William Smith (c.1755–1830)

WILLIAM SMITH is one of St John’s First Fleeters. SMITH reportedly hailed from “Park Gate” in Hampshire, England but was convicted and sentenced to death at Dorchester, Dorset, England in 1786 for housebreaking and theft. His death sentence was commuted to seven years transportation. While awaiting transportation, he spent time on board the Dunkirk hulk and finally sailed to the Colony of New South Wales aboard the First Fleet ship Charlotte (1788). He ultimately formed a relationship with a convict woman who shared his hulk, his ship, and his surname: ANN SMITH.

WILLIAM SMITH died at Prospect on 11 January 1830 and was buried on 13 January 1830 in the parish of St. John’s, Parramatta. His burial record recorded his status as “free, farmer” and age as 80 while his death notice in the newspaper recorded the age of 81. He left his farm, “Ann’s Place” to his “loving wife” ANN SMITH, who passed away almost eight years later. WILLIAM and ANN’s final resting place in the parish of St. John’s is unknown as their graves are unmarked.

Timeline

  • Born: c.1755, Hampshire, England
  • Tried and convicted of housebreaking and theft: 16 March 1786, Dorchester, Dorset, England
  • Sentenced to death: 16 March 1786, Dorchester, Dorset, England
  • Death sentence commuted to seven years transportation: 13 April 1786, Dorset, England
  • Transferred to the Dunkirk hulk, recorded age of 30: c. 13 April 1786
  • Embarked on the Charlotte: 11 March 1787
  • Sailed with the First Fleet to the colony of New South Wales per Charlotte: 13 May 1787
  • Arrived at Botany Bay per Charlotte: 20 January 1788
  • Arrived at Port Jackson per Charlotte26 January 1788
  • Sent to Norfolk Island per Supply: 17 February 1789 (c.f. John White, Journal of the Voyage, p. 127 in “Sources”)
  • ANN SMITH (I) and her children, ANN SMITH (II) and THOMAS BURN SMITH sent to Norfolk Island per HMS Sirius: 4 March 1790, Port Jackson, New South Wales
  • WILLIAM SMITH began a relationship with ANN SMITH (I) and became stepfather to her children, ANN SMITH (II) and THOMAS BURN SMITH: c. > March 1790, Norfolk Island
  • Maintained four persons on a one acre lot with 80 rods of timber felled: c. 1791, Norfolk Island
  • Sow he shared with ANN SMITH (I) and her children produced a litter of seven: 15 April 1791, Norfolk Island
  • The child ANN SMITH (II) likely died: Norfolk Island, c. 1791
  • ANN SMITH (I) and son THOMAS BURN SMITH left Norfolk Island per Kitty: 1793, Norfolk Island
  • WILLIAM SMITH also left Norfolk Island per Francis: February 1794, Norfolk Island
  • Received 50 acre land grant west of Parramatta: 1 April 1794, Parramatta, New South Wales
  • 13 acres sown in wheat, with another ten ready for maize, owned 18 pigs, and with a woman and child to support, was still on Government stores: 1800, Parramatta, New South Wales
  • Received another 40 acre land grant at the Hawkesbury: April 1797, Hawkesbury, New South Wales
  • All 40 acres cleared, with 11 sown in wheat and 14 ready for maize. He owned 11 hogs, had 39 bushels of grain in hand and the whole household, including another free man, was self supporting (i.e. off Government stores): 1802, Hawkesbury, New South Wales
  • Continued to hold all 70 acres of land, with 18 in grain, 30 in pastures, the rest fallow. He had two horses, three hogs, and the household remained off stores: 1806
  • Made his will. Left his, by then, 250 acre farm at Seven Hills “Ann’s Place,” six cows (MAGGOT, COLLEY, PRIMROSE, BEAUTY, FAIRMAID and MOUSE), to his “loving wife” ANN SMITH (I). He also stipulated that the farm was to pass to his stepson, THOMAS BURN SMITH: 29 January 1820, Seven Hills, New South Wales
  • ANN SMITH (I) went blind: c. 1826, Seven Hills, New South Wales
  • ANN SMITH (I) bedridden: c. 1828 and for the remainder of her life, Seven Hills, New South Wales
  • THOMAS BURN SMITH was living on the farm with his mother, stepfather WILLIAM, wife, and two children by the 1828 census: 1828, “Ann’s Place,” Seven Hills, New South Wales
  • WILLIAM SMITH died: 11 January 1830, “Ann’s Place,” Seven Hills, New South Wales
  • WILLIAM SMITH buried: 13 January 1830, parish of St. John’s, Parramatta

Burial Location

  • Unmarked grave, location unknown, St. John’s Parish, Parramatta

Relationships

  • Common law husband of ANN SMITH (I)
  • Stepfather of ANN SMITH (II), daughter of JOHN SMITH and ANN SMITH (I)
  • Stepfather of THOMAS BURN SMITH, son of PATRICK BURN convict per Friendship (1788) and ANN SMITH (I)

Positions

  • Convict, Dunkirk, > 13 April 1786–11 March 1787
  • Convict, Charlotte, 11 March 1787–26 January 1788

Education

  • Signed his name with only a mark on his will (January 1820)

Related Content

ANN SMITH: A PLUNDERER (2019)

By Ben Vine

Abstract: Ann Smith may have been an ‘ordinary’ person by the standards of her day; yet the First Fleet convict was seemingly determined to be remembered as anything but. This essay examines two claims in Ann Smith’s 1837 obituary; namely that she had accompanied her husband for three years during the American Revolutionary War and that she was the first English female to set foot in the Colony of New South Wales. If true, the figure that emerges is a plunderer battling poverty in a war against want in both Revolutionary America and England alike. Read more>>

Multimedia

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

  • “SMITH, Ann,” in John Cobley, The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1970), p. 251.
  • “SMITH, William,” in John Cobley, The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1970), p. 256.
  • “BURN, Patrick (c1760–1791),” in Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p. 59.
  • “SMITH, Ann (c1750–1837),” in Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), pp. 332–33.
  • “SMITH, Ann (c1785–c1791?),” in Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p. 333.
  • Ron Withington, Dispatched Downunder: Tracing the Resting Places of the First Fleeters, (Woolloomooloo, The Fellowship of First Fleeters, 2013), p. 441.

Lists

# First Fleet

# Convict

# Hulk: Dunkirk

# Ship: Charlotte (1788)

# Burial year: 1830

# Grave: unmarked