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Martha GULLY

Female Abt 1817 - 1882  (~ 65 years)

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  • Name Martha GULLY 
    Born Abt 1817  Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Female 
    Photos? Grave (9777-21), Grave (DSC_1913) 
    Died 09 Jul 1882  Mundigal, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried Forbes Cemetery, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Old Anglican Section 1, D08
    • Nee GULLY, then Haynes, then Sherringham


      (By Archie Wallace Flanagan, Great-grandson)

      Since becoming involved in researching family history (at the instigation of my grandchildren) I have unearthed many fascinating stories and inspiring personages; lives that are worthy of permanent record in print or on film. One such life is that of the person who in my childhood was referred to as "Granny Collits" and was remembered by her descendants long after she had passed to her reward.

      Granny Collits was a Currency Lass, born MARTHA GULLY in 1816; that is less than thirty years after the arrival of the First Fleet. Unfortunately, no record of her baptism seems to have been preserved; such a document may have provided some information this is missing at present.

      Martha's parents were THOMAS and MARTHA GULLY (maiden name not known), from COVENTRY in England. Both ran foul of the law. Thomas was convicted on 25/7/1807 (offence not stated) and given a life sentence. His wife Martha appeared in Court some eight months later (2/4/1808) in company with one Elizabeth Meredith. Both received 14 year sentences. (See p.3).

      Martha was first to arrive in the Colony, aboard the transport "Aeolus" on 26/1/1809; Thomas just thirteen months later (26/2/1810) aboard the "Anne". Both appear in the Musters of 1811 and 1814 as husband and wife. Thomas in 1814 was in the Lumber Yard, Sydney.

      From that point, no further documentation of Thomas has been traced, except for the record of his burial (26/11/1852). At the time he had been living at Mount York (very likely with his daughter), was a Cabinet Maker by trade and was buried by Rev. J.W. Pemell, of the Wesleyan Circuit of Mudgee.

      Martha Junior seems to have been the only child. She appears with her mother in the 1828 Census as a 12 year old. Her mother, having completed her sentence was working as servant to John Connell, Sydney. She died five years later at the age of 57 and was buried in Sydney 6/9/1833.

      On 10/4/1828, one JAMES HAYNES of BRISTOL, England was convicted of Burglary and sentenced to Life. He was described as being twenty years of age, a Confectioner by trade and could read and write. (He was one of three of the same name to be convicted at Bristol and transported to N.S.W.). He arrived in Sydney aboard the transport "Mellish" on 18/4/1829 and was assigned to a Mr. F. Durana (name not clear on the documents).

      On 9/9/1834 he applied for permission to marry MARTHA GULLY; and on 17/11/1834, the marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Richard Hill at St. Jame's, Sydney, with the permission of the Governor (Darling). Witnesses were THOMAS STEDMAN of Pitt Street. (Stedman was a Manufacturer of Ginger Beer: possibly Martha worked for him). James Haynes' Master had agreed to keep him in his employ till he was eligible for a Ticket of Leave. (He would have been eligible after serving eight years with one Master).

      - 2 -

      The first child of the union was MARTHA HANNAH, Born 25/5/1836 and baptised at St. Phillip's, Sydney on 19/6/1836 by Rev. William Cowper. Jame's occupation was shown as "Baker". (This child became the writer's grandmother).

      Before the birth of the second child (EDWIN HENRY, on 28/10/1840) the couple had set up in business in BATHURST, as Baker and Confectioner. However, their premises were put up for auction in July, 1840; and the couple went into the Inkeeping business. At the time of birth of the third child, (23/1/1844) James was shown as "Innkeeper, Bathurst". However, some time later, the family moved to the BOWENFELS-HARTLEY area (possibly into one of the several inns owned by the COLLITS family). The family increased to five, with the births of JAMES DANIEL (20/3/1846) and THOMAS ANDREW (20/3/1848).

      However, Martha was soon to be widowed; James died on 25/9/1851 and was interred in Mount York burial ground. Martha was thus left with a young family; ranging from 16 year old Martha Hannah to baby Thomas of three. She was soon to lose the help of her only daughter, who on 16th February, 1852, was married to HENRY FLANAGAN. The marriage was celebrated at Mount Victoria, by Rev. Father C. McCarthy of Hartley: the young couple set up their first home in Bathurst.

      Later that year, Martha herself remarried. The ceremony took place on 12/10/1852; her new husband being JAMES SHERRINGHAM, a Widower of Mount York. Sherringham was the son of a convict who had been transported on the "Minorca" with PIERCE COLLITS (of Collits' Inn fame) and they were later neighbours at Castlereagh on the Hawkesbury. Sherringham's first wife had been Mary, daughter of JOHN PILMORE COLLITS, fifth child of Pierce. Witnesses to the marriage were John and Esther Collits. Of passing interest is the fact that although she had been baptised in the Church of England, Martha gave her religion as "Wesleyan" on the wedding papers. Her father THOMAS GULLY, who died some four weeks after the wedding, was a Wesleyan.

      Matha's second marriage was to last almost exactly ten years. Sherringham died at the age of 47 on 27/10/1862. He, too, was buried at Mount York. There were no children of the second marriage.

      In the meantime, Martha's first grandchild, MARTHA ROBENA FLANAGAN, had been born in Bathurst - where the Flanagans (father and brothers) were engaged in butchering. However, shortly after the birth of Martha Robena, Henry and Martha Junior returned to the Hartley area and took up farming at Marsden Swamp (now known as Ganbenang Valley). They were to remain there for more than a decade.

      The latter part of this period was to be a sad one. Just a few months prior to the death of Martha's second husband, a four year old granddaughter, EVA FLANAGAN, was thrown from her pony and killed (18/4/1861). Then, towards the end of l1865, another granddaughter, two year old MARIA FLANAGAN, took ill with dysentery. The illness persisted; and despite the long, hard trip to Bathurst and the services of Dr. A. Machattie, the child died on 27/2/1866.

      - 3 -

      Shortly afterwards, (6/3/1866), Martha married a third time; this time to JOSEPH COLLITS, eighth child of Pierce, and thus uncle by marriage to her second husband. The celebrant was Rev. R.E. Mayne; the ceremony took place at Mount Clarence; and the witnesses were EDWIN HAYNES (second child of Martha's first marriage) and his wife Maria (nee EVANS).

      Joseph, who had been the first proprietor of the Rose Inn, had, along with several of the Collits clan, taken up land on the Lachlan. Thus, Martha went to live on Joe's large run at Bogabigal.

      Meanwhile, yet another grandchild had died in infancy; EDWIN FLANAGAN, three months, died of pneumonia. Shortly after this sad event, it seems that most of the Haynes family followed their mother and moved into the Lachlan area around Forbes. The FLANAGANS went to TRAJERE, near Eugowra some time between 1868 and 1873. Three more children were born to them during this period; Martha Senior acting as Midwife. However, tragedy still dogged the family. On 29/12/1868, seven year old WILLIAM FLANAGAN succumbed to peritonitis. Helena, born in mid 1873 died at the age of six weeks of pneumonia.

      By 1875, the FLANAGANS and three of the HAYNES brothers had again moved; this time to the FLAGSTONE CREEK are, where land had become available for closer settlement. This area was renamed COOKAMIDGERA when the railway came through in the 1890s. A village was surveyed - and the HAYNES name is perpetuated in a street name in the village.

      Martha Senior - now Granny Collits to the families - was closely attached to her grandchildren. THOMAS FLANAGAN, born 17/2/1868, with Martha as Midwife, was the first of the Flanagans to survive to old age. He (the writer's uncle) often used to reminisce about staying with Granny on the Lachlan, and collecting duck eggs by the basketful.

      The year 1875 saw yet another sadness. The firstborn child of the FLANAGANS, MARTHA ROBENA, was nursed through a long and agonising illness by her Granny; at the age of 21, she died on 1/10/1875 of hydatids of the liver. Martha Collits passed away on 9/7/1882 at the age of 65. Buried in Forbes Cemetery, she shares a headstone with her first granddaughter, Martha Robena.

      There were no children of the later marriages; although there is a family story that Joe and Martha had adopted (probably unofficially) a young man named William Smith. Joseph lived on for some years, dying in Forbes Hospital on 2/11/1888.

      As suggested earlier, Martha's life would make a most interesting and informative documentary, so typical of many of the "Women of the West" of the poem by George Essex Evans. Born in the early Colonial days in Sydney, she saw life in the pioneer settlement of Bathurst; then the hustle and bustle of the inn at Bowenfels, with the constant passing parade of travellers to and from the west; and thence as a pioneer to the Lachlan. It was a life fraught with sorrows as well as joys; of hardships and toil; but blessed with close family ties and love.

      - 4 -

      We see a seeming paradox. One would expect the offspring of convicts to be somewhat predisposed towards a life of crime - yet so many turned out to be exemplary citizens, diligent and hardworking. Martha was an obvious example: a good wife, loving mother and devoted grandmother. Her only daughter, despite the many tragedies of her life - losing nine of her twelve children, retained a strong Christian faith, which she transmitted together with culture and literacy, to her children.


      Later Information

      Thomas Gully was a member of a Counterfeiting gang in Birmingham. William Francis, Thomas Meredith (alias Big Baker) and Thomas Gully were sentenced to death at Warwick Assizes on 1st August, 1807. Thomas Gully was reprieved and given a Life sentence. In April, 1898 Martha Gully and Elizabeth Meredith (Widow of Thomas Meredith) were convicted of having forged one pound Bank of England notes in their possession, and sentenced to fourteen years' transportation.

      Thomas Gully, a Cabinet Maker by trade, got his Ticket of Leave on 8th February, 1816. On 27th December, 1819 he wrote a Petition to Governor Macquarie for "mitigation of his sentence" and shortly afterwards was granted a Conditional Pardon.
    Person ID I910  The Rawsthorne Family Tree
    Last Modified 14 Nov 2015 

    Father Thomas GULLY 
    Relationship Natural 
    Mother Martha ??? 
    Relationship Natural 
    Family ID F1125  Group Sheet

    Family 1 Joseph COLLITS,   b. 01 Mar 1808, Castlereagh, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 02 Nov 1888, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years) 
    Married 06 Mar 1866  Mt Clarence, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
     1. Robena COLLITS,   b. Abt 1854,   d. 01 Oct 1875  (Age ~ 21 years)
    Last Modified 14 Nov 2015 
    Family ID F279  Group Sheet

    Family 2 James HAYNES,   b. Abt 1807,   d. 25 Sep 1851, Mt York, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 44 years) 
    Married 14 Nov 1834  St James, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Last Modified 14 Nov 2015 
    Family ID F427  Group Sheet

    Family 3 James SHERRINGHAM,   b. 11 Mar 1815, Castlereagh, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Oct 1862, Mount Victoria Inn, Hartley, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 47 years) 
    Married 12 Oct 1852  Bowenfels, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Last Modified 14 Nov 2015 
    Family ID F428  Group Sheet

  • Headstones
    Plot: Old Anglican Section1, D08

  • Sources 
    1. [S79] From a Distant Field, Colin Field, Book: Version 3 (Self Published).

    2. [S221] New South Wales Births, Deaths & Marriages.
      2145/1866, Mt Clarence, NSW