THE STORY OF JOHN ALLEN KINGSMILL





John Allen Kingsmill (1794 ~ 1869), who was born in Ireland to Henry Kingsmill and his third wife Mary (nee Allen), is descended from the Irish Kingsmills.

When John was about 28 years of age he was a Sergeant with the Royal Irish Constabulary. At this time, his father Henry was a Chelsea Pensioner and agent to Luke, Henry's brother who was Sub Sheriff of Killieugr when his cousin Flood was High Sheriff. On the 12th August 1823 a team of police of the IRC, headed by John, became involved in a fight with Richard McDaniel, a patron of a Bride Street public house in Ballinakill, who was mortally wounded, with one of the police injured.

John Kingsmill, Robert Bolton, Robert Harvey, George Walpole, James Hincks, and John Owen, were indicted for the Wilful Murder of Richard McDaniel on the 12th day of August last (1823). The hearing was held before Judge Moore at the Marysborough Queens County Assizes on March 25th 1824.

The Prosecution argued that:

''as police constables, fully armed, and accompanied by several others of the police, not now on their trial, about ten in the evening, went through the public-houses to expel the visitors. It was argued that this was a cruel, unprovoked, and wanton murder, committed by the prisoners when acting as Public Officers, but without any legal authority, and unqualified by any thing to dilute or mitigate the crime from murder to manslaughter. Secondly, that even if they had legal process and a legal order to enforce, they lost the protection which the law would have given them in the fair distribution of that duty, by the ... violence which they resulted to.''

The Defence argued that:

''The Magistrates had caused general instructions to be issued to the police, to clear all public-houses of their visitors at ten o'clock at night, and that acting in pursuance of those instructions, they had entered Fitzpatrick's house on the night the deceased lost his life; that he had refused to obey the order of the police on that night and that in consequence, an altercation and struggle ensued between him and Kingsmill; that some countrymen, who were in the house, took part with the deceased, which caused a general fight between them and the police, and that, in the quarrel, the deceased lost his life.''

Judge Moore, presiding over the case, explained the law on the subject to the jurors, showing the distinction between wilful and deliberate murder, manslaughter, and homicide in self-defence. The Jury retired for about half an hour, when they acquitted the prisoners of murder, and found them Guilty of Manslaughter. Kingsmill, Harvey, and Bolton, to be transported for life; Walpole and Hinks to be transported for fourteen years; and Owens to be transported for seven years. John's father Henry petitioned on his behalf on 22nd April 1824.

Raised in court this day in another case was a complaint that whilst awaiting trial, the police prisoners were permitted the freedom of the gaol. The head Gaoler advised the courts that:

''the police charged with murder were allowed to go at large about the gaol ....with the authority was a letter from the High-Sheriff....''

There is no doubt that John undertook his courtship with his future wife, Mary Johnston(e)e, whilst a prisoner awaiting trial.

John's father Henry petitioned for his pardon shortly after the case, stating that he was a resident of Banis Co. Donegal and ''I have been in the army for 48 Years''.

John Kingsmill was transported to Australia/New South Wales from Ireland in 1825 aboard the ''Asia I''. Asia I sailed from Cork on 29th October 1824 and arrived in Sydney on 22nd February 1825.

On 18th July 1825 Mary Johnston(e) arrived in Australia/New South Wales as a free government passenger on the ship ''Mariner'', a female convict ship, from Ireland and married John on the 8th August 1825 at St Phillip's Church of England Church Sydney, with permission granted by the Colonial Secretary four days later.

The banns of marriage of the Church of England are required to be posted in church for three several Sundays (which may be consecutive Sundays) within three months prior to marriage within the parish where the couple are living. It would appear that John and Mary had their wedding banns posted the first Sunday following Mary's arrival in Australia, being 21 days from her arrival day until the day of their marriage, and therefore also it is likely that they must have become engaged prior to coming to Australia. It might have been a long engagement though. As Mary arrived in Sydney on 18th July 1825, we can assume that she resided in the same parish as John for 3 consecutive Sundays prior to their marriage on 8th August 1825, and the banns would only have been published/called in Sydney.

John received a Conditional Pardon dated 26th October 1827, not four years into his life sentence. On this same day Bolton, Harvey, Walpole, Hincks and Owen also received their pardons.

John was appointed School Master of boys at the Carters Barracks, also credited with contributing to writing of education manuals. The Carters Barracks model continues to used for reference in development of ''Young Offenders'' programs and is a forerunner of the modern technical training institutions.

(See history of Carters Barracks: NSW Archives; Archives Investigator)

In May 1826 a ''Mrs Kingsmill'', who we can be reasonably assured was Mary, was appointed Matron of the ''Female School of Industry'', a benevolent church-rooted organisation run by entirely by the eminent ladies of Sydney for the training of convict women as house-servants, and acted as an agency for the provision of wives for the colonists. The school was a particular consuming interest for the Governor's wife, Eliza Darling.

In 1826 Mary and John's first child, Mary Ann was born, and on 28th September 1827 Sophia Letitia was born. On the 18th May 1828 Mary died aged 27 and was buried in the cemetery adjoining Carters Barracks where Sydney Central Railway Station now stands, and later exhumed and moved to another cemetery, as many graves were.

John was left with two small children and according to the 1828 Census Mary Ann, 2 years, and Sophia Letitia, 2 months, were in the care of the Rev. R. Hill of Castlereagh Street, Sydney.

Other extended but closely related members of the family had also come out from Ireland during this time, many of them in the capacity of solicitors and barristers, and in government employ such as Commissioner for Lands (The Kingsmill, O'Meagher, Allen and Abbott families).

In 1829 John married Ann Driscoll at St James Church of England, Sydney. Anne left John early 1830, but apparently they reconciled, with their first son Henry being born in 1831. A second son John was born in 1833, Luke in 1835, Walter in 1836 and Robert in 1840.

John was appointed Sheriffs Bailiff in Maitland, as records of the Colonial secretaries 'Returns of the Colony' show in 1833, having moved to the Maitland area and settling in East Maitland, whilst his brother Henry, having arrived from Ireland, was the Sheriffs Bailiff in Sydney.

From the time of his move to Maitland and throughout, John became closely associated with local community, government and church in Maitland. He was strongly community minded and a well regarded citizen, particularly active in promoting community concerns and activities, in politics, as a community advocate for roads and bridges, to organising committees for church fundraisers and regattas, as well as secretary of many committees and in his position as a church warden.

John took over the cause of the East Maitland Benevolent Society, a cottage rented by Caroline Chisholm at 1 and 3 Smith's Row (Mill Street) East Maitland who converted it into a single cottage to shelter homeless immigrants in the district.At present it is the only known building to still survive that was associated with Caroline Chisholm, and one of the oldest buildings in the district. He formed a committee, applied for government funding, also raising community funds through various events, to enable the building of Maitland's first hospital, and was it's first secretary, a position his son Luke was to later take on.

In 1842 he was also a founding member and treasurer of the Maitland Jockey Club. John's sons continued to do well at school achieving awards for History, Latin and in Scripture classes.

In 1844 Henry, John's eldest son, died at age 13.

By 1846, Anne had left John again (notice in MM 10/01/1846), it being a quite acrimonious separation. There are several references to some wild behaviour from his wife, who had left him again, with a notice by John in the Maitland Mercury in 1846 'Giving notice that he would not be responsible for debts incurred by his wife', in 1847 'Accused his wife of maliciously damaging several trees on his property' and in 1849 'Wife Ann committed for trial for stealing a table from Kingsmill's verandah'.

Some time later, with increasing maintenance payments to his wife, enforced retirement due to ill health combined with mounting debts, John was forced to sell his house with money received from the sale not meeting the mortgage costs, and was finally made insolvent on 15/5/1866.

He died aged 75 in 1869. John is buried with his son Henry and wife Anne, with other family members in a chest tomb at the historic Old Glebe cemetery, East Maitland.





Obituary: Maitland Mercury 10th July 1869


Maitland Mercury: 10th July 1869


DEATH OF MR JOHN KINGSMILL ~ our readers will have observed that on Wednesday last Mr. John Kingsmill died, in East Maitland. He had reached the advanced age of 75 years. Our present townsmen have known Mr. Kingsmill only as a gradually failing, infirm old man, but many will remember him a fine, erect, stalwart man, the life and pleasure of any society into which he was thrown. Back in the terrible days of 1842, 3, 4, cirmcumstances made Mr. Kingsmill a power in the district. The sheriff's bailiff was then one of the most active and most dreaded of our officials. But so far from maintaining the traditional hard character of such an officer, Mr. Kingsmill was the kindest man who had ever performed these unpleasant duties. Always vigilant and efficient in duty, he had a warm and feeling heart, and perhaps no man in Maitland had a wider circle of attached and loving friends. Of late years growing infirmities occasioned first his resignation of the office, and gradually his retirement from all public affairs ~ in which, in his days of vigour, he took a fair share, although, like many men of good conversational powers he was a very poor speech-maker.


REFERENCES:



  • An Overview of Juvenile Detention in Australia, Atkinson, Lynn www.aic.gov.au/publications/proceedings/25/atkinson.pdf

  • Brian Fletcher, Ralph Darling: A Governor Maligned, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1984, chapter: ''Female School of Industry''

  • Burke, Sir Bernard A genealogical and heraldic history of the landed gentry of Great Britain and Ireland: C B LLD Volume 1 Eighth Edition 1894

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