EDWARD GARTH AND SUSANNAH GOUGH
indicted for feloniously stealing on the 29 October 1784, two live cows,
being the property of Thomas Rhodes the younger. He was sentenced
to death but reprieved on 3 March 1785 to transportation to Africa for
seven years. His reprieve was based on witness accounts who described
him as a hard working lad in the 14 years he had known him while another
offered to employ him if he was acquitted.
Following time spent in the prison hulk Ceres, he was sent to
Portsmouth for embarkation on Scarborough. Immediately on arrival
at Port Jackson, Edward was selected to go with the first group to
settle Norfolk Island. On 12 February 1788 Phillip Gidley King
was appointed Superintendent and Commandant of the settlement at Norfolk
Island. King landed at Norfolk Island with soldiers, convicts which
included six female and eight male convicts and supplies on 5 March
1788. Here Edward married Susannah Gough a convict. The
settlement of Norfolk Island had three distinct periods. The first two
were penal settlements, 1788-1814 and 1825-1853. Edward was on the
island from March 1788 until 1807 and during different times in the
first period more people were sent to the island to relieve the strain
on the mainland colony where food was scarce.
During the time on Norfolk Island people were classified into 1st, 2nd
and 3rd class inhabitants. Edward was an assigned second class settler
and as such was entitled to be victualled and clothed for two years at
public expense and was allowed two convicts for one year and two
convicts for fifteen months longer. Edward was variously described as
conducting himself well and had a large family of a wife and seven
children with 30 acres of cleared land. His house on the island was
described as shingled, boarded and floored and had three outhouses of
logs all valued at 65 pounds. Thus, through his diligence in the colony
he came to own substantial holdings. He also became a nightwatchman and
a member of the Norfolk Island Settler Society.
1807 Edward and his family were sent on the second embarkation on the 26
December 1807 to Van Diemen’s Land on HMS Porpoise. On this
journey he was allowed to take fifteen male sheep and seven grown sheep
to restart his new life in VDL. Porpoise arrived in VDL on 17
January 1808, twenty years after the first fleet had arrived in Sydney
arrival in Hobart Town Edward was granted 93 acres at Sandy Bay which he
farmed with his growing family. Here there was at one time a headland
known as Garths Point. The family remained on the land for 115 years
from 1808 to 1923 and are remembered by the naming of Garth Ave in the
area. In 1813 he received a further grant of 33 acres and during his
remaining years had extensive holdings at Clarence Plains & Browns
Edward died on 13 December, 1823 at his farm at Sandy Bay/Brown’s River
now called Kingston, aged 55 and is buried at St Davids Hobart.
the time of his death Edward and his four surviving sons had 500 acres
of land, 270 head of cattle and 3,650 sheep. The family also had grazing
born in 1763 and was one of the female convicts being, indicted, on the
9th August 1783, for feloniously stealing, nine one-guinea coins and one
half-guinea coin, the monies of William Waterhouse and charged as
having been stolen, privily from his person. Some money was found on
Susannah and her accomplice, Elizabeth Dudgeon. Reports in Mollie
Gillen’s Founders of Australia state ‘interestingly Susannah
swallowed eight guineas which promptly made her sick and she later
brought them up’. She was found guilty of stealing and sentenced to
seven year’s transportation.
Some reports suggest that while waiting aboard the hulk Mercury
she was one of 66 prisoners who scrambled down the side of the hulk as
part of the mutinous escape but was recaptured and sent to Exeter Gaol.
Later she was sent to the Dunkirk hulk and from there to
Friendship on the 11 March 1787. However, family history research
conducted suggests, that she has at times been confused with her later
accomplice, Elizabeth Dudgeon because as she was tried in 1783, the
‘mutineers’ were from the time of 1782 trials. Thus this is most likely
not the Susannah Garth mutineer but her accomplice, Elizabeth Dudgeon
using her name as an alias. Susannah Garth (of this story) did embark on
Friendship on the 11 March 1787 bound for Botany Bay. At Rio on
the 11th August, she was one of six women exchanged and
transferred to the Charlotte.
Later reports on arrival in the colony of New South Wales indicate
Susannah’s subsequent behaviour as much improved. Immediately following
the First Fleet’s arrival in 1788, at Sydney Cove, she was selected/
volunteered as one of the group of women convicts to go to Norfolk
Island with Philip Gidley King. Her volunteering is believed to have
been in place of Nancy Yeats/Yates, partner of Judge advocate
Collins, who wished to remain behind with Collins.
Norfolk Island in 1795, Susannah married Edward Garth and over
the following years seven children were born to them, with one dying at
Norfolk Island. The children were five sons (four surviving infancy) and
two daughters. With her husband and six children, she left Norfolk
Island on 27 December 1807, for Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), by
Porpoise and lived on lands at Clarence Plains and Queensborough,
a later time in her life Susannah had the distinction, as recorded in
other family history reports in From Chains to Freedom by Thais
Mason, of being the first woman to set foot on Norfolk Island (p17).
This statement was made under oath when she was a witness at a hearing
in Hobart in 1836.
Following Edward’s death in 1723 Susannah was left a widow but his
property was bequeathed to her and two sons and a daughter. She remained
on the family property for the rest of her life.
Susannah died on 24 June 1841 at Hobart, age given as 78.
Mollie Gillen : The Founders of Australia;
Mason : From Chains to Freedom : A history of the Garth Bellett Family
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