John and Martha Love

John and Martha Love, and their daughter Elizabeth came to Australia on the “Matilda” which departed from Portsmouth, England on March 27, 1791. Correspondent, Clontarf contends the weight of evidence is that their daughter, Elizabeth was, in fact, born in NSW, most probably on 28 Jan 1792

John was a member of the newly formed NSW Corps, whose role was to supervise convicts. Although I’ve yet to determine what happened, it’s said “an incident occurred” on April 30, 1791 on the ship which resulted in Love being demoted.

Part of the Third Fleet, the ship arrived in Sydney on August 1, 1791.

Although probably desperately poor in England, the personal prosperity of the Love family improved significantly during their first few years in Australia.

Their first child born in Australia, Joseph Love was born 1793 at Parramatta, NSW. Their other children were born at Sydney Cove.

Granted Land in NSW

On February 20, 1794, Love was granted thirty acres of land at “The Ponds”, and on March 14, 1795, a further ninety acres of prime land at “The Field Of Mars”. As noted in the “City of Ryde Development Control Plan 2014 Part: 5.2 Eastwood House Estate Heritage Conservation Area”

The original paved level on which Eastwood House stands was part of land granted to Private John Love of the NSW Corps. It was given to him by the acting Governor of the colony Lt. Colonel Paterson on March 14, 1795 (Governor Phillip had returned to England in 1792 due to ill health). The property was next owned by William Kent, who sold it to William Rutledge in 1835. It is thought that Rutledge built the original section of Eastwood House in 1840, and gave it its name

By 1805, the records indicate Love had purchased a further fifty acres of land at Seymour Redbank and employed three men. On August 25, 1812, Love was granted a further forty-five acres of land at Upper Minto on the Nepean River, adjoining the farm of his son-in-law, John Hoare.

Despite this apparent prosperity, his career in the NSW Corps was, at best, a mixed affair. Arriving in Australia as Private, he was promoted to Corporal (March 25, 1791) and then to Sergeant (June 26, 1791). Several months later he was demoted to the role of Private again (December 27, 1791). His name also appears in the court records on several occasions.

Money and Legal Problems

In 1794, John Love was mentioned in the court case involving William Joyce and Thomas Daveney. The case was described in these terms in the book “Collins, The Courts and The Colony” (Law and Society in Colonial New South wales 1788-1796″ by J.F. Nagle (UNSW Press 1996 p. 237-239)…

On 31 July 1794… a private soldier in the New South Wales Corps, John Love had become involved in a fight with Joyce and Daveney joined in on the side the soldier. During the fight Joyce received serious injuries, his jaw was broken and as a result he was hospitalised at Parramatta for some two months.

In 1798, John Love was taken to court for refusing to pay back a debt. In the book, “Debt, seduction and other disasters, the author Bruce Kercher says Love owed a Mr Baker some money, and was taken to court. but that Love refused to pay back the money on the grounds that he was a soldier.” The NSW State Records for the Bench of Magistrates for July 21, 1798 notes the following…

John Love who had treated the Summoning Officer with Insolance when he served a summons upon him from this Court, and had refused to obey such summons, alledging that he was soldier appeared to answer to the matter in question, and n consequence of his continuancy and his general bad character (as imparted by Major Foveaux and others) was sentenced to receive 50 lashes, to be imprisoned one month, to find functions for his future good behaviour and to pay Baker the balance of his wheat.

There is a sidenote to the record which says the sentence was remitted (pardoned) on July 27, 1798 through the interception of William Balmain Esq.

Discharged from the NSW Corps

This particular incident may help explain why he was discharged from the NSW Corps on July 14, 1798, and then later re-enlisted as a Private in the Col. Francis Grose Company of the NSW Corps (as noted by the 1799 Muster Records.

In common with other members of the NSW Corps, the “Rum Corps”, Love was also probably involved in the production of rum, or at least some form of alcohol, as on Monday, June 4 1806, he was arrested and fined one-hundred Spanish dollars (one of the currencies in use at the time) after the discovery on his property at the “Field of Mars” of a still and other appartus for distilling liquor. The incident was reported in the Sydney Gazette of Wednesday June 6 in these terms…

“On Monday, in consequence of a like information, several Constables were sent to search for a still and other apparatus on the farm of J. Love at the Field of Mars; from whence a large boiler was produced, supposed to be for the purpose of distilling. The owner was in consequence ordered to find bail for his good behaviour.

More Legal Matters

On Saturday, April 23 1814, the Sydney Gazette reported, John was amongst those responsible for the apprehension of a Mr Harrison, a deserter from the 73rd Regiment…

On Monday last a party of three persons, consisting of Mr. Scott, settler and district constable at the Cow Pastures ; another constable ; and Mr. Love, a settler formerly of the Field of Mars, went out in search of Scott’s horse, which had beep three days missing from its tether; and about 5 miles west of the Cow Pasture river found the horse safely tethered near a clef rock, on entering which they found a man with two muskets in his possession; and as they shewed a determination to apprehend him, he yielded, and informed his captors that a little further west there were some others to whom he would conduct them. This information induced them to proceed thitherward, and having advanced about two miles, saw at a distance a number of men, supposed frtom eight to ten, all armed, and not deeming it prudent to approach near, they retired, taking with them their prisoner, and a mare of Mr Uther’s, together with a horse that had been stolen from Mr Loughlin, a settler, both of which they found tethered close to each other, and licence led them to conclude, that the armed men had removed from the sport where the horses were on their approach. Mr Uther’s horse, and Loughlin’s mare were tethered the same night close to Scott’s horse at the Cowpasture River; but we are sorry to add the next morning both were gone from their fastenings. The apprehended person who was delivered up as a prisoner to the Magistrate of Liverpool, proves to be a deserted from the 73rd, named Harrison, and by whose account the banditi consists of 17 men.

In August 1814, Court of Civil Jurisdiction ordered that the Seymour Farm had to be sold to recover debt…

“Ex parte William Packer, in the matter of Joseph and John Love: Pursuant to an Order of the Court of Civil Jurisdiction, ande in the above matter, the Provest Marshal will cause to be set up for sale by public auction at the Market Place, Sydney, on Thursday the 25th instant at Twelve o’clock, a certain farm and lands, called Seymour’s Farm; containing 80 acres, more or less and situated in the Field of Mars (unless the Debt Costs and all incidental expenses are previously liquidated.) Wm Gorr, Provest Marshal”.

On December 3, 1816, John Love was convicted of stealing government cattle in collusion with two of his convict servants (Joseph Jones, Patrick McGinty) and all were sentenced to hang (NSW Records Reel 6006; 4/3495 p. 421). The incident was reported in the Sydney Gazette on December 7, 1816…

WEDNESDAY. – John Love, Joseph Jones, Charles Pickering, and Patrick McGinnity were arraigned on the charge of stealing a bull n the district of the Cow Pastures, the property of the Crown, on or about the 12th of October last; and the three first named prisoners were found guilty – Death; Patrick McGinnity acquitted.It appeared in evidence that the prisoner Love was a settler, living in the Cow-pasture District, to whom the prisoners Jones and McGinnity had been allowed as servants, and that Pickering was a trader; that many of the cattle composing what are denominated the wild herds, known to be the property of the Crown had been at different times slaughtered, and conveyed away by horses and carts to various parts of the settlement ; and\from the defence set up on behalf of the prisoners, disputing the possibility of identifying in these cattle the property of the Crown, it would appearthat the depredators upon these herds, had generally presumed upon this difficulty, and hence con-sidered that they might in security. This suggestion afforded to His Honor the JUDGE ADVOCATE an ample occasion of explaining away the criminal and erroneous conception, and of clearly demonstrating that the cattle in those pastures were to be identified with much greater facility and certainty than those of any private individual, whose herds might casually intermingle with others, and frequently occasion doubt in their identity : Whereas, that in the present case there could be no doubt, because it was to all well known that ALL the cattle in thosepastures belonged to the Crown, and that it was even a severely punishable trespass for any man to go where they were, without an especial Permission from His EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR; which measure had been long since adopted for the prevention of such practices as those for which the prisoners at the bar were to answer. -That the very acts of trespassing upon those pastures being known to be criminal, it must be necessarily inferred that no man would there trespass without a criminal intention. In the present melancholy instance the criminal intention had been carried into full effect, and an actual crime perpetrated.This fact being proved, the question of identity was far less difficult, because it was generally known that all the cattle in the place where the offence was committed belonged to the Crown ;& that none could be withdrawn from thence that were not clearly known to be so. The practice of cattle stealing was in general too prevalent ; and the depredations committed upon these herds, particularly, required to be restrained ; which the event of this trial His HONOR had no doubt would lend considerably to effect.

His family appealed successfully for clemency, though it appears he may have been sent to Newcastle on the “Lady Nelson” for a period of time…

” On account of some favourable circumstances in mitigation of his offence I am induced to extend Grace & Mercy unto him and to grant unto him the said John Love a Pardon for his said crime as the sole and express condition that the said John Love shall continue to reside as a convict in the Territory of NSW and the dependancies during the term of his natural life and be kept at hard labour ‘Macquarie’” The pardon was to be null and void if he were found outside NSW.

In a petition to the governor, the Superintendent of John Oxley’s farm requested the sum of 100-pounds to be repaid for the forfeited property. After John’s conviction for stealing cattle, Martha was forced to mortgage the farm (August 13, 1817) and a mare and foal were sold to Thomas Moore for 45 pounds.

Several years later on June 11, 1822, he was also fined Đ2.10 Shillings for employing a bushranger named Murphy (possibly, Patrick Murphy who later worked on nearby Harrington Farm).

Death of Martha

Aged 74, and living at Appin, Martha died on November 28, 1822 (V1822 5579 2B/1822) and was buried at St Luke’s Church, Liverpool.

Two years later in 1824, John’s young son John (well, reportedly their son, but perhaps more likely their grandson since he was too young to be their son) was placed in the Orphan’s Home and died, aged 9 with dysentery June 29th, 1824.

Death of John

Just over four years later, John Love also died, aged 94 on January 4, 1827 (V1827196 2C/1827) and (182772 11/1827).


* Elizabeth Amelia Love was born in England or came to Australia with her parents as a child. She met and married John Hoare, a convict originally from County Wexford in Ireland. In their first few years of marriage John and Elizabeth lived at the Field of Mars before moving to the Campbelltown Districts of Airds and Appin where they began to farm with the assistance of convict labour. They spent the later years of their lives in the Wollongong District and and to be buried at Dapto.

* Joseph Love was born 1793 at Parramatta, NSW. With thanks to researcher, Bev Johnston, I have the following information.

Born Blind. in 1821 he was an object of charity. On list of all person victualled from H.M. Magazines (reel 6016.4/5781.p.68. On April, 1823 He applied for permission to play the voilin in public (reel 6010. 4/3508 p 910. On April, 26th and May 5th Marry applied for permission to marry (reel 6006. 4/3498 p 206) Spouse: Mary Ann GOODWIN Birth: 28 Jan 1803, Parramatta Death: 13 Jun 1878, HF, NSW Father: GOODWIN Marr: 23 Nov 1818, St Phillips CE, Sydney Children: Martha Malvinia Matilda (1819-1899) John (1822-1887) Robert (1824-1875) Ann (1826-1915) Joseph (1829-1914) Thomas (1831-1878) Charles Steptoe (1833-1905) Jane (1835-1841).

Lesley Ford notes…

Although the reason is unclear, Joseph Love was Baptised as an adult on 22 April 1823 at St. Mary’s Sydney.

And with thanks to Kerrie Beers, some further information about Joseph, as per comment below.

Joseph was bequeathed Brands Farm from Curtis Brand in 1800. Brands Farm was a near neighbouring one to John’s at The Ponds. “…Unto Joseph Love a blind child of Sydney aforesaid all that my farm known by the name of Brands Farm situate at the Ponds in the Territory aforesaid consisting of 30 acres of land to have & to hold the same for & during his natural life & afterwards to demise to any person he may think proper”

1814 : Muster p78 Blind Boy on farm of Curtis Brand. Born here – on stores – charity – Liverpool

Wentworths papers Superintendent of Police Col. Sect. Office 8th April 1823…
Sir, With every disposition to forward the innocent recreation of the inhabitants of this town. The Governor has commanded me to submit to the consideration of the Sydney Bench whether the enclosed application for Joseph Love a blind man to play the violin until 9 o’clock every night for the support of himself & his family, can be admitted consistently with good police ~ J Goulburn

19.7.1833 Joseph mentioned in the “Australian” page 3 col 2 Music; Joseph Love, the celebrated blind fiddler is the first Australian muscian who ever learned to play the violin. Although quite blind, he is considered one of the best musicians in the colony.

Joseph was buried 22.10.1836 St. James Sydney

Lesley Ford also notes…

The House and Garden in Princes Street, The Rocks was also bequeathed to Joseph Love in the Will of Curtis Brand. This house sheltered his wife and children and also various Goodwin relatives. Who knows what happened to the farm at the Ponds, as after the death of Joseph, Mary Ann was forced to send the three youngest boys to the Liverpool Orphanage as she was no longer able to sustain them. Mary Ann (Goodwin) died a pauper.

According to commenter, Clontarf in the comments below

John and Martha Love’s son, the blind musician Joseph Love, did not have a middle name Lester.  There are at least 27 documents where his name is shown as just Joseph (or Joe) Love.  The only document that bestows a middle name on him is the death certificate of his daughter Martha Malvinia Gill in 1899.  This certificate has many errors and was written 63 years after after his death by someone not born until 24 years after his death – Gill’s daughter Annie McLaughlin.  It is not credible evidence that Joseph had a middle name.  At best it is second or third level hearsay.

The 27 documents known to me are: 2 letters in the Colonial Secretary’s papers, the will of Curtis Brand, 4 newspaper reports, his marriage record, the baptisms of his 8 children, the 1811, 1825 and 1828 musters, his potential adult baptism, his burial record, a letter regarding his orphaned children and the death certificates of 5 of his 8 children.  Bev Johnston appears to have seen three others – a victualing list and two requests for permission to marry.

The error in deceased’s mother’s name on Gill’s death certificate means the informant is at the very least confused about her mother’s parentage – possibly through distress, but confused nonetheless.  None of the five known death certificates of the deceased’s adult siblings have a middle name for their father.  It is extremely unlikely that Martha Gill was the only one of her siblings to be told the middle name of their father or alternatively the only one to remember and pass on the information to her children.  Since there is no other evidence whatsoever that the blind musician Joseph Love had a middle name, it seems probable that Annie McLaughlin has confused memory of her grandparents names with another ancestor that her mother has told her about.  I suggest that the most likely candidate for the other person is the musician’s mother, Martha Gill’s grandmother Martha Love, and that her maiden name was Lester.

Comment by Clontarf in comments below

* Robert Love was born April 29, 1795 (V1795 446 1A) at Sydney Cove, NSW.

* Mary Maria Love was born December 8, 1799 at Sydney Cove, NSW and was was baptised on December 22, 1799 at St. Phillip’s Church of England Sydney, NSW. According to the Monaro Pioneers website, Mary had several relationships. Although they didn’t marry, her first relationship with George Morris resulted in the births of John Love and Thomas Love. Presumably this was the same John Love who died in the orphanage in 1824. The pioneers website also records the mariage of Mary to Thomas McGuire June 7, 1819 in St. Luke’s Church of England, Liverpool, NSW, which resulted in the birth of nine children. Thomas McGuire was a convict who arrived at Port Jackson aboard the ship ” Three Bees ” on the 6th May 1814. The information on the website then gets a little confusing, referring to another husband by the christian name only of William, and with a comment about John Love who died in 1824 as being his child.

Colonial Secretary’s Papers

October 1816, he supplied the Crown with 1,000 portions of fresh meat.

7 December 1816 Extract from Sydney Gazette – John Love sentenced to death for stealing a bull in the Cowpastures.

24 December 1816 – Commutation Warrant for stealing cattle (stole a bull from Cowpastures in collusion with 2 of his convict servants) all three were sentenced to death, John’s sentence commuted to life in the Colony at hard labour after family pleas for clemency and the property at Appin forfeited to the Crown.

24 December 1816 – To be sent to Newcastle for stealing cattle on the ‘Lady Nelson’. 3 December 1816 – Tried at Criminal Court – received life. 17 other prisoners and 6 Runaways. ‘Lady Nelson’ was to collect and return with Lime & Rosewood plank or be laden with coals.

After appeals by the family, clemency was granted on December 24, 1816.

24 December1816 – ” On account of some favourable circumstances in mitigation of his offence I am induced to extend Grace & Mercy unto him and to grant unto him the said John Love a Pardon for his said crime as the sole and express condition that the said John Love shall continue to reside as a convict in the Territory of NSW and the dependancies during the term of his natural life and be kept at hard labour ‘Macquarie’” The pardon was to be null and void if he were found outside NSW.

31 December 1816 – John on list of prisoners to be sent to Newcastle per Lady Nelson.

1817 – Property at Appin forfeited to Crown because of his conviction for stealing cattle.

11 June 1822 – On return of fines imposed by the Magistrates at Cambletown on persons violating Government orders for employing a Bushranger named Murphy – fined Đ2.10 Shillings

Great Debate

As members of the “lower orders”, the official records of the lives of John and Martha have been difficult to fathom. There is, for example, the record of the marriage of John Love and Martha Searl (widow) on May 6, 1787 at Sandhurst, England. If that record’s correct, it’s possible that Martha had been married to Roger Searl, captain of the Royal George which sunk with a total loss of life in 1782. For a man of such advanced years, it is also possible that John Love was also previously married and may have had children, but this has yet to be verfied.

Researcher, Graham Lewis points out the difficulty of confirming this as their marriage…

As for the marriage of John Love and Martha Searl, I don’t find that at all credible. Someone who was the widow of the captain of the Royal George would have been marrying way out of her class if he needed to sign on the NSW Corps as a private! If he’d been a senior officer in the Corps, perhaps, but as a private??!! I don’t think so.

Even the birth records for their young daughter, Elizabeth, are difficult to confirm. There are actually two entries for the birth of Elizabeth Love on the International Genealogical Index: the most likely being January 23, 1786 at Hampshire, in which case she was born before they married.

Researcher, Graham Lewis (who has commented below) also questions the idea she was born in England…

Throughout her life she was regularly recorded in musters, and in the 1828 census, as being born in the colony, i.e. in NSW. The only mention of her having been born in England (leading to an assumption that she must have arrived with her parents on the Matilda) was AFTER her death – information provided by others, not by herself or her mother, as would have been the case at all the musters and census. And the credibility of the headstone and death certificate information is zilch – one claims she was born in Hampshire and the other in Bristol – on opposite sides of the country!
The death certificate and headstone imply a year of birth c1782. The first time her age was recorded in NSW was in the 1828 census, when she said she was 37, i.e. born c1791, consistent with being born in the colony after the Matilda’s arrival that year. The lack of any other children born between 1782 and Joseph’s birth in 1793 tends to corroborate a 1791 birth for Elizabeth.1

I’ve yet to see an absolutely accurate record of the Shipping LIst for the Matilda for the Third Fleet? Does anyone have one which can confirm Elizabeth Love arrived with John and Martha?

Researcher, Lesley Ford (see comments below) is also interested in this debate…

I am very interested to hear the views of yourself and others regarding Elizabeth and the marriage of John and Martha (nee Merriman) – my information is they were married 7 May 1787 in Sandhurst Berkshire, Eng. and that Elizabeth had been born 28 Jan 1785 in Bristol, Gloucestshire.

Another option for Martha Love’s maiden name would be Steptoe, the middle name of the musician’s 7th child Charles.  If that turned out to be true, then the next best option for Annie McLaughlin’s confused memory of Lester would be the married name of a favourite sister of either John or Martha Love.

There is no evidence in Australian records for Martha Love’s maiden name, or any evidence that she was a widow when she married John Love.  The 1787 Berkshire marriage is not evidence unless you have already proved it is the correct marriage.  No one has done so.

Comment by Clontarf, below.

Someday it will be confirmed, I’m sure. What evidence do you have?

Miscellaneous Notes and Questions

* The depositions about the incident on April 30, 1791 came from William Beckwith, an ensign in the NSW Corps and from John Cawood, Matthew Weatherhead and John Marshall, respectively, the First mate, the Master and the Second Mate of the ship ‘Matilda’. These depositions referred to events on the transport ship on the 30 april 1791. ( J Cobley “Sydney Cove” 1791-1792 P.102)

* From the time of the departure of the colony’s first governor, Arthur Phillip, in December 1792, until the arrival of Governor John Hunter in September 1795, the colony was administered by the commanding officer of the NSW Corps, first Francis Grose and then William Paterson. Under Grose, the decision was made to increase the quantity of food and goods available. To achieve this, he allotted 100 acres of land to every officer who asked for it. He also granted land to non-commissioned officers, to privates, to emancipists and to expirees. All of them received supplies for two years from the public stores and the services of convicts free of charge.

* On June 23, 1810, the Sydney Gazette reports the further sale of personal property.

To be sold by private contract, separately or together, a capital draught horse, and good cart and harness compleat. For further particulars apply to Mr William Parker, Pitt’s Row; or to Mr John Love, Settler at the Field of Mars.

* There is an interesting footnote here about ship on which they came, The Matilda, and what happened after it left Sydney.

MATILDA British whaler under the command of Captain Matthew Weatherhead. The Matilda had sailed from England on March 27 1791, and had touched at Port Jackson and Peru before arriving in Tahiti on February 14, 1792, anchoring in Vaitepiha Bay. For some inscrutable reason Captain Weatherhead stayed only three days at Tahiti.

On the night of February 24, 1792, the Matilda foundered on Mururoa atoll, 640 miles south-east of Tahiti (see the March 1792 commentary in Part I). All of the crew were saved and reached Tahiti on March 5. Soon afterwards the schooner Jenny from Bristol arrived in Tahiti, and when she sailed for America Captain Weatherhead and four members of the crew went with her. Instead of waiting for another ship, three of the men took one of the four whaleboats of the Matilda, fitted it with sails of native matting, and sailed for Port Jackson. They were never heard from again.

If they had waited only a few weeks, they could have sailed back to Europe with Captain Bligh in the Providence. Bligh arrived on April 10 and when he left a little over three months later, he took fifteen of the Matilda’s crew with him. The remaining six wanted to stay on Tahiti. One of them, the Swede Anders Lind, became a kind of military advisor to Pomare I.

In February 1826 Captain Frederick Beechey in HMS Blossom found parts of the wreck of the Matilda on the northern shore of Mururoa.

Has anyone seen a ships log for the Matilda which may contain further information about John and Martha, or did it go down with the ship?

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