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Patrick Geary

(By Joan Taylor)
© Joan Taylor 2000.

Patrick Geary was, by profession, a soldier long before he joined the New South Wales Corps. Later known as the 102nd Regiment of Foot. He was born, in late July or early August, 1763 in Dublin, Parish of Ardmore, County of Waterford, Ireland and joined the British army on September 6, 1785, at the age of 21. (1)

His family were established in the area and are still listed there in Griffiths' Valuation of Ireland in the 19th century. (2)
The Regiment was the 8th Royal Art. (Cr Ord. or wit- from three different census returns) Battalion and he served continuously in that battalion until he transferred, as a volunteer, to the New South Wales Corps, for an unlimited period of service. He joined the Corps in London on August 12, 1796 and travelled to Sydney on the BRITANNIA, arriving in the colony on May, 27, 1797. (3)

The master of the vessel was Thomas Dennott and all the Irish convicts were kept in irons for the voyage, for fear of mutiny. The convicts were reported by the master to be an extremely rough group, but they arrived in a poor and emaciated condition, too weak to be put to work, according to a despatch from Governor Hunter to the Duke of Portland. (4)

I have given more information about this voyage and the subsequent court martial of the captain, in the chapter 'Convict Ships'. The first record of Patrick as a private soldier in the Corps appears in 1798, although he arrived in 1797. He was No.15 on the pay-roll of Captain Rowley's company, for the pay period June 5 to July 24, 1798, he was paid £1.10.0. He is shown continuously from then till the end of 1799, when his pay was £1.11.0. (5)

The company was then ordered to Norfolk Island on guard duty, where it served for five years. It was there that Patrick's daughter Catherine was born in 1800, her mother's name was Elizabeth. Whether or not Elizabeth was Patrick's wife, I cannot discover, early records for Norfolk Island are scrappy. In the 1806 census of the wives and concubines of the military, there is no record of an Elizabeth Geary. (6)

The New South Wales Corps was recruited from 1790 onwards for specific duty in the colony, to replace the Marines who formerly performed guard duty on the convicts. It was considered that the Marines were more urgently needed in the Navy, for England was once more at war with France, after a short uneasy peace for two years. A great many of the Corps were recruited in Ireland. In Historical records of NSW Vol I Pt. II, Lieut. Colonel Stirling of His Majesty's 36th Regiment "proposes to raise a corps in Ireland". (7)

Due to the peculiar conditions of service, the soldiers were not charged for their rations and were permitted to bring 7lb. Of beef (when not available, often 4lb. of pork) 3lb. peas; 6 ozs of butter; ½lb. rice; every 7 days. Wives received two thirds of this allowance, children one third, although children's rations were later increased to one half of that of a grown man. (8)

Four companies were raised for the corps, each of one captain, one lieutenant one ensign, three sergeants, three corporals, two drummers and 67 privates. A further company was raised in New South Wales of marine volunteers. The recruits were sometimes as much trouble to authority as the convicts. Surgeon-Superintendent Kent, of THE BODDINGTONS, wrote to Under-Secretary Nepean from Cove of Cork on February 6, 1793: "…One soldier has deserted since our arrival here. They are very troublesome sett, and require more looking after than the convicts…" (9)

In 1797, the year in which Patrick arrived, one convict transport, LADY JULIAN, actually sailed for , but did not arrive in, Sydney. There was a mutiny and the ship was taken over by the detachment of the corps on board. (10)

In the 1808 military census, Patrick is recorded as having 23 years, 175 days continuous Army service, and his physical description is recorded as:-

Age: 44 years
Height: 5 ft. 8¾ inches
Complexion: Dark
Eyes: Grey
Hair: Dark brown
Visage: Round
Trade: - (11)
Patrick served in the Corps for approximately 20 years, his name appearing in records as corporal in 1815.
In the SYDNEY GAZETTE of April 22, 1815, Patrick Geary, corporal received £10.0.0 from Government as payment for huts and gardens at Georges Head and in the Gazette on February 11, 1816 he received £13.11.3 for taking up stumps in the Government Domain at Parramatta. (12)
This entry does not specified any Army rank, so possibly he had retired. He would by then have been 52 years old, and would have had 31 years of service.
In 1817, his daughter Catherine married Robert Henderson at St. John's, Parramatta. Robert was then 19 and his name was spelt as Handerson and Catherine was 16 and her name was spelt as Gary. The witnesses were Thomas Handerson (father) and Elizabeth Wicks. (13)
According to Case No.1000a, Court of Claims, Patrick Geary, before 1919, sold an allotment of land at Parramatta. (14)
In May, 1826, Patrick was appointed District Constable and Poundkeeper at Pittwater. (15)
Six months later, he was dismissed from the position of District Constable, although he was still Poundkeeper. (16)
Then Patrick and Mary moved to Kincumber and commenced farming the land granted to him by Governor Brisbane on October, 28 1823. His son-in-law Robert was already living on and farming this grant. Patrick died on January 7, 1827 and is buried in Veteran Hall private cemetery. His tombstone was carved by Mr. Sidebottom, about 1835, when he was then employed by Robert in building a home on Patrick's grant. Apparently there was no clergyman available and he was buried privately; his name is not on any parish register (that I can locate) and there is no record of his death at the Registrar General's office. (17)
Letter from Willoughby Bean, dated May 21, 1828, Police Magistrate of Brisbane Water, in the Tickets of Leave and Quarterly Returns:-

"S. Fitzgerald
Brisbane Water
May 21,
1828.
Marriage.

Sir,
Stephen Fitzgerald, per "MEDINA", 7 years, assigned servant to his brother William Fitzgerald, has this day applied to me and requests permission from His Excellency the Governor, to be allowed to enter the state of Holy Matrimony and take for his wife Mary Lee, widow of the late Patrick Geary-free by servitude-. It appears to me the desire of her connections here- Mr. and Mrs. Henderson- that they should be married, do not hesitate therefore to recommend this application. Stephen Fitzgerald applied to me some months since to recommend him for a Ticket of Leave, to which I had but one objection; and, on account of that objection alone which was that the said Mary Lee was then cohabiting with him in his Brother's house- I refused to recommend him- with this exception, I have not, since I have known the two Brothers, seen any thing reprehensible in the conduct of either.- They have lived three years (?) in this District, and have been remarkable for their industry and peaceable conduct. Stephen Fitzgerald arrived per "Medina", 4th Jany, 1824, was tried at Six Mile Bridge, County Clare on April, 1832, sentenced 7 years. I have the honour, Etc. Etc. Willoughby Bean J.P." (18)
The 1828 census listed the following:- Fitzgerald, Stephen, 30 in 1828, arrived "Medina" in 1824, 7 years, Catholic. Fitzgerald, William, 34 in 1828, came "Medina" in 1824, 7 years, absolute pardon, Catholic, Farmer Brisbane Water (FO595) 100 acres (cleared 30) 25 cultivated, 60 cattle. (19)
Patrick had died in January, 1827, this application for leave to marry came 16 months later. Some provision was made in his will by Patrick for Mary, but the property was left to his son-in-law Robert Henderson and thus Patrick's daughter was provided for. Mary was not Catherine's mother. The phrase "Free by servitude" in Willoughby Bean's letter must refer to Mary Lee, as Patrick was a soldier all his life. Mary may have been considerably younger than Patrick. I have not done any further research on her, as she is not of the direct line. There should be records of her arrival as a convict, the date of her marriages to Patrick and, later, Stephen- possibly both catholic marriages- and the date of her death as Mary Fitzgerald. She is not listed at Holy Cross Cemetery, South Kincumber. There is a handwritten copy of Patrick's will in the Henderson box at the Mitchell library. It is very worn, and in some parts illegible, but reads:- "In the name of God, Amen. This is the last will and testament of Patrick Geary in the colony of New South Wales….In the presence of Robert Henderson, Thomas Egan, Eugene Quin. In the first place, I give and bequeath to my son-in-law Robert Henderson of the said Colony a farm containing one hundred acres of land, my property from the Crown, situate and being at Brisbane Water, as a lawful gift with the full power for the said Henderson to draw the deeds thereof from the Surveyor-General's Office after my decease. Secondly, I give and bequeath unto my wife, Mary Geary, nine head of sheep….five…..cows in calf, one heifer and three bulls, produce of which are to support her during natural life. And my said wife is not to sell or dispose of any of the said mentioned cattle (nine in number), the three bulls excepted, and further, that the said Robert Henderson is to defray the funeral expenses of my said wife after her decease. Also whereas my said son-in-law Robert Henderson stands now indebted to me in the sum of seventy two pounds, Currency, for which he has given his Promissory Note payable in six months, I therefore give and bequeath full power and authority to my said wife to receive the said sum of money from the said Henderson for her use and benefit, and, lastly, I direct that all the household furniture, crops fowls and etc. belonging to me are to be left to the sole disposal of my said wife during her life and at her death, the same with everything else she may be possessed of are to become the exclusive property of the said Robert Henderson. And the said Patrick Geary hereby revokes an annuls all and every other former will or testament by him in any wise before made or willed, and confirming his…Last Will and Testament. In witness and confirmation thereof, the said Patrick Geary has hereunto set his hand and seal (blank) day of December in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twenty-six. Patrick x Geary Mark Witnesses: Robert Henderson, Thomas Egan, Eugene Quin " (20)
Although the will was admitted to probate, I wonder how legal it was, as Robert was both chief beneficiary and witness. Robert Henderson applied to the Court of Claims on 2.4.1839 to confirm his claim to 100 acres granted to Patrick Geary. The Court in its report stated: "This land was located on an order of Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane date 28.10.1823, in favour of Patrick Geary, now deceased, who by his will dated the blank day of December 1826, attested before the Commissioners, bequeathed this property to is son-in-law Robert Henderson and recommended that a deed of grant be issued to Robert Henderson accordingly." The report was dated 6.8.1839. The land portion 26, Parish of Kincumber, was opposite Mangrove Island (Now Riley's Island) the quit rent was 12/- sterling per annum, Thomas Egan, a witness to the will, died about 1836 at Brisbane Water. The other witness, Eugene Quin, was a clerk in the Court of Requests in 1826 and his handwriting appeared in the "Record Books". Governor Gipps queried: "Would such a will bar the claim of an heir-at-law if one were to turn up?" and referred the matter to the Crown Solicitor who, a year later reported that "It would." Governor Gipps then endorsed the paper "Let the recommendation of the commissioners be now acted on." (13.10.1841) The deed was executed on 4.12.1840. (21)
This was the grant on which Veteran Hall homestead was erected.

--------------1. AJCP reel 1302- National Library
2. Microfiche o4.T.1824/1860- Society of Aust. Genealogists
3. H.R. OF A. series 1, Vol II- Mitchell Library
4. Despatch No. 27, 25.6.1797, HRA, series 1 Vol.II Mitchell Library
5. Reel 412- State Archives
6.
7. H.R. of NSW Vol. 1. Pt. II- Mitchell Library
8. A Short History of Military Forces in NSW 1770/1900,Genealogists
10. Convict Ships by C. Bateson
11. AJCP reel 1302- National Library
12. Index to Sydney Gazette- 1803/26- Mitchell Library
13. Mutch index HEA/JOH 1815/1957- Mitchell Library
14. Court of Claims cases- Mitchell Library
15. Index to Sydney Gazette 1803/26- Mitchell Library
16. Index to Sydney Gazette 1803/26- Mitchell Library
17. Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages NSW
18. Tickets of Leave & Quarterly Returns Brisbane Water-
supplied by Gosford Study Group
19. 1828 census- Society of Aust. Genealogists
20. Primary Sources A5460 Henderson box- Mitchell Library
21. Court of Claims cases- Mitchell Library.

Copied from Joan Taylor' loose leaf book
by Keith Henderson 28 December, 2003.

© Joan Taylor 2000.

Henderson Private Cemetery, Henderson Rd Saratoga

E- mail address
bmchapman@iprimus.com.au
© Copyright B & M Chapman (QLD) Australia
Last revised: February 13, 2004.