Contact: John Griffiths.

Patrick HUMPHRIES, son of ?????????, was born in Ireland in c1767.

Patrick was tried in Dublin, Ireland, in 1791 and sentenced to 7 years transportation.

He came to the New South Wales colony on the Convict Transport Boddingtons which was a 331 ton vessel, built in 1781. It sailed from Cork on 15 February 1793, and took 173 days to complete the journey. The Boddingtons arrived in Sydney on 7 August 1793. Of the 125 male and 20 female convicts embarked, only one male convict died on the voyage. The master was Robert Chalmers and the surgeon Richard Kent.

NSW Corps records show Patrick having joined the corps in 1801 on detachment to Captain Prentice. He was one of 14% of the corps recruited locally. During his military career, Patrick remained a private soldier.

Soon after joining the Corps, Patrick married a young widow, Catherine McMahon nee Mooney, on 28 February 1802. Catherine was from County Wicklow, Ireland. She had arrived in Sydney Cove 11 January 1800 on the ‘Minerva’ with her husband, a soldier in the NSW Corps, and two infant children - Catherine’s husband, Pte Terence McMahon had drowned in Sydney Harbour on 7 September 1801 not long after the birth of their third child, leaving her with three young infant children to raise: Francis (c1797-?), Elizabeth (1799-1837), and John (1801-1850).

Patrick, as well as being Irish, like Catherine, was also a Catholic; but at the time he had little choice but to be married in the officially approved (Protestant) church. The marriage was officiated by the Rev. Samuel Marsden with the permission of his Excellency, Governor King, at St Phillip’s, Church of England.

It seems that Patrick, like Terence McMahon, had been posted to Watson’s Bay fishing village on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour close to its entrance - The village had been in existence since 1792 to provide food for the colony’s hospital. The village became home for Patrick, though his activities with the military and later farming, over the years, tended to cause him to often be away from Catherine and the children. Catherine was to spend most of her life at Watson’s Bay, and all of Patrick’s children, four sons and two daughters, appear to have been born there.

Patricks first child with Catherine, Thomas, was born in 1803.

A revolt of a large number of Irish convicts at Castle Hill led to a clash between troops rushed from Sydney, and the prisoners, on 5 March 1804 near Parramatta, NSW. Some of them were from County Wicklow (likely to be personally known or related to Patrick’s wife, Catherine). It resulted in the shooting of fifteen rebels, and the subsequent hanging of nine. Many others were flogged or sent to the Coal River penal settlement (Newcastle). It was estimated that more than a third of the colony sympathised with the rebels, and had it not been for the prompt action of the NSW Corps (especially the contingent led by Major George Johnston) the revolt may have proved successful.

In 1805 Patrick and Catherine’s second child, Michael, was born.

The 1806 Muster tells of Catherine Humphries having arrived on the Minerva, her condition being FBS (Free By Servitude versus her true status CF [Came Free]); and under ‘With Whom Lives’: “Soldier Parramatta”, which fits with Pte Patrick Humphries’ posting at the time.

In 1807 Patrick and Catherine’s third child, Catherine, was born.

On 26 January 1808, soldiers of the NSW Corps led by Major George Johnston, in what is known as the “Rum Rebellion”, deposed Governor Bligh. The corps’ commanders governed New South Wales from the time of the rebellion until the arrival of Governor Macquarie and the 73rd Regiment in December 1809.

In 1810 Patrick and Catherine’s fourth child, George, was born.

Patrick, still a private soldier, on 24 April 1810 transferred to the 73rd Regiment. He was one of 447 the NSW Corps who chose to stay in New South Wales when the regiment was recalled, and one of 265 who transferred to the 73rd Regiment. Not long after, Patrick was pensioned off - for in 1810 he went to the Central Coast to start a farm with his eldest son Thomas, with whom he seemed to be particularly close, apparently taking advantage of the entitlement available to discharged soldiers of a land grants of 25 to 30 acres, along with provisions, tools and two convict labourers. Presumably the property was an easy boat trip from Watson’s Bay (The Heads)?

The 1811 Muster, that seemed to overlook Patrick, acknowledges his wife Catherine’s existence but noticeably omits the name of the ship on which she came.

In 1812 Patrick and Catherine’s fifth child, Ann, was born.

The 1814 Muster states the following for Catherine Humphreys: free, Minerva, veterans wife, 8 children and “On” government stores. This accords with Catherine’s three children by Terence McMahon and five by Patrick.

In 1815 Patrick and Catherine’s sixth child, David, was born at Watson’s Bay. The same year (on 28 June 1815), Catherine’s 16 year old daughter, Elizabeth, by Terence McMahon, married David Brown junior (1783-1857) of Kissing Point.

In 1823 Patrick was granted 100 acres at Brisbane Waters/Kinkumber by Governor Brisbane.

In 18?? Patrick sold the Brisbane Waters/Kinkumber property to his son Thomas who gave 3 acres to the Catholic Church. Thomas also gave money and labour to help with the building of the Holy Cross Church on the land.

The NSW 1825 Muster lists Patrick as a pensioner who ‘came free’ on the Boddingtons in 1798. However, the Boddingtons arrived in the colony in 1793.

The 1828 Census shows Patrick as “Humphrey Humphreys” CF (Came Free) and his age is also given as 40 years ­ suggesting his common name at Watson’s Bay being Humphrey? Catherine Humphries is said to have arrived on the Minerva 1800, and being 40 years old and living at Watson’s Bay with her husband and daughter Ann aged 16 years. Also, Patrick’s son, David Humphries (BC) then 13 years old, is shown as part of the David Brown (his wife, Catherine’s son-in-law) household at Pitt Town, Caddai Creek - David Brown employing and feeding his wife’s half brother.

Patrick (Patt) Humphries was buried on 28 August 1846 at Kincumber/ Brisbane Waters, Parish of East Gosford. The parish record states: his age as ‘92’, though the consensus is that he was closer to 81 years old. The name of the ship he came on “could not be ascertained”, that he was a “Farmer” by profession, and his abode was “The Heads” near Sydney, ie Watson’s Bay.

The children of Patrick Humphries and Catherine McMahon nee Mooney were four sons and two daughters Thomas 1803-1860, Michael 1805-1881, Catherine 1807-1838, George 1810-1863, Ann 1812-1890, and David 1815-1885.

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