Thomas Jameson (also spelt Jamison) was baptised 10.01.1753 in the Presbyterian Church at Ballywalter by Newtownards, County Down, Ireland.  He was the son of William Jameson and Mary Fisher.  He married Rebecca, surname unknown and they had Mary, John and Jane.  He studied to be a surgeon and joined the Royal Navy in order to better himself.  In 1786 he was assigned to HMS Sirius as surgeon’s mate.  He sailed with the First Fleet as surgeon’s mate of the Sirius and then accompanied the first settlement to Norfolk Island in March 1788.  He remained at Norfolk Island until October 1799 when he returned to Sydney.


 In September 1800 when he was granted twelve months’ leave, Jameson returned to England for a short while, until appointed to succeed William Balmain as surgeon-general of NSW.  He arrived back in Sydney in June 1802.  In 1806 he applied for leave to return to England and bring out his family but Bligh refused permission.  He eventually left the colony in June 1809 to be a witness for Johnston in the inquiries into Bligh, to be held in England.  Meanwhile, he also had a family out here, having five daughters by Elizabeth Colley and a son by Sarah Place.  He had obtained a 1000 acre land grant on the Nepean in 1805 and also farms at George’s River and South Creek.


After returning to England, he signed over his NSW property to his son, Sir John Jameson, who came to NSW in 1814.  Thomas died in January 1811 in London, unfortunately before he was able to give evidence at the trial of Major George Johnston.  He was buried in the graveyard of St Mary’s C/E Paddington Green, London England.  Rebecca was eventually awarded a government pension and she died in County Antrim in 1838.


Mary Jameson, Thomas’s elder daughter, was born c.1786 County Antrim Ireland.  Later records indicate that she married three times, first to John Piggot, secondly to Abel Brown and thirdly to William Howard. All three marriages probably took place in Ireland.


William and Mary Howard, together with Mary’s children, Catherine Piggot and John and St Clarence Brown arrived in Sydney on the Parland on 3 October 1838.  The various shipping documents described the family as follows: William Howard, aged 25 years on 24 May 1838, stonecutter from County Tyrone Ireland, parents Robert Howard, shopkeeper, and Sarah Morrison.  He could read and write, was Presbyterian and in very good health.  William was engaged on his own account in Sydney.  Mary Howard was aged 45 years, from County Antrim Ireland, parents Thomas Jameson, surgeon RN, and Rebecca.  She could read and write, was Protestant and in very good health.


With Mary were St Clarence Brown aged 14 years and John James Brown aged 12 years. Also on board was Catherine Piggot aged 20 years, from Bally Castle, parents John and Mary Piggot from Bally Castle County Antrim.  It was also noted that ‘This female emigrated with her mother and stepfather Wm and Mary Howard.’  She was engaged to her parents, Sydney.  They were brought out by the Government. It was Mary’s shipping record that confirmed she was the daughter of First Fleeter, Thomas Jameson.


In the 1841 Census Return No. 428 for the Illawarra we find William Howard living at Dapto on land owned by Colonel Mole.  The house was made of wood, completed and inhabited by four people, all free.  These four people consisted of a married male aged 21-45 years (William), a married female aged 45-60 years (Mary), a single male (John) and single female (St Clarence), both aged 14-21 years.  They all came free to the colony and belonged to the Church of England.  The married male was classified as a “Land Proprietor, Merchant, Banker, or Professional Person”.


Note that Catherine was not listed in the 1841 Census in the Illawarra.  Her absence led to the question of where was she?  Catherine Piggot married 13.01.1840 in the chapel of St Lawrence’s C/E Sydney, by Banns, Robert Howard.  They were married by Rev. William H. Walsh.  Witnesses were John McCullagh and Andrew Kean, both of South Head Road.  Further investigation showed Robert Howard arrived 10.03.1839 Sydney, per Susan.  The shipping index lists him as being aged 27, a stonecutter from Dungannon, County Tyrone, his parents being Robert Howard and Sally Morrison.  He was to be initially employed doing piece work for the Colonial Government in Sydney.  Robert, therefore, was the brother of Catherine’s step-father, William Howard.


Mary died 15.01.1846 at Avondale, aged 60 years.  She was buried 17.01.1846.  The burial was listed in the register of St Michael’s C/E Wollongong.  However, Rev. M.D. Meares commented “I was not informed of this burial having taken place.”  Considering the fact the minister was not even aware of the burial, it is more likely that she was buried at the General Cemetery at Shellharbour, rather than being taken into Wollongong.


  [ This story is an edited extract from Terry and Wendy Nunan’s book: Shellharbour’s Forgotten Cemetery and  Selected Pioneers. ]



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