Matthew James Everingham was only a boy
of 15 years when he stood in the dock at the Old Bailey
in 1784 accused "for that, he being a profligate person,
on the 17th June did falsely pretend to Owen Owens,
servant to Samuel Shepherd Esq: in the Middle Temple
that he was sent to Mr Shepherd, from Mr Clermont's for
Burn's Justice or Compton's practice meaning certain
books, by which he obtained the same books, value 10s,
the property of the said Samuel Shepherd, whereas he was
not sent with that message." He was employed as an
attorney's clerk and for thus obtaining books by false
pretences and attempting to sell them, he was given a
sentence of seven years transportation. He was
put aboard Scarborough on
24 February 1787.
Being literate and well-educated, he was employed as a
clerk to Assistant Commissary Zachariah Clark. Although
punished with 25 lashes for "drunkenness and
falsehoods," he gave evidence at the trial of Sarah
Bellamy, and was moved to Rose Hill to assist
Henry Dodd, supervising the "pitt sawyers and the women
employed at needlework."
On 13 March 1791 Everingham married Elizabeth Rymes at Parramatta and
they made their home on a grant of 50 acres at The
Ponds. He records in a letter that his first years as a
farmer were a struggle, but by 1792 he
was producing crops of corn, wheat and barley, and had
some pigs and "poultrys."
By the time his family had grown by the addition of four
children, he was on a farm at the Field of Mars and was
himself the district constable. In 1806 he held a grant
of 50 acres at Sackville Reach, and was employing a
convict and a freeman to help run the farm. He now had
His steady advance suffered an hiatus when his farm was
attacked by aborigines. He, his wife, and a servant were
wounded by spears, and his house was burnt down. He
recovered from this set back and continued to play
an important role in the affairs of the district. His
family grew to 11 children, and he received a further
grant of 135 acres at Kurrajong in 1816.
Matthew Everingham met his death on Christmas Day 1817.
He had been enjoying the festivities of the day when he
was called out as district constable to investigate the
activities of suspected smugglers of spirits on the
river. Everingham fell from his boat into the river and
was drowned. He was buried at St John's, Wilberforce,
survived by nine children.