Saturday, September 24, 2016

A History of Rowland Edwards - Part 2

The SECOND biography I'm transcribing here I found via a search engine, and comes from a magazine called 'Generation', the Quarterly Journal of the Genealogical Society of Queensland (, September 1981, Vol 4, No. 1. 

As with the previous post (, the name of Christine Webb appears - in this case credited as the author. I have not had contact with Christine Webb but she clearly did a tremendous amount of work on Rowland. The information on Edward Ewer is this article is incomplete.

Quarterly Journal of the Genealogical Society of Queensland 
September 1981, Vol 4, No. 1. 
The Rowland Edwards Story

Rowland Edwards was born in Shropshire (Salop) and was apprehended in Shrewsbury, Parish of Wellington in 1789, for suspicion of stealing a black gelding, saddle and bridle. As horse-stealer was a capital offence in the 18th Century, he was sentenced to death. However, he was reprieved and sentenced to transportation for 14 years, this was later commuted to 7 years.

He was on board the "Admiral Barrington" which left England in March 1791 with 300 convicts, whose miserable situation was deplorable beyond description: thirty six were to die on the voyage out which took approximately seven months.

They arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in July 1791 and mutton was obtained but greens were few and only the ship's crew shared these. On the 18th August they set sail again for New South Wales and the passage was in very heavy seas and gales with lightning and thunder for days and nights on end. When severely pinched with hunger the convicts supplemented their meagre rations with damaged bread that was for the hogs and poultry. They were so exhausted  with hunger and thirst they could hardly stand alone. They arrived on Sunday 16th October 1791 at 2 p.m. and the next day 100 of the emaciated convicts were sent to the Kings Hospital suffering from scurvy.

Rowland Edwards was assigned to Rosehill were he laboured till 1796. In April 1798 he was granted 25 acres which he cleared and grew wheat and maize and he also acquired 28 hogs to which he was indebted to the crown for £14.19.3. On 3rd August 1804 at St Johns Church of England, Parramatta, he was married to Jane Fletcher by Rev. H. Fulton. 

Jane Fletcher was baptised on June 1786 at Orleton Church, Herefordshire, being the youngest child of Richard and Tabitha (Lloyd) Fletcher. At the age of 15 she murdered her new born male child and was sentenced to transportation for life, after being reprieved from being hung. Her mother Tabitha  was imprisoned for six months for comforting and maintaining her daughter after the offence.

Jane arrived in the Colony on the "Experiment" in June 1804 after the ship sailed into a violent gale in the Bay of Biscay and had to limp back to Cowes, England to repair damage during which time several deaths occurred and twenty-one prisoners were sick.

Rowland was granted 80 acres by Lt. Gov. Paterson at Richmond Hill, on 14th December 1809, which he named "Clarendon Farm". Due to the corrupt rebel government of the time this land grant was surrendered to the Crown (Forveaux) 1st March 1810, but it was later regranted under Macquarie's rule on 18th October 1811. He gained his Certificate of Freedom on 1st February 1811. A notice appeared in the Gazette in November 1812 stating - 7 acres of wheat were for sale by auction. Other notices appeared of his registration of a firearm and letters awaiting collection July 1808 and 1816. In December 1809 he was a signatory to the Hawkesbury Settlers Address. Notices appeared on 3rd September 1809 with his intentions to sell wheat and in March 1810 he had contracts to see rabbits.

His future seemed more 'rosy' but was short-lived as on the 28th May 1814 on a journey home from Sydney, travelling with his cart and two bullocks, he stayed overnight at the Parramatta Toll Gate Inn (Governor Macquarie established a Toll Bar in 1810 and every traveller paid a fee to enter Parramatta from the north, most profits went to the upkeep of orphans at Parramatta. The Toll Gates were removed to North Parramatta in 1826). He complained of being weary from his journey and went to bed early after supper, but he was awoken at 11.30 pm from cries of help from Mr Main who ran the Inn. Rowland and another man Jenkins came to his aid to find three masked and armed bushrangers. A musket was fired and Jenkins fell down dead, Rowland received mortal wounds and died four hours later but not before he suffered in agony and cried out to God to spare hum for the sake of his poor children.

He left five children under nine years. Rowland and Jane's issue were: Mary born 1805: Ann born 1808: Elizabeth born 1810: Catherine born 1811: one sone born May 1813 named John Rowland. All were born in the Colony (Richmond) and were all baptised at St Peter's, Richmond in 1814, two months after their father's death.

In 1820 Rowland's widow married John Allen and in January, 1821 their issue Jane was baptised.

Life was not easy and Rowland's children were sent to the Orphanage at Parramatta. Another notice appeared in the Gazette in August 1820 that Rowland was granted more land (a trifle late). In October 1825 a paragraph appeared in the paper notifying all claimants on his estate to do so.

In 1827 Edward Ewer applied to the Orphanage for permission to marry Ann Edwards and he was also appointed her brother and sister's legal Guardian. He was a grocer of George St. Parramatta. He arrived as a convict on the Mary II on 23 January, 1822 and was transported for life after his trial in the Berkshire Assizes in February 1820. His description was 26 years; 5'3"; fair and freckled; grey eyes. He was granted a free pardon in January 1842. Edward and Ann's issue were Edward Baptised October 1827; Harriet Jane, April 1829 and Emma Elizabeth B. November 1830 all at St John's, Parramatta,

Another notice appeared in the Gazette dated 8th September, 1825 cautioning all persons to return property belonging to Rowland Edward's children; whereas his widow and in conjunction with her second husband made away with a considerable quantity of cattle, furniture and personal effects.

In 1829 Edward Ewer wrote a letter to his Excellency requesting permission to apprehend bushrangers as many illegally at large persons who are runaways from road and iron gangs come into his shop and commit daring robberies and that by doing so he should be rewarded accordingly. In the 1850's Ann Ewer (Edwards) was mentioned in a dispute of the Tattersalls Inn, Parramatta over property ownership between the Presbyterian Church and a William Aird, which resulted in Ann "squatting" there for some time.

Little else is known of the other children or their descendants, John Edwards was mentioned in 1848 as a Pioneer on the Hawkesbury, and Elizabeth married Matthew Webb in 1836 at Windsor.

The story of Matthew Webb will appear in the December journal.
Christine Webb, Ipswich.


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