Gordon Family History
The naming of Gordonville
For the reason given in the last paragraph the naming of Gordonville, a locality on the upper Bellinger River inland from the city of Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, Australia, likely had its origin in the history of one of the former colony of New South Wales’s most important early institutions the second Parramatta Female Factory. Ann Gordon was its longest serving Matron and during the nine years she was in charge her name became synonymous with the female factory and reached almost mythic proportions in public sentiment. Gordon Ville was just one of over 30 descriptors for the colony's female factories that included her name - such as Mrs Gordon's Villa, Gordon's Seminary, Gordon's nunnery, Gordon's school for girls, Mrs Gordon's Country Seat, Gordonized, etc. 1, 84, 88. The function of the factory has been described thus:
Parramatta Female Factory, circa 1826 17
Construction of the above depicted purpose built second Female Factory was commenced in 1818 by Governor Macquarie and commissioned in February 1821. In Sept. 1820 Macquarie wrote it was almost complete and work had begun on the enclosure wall. After completion he described it thus:-
A Large Commodious handsome stone Built Barrack and Factory, three Stories high, with Wings of one Story each for the accomodation and residence of 300 Female Convicts, with all requisite Out-offices including Carding, Weaving and Loom Rooms, Work-Shops, Stores for Wool, Flax etc. etc.; Quarters for the Superintendant, and also a large Kitchen Garden for the use of the Female Convicts, and Bleaching Ground for Bleaching the Cloth and Linen Manufactured; the whole of the Buildings and said Grounds, consisting of about Four acres, being enclosed with a high Stone Wall and Moat or Wet Ditch. 83The factory's Georgian structures were designed by the convict architect Francis Greenway and were surrounded by a 9½ ft. high security wall that about 1828 was extended to around 16 ft. The factory had a river frontage and was located in North Parramatta in what is now Fleet Street between Fennell and Factory Streets and opposite Albert Street. The principal building was demolished in the early 1880's and its' sandstone blocks were used to construct other buildings in what became the site of the Parramatta Lunatic Asylum after the closure of the factory at the end of 1847. Of the original structures and buildings completed before the factory commissioning in 1821 the only ones extant in 2006 were the southern security wall of the factory compound and the southern and northern range of buildings that once flanked the approach from the entry gate to the principal building - the latter being described on page 2/51 of the 1981 published The Heritage of Australia Register of the National Estate and in the online version at #14 as - "Sandstone buildings, Fleet St ... retaining their basic fabric although altered over the years".
Of the buildings constructed during a 27 year period from 1821 to 1847 of usage as a place of confinement for convict women and other women undergoing sentances imposed by the colonial judicary, the only one understood to be extant in 2006 was the two-storey barracks built by Governor Brisbane in 1825 designed to separately house in its own walled compound up to 60 women of the Third (or Penitentary) Class. With six shuttered porthole windows it is visible within the walls in the above c. 1826 Earle watercolor at the far right and highlighted by an added yellow border on the right side of an 1833 drawn ground plan of the female factory. This building was described by a May 2006 vistor to the site as no longer being in use and inside just a "shambles" 85. Of great significance in the early history of both convict and free women of the colony this building is also pictured at #9 on page 2/52 of the 1981 hard-cover edition of the Register of the National Estate where without reference to its' Female Factory history it was just described as the "Former Day Room for Wards 4 and 5" with its' fabric incorrectly stated as probably built c.1840 by the Royal Engineers. The barracks building was added to c. 1828 by Governor Darling by the erection in the same compound of Workshops and a Dining Hall. Measuring the passing of the hours the clock that once graced the facade of the principal factory building was made by Thwaites and Read of London. It was one of the first five public clocks sent to the colony in 1821. In 2006 with a non-original clock face the mechanism, although not then working, had survived in a clock tower atop a building known as Ward 1 that was constructed ca. 1885 from the blocks of the demolished principal building.
In 2006 the former female factory buildings and sandstone walls were located within the grounds of Cumberland Hospital and within the NSW government owned North Parramatta Government Precinct. At that time these few remaining relics of the former colony's female convict were under threat of demolition with the land upon which they stand listed by the State Government for high density housing development.
The Female Factory was the destination upon arrival of all convicted
women transported to the colony not immediately assigned as
servants upon arrival in Sydney 20.
For the variety of reasons mentioned above many other colonial women
and their children also spent time at the institution. Figures for the year
1835, said to be within the indicated average for that decade, show
there was a monthly average of 509 women (449-569 variable) and 137 children
(114-166 variable). Records show numbers peaked in July 1842 with 1203
Ann Gordon 1795-1868
Ann Gordon's tenure as Matron in charge of the Female Factory lasted from 1827 until well after Governor Darling’s recall to England. His successor Sir Richard Bourke was Governor of the colony from 1831 to 1837. Late in Bourke's term of office he replaced Ann and appointed a married couple to head the institution. In regard to the circumstances leading to her replacement it has been said by a Gordon family source, who has not made available a copy of the document to substantiate, that 1836 Factory Committee of Management minutes contain certain allegations of misconduct against Ann's family members 91. A published history of the Female Factory also suggests misbehavior by Ann's husband with female inmates was indicted. The family source has advised one of the allegations in the Committee minutes was that a daughter had two children born out of wedlock. This allegation would have had substance as her daughter Caroline did have two such children born in 1833 and 1835. However an allegation said to also appear of more peccant ‘misbehavior’ by Ann's husband with an employee working as a mid-wife in the infirmiry section of the Factory seems in its nature so absurd as to be laughable. Back then all sorts of allegations were flung about even in print in the newspapers. No reasonable person, other than one with a desire to have Ann dismissed, would have taken the latter allegation seriously. Obviously as with any incarceration environment there would have been some inmates and employees who bore grudges against the Matron and some willing to make any allegation asked of them to curry favour or in return for a promise of the grant of a ticket of leave or an extra privilege etc. Outside of the insitution there were certainly free citizens of the colony who employed female convicts as domestic servants etc. whose writings demonstrate they had the motive to put an inmate or factory employee up to making such an allegation in order to achieve the objective of replacing Ann Gordon's management regime with one harsher in respect of punishment and discipline. One such very vocal individual who flogged his male convict servants and was a strong believer in the benefits of the practice was named James Mudie (1779-1852) 68. In the prevailing climate of antagonism towards Ann's management, unable to achieve their objective of her removal by attacks on her management, it seems quite possible her opponents simply changed tack to discredit her by atttacking the morality of her immediate family members.
19th century woodcut -
discipline Mudie style !
Complicity of one or more members of the Committee/Board of Management in bringing before the Board the misconduct allegation concerning Ann's husband Robert Gordon is even possible. Commonsense suggests unless there had been a prior assurance of protection against adverse repercussions an inmate or employee would not likely have been willing to come forward to make allegations reflecting adversely on the family of such a long standing head of the institution. It is possible one or more members of the board, being aware of a privately expressed desire by Governor Bourke to make a change in the management of the insitution, facilitated the allegation being brought to the board and then to the Governor's attention in order to assist by providing him with sufficient grounds to act to achieve that desire. It seems to have escaped some researchers who have taken an interest in Gordon family and the Parramatta Female Factory history that slander in the early part of the 19th century does not equate to fact in the 21st!
Whilst apparently there is no evidence in the Board minutes that Ann or husband Robert Gordon were made aware of the mid-wife's allegation against Robert, let alone in accord with the principles of natural justice afforded an opportunity to make answer, it appears the allegation was still passed on by the Factory Board of Management to Governor Bourke. However there is no evidence the Governor either accepted all allegations as factually correct or that taken alone were serious enough to warrant acting to discharge Ann. Pressure for changes in prison practices, directed at improving "the moral condition of the Female Convicts in NSW", had been evident from at least 1834 both in England and in NSW. Representations in that regard were made to both Governor Bourke and the Colonial Department in England from a group styling itself "Ladies of the British Society". As evidenced by Lord Glenelg in England having written in December 1836 that he had received reports unfavorable to the discipline and moral superintenence of the female factory "from various quarters", clearly there had been a letter writing campaign directed at persons of influence in England by this ladies group and/or by individuals as well as similar submissions locally to Governor Bourke. Aside from the complaints disseminated in England and Australia regarding the morality of Ann's family members, specifics of the general complaints critical of her factory management put about by master and mistress employers of female convict servants, can be found in editorial content in The Sydney Herald of 22 August 1836 that also predicted her imminent replacement ten days before it took effect. A letter from Governor Bourke to Lord Glenelg indicated prior to the committee allegations against members of Ann's family being conveyed to him he had been desirous of changing the administration practices and management structure at the factory put in place by his predecessors Governors Brisbane and Darling. Ten days after replacing Ann Gordon he advised Lord Glenelg, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, that no personal blame attached to her and she had been discharged in order to enable him to appoint a married couple as Keeper and Matron. Thus the writings of Governor Bourke go no further than to indicate the management committee allegations were the catalyst for him to act to make changes he had been contemplating for some time . The upshot was that as at midnight on 31st August 1836 Ann Gordon found herself out of a job and a residence. On account of her long service in charge of the Female Factory she was given a one years salary as compensation, seemingly also evidencing she had been held in high regard by the successive Governors of the Colony and the senior administrators.2, 4, 9
Six weeks after her discharge the laxity of her administration was attacked in similar vein by the other Sydney newspaper of the day the Sydney Gazette. The Factory was referred to as ‘Gordon Ville’ and the activities of the inmates during Matron Gordon’s time belittled as having been merely the making of slop clothing, smoking, and drinking Jamaica rum. This attack by the third estate, and approbation for the harsher regime introduced by her successors in management, gave similar reasons to the earlier Herald article as to why dissatisfaction with Ann Gordon's prison management as having been too benign had built up over the years amongst employers of female convicts 10.
Gordon Surname Origins
Most native Irish are descended from one of the three sons of Milesius who had issue. Of the three, Heber and his younger brother Heremon, who began to reign 3700 years ago in 1699 B.C., were jointly the first Milesian monarchs of Ireland. The Gordon surname is not found among their descendants. It is not a native Irish name but one of the more common Scottish names found in Ireland. From early there were immigrations of Scotch to Ireland who settled in Ulster. However the Gordon name is not found in Ireland prior to the mid-fourteenth century. It only became common there after the 17th century Ulster Plantation where the majority of the settlers were Scotch. Excepting for the native Irish sept name Mag Mhuirneacháin, usually anglicised as MacGurnaghan or MacGourneson, of some in Co. Antrim of those names who adopted Gordon as a synonym, the ancestral origin of those in Ireland bearing the Gordon surname is regarded as being from the Scottish clan of Gordon who included some in Scotland originally of other names who adopted its name.
Robert Bell in his 1988 book titled The Book of Ulster Surnames wrote: "The name is territorial in origin, and although it is customary to trace it to places of the name in France, the earliest known home of the Scottish family was Gordon in the Merse in Berwickshire. The first person on record to have taken the name was Richer de Gordun, Lord of Gorden. The family were Anglo-Normans who settled in southern Scotland in the twelfth century." 58 The author explains how whilst there were many branches of the Gordon family, the greatest expansion of the name occurred in the 15th century under Sir Alexander Seton the ancestor of the house of Huntley, who in accord with practice common at the time was responsible for many adopting the Gordon name by way of rewarding all those who took the name and became his vassals with a symbolic bowl of meal. He went on to recount: "The Gordons subsequently became one of the most powerful clans in Scotland, so strong in the Highlands that their chief was known as ‘Cock of the North’. The name is still among the fifty most numerous in Scotland."
Rarely can any pedigree for someone born in Ireland in the 19th century be compiled for more than one or two generations without reference to wills. When the Ecclesiastical jurisdiction over testamentry matters was abolished in 1857, and a Court of Probate was established, will probates records were transfered to the Public Records Office. They were subsequently lost in the destruction of that repository during the 1922 civil war. Apart from not consulted records found today in a partial restoration by the P.R.O. of Ireland of will probates compiled from records held in some solicitors offices in Ireland, the records of the lost wills are the indexes compiled prior to 1922. The Indexes to Irish Wills for Diocese of Limerick wills probated from 1615 to 1800 contain no will probate for a Gordon 59. The Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland (comprised of wills where the deceased owned property in more than one county) compiled to 1810 contain only two 17th century Gordon wills - a 1676 Dublin will probate and a 1791 one for Co. Longford. 60 Thus it would appear no Gordon wills are likely available today to assist in determining the 17th to 19th century Gordon genealogy in Limerick.
Census records offer no assistance. The earliest surviving comprehensive census of the of Limerick is the 1901. The earliest record of Limerick residents is the "Census of 1659". The census itself has not survived. However a summary of the most commonly occuring surnames at this census has survived listing them down to those having as few as four occurences. The list appears in a book titled Families of County Limerick. However the Gordon surname does not appear. The earliest known record of the surname in County Limerick is found in the LDS Church International Genealogical Index (IGI) in the form of a Limerick City marriage of a James Gordon in 1714 in St. John's Church of Ireland Parish. He is thought likely to have been the Limerick progenitor of this Gordon family. Whether James Gordon or his parents arrived in Ireland directly from Scotland or first spent time in England or elsewhere is not known. It is possible he was from a family planted in Ulster during the second half of the 1600s and had made his way south to Munster. There is also a possibility James Gordon of Limerick may have come to there from the West Indies. This possibility is based on a family story, mentioned in a 1885 Ada Gordon letter, of a legal dispute in the Court of Chancery over the ownership of property in the West Indies. There is also a suggestion, arising from Bermuda having been given as birth place on the Australian family progenitor Robert Gordon's 1863 death record, that the particular island in the West Indies may have been Bermuda.
In summary there is nothing to suggest the ancestral origin of Robert Gordon was other than Scottish, which is the usual presumption in the absense of contrary evidence for anyone bearing the name, or that he had a ancestor born in Ireland in a time frame of more than 100 years preceeding his own birth.
According to the 74 years of age given in her 6 June 1868 Maitland, NSW, death record Ann Gordon was born about 1795 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England and was a daughter of James King and Ann Ovey. However as her father's name given in this record may be incorrect, and as ages found in 19th century records were often a guess, it is possible she was the Ann King recorded as baptised on 12 Feb 1792 in Portsmouth whose parents were a George and Ann King 39.
A presumably same George and Ann King had a George baptised in adjoining Portsea in 1800 and a Martha in 1805. Ann did have a sister Martha who married Limerick County Militia soldier George Lambert on 29 Feb 1812 in St. Mary's Church in Portsea. However there must be doubt as to whether she was the same Martha baptised there in 1805, as whilst sometimes years might pass after the birth of a child before it was baptised, if such had happened in Martha's case it is difficult to understand why a person old enough to marry in 1812 would have not been baptised at the same time as George in 1800! An explanation might be that George had been hurriedly baptised, without a previously unbaptised Martha then being also baptised, because he was an infant not expected to live more than a day or two. Ann, and her mother Ann King Sr., and Ann's in two months to be husband Robert Gordon, were the witnesses at Martha's King's marriage to George Lambert 62. Martha's first child was christened in St. Mary's, Portsea on 18 Apr 1813.
Upon expiry of the maximum allowed period of two years service abroad the County Militia returned to Ireland in August 1813. Following the fall of Napoleon in April 1814 the Militia was disbodied 3 months later in July. It was re-imbodied on 17 July 1815 and again disbodied on 20 March 1816. Martha's second child was christened in Limerick on 22 Sep 1815. Perhaps after the 1814 disbodiment George Lambert did not in 1815 rejoin the militia, or a British line regiment as did his brother-in-law Robert Gordon after the final militia disbodiment in 1816, and remained a civilian for the rest of his life. The Lambert's seemingly lived out their lives in Limerick city. Their deaths were not registered after the commencement of offical death records in 1864 so by then they may have both been deceased. They are likely buried in St Mary's Cathedral Church of Ireland graveyard in the city of Limerick. Martha had at least nine children. It seems the couple prospered as George was likely the George Lambert listed in the 1850 Griffith Valuation residing in a relatively high value (£8/10/- annual value) house #14 in Sir Harry's Mall in St. Francis Abbey beside the Abbey River only a short distance from St. Mary's Cathedral where seven of their Limerick born children were christened 53, 61,.
It is possible Ann and Martha King had an untraced brother named John who was named as a brother in a surviving family letter, and perhaps another named Andrew whose name appeared with Ann and Martha's in an advertisment in England seeking benficiaries to a deceased estate.
As there are other phonetic possibities the maiden surname spelling of Ann's mother as "Ovey" is in doubt. A surviving 2 Jan 1845 Ann Gordon letter indicates she died circa 1844. She may be buried in the Portsmouth area. However it is possible she accompanied her two daughters and their children to Ireland when their husband's Limerick Militia returned there in August 1813. If that was the case she would likely have been buried in St. Mary's Cathedral Graveyard in Limerick city. Suggestive she may have gone to live in Ireland is that the 2 Jan 1845 letter from Ann Gordon to her daughter Letitia mentioned Ann's nephew Francis Lambert was attending to the settlement of Ann's mother's estate 34. Francis was christened in St. Mary Cathedral in Limerick city in Dec 1822 thus would have been at least 22 years of age when his grandmother Ann King died about 1844. Whilst he could have moved to Portsmouth in the south of England at that age he was perhaps more likely still living with his parents in Limerick city. The letter also mentioned Francis had written to Ann on his parents behalf in August 1841. That would seeming place him as still in Limerick two to three years before his grandmother's death.
On 2 May 1812 in St. Mary's Church of England in Portsea in Hampshire, England, Ann King married Robert Gordon. Robert and brother-in-law to be George Lambert would have arrived in Portsmouth from Ireland with their regiment the 21st Limerick County Militia in August 1811. That year there was a change of policy so as to enable the interchangeability of English and Irish Militias and fifteen Irish militia regiments were sent to England including the Limerick County Militia which went to Portsmouth to guard the dockyards and French prisoners 63. Shortly after its arrival at Portsmouth the Hampshire Telegraph it was said of the Limerick County "they are a fine body of men and discovered so much of the steady and well disciplined soldier as to excite the praises of those who saw them on parade". 69. After two years service in England the regiment returned to Ireland in August 1813.
Robert Gordon may have been born as early as 1782. This date is derived from a memorial he wrote to the NSW Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane after he left the army, likely dated in November 1825, that followed up on two previous unanswered memorials seeking a land grant in which he gave his age as 42 years. That age calculates to an age of 81 years at his death. However he may have put his age up thinking that might increase his chance of receiving a grant. According to his 1863 death record, for which daughter Maria Fulford was the informant, Robert was 77 years of age when he died and was born in Bermuda in the West Indies - the son of a Irish Militia Sergeant John Gordon and Mary Molloy 12. 77 years at death calculates to a birth year of 1786. A third alternative birth date of 1788 can be derived from age 75 years on his headstone and 40 years in the 1828 census of NSW. Whilst no christening record has been identified to confirm, the preferred place of birth is that given in his 1816 record of enlistment in the 48th Northhamptonshire Regiment of Foot as having been in St. John's Parish, Limerick City, County Limerick, Ireland 12. This is just because in genealogy preference is given to first person records over second and to an earlier over later. No Irish militia regiments were embodied in the 1780s so it is just not possible for a militia regiment to have been in Bermuda in the period 1782 to 1786. The earliest his father Sgt. John Gordon could have been with any Irish Militia regiment was 1793 when 38 militia regiments were embodied that with two short breaks continued as such until 1816. Whilst large numbers of Irish served in British line regiments the first Irish militia regiments to serve outside of Ireland were two sent to the Channel Islands in 1799. They were followed by fifteen sent to England in 1811, that included Robert Gordon's 21st Limerick County Regiment, when interchangeability of English and Irish militia regiments was introduced. It is possible Robert's father John was with a British line regiment in the 1780s. However no evidence has been noted that any line regiment was stationed in Bermuda prior to 1794 67. Bermuda's history as a British penal colony appears to date from no earlier than 1799 when the British hulk Somerset arrived there and was moored off Ireland Island. Some extractions of Bermuda church parish records to 1826 were published in book form in 1991 but they included records for only two parishes covering the decade of the 1780s. This book has not been consulted 57. It seems to this compliler the Bermuda place of birth for Robert Gordon, as given on his death record, was very likely incorrect and that such could have arisen as an assumption by death record informant Maria Fulford arising from a family story mentioned over 20 years later by the her niece Ada Gordon in a 1885 letter. In that letter Ada wrote she had heard from ‘somewhere’ that Robert's father or grandfather's had been from a ‘good’ family that had an ‘in Chancery’ Court disputed interest in property located in the West Indies. In summary all that can be said is there are records indicating Robert Gordon was born in Limerick or in Bermuda sometime during the 1780s with the most likely place being Limerick and most likely year 1788.
The 1796 Ireland Flax Growers List recorded that in that year a total of 174 farmers of the Gordon surname grew a crop of flax. However none of the Gordon surname were listed as growing a crop in Co. Limerick. This suggests in 1796 the Gordons' in the county may have been town dwellers rather than farmers. Limerick city Church of Ireland St. John's Parish christening records provide the likely identity of Robert Gordon's ancestors back to his great-grandfather. His great-grandfather was likely the James Gorden who married Margaret Goulde in St. John's on 13 Jan 1714. James Gorden had at least eight children identifiable from the St. John's Parish registers. Robert's grandfather was likely the John Gordon christened at St. John's on 5 May 1720. Four more James Gordon children were christened at St. John's in the following decade and the parish burial records identify three more who died 51. Robert's father was likely the John Gordon, son of 1720 born John, who was christened at St. John's on 26 Jun 1757. As Robert Gordons' death certificate said his father was a Sergeant in the "Irish" Militia it is possible he can be identified in the WO 13 section microfilms of the pay and muster rolls for the various Irish militia regiments held at the PRO in London that commence from 1793 for both the 21st Limerick County and the City Militia regiments when John Gordon Sr. would have been aged about 36 years. Robert's full career in the 21st Limerick County Militia (aka Royal County Limerick Militia) could be traced in these records from his circa 1796 enlistment, if in fact as given in the record of his subsequent 1816 enlistment in the 48th Northamptonshire regiment his prior service in the Militia spanned a total of 19 years. In that respect it should also be noted his 48th Reg't. enlistment record erronously gave his militia regiment as the 26th Limerick. Twenty-six was not the number of either the County or the Limerick City militia regiment but the number of the County Clare militia regiment - a county that geographically adjoins County Limerick! 64.
It is to be expected Robert Gordon would have had siblings who likewise to himself are not found in the Limerick city baptism records for a possible reason they were born and baptised elsewhere in Ireland at places where from time to time his perhaps then British line regiment, and post 1793 Irish militia father Sgt. John Gordon and mother Mary were stationed. After embodiment in 1793 the Irish militia regiments were only in their home county at the time of embodiment and disembodiment, rarely remained in one place for long, and the majority of militiamen took their wives and children with them in their peregrinations within Ireland and when the regiments went abroad 70
A June 1889 letter written by a grandson Henry Fullford mentioned he held letters written to Robert by a brother he did not name. It seems likely this brother was the John Gordon named in a Jan. 1885 letter written by Robert's grandaughter Ada Gordon as having been the brother of a Maria (Latin for Mary) Gordon who was Robert's sister and who also came to Australia. He was likely the John Gordon born circa 1795 recorded in the Ireland death indexes as having died in Limerick in 1873 aged 78 65. Also a 1889 Ada Gordon letter had quote: "I heard that John Gordon's sons are living in Limerick and are in very good circumstances" 35, 36. The only John Gordon listed in the Griffith Valuation in Limerick City or environs who was likely this John Gordon Jr. is found in the 1855 valuation for County Clare in Glennagross townland in St. Munchin's Parish where he was the sub-lessee of cabin #11b having an annual value of seven shillings and situated on a farm #11a of 17 acres leased by Patrick Burke from Christr. Delmage who owned the 928 acre townland plus adjoining Cappateemore townland. The 1885 Ada Gordon letter said Robert Gordon's sister married 48th Regiment soldier Lewis Campbell. According to her Australian death record the sister Mary Campbell's birth year calculates to 1891. She married 48th regiment soldier Lewis Campbell in 1815 in St. Munchin's Parish, Limerick City where the military barracks were located 52. The location of Mary Gordon's 1815 marriage to Lewis Campbell in St. Munchin's, held there presumably as per the prevailing custom of a marriage being in the bride's parish church, matches the location in the 1855 Griffith Valuation of the John Gordon dwelling on a farm in the same parish.
However it is possible a garbling occurred in Ada's recollection re John Gordon's sons and that it was actually George and Martha Lambert's several Limerick born "sons" who were those living in Limerick. A search of birth registrations in the Limerick PLU for a period of 56 years from the commencement of offical birth and death registration in 1864 up to 1920 revealed no registrations for the GORDON surname. This complete absense of registrations indicates that if the sons referred to in Ada's letter were actually those of John Gordon Jr. they may have had no children themselves who survived to adulthood and married. Thus it would be expected no descendants bearing the Gordon surname would today be found in Limerick. (see extraction of Limerick PLU registrations of births, deaths and marriages for the surnames of GORDON and LAMBERT). Seemingly the most likely marriage for Robert Gordon's brother John would be one that took place in the same church where their sister Mary married Lewis Campbell in 1815, being that for a John Gordon to a Catherine Ryan in St. Munchin's C of I Limerick on 12 Jun 1832 52. However a slightly confusing element in seeking to identify the marriage of Robert's brother John is that a John and Mary Gordon, for whom no Limerick city marriage is recorded, had a Robert Gordon christened in St. Michael's on 22 Mar 1835 54, and a John and Elizabeth Gordon, who similarly have have no marriage listed in the parish records, had a daughter Mary christened in St. Mary's Cathedral on 30 Jun 1837. From the commencement of records in 1864 up until the late 1880s there were only four GORDON deaths registered in the Limerick PLU. Those for a John (1795-1873) and Catharine (1811-1867) Gordon were likely the John Gordon & Catherine Ryan who married in 1832. As ages in Irish death records can be up to 10 years out it is possible a John Gordon who died in 1865 aged 36 (therefore born ca. 1829) was one of their sons. Other possible sons are a Robert who died in 1892 aged 45 (so born ca. 1847 and alive when Ada Gordon wrote in 1885) and either of two named James who both married in 1869 (so likely born post 1832). A possible John & Catherine Gordon grandson was a James Gordon who died in 1890 aged 32 years (so born ca. 1858 before official registrations began in 1864).
Prima facie the surviving 1880s Ada Gordon letters establish that John Gordon, and the Mary Gordon who married Lewis Campbell, were siblings of Robert Gordon. It is just possible Robert may have had another sibling named Alexander. Robert's presumed great-grandfather James had a son named Alexander who died in St. John's in 1730. Therefore Alexander could have been a family name expected to reoccur in later generations. The St. John's parish burials record a Royal Artillery soldier named William Alexander Gordon died there on 13 May 1829. Also a Alexander Gordon came to Australia in 1817 with the 48th regiment of foot at the same time as Robert Gordon and his family. However he left Australia in 1825 when his regiment departed for England and his records have not been researched at the PRO in England to determine his parent's names etc. from the enlistment record.
As previously mentioned the accuracy of Ann's death record is in question in respect of her father having been the named James King. It appears unlikely any of the children, including Ann's death certificate informant daughter Maria Matilda, actually knew their King grandfather's name and that a James Henry King who surviving letters say died at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 was actually Ann's uncle and not her father! Certainly such was the understanding of Robert & Ann's 1820 born son Henry, who presumably received his Henry from "Waterloo" James Henry, as likely did descendants in other lines who later carried the Henry name. Whilst knowing of this likely uncle James Henry, Henry Gordon clearly did not know his grandfather's name in 1889 when he still had over 15 years ahead of him serving on the bench as a magistrate no doubt full possession of his memory! 28 Likewise applied to his sister Sarah Ann Moir who when queried could remember only her mother having told her when a child of the uncle who had died at Waterloo 33. Henry Fullford, the son of Robert's death record informant Maria, who held Gordon family papers likely passed on to him from his late mother including correspondence from Robert Gordon's brother, also in 1889 seemingly did not know the name of Ann's father as he wrote to Ann's first born daughter Letitia Garmonsway, in respect of queries he had received from his cousin Ada Gordon, asking her quote: "She also wants to know where grandfathers sword and medal has got to. I do not know if you know or not and also she wants the Christening name of grandma’s father". 29 Just six weeks later Ada Gordon was to write to Letitia re her inquiry to which Henry Fullford had referred quote: "He tells me that your grandfathers sword and medal OR your uncles sword and medal are in South Brisbane" 30. So it seems in the six weeks interval between these two letters Letitia would have responded to Henry Fullford's inquiry, and advised him of the whereabouts of the sword, but had not been able to say whether the original James Henry King had been her King grandfather OR her mother's brother!
Clearly Letitia was not sure of her King grandfather's given name, which is not surprising as he may have been deceased before she was born, and she would seemingly have lived in Ireland from about 1814 when five years of age up until her marriage in 1831, and thereafter with her husband from time to time have followed the drum to foreign places. Those places at least for a short time did include Portsmouth in England where she had had been born, and where if her King grandmother resided there she may stayed with her whilst she was still alive, as Letitia's seventh born child Caroline was born at Portsmouth on 10th Nov 1845 less than less than two years after her grandmother would have died 37. Letitia's grandmother likely died in the first half of 1844 as indicated by a letter dated 29 July 1844 from Letitia to her mother Ann Gordon informing her that her mother Ann King (née Ovey) was deceased. It seems quite possible Ann Gordon's father was dead even before Letitia was born in 1809. There is an indication in a 1889 Ada Gordon letter he may have been in charge of an institution named the "Royal ......." of which his wife had also been the Matron. However given a possible garbling through the years, such persons involved with the management of the institution may have been Ann Gordon's maternal grandparents instead of her parents.
A holder of copies of the surviving 19th century family letters has contended 1887 letters from niece Ada Gordon in Australia to her aunt Letitia Garmonsway in NZ, naming the knighted in 1833 full Admiral Sir Edward Durnford King, who was born in London in 1771 and died in 1862 and whose parents were the 1759 London married William King and Hannah Issacson, establish he had been an elder brother of Ann Gordon's father. Also contended has been that likewise to Admiral King, by implication from a reference in the letters to a naval biography, Ann's father who was not specifically named by a given name, had been in the Royal Navy 15. This construction of the letters is certainly astray. For the reasoning see Appendix I.
Also astray is a contention disseminated in the Garmonsway branch of the family for much of last century that Robert Gordon was related to the family of Major-General Charles George Gordon who died in 1885 at the siege of Khartoum and became the chosen hero-figure of the British Empire. This contention appeared in print in Garmonsway obituaries and was noted current as late as 1983 in the New Zealand artists reference book by Una Platts titled 19th Century New Zealand Artists. For the reasons see Appendix II.
It seems to this compiler because of doubts as to the validity of the "James" King recorded on Ann's death record having been her father, if his name is to be established it will likely only be from other records such as Ann's 1828 Parramatta Female Factory employment application which if it exists may be on microfilm in the employment records at NSW State Records. There is no civil record of the death of Ann's sister Martha Lambert in Limerick after official recording commenced in 1864, so if as thought likely she died in Limerick before then, there could only be a parish burial record which likewise to the post 1864 civil records would provide no parents names. However if Martha or Ann's church parish baptism record can be identified with certainty such would give their father's name. If the James Henry King who the surviving letters say died at Waterloo in 1815, was not their King grandfather's brother but in fact their brother, his army enlistment record would likely provide this information. A 1815/1816 probated will might also contain other family information. Another source for their parents names may be the history of an institution of which the 1889 Ada Gordon letter indicated their father may have been in charge. However until such time as a scan of the original letter held in New Zealand becomes available so as to enable the handwriting to be deciphered and the full name of the institution determined, which a transcription has as beginning with the word "Royal ...", any research into that aspect is not possible. 33
Australia and New Zealand
Robert and Ann Gordon arrived in Sydney, New South Wales, on 3 Aug 1817 on board the military transport Matilda. It left Cork in Ireland on 28 Mar 1817, with the Commanding Officer of the 48th Northamptonshire Regiment of Foot Lieutenant Colonel Erskine, the staff, 200 troops and 50 women and children. Little is recorded of events on the voyage excepting that the Sergeant-Major's wife and three children of other persons died. The Regiment disembarked at King's Wharf at 2 o'clock on Thursday 7th August with Lt. Col. Erskine, who had been appointed Lt. Governor of the Colony, upon landing receiving a thirteen guns salute from the Dawe's Battery 78.
Arriving with Robert and Ann were three year old daughter Caroline Ann and a born on the voyage daughter Maria Matilda. Robert Gordon had joined the 48th Regiment, in which his brother-in-law Lewis Campbell was the schoolmaster, at Nass near Dublin in June 1816. According to his enlistment record he had previously spent nineteen years in the 26th Limerick Militia, implying a Militia enlistment year ca. 1796 and an age at enlistment ranging from 8 to 14 years dependant upon a likely birth date of between 1782 and 1788. However no such regiment as the 26th Limerick ever existed ! The 26th was actually the Clare County regiment. So Robert would actually have been in the 21st Limerick County Regiment. During his seven years service with the 48th Regiment in Australia he was mostly in Capt. J. T. Morisset's company on detachment in the Newcastle area. When an inquiry commissioner visited Newcastle in January 1820 it was only reachable from Sydney by sea and he recorded the 48th of foot detachment there numbered 88 men, 10 women and 12 children, with the soldiers providing protection to 26 settlers and their families, and 3 civil officials, and supervising and guarding 671 convicts engaged in cedar cutting and coal mining. Early in 1824 Robert's company returned to garrison duty in Sydney and early in 1825, after nine years and six months service with the 48th and the departure for India of the last compliment imminent, Robert who as a Private was earning take home pay of 7 pence a day bought himself out of the army by the payment of the prescribed sum of £20 and was discharged on 19 Jan 1825 16.
Of the twenty-one 48th Regiment soldiers, who when the regiment left for India elected to leave the army and remain in the colony as settlers, sixteen were veterans who had served the minimum 21 years needed to qualify for a 100 acre land grant. The legal entitlement to a 100 acre grant to former army privates settling in the colony was not introduced until 1832. Thus whilst the grants to soldiers with the minimum army service requirement was the policy in 1824-25 they were still at the Governor's pleasure. The grants were reserved in 1824 in the Upper Burragorang Valley (about 70 kl. SW of Parramatta) but were not surveyed until several years later 16. Robert had served only nine years in the British army so presumably did not have an entitlement unless his previous on and off nineteen years in the Limerick County Militia was also taken into account. Such must have been the case as a request in a memorial to Governor Brisbane dated 12 May 1825, followed up by two more requests, resulted in his name appearing on a list dated 15 Nov. 1825 of persons who had received orders for lands granted and reserved by Sir Thomas Brisbane. 100 acres was not an adequate living area and like most long serving soldiers Robert would have been no farmer so no doubt never occupied the land. Along with four similar 100 acre grants Robert's grant was advertised in The Sydney Herald for sale by auction without reserve on 13 Jun 1833 when it was stated to be located in the County of Camden with Burragorang spelt as Burragurrang 86. The advertisment made no mention of farming suitability and was directed at graziers and stockholders who may wish to increase their available pasturage so no doubt was unsuitable for farming. John Harper was the purchaser as a notice of the hearing of a claim to entitlement to Robert's grant in the NSW Government Gazette of 13 Dec 1837, subsequently confirmed, gave the history of the grant as - at Burragorang in the County of Westmoreland, parish unnamed, with a south and east boundary frontage to the Wollondilly River, located pursuant to an order dated 15 Nov 1825 by Sir Thomas Brisbane in favour of Robert Gordon who sold to John Harper, who sold to John Moses, who with his wife conveyed it to the claimants Richard Hunt and Samuel Barber.
After Robert Gordon left the army, as he was not in receipt of a military pension, with a family to support it would have been essential for him to obtain employment. The 1828 Census of NSW listed Robert as Commissariat Storekeeper and Ann as the Female Factory Matron. 18 Robert's position then would have been at the Parramatta Commissariat station. The Commissariat's major function was to provide and organise the supply of stores and provisions to the penal Colony. It operated both military and civil stores, with stations and magazines at Sydney, Parramatta, Windsor and Liverpool and several country locations. From 1814 it existed as a colonial branch of the British Commissariat. Accordingly its records were sent to England and hardly any have returned to Australia. It is indicated in the report of a 1835 court case that after Robert left the army in Jan. 1825 his initial employment was with the Commissariat at its main Sydney station.
It is not known exactly when he was appointed the Storekeeper at the Parramatta Female Factory, a position that prior to 1827 was sometimes denominated the "Secretary". At the time of wife Ann's 27 Oct. 1827 appointment as Matron the factory Storekeeper position carried a salary of £100 7s. By Sept. 1836 it had increased to £109 7s. 21. So Robert's renumeration when Storekeeper would have been in that range. A court case R. versus Baxter, reported in the Monitor of 16 Aug 1827 and Sydney Gazette of the 17th, establishes that at 24 Apr 1827 Robert Gordon was Commissariat Storekeeper at Parramatta and a Sergeant George Baxter was the Storekeeper at the Female Factory. Baxter presumably had replaced William Tuckerwell in that position sometime after Sept. 1826, as a Sept. 1826 Executive Council minute mentioned the then Storekeeper, who would have been October 1825 appointed Tuckerwell, had tendered his resignation. Tuckerwell had a long off and on association as a factory employee. He was appointed the Superintendant after the July 1822 resignation of the first Superintendant Francis Oakes. He then lost the position in May 1824 when the Secretary of State for Colonies in London appointed Elizabeth Fulloon to the Superintendant position, only to return again as Secretary (aka the Storekeeper) in October 1825 when her son John Fulloon resigned from that position.
Sgt. Baxter was dismissed from the position sometime in the four months between 24 Apr 1827 and approximately 15 August 1827 when his trial on the charge of the theft of stores of salt and soap took place at which he was found guilty as charged and sentenced to seven years transportation. William "the Boomerang" Tuckerwell replaced him as the Storekeeper on 1 October 1827. The 1828 census listed Tuckerwell as the Storekeeper. However he must have vacated the position again sometime between then and a 1835 civil court case in which Robert Gordon was the defendant. The case report indicates Robert was the factory Storekeeper in July 1835. A report in The Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser of 7 Jun 1832, of a Supreme Court trial of two accused of robbery, had Robert in evidence stating - "I am commissionariat storekeeper at Parramatta". Female Factory records show Tuckerwell was the Storekeeper in 1834 so he likely resigned during that year and was replaced by Robert. Thus Robert would have been the female factory Storekeeper for only 12 months or so in 1834 and 1835.
For the licensing year 1837-38 Robert held the publican's licence for the "Jolly Sailor" hotel in George Street in Parramatta where at the time there were about 20 hotels 82. It was not a new hotel. A John Ellison was noted as the licensee in 1830 so it would have dated from before then. In 1837 the annual licence fee was £25. The license lapsed on 30 June 1838 when the renewal fee remained unpaid. Ann then applied for the license but the application was refused 90. A online biography of Ann Gordon, originally published in paper format in the 2005 Supplement Volume of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, that almost in its entirety quite shamelessly without attribution plagiarises into a summarised form much of prior researched and published family history content of this web page, stated Ann unsuccessfully re-applied in 1838 for the Matron's position at the Female Factory and in July 1848 for the post of matron of Tarban Creek (Gladesville) Asylum. Either in 1838 or not long after the family would have moved to Maitland where their pursuits are unknown excepting at one time Ann must have owned a farm and built at least one house. A 1889 letter written by a grandaughter mentioned both her farm and house were sold by husband Robert without her prior knowledge 79.
Not correct is a claim made by University of Western Sydney Associate Professor of History Dr. Carol Liston, in a 2008 published book on the history of Australia's convict female factories titled Women Transported : Life in Australia's Convict Female Factories, that Ann's daughter Maria was the Mary Gordon who in late 1843 advertised her services as a qualified midwife at Maitland stating over an eight year period she had experience with over 900 deliveries. Firstly, all references to Maria in female factory records, in newspaper reports, and in surviving family letters including one written by her to a sister only six months before her death, establish that at no time was Maria known otherwise than as Maria. Secondly, The Maitland Mercury advertisment on which the claim was based actually stated the advertiser Mary Gordon's prior surname was Mumford! In fact she would have been the Mary Mumford who it was stated in the immediately preceeding sentance in the book was the successor as Female Factory midwife to Mary Ann Neale whose complaints to the Management Committee led to Ann Gordon's loss of the position as Matron 87. Son Henry was appointed the assistant baliff at Maitland in Dec 1841 so likely by then the family were residing in the town of Maitland but as the Maitland section of the 1841 census has not survived such cannot be confirmed. They were not listed in an 1841 directory of Maitland compiled in recent years from various other sources such as newspapers. A good guide to the date they moved to the Maitland area would be when Ann purchased the farm mentioned in the 1889 letter (land title records have not been consulted).
Robert's pursuits from the time of the mid 1835 civil case, when presumably the adverse newspaper publicity would have resulted in him losing the Female Factory Storekeeper position (he was actually banned by the Committee of Management in July 1836 from entering the factory also indicating by then he was no longer Storekeeper), may not have had much substance as a January 1845 Ann Gordon letter to her daughter Letitia in England re Robert remarked quote:- "I have had to keep him for this last ten years without his earning one single shilling" 80. Ann's "this last ten years" seems to have been a reference to when he would have lost the factory storekeeper position. No doubt as Ann would have financed the 1837 hotel venture she regarded any earnings from it as her's. However Robert must have had some earnings. Only three months earlier the Maitland newspaper, when reporting evidence given in an appeal hearing by the Registrar of the Court of Requests of which Robert's son Henry from 1841 was the assistant baliff and from 1843-47 the baliff, stated Robert had acted as the server of two summonses in respect of plaintiff applications before that court. As newspaper advertisments indicate a local hotel meal then cost from 2 shillings to 2/6 presumably Robert's fee to serve the two summonses alone would have amounted to at least five shillings! 81 Perhaps his earnings such as they were from time to time were lost in games of chance, or gambling on local horse races, and it was pressure to pay gambling debts that caused Ann's farm and house to be sold. Such a circumstance may also explain, as revealed by the 1835 civil court case, why in 1829 he agreed to pay an extraordinary high 25% rate of interest to borrow money from a friend and for its subsequent non-repayment, and why he failed to pay by 30 June 1838 the fee to renew the licence for the "Jolly Sailor" hotel resulting in the licence lapsing.
Apart from the afore mentioned 1825 Burragorang 100 acre grant it is not clear whether Robert ever owned any land in the colony. Rachel Roxburgh in her book Early Colonial Houses of NSW stated the site on the corner of O'Connell and Ross Streets in North Parramatta of the 1830s built NSW State heritage listed "Roseneath" cottage, considered the best surviving example of a colonial town cottage exterior within the County of Cumberland, was owned in 1833 by Robert Gordon. The site is located less than half a kilometre from the Female Factory. However as the corner block of 1 rood and 8 perches on which the main house was built fronting O'Connell Street was acquired from the crown by William Tuckerwell in 1832 and, was in his ownership when transferred to the cottage builder Janet Templeton, the Roxburgh claim is considered astray. There were originally six town allotments in the section bounded by O'Connell, Ross, Grose and Troll streets in North Parramatta - all in area 1 rood and 8 perches. In 1835 Janet Templeton acquired at auction either allotment #13 on the corner of O'Connell and Grose Streets or #15 on the corner of Grose and Troll, of which for at least one Robert Gordon was the original survey applicant. It is possible he was also the applicant for Tuckerwell's block #12 on which the main house is built but its' applicant has not been ascertained. The other three blocks in the section, #14, 11 & 10, were all applied by a Percy Simpson and purchased by Henry Harvey at a crown auction in 1833. One or all three were apparently purchased from Harvey by Janet Templeton in 1837. So it seems Robert Gordon's status was that of an applicant for the survey of one or more of the lots rather than grantee of any 89.
Robert Gordon died at Maitland in NSW on 19 January 1863 and wife Ann on 6 June 1868. Neither had wills probated indicating no land ownership by them at time of death. They are buried with daughter Caroline and a great-grandson Oscar Henry in St. Peter’s Old Burial Ground at East Maitland - headstone close-up.
Robert's younger sister Mary Gordon (1792-1835) married Lewis Henry Campbell (1790-1854) at St. Murchin's Church of Ireland in Limerick on 24 May 1815 52 . They arrived in Sydney on the Dick in Sept. 1817. Mary's husband was the 48th regiment's school master responsible for educating illiterate soldiers and their children. When discharged he held the rank of Sergeant. He was born in Galway in Ireland and had enlisted on 3 Jul 1805 at Gosport in Hampshire, England, in the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers. At the age of 24 years on the 20 Nov 1814 when the second battalion of the 23rd was disbanded he transferred to the 48th Northamptonshire Regiment. That Robert had a brother-in-law in 48th likely explains his June 1816 enlistment in that British regiment. Lewis Campbell took a discharge in Sydney on 3 Jan 1823. Initially he went to work for Robert Crawford before on 25 Apr 1825 obtaining employment as a Police Constable at Parramatta, a position from which he was dismissed on 20 Oct 1827. He died on 7 Apr 1854 and was buried at St. Batholomew's C of E at Prospect. The couple had six children. Whilst he was employed by Crawford Mary left her husband and entered into a relationship with Crawford. From this defacto relationship she had four more children 23.
Ann Gordon had six children - Letitia Anne, Caroline Ann, Maria Matilda, Henry Meldrum, Sarah Ann, and a son who was listed as deceased on his father's 1863 death registration record who likely died as an infant. It is possible this son was the Robert Gordon christened on 22 Mar 1815 at St. Michael's Church of Ireland in Limerick, whose parents names appear in extractions from the original record as Robert and Jane Gordon 54.
Letitia Anne King (1809-1892) was
born 2½ years before Robert Gordon married her mother Ann King.
The names of his children Maria, Sarah and Henry, and that his total
issue had included a predeceased daughter (Caroline) and a son, was
recorded on his official 1863 death record. Supported by other records
the omission of Letitia's name from this record indicates she was
not his issue. Until the death in 1853 of Letitia's half-sister Caroline,
when a surviving letter says their mother Ann disclosed the truth to
the other children, they had been unaware Letitia was even their
sister having believed her to be their mother's sister and thus their
Also confirming Letitia was Ann's but not Robert's daughter is that
the Limerick County Militia in which Robert Gordon was a soldier
was in Ireland during the years immediately preceding Letitia's
1809 birth and both her 1810 Portsmouth baptism and Limerick
marriage were recorded under the King surname.
Caroline Gordon (1813-1853) lived in Maitland where her parents moved after they left Parramatta and is buried in St. Peter's old burial ground at East Maitland with her parents and grandson Oscar Henry 12. She never married but had two children from defacto relationships. Her daughter Jessie also apparently never married. When in July 1870 Jessie wrote to her aunt Letitia Garmonsway, advising her of the two years earlier death of Letitia's mother Ann Gordon, she signed the letter Mrs. Jessie Gordon. This might suggest she had married a Gordon but there is no BDM index evidence of any such marriage. Contradictory to her not having married is a 16 January 1887 Ada Gordon letter stating quote "Jessie died four years ago leaving no family ... she married first a Mr. Smith and secondly a Mr. Cameron". Such would indicate Jessie Maria either married or had a defacto relationship with a Mr. Smith, and likely at the time of her ca. 1883 death was in such a relationship with a Mr. Cameron. However again there is no apparent BDM index evidence in NSW or Queensland of either marriage. See: Caroline Gordon Family Page
Maria Matilda Gordon (1817-1882)
was born during her parents voyage to Australia on the Matilda
1817. She died in 1882 having lost husband James Fullford two years
earlier. Prior to her marriage to James Fullford she had a defacto
relationship extending over a five year period with Captain Frank Adams
of the 28th Gloucestershire Regiment of Foot during which time she had
two sons. About three years after the birth of the second son she had
a daughter whose father is unknown.
Sarah Ann Gordon (1822-1889) was the last born of the six children. In 1847 she married Scottish born William Moir in Auckland, New Zealand. He was a career soldier who had risen rapidly through the ranks from enlistment as a private in 1831 to become the Sergeant-Major of in the 58th Regiment in 1840. He arrived in Australia with the 58th reg't in Sept. 1844 and six months later moved to New Zealand to deal with a Maori rebellion in the Bay of Islands area. Promoted to officer rank in 1848, he retired in July 1858 from active service three months before the regiment returned to England, remaining with his family in New Zealand where as a Captain he saw active service again in the Waikato during the 1860s Second Maori Wars. A total of 2400 Australians enlisted in the New Zealand Militia in 1863/64 to serve in these wars. Capt. William Moir holds the distinction of having led the first detachment of the Australians to have engaged the enemy. That action on 13 Oct 1863 is known as the Battle of East Pukekohe Church. He had a hotel at Mangawhai on the East Coast of the North Island, and farmed at nearby Te Arai where he obtained a 380 acre land grant in 1859 which it is said he named Kelvin Grove after the place he last lived in Scotland. Moir Street in Mangawhai is named after him, as is the locality of Moir's Point situated across the river. He was listed in the N.Z. electoral rolls from 1866 to 1875 with a farm holding of 586 acres on the Mangawhai River but was not listed there in the next available roll for 1881. He had moved to Canada late in 1877 or early 1878 and died there on 1 Dec. 1881 in Toronto, Ontario Province. It has been said he left his wife Sarah Ann. Such appears confirmed by him having having spent the last four years of his life apart from his wife and family living in Canada with his sister Mrs. Margaret Gartshore, the widow of Scottish born Canadian industrialist Mr. John Gartshore. Sarah Ann Gordon and William Moir had six sons named William, Robert, James, David, John & Leslie, and a daughter Jacqueline who died in her birth year. For the full details of the history and descendants of Sarah Ann Gordon and William Moir see the Moir Family Page.
Meldrum Gordon (1820-1910)
was born on 6 March 1820 at Parramatta and from 1832-1836 attended The
King's School at Parramatta - the oldest independent school
in Australia. He was an opening day attendee and at the time of
his death the oldest still living from that school's foundation
year student intake. Henry was the Bailiff of the Court of Requests
at Maitland from 1843 to 1846, by 1857 the Chief Constable
at Dungog, and in 1859 the Clerk of Petty Sessions there and agent
for the sale of Crown lands. At the age of 43 on September 9,
1863 he was appointed Magistrate at Maitland and on September
3, 1875 the Police Magistrate and Clerk of Petty Sessions at
Wollombi and Secretary for Lands. He was
appointed to Gundagai and Jugiong on April 25, 1885 and Albury
in March 1887 as Stipendary Magistrate and Commissioner
of the Supreme Court. Indications are he would have
retired from the bench at 75 years of age in March 1895. The
duration of his legal career with the Justice Department
of the NSW civil service thus exceeded 53 years with the
last 31 spent as a Magistrate.
Two sons of Henry Meldrum Gordon, Lovell and his older brother Meldrum Henry, were the first white settlers at a locality in the Upper Bellinger River Valley on mid-north coast of NSW and responsible for the bestowing upon the name of Gordonville. Likely it was more than a co-incidence that Gordonville was a name by which the Parramatta Female Factory had been colloquially known during their grandmother Ann's nine year tenure as Matron.
Thus it can be said the upper Bellinger River locality of Gordonville was likely named after the Colony's prison for women !
1 Annette Salt, These Outcast Women : The Parramatta Female Factory 1821-1848, (Hale & Ironmonger, Sydney, 1984). p.117-8
2 Ibid pp.58-9, " ... Mrs Fulloon (now Mrs Raine - Fulloon had died on the voyage out) tendered her resignation in February 1827, and was replaced by Ann Gordon on 27 October 1827". (also see: Sydney Gazette, 31 October 1927, p.2, col.5); Sydney Gazette 20 May 1824, p.1 col.2 - "Mrs. Fulloon, having been appointed by His Majesty's Secretary of State for Colonies, Superintendant of the Female Factory at Parramatta, she is to enter upon the duties of her Office immediately". Note - her son John Fulloon was appointed the factory Secretary (aka the Storekeeper). In Oct. 1825 he resigned and was replaced as Secretary by William Tuckerwell who had been the interim Superintendant from the time of resignation of the first Superintentant Francis Oakes in July 1822 until replaced by Fulloon's London appointed mother Elizabeth - for his resignation and Tuckerwell appointment see: Sydney Gazette, 20 Oct. 1825, p.1.
3 Ibid "When Ann Gordon became matron at the annual salary of £150... William Tuckerwell ... received £100 7s. 6d." - no source was cited by Salt. (Note: - Matron Raine's salary at 12 Aug. 1826 was £126 and it was proposed to the Governor by a Board of Inquiry that in the future it be £150 with no allowences. On 15 Aug 1826 the Executive Council suggested it be £200. However no evidence has been noted that either of these higher than £126 amounts ever applied although it is readonable to assume the rate of £150 with no allowences was adopted. Contary to a claim by at least one writer on female factory history (probably just a case of that writer presenting their mere assumption as a fact) it seems likley the Executive Council suggested £200 never applied. That it had applied seems highly unlikey in view of the increasing number of women and children inmates that was taking place at the time of Ann Gordon's 27 October appointment - up one third from 331 at 30.6.1827 to 431 at 31.12.1827. In that circumstance of the matron's accordingly increased responsibily and work load it seems highly unlikely Ann would have received less in salary than the Matron she replaced! Also indicative that the Executive Council's suggested £200 was never applied is that at the time of Ann's appointment Salt gave Factory Storekeeper Tuckerwell's salary as £100 7s. 6d. It had also been proposed by the Board on 12 Aug 1826 that the Storekeeper's salary in future be £100 with no allowences, with similarly to the Matron's salary the Executive Council suggesting it be the higher amount of £150. Also indicating the Council's suggested £150 for the Storekeeper never applied is that a full decade later a 1836 despatch gave the Storekeeper's salary as £109. 7s. Even as early as six months after Ann's appointment a 15 May 1828 Governor's despatch gave the total salaries of all five female and the two male employees as "no more than £430", making it clear the Storekeeper was still receiving £100 7s. (the "no more than £430" total likely being made up of the Matron at 150, a Porteress at 50, 3 Monitresses at £12 2s. 4d = £36. 7s., Storekeeper 100 7s., Clerk 91, for a total of £427 14s.). References are:- 3 Sep 1826 Governor Darling to Lord Bathurst, HRA 1, Vol.XII, p.p. 526-7; 10 Sep 1836 Sir Richard Bourke to Lord Glenelg, HRA I, Vol. 18, pp. 533-34; 15 Sep. 1828 Darling to Huskinsson, HRA 1, Vol. XIV, pp. 183-7.)
4 Ibid "The Management Committee .... consisted of respectable men. Such men as Samuel Marsden, Captain Dumaresq, John Harris, George Palmer, John Palmer, Thomas de la Condamine and M. Anderson gave time and service. The short-lived Ladies Committee was guaranteed respectability under the formidable guidance of Mrs. Darling." (Ed. wife of the Governor)
5 Ibid pp.96-7 "the women rioted .... occasion coincided with Matron Raine’s retirement on Friday, 26 October 1827. Next morning, the new matron, Mrs Gordon ... (also see: Sydney Gazette, 31 October 1827 p.2, col 5.)
6 Ibid p.52-3
7 Ibid p.59-61, "Sarah Bell, who replaced Ann Gordon in Oct 1836, was paid £100 a year. In 1838 Mrs Leech (salary £130) replaced Sarah Bell as Matron. p.121, "By April 1848 the Factory, as it had been from 1821, was no more and was being referred to by Governor Fitzroy as - the ‘late Female Factory’"
9 Governor Bourke to Lord Glenelg, 10 September 1936, HRA I, 18, p.533-4, and Glenelg to Bourke, 10 December 1936, HRA I, 18 pp. 611-14.
10 Sydney Gazette, 11 October 1836, p.2, col.4.
11 Returns of the Female Factory 1829-47, figures for 1835, SOA Ref. 4/7327, Reel 702.
12 Extracted from printout of Gordon family names and vitals dated 10 Feb 1997, and an undated paper on Gordon family history & genealogy, both compiled by Russell Gordon of Sydney. Source references were in the main not cited excepting for a Dec. 1824 letter from Robert Gordon to Governor Brisbane that gave his then age as 42 years indicating a 1782 birth year.
14 J.C. Byrne , Twelve Years' Wanderings in the British Colonies from 1835 to 1847, (2 vols, Richard Bentley, London 1848. pp 230-1) - extract URL
15 Email dated 15 Aug 2000 & 7 Mar 2001 forwarding names & birth dates of the seven Frederick Parker children - from Kathy Edwards, QLD.
16 Thomas C. Sargent, The Colonial Garrison 1817-1824: The 48th foot, the Northamptonshire Regiment in the Colony of New South Wales, (TCS Publications, Canberra, 1996, 200 pp.) Robert & Ann Gordon are mentioned on page 145 , for which the cited sources are: (1) WO 12/5974 - reel 3799 covering 1824-25 Muster and Pay Records of the 48th which listed Robert Gordon as a private in Capt. J.T. Morisset's Company stationed in Sydney from Feb. 1824. (2) HRA Series I, Vol. 18, pp 611-615 - 10 Dec 1836 Glenelg to Bourke. Re the 100 acre land grants in the Upper Burragorang Valley see the book's Epilogue pages. For Robert Gordon's Dec. 1824 application for a discharge see: AONSW fiche 3133, p. 91.
17 Augustus Earle (1793-1838). Female Penitentiary or Factory, Parramatta [1826?]. Rex Nan Kivell Collection NK12/47. By permission of the National Library of Australia.
18 Sainty, Malcolm R. & Johnson Keith H. (eds). Census of New South Wales 1828, Sydney, 1985.
20 The Australian (prob. late 1978 to early '80s), "This was Australia" article by George Bliakie on female factory history - particularly re the riot on the day Ann Gordon commenced as Matron.
21 Transcripts of five letters written 1828-1837 between the Secretary of State for the Colonies in England and NSW Governors Darling & Bourke, pertaining to operations and admin. of the Parramatta Female Factory.
23 Email 14 Oct. 2000 from Beverely Dwyer of QLD - a descendant of Robert Gordon's sister Mary. For Mary Gordon's history see her article in the Nov. 1990 issue of the U.K. published Family Tree magazine titled "19th Century Soap Opera" & see Sargent cited above at 16 for her husband Sgt. Lewis Campbell's military & later history.
28 Letter dated 28 May 1889 from William Henry Gordon to his aunt Sarah Ann Moir - transcript courtesy Jill Van Der Reyden. He asked if she could "remember your mother say what became of the medal and sword which belonged to your Uncle James Henry King, who was killed at Waterloo".
29 Ibid 6 June 1889 - Henry Fullford to Letitia Garmonsway - transcript courtesy Jill Van Der Reyden, N.Z.
30 Ibid 17 July 1889 - Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway - ditto
33 Ibid 27 Jun 1889 - Sarah Ann Moir to Letitia Garmonsway - letter held by Mangawhai Museum - copy courtesy Anne Picketts of N.Z..
34 Ibid 5 Jan 1845 - Ann Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway - transcriber unknown.
35 Ibid 6 Jun 1889 - Henry Fullford to Letitia Garmonsway
36 Ibid May 1889 - estimated date - Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway - transcriber unknown.
37 Garmonsway Family History/Genealogy, compiled by Peter Wood & Julie Fox (privately published in New Zealand in 1983 at time of a family reunion held to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the progenitors N.Z. arrival.
39 LDS Church IGI - extracted record is on LDS microfilm #0822732.
40 6 Apr 1889 letter - Ada Gordon to Letitia Garmonsway.
51 LDS Church film #0874438 - C of I Parish Registers (1697-1836) St. John's Parish, Limerick, Ireland.
52 LDS Church film #0822644 - C of I Parish Registers (1734-1840) St. Munchin's, Limerick, Limerick.
53 LDS Church films - C of I Parish registers of Cathedral Church of St. Mary's, Limerick, Ireland - christenings 1726-1796, marriages 1726-1801, burials 1726-1799, purifications 1775, christenings, marriages and burials, 1799-1842.
54 LDS Church film #0897422 - C of I Parish registers (1803-1844), Saint Michael's, Limerick, Limerick, Ire.
57 Hallett, A. C. H., Early Bermuda records, 1619-1826 : a guide to the parish and clergy registers with some assessment lists and petitions , Pembroke, Bermuda : Juniperhill Press, c1991.
58 Robert Bell, The Book of Ulster Surnames, The Black Staff Press, Belfast (1988) p.p. 79-80
59 Phillamore & Thrift, Indexes to Irish Wills, from 1615 to 1800 for Diocese of Limerick (London, 1913)
60 Sir Arthur Vickers, Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, (1897) p. 197.
61 Griffith Primary Valuation of Ireland dated 2 Sep 1850, microfiche Vol. 3 Limerick, Poor Law Union of Limerick, St. Mary's Parish p.53 - house & yard, primary lessor the Earl of Limerick.
62 27 Apr 2001 email advice of Kathy Edwards of QLD who has a photocopy of the parish record.
63 Georgian Limerick, 1714-1845, Vol.2, edited by David Lee and Christine Gonzalez (438 pages) - pp. 391-3. Re the history of the Irish Militia during Robert Gordon's period of service see - Henry McNally, The Irish Militia 1793-1816 ; A Social and Military Study, (Clonmore and Reynolds, Dublin 1949, 12 chapters of 337 pages).
64 Public Records Office (PRO), Kew, London - Muster rolls of the Irish Militia - reference #s for the 13th Limerick City are: WO 13/2999 to WO 13/3017, and the 21st Limerick County are: WO 13/3018 to WO 13/3038
65 Ireland Death Indexes - 1873 Vol. 15, p. 285
66 As cited in A Cargo of Women, by Babette Smith, NSW University Press, 1988, p.54 - see: Sydney Monitor Saturday 5 Feb. 1831 & Factory Committee of Management to Colonial Secretary, 12 Oct. 1832. CS In-letters 1833, AO NSW 4/2191.3
67 John M. Kitzmiller, In Search of the Forlorn Hope, Vol. I, Manuscript Publishing Foundation, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1988, p. 612 & p. 654 - from 1794-1802 the 47th Lancashire Reg't which recruited from Lancashire was stationed in Bermuda.
68 John Hirst, Convict Society and its Enemies, pp. 182-84, and 1837 publication by James Mudie, The Felonry of New South Wales.
69 The Irish Militia 1793-1816, above cit. p. 247 quoting Freeman's Journal 17 Sept. 1811.
70 Ibid pp. 62-3, p. 267
78 Sydney Gazette Saturday, 9 Aug 1817.
79 Ada Gordon to Leitia Garmonsway - letter dated 5 Sep 1889 - transcription by Jill Van Der Reyden, NZ - "also we have a retired Doctor ... living close to us in poor Grandma’s house. It is a house that Grandma built intending to leave it to her children but one day the poor woman was informed that it was no longer her’s, her husband had sold it without her knowledge. She also had a farm that went the same way." (note: the property could not have been SOLD without Ann's agreement. The law applicable up until the 1879 Married Women's Property Act was that whilst a husband was entitled to the INCOME from a wife's real estate, which income he could mortgage or assign to another, he could not SELL the property itself without his wife's consent).
80 Ann Gordon to Leitia Garmonsway in England - letter 5 Jan 1845 (original held in N.Z. - transcriber unknown).
81 Maitland Mercury , 12 Oct 1844 - Report of evidence given by Jacob Chambers, Registrar of Court of Requests, re summonses served on John Rodgers in respect of actions commenced by Mrs. Lee.
82 James Jervis, The Cradle City of Australia : A History of Parramatta (Parramatta City Council, 1961), from p. 100 - "A newspaper reporter who visited the town in 1837 wrote:- Parramatta is to all appearances (and we believe really is so) a very tranquil place, yet a stranger must be struck with the immense number of those sources of riot - public houses - with which the town is studded all over .... In some parts every fifth house is licenced to retail malt, wine and spirituous liquors..."
83 Historical Records of Australia I, Vol.10, p. 689 - 27 July 1822 despatch from Major-General Macquarie to Earl Bathurst, Enclosure marked "A" - "being a List and Schedule of Public Works and Buildings erected 1 January 1810 to 30 Nov 1821" and p.368 for dispatch re 1 Dec 1820 anticipated completion date.
84 The Sydney Herald, May 3rd 1831 - Julia Allen "sentenced for six weeks to the third class of Mrs Gordon's villa", May 19 - "Mary Rashton and Susannah Bolton ... were consigned to Mrs Gordon's villa for one month each.
85 11 & 18 July 2006 emails from Robert C. Reuland of New York, USA, advising details and location of extant female factory buildings and structures.
86 NSW State Records (AONSW) Colonial Secretary Correspondence - R. Gordon memorials from 12 May 1825 (fiche 3133, 4/1842A No. 314 pp. 87-96); 15 Nov 1825 (fiche 3266, 9/2652 p. 91) - persons who had received orders for grants; Lands granted and reserved by Sir Thomas Brisabne (fiche 3269, 9/2740 p. 13).
87 Women Transported : Life in Australia's Convict Female Facories, Parramatta City Council, 2008, p. 42. In 1843 the Maitland newspaper mentioned four male Gordons - R. C., George, W. F., & Hugh of whom one may have been Mary's husband. In 1844 a Mary Gordon was charged at Maitland Quarter Sessions with theft and acquited. The BDM indexes list the registration of the death of a Mary Gordon at Maitland in 1857 (#3361), at age 75 years with parents unknown, who may have been the Mary Gordon née Mumford 1843 midwife advertiser.
88 Ibid p. 15 & Sydney Gazette 27 Apr 1833, p.2, re 18 females were sent to "Mrs. Gordon's country seat" (i.e. the Newcastle factory/gaol) following the March 1833 riot at the Parramatta factory.
89 Note the Heritage Office of NSW online database has two versions of the Roseneath cottage land ownership history of which the first is likely correct, excepting that Janet Templeton would have purchased the site of the main house from William Tuckerwell prior to building the house (perhaps it was built as early as 1834) although the conveyance was not registered until 1842 when she was about to depart and ended up renting the house before later selling. However unfortunately the Heritage Office article goes on to then compelely contradict that land ownership history by asserting - "In 1835 Mrs Templeton bought the land on which Roseneath was built and also another block in the same section". The block she bought in 1835 (deed was dated 3 October 1835) was that for which Robert Gordon had applied that was advertised for sale on 29 April 1835 in the Government Gazette and the newspapers and was seemingly originally #13 or #15 in section 10, Field of Mars parish.
90 Rachael Roxburgh, Early Colonial Houses of New South Wales, Ure Smith, Sydney 1974, p. 199. - "Her husband then secured the licience of the Jolly Sailor, which stood in George Street, near the river, but he failed to renew when payment became due. Ann in a memorial of 1838, explained this neglect, as due to the fact that Robert had been ill for some eight months, but her request was one of many and the licence was not restored."
91 Re the factory committee report no documentry evidence was provided, however such is likely held by NSW State Records under "CSD correspondence relating to the female factory 1836, 4/2317.2" - specifically being a July 1836 report of the Committee into incidents involving staff attached to a 4 Aug 1836 memo from the Colonial Secretary to the Committee of Management.
Researched and compiled by J. G. Raymond,
created March 2000 - last modified 17 Nov 2011
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