JAMES RETURNS TO HOBART



As previously written, in January 1827 James Williams took refuge in the house of Charles Probin when awaiting trial for sheep stealing. Probin lived on the corner of Barrack and Goulburn Street and a few years later married Sarah Smith. When Sarah died in 1833 he married Sarah Wood. From 1838 he was the licensee of the Gordon Castle Hotel (later called the Carlton Club) in Hobart. Probin died in 1842 aged 40 and Sarah in 1858 aged 44. Probin was a member of a group of businessman in Hobart many of whom ran hotels or were linked with them: James Williams was one. Some members of the group also had ties to the country where James had spent the past seven years. The group included –

Joseph Molloy, shopkeeper in Liverpool St and a moneylender. He had been a convict and after serving his sentence we have already seen that he had been again convicted and was at Macquarie Harbour with Jane and William Davis, Charles Collis, and John Peck. His common-law wife (referred to in the trials as his housekeeper) was Mary Ann Peck, sister of John and the former Mrs Cockerell of Brighton. Mary Ann Peck and Joseph Molloy resumed their relationship when he was released and he was recognised as the father of her children who were then known by his name. Mary Ann Peck died in May 1831 and was buried in St David’s under the name Cockerell. Her daughter Susannah married a James Williams in 1830 and had nine children between 1831 and 1856. However he was not Jane Davis’ son of that name nor Jane’s brother (Noah Mortimer’s adopted son) but the son, born in 1809, to Thomas Williams and Frances Reardon, another Norfolk Islander. Joseph Molloy died in 1844. James Molloy inherited the property, became a tobacconist, married Cecelia Judson and had four children. He sold up in 1854 and left for England with his family on the Indian Queen in 1855. He returned and remarried after his first wife died.

Rachel Williams was a convict on the Lady Juliana, as Rachel Hoddy, and when on Norfolk Island had children with Isaac Williams. She arrived in Hobart and was granted land at Forcett in compensation for land given up when the Norfolk Island settlement was closed. She sold that land and moved to Hobart and became a publican. When, the previous owner and licensee, another Norfolk Islander, James Templeman, died in 1823. As Templeman was unmarried he may have bequeather the hotel to Rachel. Thomas Williams son of Rachel, had obtained the licence for the Horse and Groom Hotel in Melville St in 1825. It was located just around the corner from the Stowell Arms. He had married the 19 year-old Ann Cheffey on 6 Jan 1819 in Hobart. They had a son Thomas George in December 1819. By 1827 the marriage was in dire straits and Thomas disowned the debts of his wife. The next year this notice was published.

CAUTION.

THE Public is hereby cautioned against giving
trust or credit to my Wife ANN WILLIAMS;
and all Persons who shall harbour her after this
Notice, will be prosecuted according to Law.
THOMAS WILLIAMS
Stowell Arms, Elizabeth-St..
March 26,1828.


Three days later ‘A house, cart and two bullocks’ were advertised for sale. The house ‘was situated in Elizabeth Street and known by the sign of the Stowell Arms and is in good repair. Apply to R W Williams, Horse and Groom, or to Thomas Williams, Elizabeth St.’


William Lear, the publican of the Albion Tavern in 1828 and 1838. His son Isaac succeeded him in 1834 and remained there until 1846. He was also licensee of the Seven Stars in Campbell St in 1838 and the Good Woman Inn in Argyle St in 1880.

John James was a wholesaler of spirits in 1840 but prior to that he had been appointed Assistant to the chief constable of Buckingham in April 1824 and was pound keeper in Brighton around 1829. In December 1831 he gave evidence in a trial involving Joseph Molloy and the estate of James Hooper who had been killed by aborigines near Big Lagoon on 11 Feb 1830.

"On Sunday afternoon, about three o'clock, the hut of Mr. James Hooper in Spring Hill parish, (and not more than a gun shot from the main road) was attacked by the Blacks, 30 or 40 in number. Hooper and his man had but one gun between them; with it and a flail, they kept the Natives at bay nearly half an hour; when the Blacks, (some with lighted fire-sticks and some with spears) made a rush at the hut. Hooper fired without effect, and in an instant was overpowered - his man fled. On the return of the man, in half an hour, with assistance, he found his master dead, covered all over with horrible wounds. The hut was pillaged of most of its portable articles. An inquest was held on the body, this morning, before T. Anstey, esq. Coroner; verdict, "Wilful murder against certain persons of the aboriginal tribes of the Island, to the Jurors unknown.".

James Hooper, variously described as a journey man carpenter, a farmer who also delivered goods for Molloy,was a man of prodigious, muscular strength. He had two farms in this district, and another (on which he generally resided) on the Derwent. A spear was driven 4 inches into his back, and another into his breast, and his head was beaten, so dreadfully, it was horrible to look upon.” HTG

In 1829 Molloy had accepted a bill of exchange for £207 from Hooper. Hooper had sought a loan from Molloy. The Chief Justice Pedder questioned the validity of evidence given by James. Hooper had also borrowed money from James. James was often used by Molloy to facilitate loans to others. John and Mary James were long time friends of Susannah Peck and probably the other members of her family

Elizabeth Reardon, (mother or sister of Frances) lived with Hooper around 1829 after her husband Bartholomew had been also sent to Macquarie Harbour. Mrs. Reardon, who lived with Hooper at his death, stated to Mr. Sorell, that “she knew nothing of the bill,… She had lived with him for many years, he not being married, and although most of what he possessed had been obtained by her labour and industry, yet she not being by law in a situation to administer, Mr. Sorell officially did so,”
Died aged 62.

William Lindsay, who was licensee of the Stowell Arms at the time, was also a member. He was also involved in the Molloy/Hooper case. He sold two houses to Hooper and supported Molloy’s claim that the signature on the bill was Hooper’s.

Another was George Rosendale (Rossendell) a farm manager for George Hull in Glenorchy in 1836 and later John Bellinger. Some time before 1850 had his own farm near the
Maypole Inn in Newtown: James Williams was living there at the time of his death. The Rosendales began the Native Youth Hotel, located opposite the Maypole, around 1855 and the family lived in the area until the 1920s. It is shown in the centre of photo below at the junction of Main Rd. and Pirie Street. Robert Rossendale took over the hotel from his father in 1865.


The location is the junction of main Rd and Risdon Road. The corner of the roof of the Inn can be seen in the top photo to the lower left of the Native Youth. The Rosendale’s house was just off the right hand edge of the top photo. Noah Mortimer’s grant reached nearly to the church in the upper right of the top photo and in 1892 James Murrick Williams lived in the upper left above the church spire.

The photo below of the
Maypole Inn is looking north. [ The inquest into the death of James Williams took place here in 1851] The Native Youth Hotel is just off the lower right corner.



Noah Mortimer retires

After Ann Geary was killed it seems Noah now decided to follow his foster son’s example and retire from stealing stock: he left his lease, owing the quit rent, and remained in Hobart. Susannah Mortimer, who was probably a relative of Noah had married a former Marine, Thomas O’Brian, on Norfolk Island and came to Hobart in 1808 with their nine children. They settled at Glenorchy and gave their name to the area –O’Brien’s Bridge. The O’Brian family took Noah in and camouflaged his history by referring to him as Nathanial Mortimer.
For much more on the Mortimers go to this site.

By 1833 Noah, 72, is in Glenorchy living with Susannah’s eldest son James O’Brian, then 33, and his wife Ann aged 18. (Thomas O’Brian had died in 1819) James sister Margaret, 30, was now married to William McDonald and had three small children. She is also caring for her mother Susannah, 60. James and Ann, with daughter Susan, lived next door to Sussannah and Margaret.

By May 1846 Noah had been living with the O’Brian’s for some 13 years he had been in declining health On Monday morning 1 June Noah took ill at the beach and Susan O’Brian, 13, helped him get back to James O’Brian’s house where they lived. As Ann O’Brian was away, Susan sent for Margaret McDonald who came but they did not get a doctor. James and Ann O’Brian nursed him for two days until Wednesday evening when he died.

On 5 June an inquest was held at the
Kensington Inn, Glenorchy into the death of Nathanial Mortimer. It found he died of natural causes. He was buried at St Matthews and shares a grave with James O’Brian who died six months later.