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
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
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
Ted descends from Frances, the 3rd daughter of John &
The full story was published in ĎFoundersí Vol42 Issue6 Nov/Dec