John Martin, born in 1757, was either born in Barbados and went as a slave to America with his parents. Obviously owned by a Martin, young John was recruited by the British and became a seaman, having been 20 years old at the start of the War of Independence.


He was convicted at the Old Bailey on 3 July 1782 for grabbing a bundle of clothing in a house. He was sentenced to transportation for seven years and was initially to go to Africa. He became sick when on 1 November Den Keyser was about to sail and was brought back to Newgate. He was then transferred to hulk Ceres in 1785 and eventually in 1787 to Alexander. Upon arrival he had only one more year of his sentence to serve.


On 30 August 1788 he received 25 lashes, with William Davis and John Parker, for lighting a fire in their hut.


On 29 November 1792 he received a grant of 50 acres at the Northern Boundary Farms, having married Ann Toy on 26 August. He was off stores by 24 October 1795.


In 1806 he still held his 50 acres, 27 in grain, 20 for pasture, one as garden and two fallow. Throughout the years he remained a constable. Ann died on 12 February 1802, no children having been born to the marriage. It was not until 20 July 1812 that he remarried, the bride being Mary Randall, the daughter of FF John Randall (who was also a black African American), but Martin may have been living with Mary shortly after Annís death. They had eleven children between 1807 and 1832.


In 1828, aged 72, John Martin was pensioned as a constable, but still held his 50 acres, living on the farm at Pennant Hills Road, Field of Mars (Ryde). John died there on 19 December, 1837, aged 80. And was buried in an unmarked grave at St Johnís Parramatta

In his will dated 17 December, 1837, he left his wife one shilling, the rest of his estate to be shared by his first five children. Mary lived a further 20 years, dying on 27 September 1857.

She was also buried at St Johnís Parramatta , with her headstone now incorporating a plaque, fitted in 1988, recognizing the life of John Martin First Fleeter.


Submitted by Ted Westwood # 7264- Member of the Southern Highlands Chapter.

Ted descends from Frances, the 3rd daughter of John & Mary Martin.


The full story was published in ĎFoundersí Vol42 Issue6 Nov/Dec 2011.



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