Martin Keogh & Elizabeth Arkin
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Surname: KEOGH
Given Name(s): Martin

Occupation(s): Ploughman/Labourer/Shepherd (could shear)

Birth Details
Birth Town: Bunclody
Birth County, Region, Province: Wexford
Birth Country: Ireland, UK

Death Details
Death Town: Pontville
Death State/Territory: Tasmania
Death Country: Australia
Death Date: 1871

Immigration Details
Air/Port Landed: Hobart
Ship/Plane: Orator
Year Arrived: 1843

Surname: ARKIN
Given Name(s): Elizabeth


Birth Details
Birth Town: Newtownbarry
Birth County, Region, Province: Wexford
Birth Country: Ireland, UK

Death Details
Death Town: Launceston
Death State/Territory: Tasmania
Death Country: Australia
Death Date: 1887

Immigration Details
Air/Port Landed: Hobart
Ship/Plane: Kinnear
Year Arrived: 1848

Family Stories

Life in Australia:

Martin was tried for sheep stealing at Wexford, Ireland and was sentenced to 7 years' transportation on 19th October, 1842. On 7th July, 1843 at Dublin Castle, the parties who accused Martin signed a document declaring that they now believed he was innocent of the crime and tried to gain his release. "To His Excellency Earl D.E. Grey Lord Lieutenant General and General Governor or Ireland, The Memorial of Martin KEOHOE most Humbly Sheweth That Memorialist was convicted of Stealing Sheep at Enniscorthy Sessions in the County of Wexford in October last and sentenced to Transportation for seven years. The Memorialist is upward of Fifty-seven years of age and to the time of his Conviction maintained an irreproachable Character and has a wife and Eight children solely dependant on his Exertions for their support And as the whole of his Prosecutors are now fully convinced of his innocency of the charge and that he had only possession of the Sheep under the firm conviction that they were given to his wife by said Prosecutors to whom she is related as is attested at the foot hereof the Signatures of the Prosecutors. Your Memorialist therefore most humbly prays that your Excellency will be Graciously pleased to extend your mercy to him by a Commutation of the sentence. When he will migrate with his wife and Family to one of the British colonies and Your Memorialist will as in Duty bound ever Pray. MARTIN KEHOE PETITION

  • We the undersigned the parties who prosecuted Martin KEHOE being now fully convinced of his innocence of the offence for which he was convicted. Most humbly beg to recommend him to your Most Merciful Consideration. Patrick Rise (his uncle) Martin Doyle Martin KEOUGH Dated 27th June, 1843." The plea for clemency was denied and Martin was transported on the ship "Orator", which arrived at Hobart Town on 21st November, 1843. (It seems probable that the guilty party was in fact Martin's wife, Elizabeth). Martin's records show he had a wife, Bessy, two brothers, Michael and John, and four sisters, Peggy, Mary, Kate and Nancy. From his convict papers: Trade: ploughman, labourer, shepherd (can shear). Height: 5'7½"; Age: 50; A Roman Catholic; Complexion: Fresh; Face: Oval; Hair & Eyebrows: Dark brown; Whiskers; dark brown; Visage; Oval; Forehead: High; Eyebrows: Dark Brown; eyes: Blue; Nose: Medium; Mouth: Medium; chin; Medium; Normal Place: Wexford. Remarks: Wart on forefinger right hand. Scar back of neck. Martin was released from the first stage of probation on 25th January, 1845. A Ticket of Leave was granted on 8th June, 1847 which enabled him to apply for his wife and children to join him. On 2nd August, 1848 he made that application and stated his family to be Patrick, aged 20 years; Margaret aged 12 years; Mary, aged 9 years and John aged 8 years. Martin must have been unaware that Elizabeth was on her way. [See Elizabeth's story later]. After obtaining his freedom, Martin became a farmer at Pontville, Brighton, Tasmania, where he died on 20th August, 1871, aged 84 years of "old age". He is buried at St Matthew's Cemetery. His will excluded his son, John during the lifetime of his mother-in-law. This would probably have its origins based on religious grounds. John was Catholic and his wife, Church of England. They were married in Pontville C. of E. about half a mile from the Catholic Church where the Keogh family worshipped every Sunday. Knowing the strength of feeling that existed between these two churches, exclusion from a will would have been a fairly predictable consequence of a mixed marriage. [Ref: Letter from descendant, Charles Smith] This is the last will of Martin Keogh of the Tea Tree Brush in the Municipality of Brighton in the Colony of Tasmania made this Eighteenth day of May in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy. I bequeath to my wife Elizabeth Keogh all my real and personal property for her life. Upon the death of my said wife, I bequeath all my real and personal property to my four children, Ann Corfield, Margaret Wallace, Mary Matthews and John Keogh equally. The said John Keogh not to receive his portion during the life time of his mother-in-law Sarah Lythgo of Pontville in said colony but to be invested and the interest to be paid to him.If the said John Keogh should die before the said Sarah Lythgo, then the said John Keogh's portion to go to the surviving eldest daughter of the said John Keogh, if of age, if not, to be held in trust till she is. I appoint Alexander Finlay Esquire, Warden of the said Municipality of Brighton and Thomas Henry Haskell of said Municipality of Brighton, Council Clerk my executors of this my will. Signed (X) his mark. Elizabeth was sentenced 3rd January, 1848 at Wexford to 7 years' transportation per "Kinnear". Stealing two geese was Elizabeth's her third offence; she was also convicted of stealing a sheep and for assault. Records show that she could read, was 5'4", aged 50, with a fresh complexion, oval head, dark brown hair, high forehead, sandy eyebrows, and was a Roman Catholic. What hardships and heartache Elizabeth must have endured in the five years since her husband was transported! Her daughter, Ann was transported in 1847, and after her own sentencing, she had to leave her young son, John behind in Ireland. The "Kinnear" sailed on 16th June, 1848 from Dublin and arrived 113 days later on 7th October, 1848 at Hobart, Van Diemen's Land, with 170 females aboard. After what was probably an horrendous voyage, Elizabeth then served six months onboard, "HMS Anson", before receiving a third class discharge on the 13th April, 1849. The "Anson" was a converted 870 ton 74 Gun British Navy Ship and refitted as a floating Female Convict and Probationary Establishment (1844-1850). She was anchored in the Derwent River off Queens Domain below Governent House and near what was known as Powder Jetty. "Hobart Town Courier", Tues 29 Oct 1844, p2, col. 4: "The Anson": We had the pleasure a few days since to pay a visit, too long deferred, to the female penitentiary on board the "Anson", under the superintendence of Dr and Mrs Bowden. As we ascended the ship ladder we were agreeably saluted by the singing of the prisoners, who are assembled on Wednesdays for afternoon service. The singing, as well as the general service, is conducted by the Rev Mr Giles, and with very great effect his congregation appearing to unite with him throughout. Through the politeness of Mrs Bowden, who appears desirous to afford strangers an opportunity of acquainting themselves with the system pursued by her, we were conducted through every part of the ship, and informed on every particular of our inquiries. We found that besides the necessary duties of the establishment in washing and cooking, the women were employed in various descriptions of needlework, in the manufacture of shoes, straw hats, door mats, etc., as far as the very limited means at Mrs Bowden's command will allow. Every part of the ship exhibited remarkable cleanliness, and we could not have expected to witness such general health, and to find the ventilation so good, where so large a number are collected together in a limited space... BRAND, Ian The Convict Probation System: Van Diemen’s Land 1839-1854, 1990, page 271, 78. Champ inspected the "Anson" in August 1846. At that time there were 375 women on board, of whom 158 were in the first stage of probation, the remainder being pass-holders awaiting hire. He found the ship clean, but the sickness rate higher, in proprotion, than at the female factory. A few wooden separate apartments had been built on board, but these were unsatisfactory. There were also three solitary cells, poorly built. Although most of the officers were women, there were a number of male warders, "with the exception of two discharging little duty, except in conveying letters and messages".There was a ratio of one female officer to twenty-three women, compared to one to fifty-nine at the female factory. The establishment of officers had been set in London, and he was unable to alter it. AOT CO 280/195/545, Act. Compt. Gen. To Lt. Gov., 1 August 1846. The surgeon who had joined the "Anson" on its voyage to VDL recommended hammocks as the most suitable beds for convicts "in regard to health and morality" and they were supplied when occupied as the female penitentiary. The surgeon commented on ventilation of the ship, which was by means of air movers and pumps. On the voyage from England, "languor and weakness of the circulation accompanied with profuse sweating in moderate exertion, tremors of the limbs, debility of the moving prisoners and a listless state of mind" were remedied by "daily immersion of the body in cold water and the affusion of water upon the head and shoulders, marching and dancing to music, frequent change of situation, etc". Various diseases were described, including syphilis, tumours on the neck, pulmonary and bronchial diseases, colica, strictures and ophthalmia purudenta (the intolerable pain in the eye gave " a sense of scalding or burning and an agony in the head" which he conceived to have been caused by damp conditions of the air and was highly contagious). Interestingly, the "cure" was rubbing with hot sand and stones, separation of the sick, great cleanliness, frequent change of dressings, which were after application thrown overboard. "In the past onset of the more acute attacks, the patients were bled from the arm or on many occasions removal of these bodies with a pair of scissors. In other cases according to the plan of the late Dr William Adam, the diseased conuctiva was sliced away with a knife"... On other convict ships many died from scurvy and rape of female convicts was a common occurrence. Although there are some glowing reports on the work conducted onboard the "Anson" when it was used as a female penitentiary, she was not a success according to reports and this resulted in her scrapping. On 6th April, 1846, Magistrate A.B. Jones wrote to the Comptroller-General, giving his reasons for recommending the removal of the women now in the "Anson" to some building on shore. A public auction of "a great quantity of materials, consisting of oak planks, &c. belonging to HMS "Anson"" was held on Wednesday, 17th January, 1853. "The Critic", Friday 26th December, 1913 p2, col. 3 states: Mr John Whelan, the clerk of the markets, has a relic of the long forgotten past in his possession. It is a piece of one of the cell fittings of the convict hulk "Anson", which rode for many years in the waters of the Derwent, and was used for a place of detention for the worst class of female prisoners. The "Anson" was one of the old class of wall sided English frigates and she was built as strong as copper bolts and English oak could make a vessel. When the vessel was broken up the timbers were sold to various persons. A store in Murray street has several of the immense deck beams supporting one of its floors and one of the county churches can boast of carved lectern made from an old plank off the "Anson". The piece of wood in Mr Whelan’s possession is studded with immense spikes, which are said to have been driven in the wood to prevent the prisoners cutting their way out with any knives they may have had in their possession. Elizabeth's Ticket of Leave was granted on 8th November, 1853 and a full pardon would have been granted in 1855. After receiving her pardon, Elizabeth made application for their youngest son, John to come to Tasmania. Elizabeth died aged 90, in 1887 at her daughter, Margaret's home at Bourke Street, Launceston. She is thought to have been buried at Cypress Street, Cemetery, which is now a school oval. A memorial plaque is on the wall commemorating Cypress Street as the burial place of many 1st Fleeters. Our family are proud to claim convicts as ancestors and our family history is enhanced because of them.

Life Before Australia:

Martin was illiterate and his surname was documented variously Kehoe/Keogh. According to a family bible, he was born in Bunclody, Wexford, Ireland in 1793. Elizabeth's convict records show that she was a servant in the county of Wexford, Ireland. Before transportation, her place of residence was Askintycloe (the Meadow of the Marsh) in the parish of Templeshambo, County Wexford. She was a servant, had a brother, John and sisters Margaret and Ann. We are indebted to the late historian, Margaret Siegmann and researcher, Kathleen Xepapas for sharing their work "Wexford to Van Dieman’s Land - The Kehoe Family in Tasmania from 1843". The following narrative was read by Molly Frankham, a Keogh descendant, at a Memorial Service for the family held at St Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church, Pontville, Tasmania on 14th November, 1992: In the early 1800’s the English occupied Ireland, took over and cleared the land, burned homes and generally displaced the population. Added to this was the potato famine, caused by diseased potato crops which had failed over a number of years. [During the 1840's, when the potato crop failed due to disease, nearly 750,000 people died of starvation, whilst many hundreds of thousands fled to other countries. The magnitude of the effects of the potato famine can be seen in the fact that the current population of Ireland is only half that of 1845!] Their poverty was so great, in some instances they were even incapable of burying their dead. Those that could afford to pay a bounty, emigrated to America and the colonies. Those that were left behind were compelled to steal in order to survive. The English were unrepentant in their dealing with the "lower class" and wished to colonize their territories overseas. They were able, by transportation, to expel a number of their patriots and surplus population. The Keogh family then, over the next 10 years, either as convicts or emigrants arrived in Van Dieman’s Land. Only one family member failed to follow the rest of the family.

Family Contacts

Surname: DODD
Given Name(s): Gail
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Address: 36 Stefanelli Close WANDI WA 6167


KEOGH, Patrick 1 KEOGH, Jane 2 KEOGH, Margaret 3
KEOGH, Ann 4 KEOGH, Mary Jane 5 KEOGH, John 6

MATTHEW, Charlotte 5 MATTHEWS, Ann 5 MATTHEWS, Emma Maria (Amy) 5
MATTHEWS, Georgina Margaret 5 MATTHEWS, John Walter Thomas 5 MATTHEWS, Mary (Ada) 5
MATTHEWS, Mary (Elizabeth) 5 MATTHEWS, Mary Jane 5 MATTHEWS, Walter William 5

Great Grandchildren
WHISKIN, Alan John 5 WHISKIN, Alma Bona 5 WHISKIN, Dorothy Nena 5
WHISKIN, George Verdun 5 WHISKIN, Harold James 5 WHISKIN, Leslie Arthur 5
WHISKIN, Margaret Ada Polo 5 WHISKIN, Mark 5 WHISKIN, Muriel Jessie 5
WHISKIN, Nona Mary 5

Great Great Grandchildren
DODD, Alan Jabe Bona 5 DODD, Joyce Bona 5

Great Great Great Grandchildren
DODD, David Gilmore 5 DODD, Diane Elizabeth 5 DODD, Keith Hugh 5

Great Great Great Great Grandchildren
DODD, Hayley Sharon 5 DODD, Kane Michael 5

NB: Superscript behind each descendant name represents the lineage number of that descendant.
This family information was last updated by GAIL DODD on the 24 January, 1999.


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Date : March 1999
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