Information supplied by David McCaffrey
Robert’s Discharge Certificate states as follows:
born in the Parish of Castle Barney (Barnard Castle, Co. Durham) in or near the Town of Castle Barney; served in the 46th Regiment from January, 1801 to 24 August, 1817 and in the 48th Regiment from 25 August, 1817; he was stationed in the West Indies from 25 March, 1804 to 11 April, 1812; he was discharged in consequence of his length of service; he was not incapacitated by a sentence of a General Court Martial from receiving a pension;
his general conduct as a soldier had been good; he had received all just demands of pay, clothing, etc., from his entry into the service to the date of discharge; on the date of discharge he was described as about 44 years of age, height 5’ 4”, brown hair, grey eyes, pale complexion, and by trade or profession, a tailor. During his service Robert’s annual pay was approximately 5/- per week and his total service income amounted to 148pds, 11sh and 6 ½.
On his discharge he petitioned the Governor for a grant of farming land but instead was given a town block located on the south-east corner of Erskine & Sussex Streets, Sydney. On 24 March, 1824 he transferred the title of this block of land by Deed of Gift by payment of a nominal fee of 5/- to his daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and William Howard. This was probably done because of ill health as he died seven weeks later.
Isaac Phillips was convicted at Wiltshire in March, 1796 for extortion and sentenced to life arriving in Sydney on the Royal Admiral on 20 November, 1800.
At first it was a mystery why or how a soldier consented to the marriage of his daughter to the son of convicts. Hannah Howard and Isaac Phillips did not live together for very long after William’s birth, the records revealing Isaac as being domicile in the Hawkesbury region and that Hannah was residing in Sydney with Samuel Stephens, a boat builder and Third Fleet Convict. In 1810, Hannah received her freedom. Then, between 1817 and 1820, Hannah and her son William sailed back ‘home” to England, possibly on the Surry, which departed on 17 March, 1817. Hannah and William eventually returned to Sydney where Hannah died on 12 March, 1824 at the age of 40. The Thomas D Mutch Index where her death is recorded also states “Arrived Free”. This could only have occurred if she had left the colony and came back. Following the death of his mother, William Howard, with the patronage of Rev. Richard Hill and Captain John Piper, the navy Officer and Customs Clerk, petitioned the Governor for a grant of town land on 4 September, 1824. The petition stated:
“Petition of William Howard, a free person”.
“That Petitioner was born of European Parents and is aged 21 years, and is an orphan left in the colony. That as Petitioner was born in the Colony he means to spend his days herein and is anxious of becoming a settler. Petitioner humbly hopes your Excellency will aid his industrious exertions by granting him the usual portion of land and indulgences given to persons of his description on becoming settlers”.
Note that William Howard describes himself as a free person and an orphan. It is clear he never divulged his true standing to his father-in-law, Robert Stewart.
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