 muster. Sorry I can't you out.
      regards, Mark