John Martin: The Self-Freed Slave

By Michaela Ann Cameron

supported by a Royal Australian Historical Society Heritage Grant – St. John’s First Fleeters

Death or Liberty

While white American patriots were crying ‘Give me liberty, or give me death’[1] and fighting Great Britain for their God-given, ‘unalienable rights’ to ‘Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,’[2] thousands of the liberty-loving patriots’ black slaves were running to the British lines for their own chance at freedom. It is thought John Martin was among them. Around twenty years of age at the time, Martin was young and his skills as a seaman would have been particularly useful to the Loyalist cause. If Martin was, indeed, recruited by the British, he would have been in a prime position to get out of America on a British ship bound for England.

Death or Liberty - Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry delivering his great speech on the rights of the colonies, before the Virginia Assembly, convened at Richmond, March 23rd 1775, concluding with the above sentiment, which became the war cry of the revolution. (New York: Currier & Ives, c.1876) [Library of Congress]

In England, Martin’s place of refuge, slavery was illegal; but a person of colour—even a free one—was vulnerable there, insofar as his or her skin colour indicated to everyone that he or she was a marketable product elsewhere. A black mariner like Martin,[3] forced to stay close to ports where he would be more likely to gain employment with his existing skills, was constantly in danger of being kidnapped and sold into the Atlantic slave trade by anyone looking to make some money. And in 1780s London, there was no shortage of poor white people desperate enough to do just that and more.

Fleeing to the British, then, was only the beginning of a very long journey that would take Martin far from slavery forever. It was simply not enough to escape a master, or even America itself. To truly escape the threat of slavery and be free, a person of colour had to escape the Atlantic world altogether; to do that, Martin had to endure a second kind of bondage, albeit one that, despite its brutality and degradation, was a step up from slavery: convictism.

On Trial at the Old Bailey

NPG 458; Sir Francis Buller, 1st Bt by Mather Brown

Sir Francis Buller, 1st Bt, by Mather Brown oil on canvas, 1792 NPG 458 © National Portrait Gallery, London

In England, Martin would have struggled to secure income as a mariner in a job market saturated with demobilised sailors and, thus, like the rest of the ex-slaves in London, would have been rapidly ‘reduced to great poverty.’[4] Inevitably, he resorted to criminal activity to acquire basic necessities like food, shelter, bedding, and clothing.

It was the theft of ‘a bundle’ of clothes valued at 68 shillings that brought 25-year-old John Martin before Mr. Justice Buller at the Old Bailey on 3 July 1782.[5] There was no doubting Martin’s guilt:

‘Stephen Turnbull deposed, That he went up to the one pair of stairs room [in his father’s house], and found the door wide open, and the prisoner in the room; that he went down stairs, and informed his mother of it; that the prisoner rushed by them in the passage, with a bundle under his arm: he was pursued, and immediately taken. The bundle, containing the clothes mentioned in the indictment, was produced in court, and they were deposed to by the prosecutor.’[6]

Theft of property to the value of 40 shillings was enough for a person to hang. In this period, the authorities willingly and regularly sent criminals to be swallowed up by the gallows for such crimes,[7] or passed the death sentence and deferred the matter to the king to grant clemency at his ‘Royal will and pleasure.’[8] Moreover, Martin made no attempt to defend himself during his trial. Yet, for undisclosed reasons, the jury bypassed the usual process by lowering the value of Martin’s crime to 39 shillings; perhaps it was because, as his trial transcript duly noted, Martin was ‘a negro.’[9]

While there was a lack of financial support or compensation for fugitive slaves who had served Great Britain in her war with America there was, simultaneously, a growing sense in England of the illegality and immorality of slavery. Only ten years earlier, the ‘Somerset case’ had clearly stated that chattel slavery was illegal under English law. Since then, slavery had been abolished in other countries. At the time of Martin’s trial, the British also knew they had lost the American Revolutionary War and had been only recently evacuating and withdrawing troops.[10] This loss would have undoubtedly added to the mother country’s desire to at least take the moral high ground over its errant, largely slaveholding, colonial offspring.[11]

am-i-not-a-man-and-a-brother-photo-researchers

Josiah Wedgwood and William Hackwood or Henry Webber, Am I Not a Man and a Brother? (Wedgwood, 1787). Medallion design created by Wedgwood for its anti-slavery campaign in 1787, just five years after Martin’s trial. It became the official medallion of the British Anti-Slavery Society (1 January 1795)

Burgeoning anti-slavery sentiment,[12] therefore, may have influenced the jury’s decision to be lenient towards a young man who had likely been a slave and possibly even fought for and sought refuge in Britain. Far from a death penalty or an anxious wait for Royal clemency, such as his fellow First Fleeter Jane Poole McManus experienced at the age of 16, Martin was given a sentence of seven years transportation — a comparatively mild sentence, given that ‘fourteen years’ and ‘life’ were sentence options available and frequently dispensed by the court.

Gaol Fever

Any ‘incipient abolitionism’[13] there might have been, however, did not spare Martin from London’s notoriously overcrowded, disease-ridden, iniquitous Newgate prison. Martin spent nearly four months there before being transferred with other convicts to the Den Keyser at Portsmouth on 1 November 1782.[14] The Den Keyser was bound for Africa; the latest location the British were trying out as an alternative dumping ground for convicts since the newly independent America was no longer willing to accept Britain’s ‘surplus Englishmen.’[15]

Not long before the Den Keyser set sail, Martin was diagnosed with ‘gaol fever,’ clinically known as typhus, and returned to Newgate.[16] Symptoms of the extremely contagious and often deadly disease included high fever, chills, headache, a rash, delirium, vomiting, and ‘haemorrhaging from the gums, nostrils, [and] mouth.’[17] Ironically this terrible illness, which Martin endured in Newgate’s horrendous conditions, saved him from a worse fate. Most of the convicts who did sail aboard Den Keyser were landed amid slave forts along the African coast with no provisions and left to fend for themselves, ‘naked,…diseased…and…dying upon the rocks or upon the sandy beach, under the scorching heat of the sun.’[18]

Martin remained in Newgate until April 1785 when he was transferred to Ceres, a prison hulk moored on the River Thames. He would have worked raising sand and gravel from the riverbed for almost two years until he was moved to the Alexander on 6 January 1787. At 28 years old he had escaped slavery, survived poverty in London, dodged a death sentence for a capital offence, had overcome gaol fever at Newgate, and narrowly avoided the Den Keyser fiasco. He was four and a half years into his seven year sentence and he was finally going to be transported to the latest locale of questionable inhabitability selected as a place for England’s refuse: Botany Bay.

First Fleeter

Even before the Alexander set sail with the First Fleet on 13 May 1787, many of the convicts chained below deck were chronically ill.[19] Two months into the voyage, a terrifically malodorous miasma emanating from excrement, vomit, and food waste-filled bilge water brought more sickness and death to the Alexander’s human cargo. Scurvy, typhus, and mutinous sailors also proved to be a problem for the ship throughout the voyage.[20]

Nevertheless, MartinHugh Hughes and the other Alexander convicts, safely arrived at Botany Bay on 18 January 1788. Martin was probably one of a number of Alexander and Scarborough convicts put to work clearing the site for the new settlement the next day.[21] When the chosen location proved unsuitable and the entire fleet was moved to Port Jackson, Martin was again among the convicts tasked with clearing the new site on 29 January.[22]

Slavery, Governor Phillip asserted, would not be part of the new colony[23] so Martin—who had only 18 months left of his sentence to serve—had good reason to feel optimistic about his future. Any theoretical differences between slavery and convictism Martin was aware of, however, undoubtedly disappeared a few months later in the bloody, gory mess an empowered white man made of Martin’s back as he stood over the bound former slave with a cat o’ nine tails. 25 lashes earlier, Martin and two other convicts had committed the unthinkable act of lighting a fire in their hut in an effort to warm themselves in the middle of winter.[24]

The Lash

These images depicting slavery in the American context could easily double as illustrations of John Martin’s experience of flogging as a convict in the colony of New South Wales. Fig. 1 James Fuller Queen; Henry Louis Stephens, “The Lash,” Journey of a slave from the plantation to the battlefield, [1863] (Washington, D.C. U.S.A.: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division); Fig. 2 Carte de Visite portrait of Gordon a.k.a. “Whipped Peter,” [1863]

Oh, Freedom!

On 3 July 1789, seven years to the day since his conviction at the Old Bailey, John Martin was a free man — technically. As is often the case, the reality was quite different. Weeks passed and Martin’s situation continued unaltered.

John Calleghan, a fellow expiree eager to enjoy the freedom to which he was now entitled, petitioned judge advocate David Collins on behalf of himself, Martin, and another four expirees. Unable to verify their claims, as the documents containing details of convict sentences had not been dispatched with the First Fleet, Collins rejected their petition. He argued that no one—free or otherwise—could live independently of the government stores and that they should therefore continue on as convicts to earn their provisions. Calleghan protested that freedom was not just about provisions but also about restoring to the expirees the rights and privileges of the free. Arguing for their liberty put Calleghan at risk; Governor Phillip saw fit to put Calleghan on trial in order to reassert authority. The outcome of the trial in which Martin himself supplied evidence was that Calleghan received 600 lashes and nine months of forced labour in chains.[25]

Nearly a year later, in June 1790, the Second Fleet arrived without the freedom-granting documents. It was not until the Third Fleet arrived with the paperwork on 9 July 1791—two years beyond the expiration of Martin’s seven-year sentence—that John Martin was ‘free at last.’[26]

Free - Journey of a Slave

James Fuller Queen; Henry Louis Stephens, “Free!,” Journey of a slave from the plantation to the battlefield, [1863] (Washington, D.C. U.S.A.: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Fifty Acres and a Pig (or two)

More than seventy years before emancipated slaves in the United States of America would have any reason to think they might be granted ‘Forty Acres and a Mule,’[27] Martin found himself with 50 acres and, presumably, the two pigs, hatchet, tomahawk, two spades, and shovel with which all start-up settlers in the colony of New South Wales were provided.[28]

The opportunity given to expirees like Martin to live a more independent life as settlers on grants between 30 and 60 acres in size came with an extremely high failure rate. The odds were against Martin who, as a seaman, likely had little or no agricultural experience,[29] but the flourless, meatless government ration doled out in July 1792 was probably enough to compel an undoubtedly hungry Martin to accept the challenge.[30] By the end of the next month, August 1792, the would-be farmer had gotten himself a wife in the form of Ann Toy—a Second Fleet convict who had survived transportation aboard the notorious Neptune—thus securing vital support for his agricultural venture.[31] And by late November, Martin had his 50 acres in the district known as the Northern Boundary Farms.

Martin’s grant adjoined a 60-acre farm granted on the same day to John Randall who was likewise a black fugitive slave from America turned First Fleet convict incarcerated on the Ceres and transported on the Alexander Randall soon resorted to his preferred employment working as a skilled gameshooter for colonial elites, but Martin remained determined to make his farm a success, despite numerous setbacks over the years.[32] Indeed, by March 1798 Martin had outlasted all the original grantees in the district and was described as ‘a sober, industrious man, yet very poor.’[33] Poor as he was, the self-freed slave was now by and large a self-sufficient settler; something many of his fellow ex-convicts in the colony of New South Wales had failed to achieve and something the men and women still enslaved in America could not have even imagined for themselves.

Convict Constable

Martin’s proven resilience and work ethic along with his ability to claim the longest connection to the Northern Boundary District undoubtedly made him the perfect candidate for the role of district constable; a position he held in addition to his farming responsibilities for a total of 27 years.[34] The victuals constables received for this work were likely an incentive for the 42-year-old ex-slave and ex-convict to become a law enforcer, as he appears to have taken on the role as early as 1800 when ‘a relentless drought, bushfire, hailstorm and a plague of caterpillars’[35] ruined his harvest and temporarily forced him and his wife, Ann, back on the government stores. Having a second, more reliable source of food to supplement his own produce during the lean times meant that by 1806 he was able to employ a convict and a freeman;[36] those extra hands would have been most welcome following the death of his wife in February that year. By 1807 Constable Martin was living and having the first of many children with Mary Randall, the 14-year-old daughter of Martin’s fellow ex-slave and black founder John Randall.[37]

As early as 1816 Martin’s constabulary duties also included being the local poundkeeper[38] and, from 1823, when he and his fellow constables petitioned Governor Brisbane, he received a weekly allowance in lieu of rations.[39] In December 1825 John Harris, a surgeon and magistrate who was in charge of the police force, recommended Martin, who was then 68 years old, to be a Parramatta constable.[40]

d39f3478-9abe-40a5-94cc-2fa215315bcd

“Advertising,” The Australian, (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Wednesday 3 May 1826, p.2

However, just under five months later, the highly recommended Martin was ‘dismissed for misconduct’[41] and arrested for ‘violent assault and trespass.’[42]

e968976d-0b2a-4af6-8ace-461f00324b90

“Advertising,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824 – 1848), Wednesday 3 May 1826 p.2

It was the end of his 27-year career as a constable but his service entitled him to receive a constable pension of 27 pounds, seven shillings, and sixpence for the rest of his life.[43]

Going Home to the Lord

On 17 December 1837, aware he was on the last leg of his long journey, 80-year-old John Martin made out his will and signed it with ‘his mark.’[44] To his wife, Mary, he would leave a shilling and to his children he would bequeath his 25-pound-estate.[45] Four days later, on 21 December, his spirit reached its everlasting home.[46] For the majority of Martin’s ‘brothers and sisters’ still enslaved in America, where Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was another 26 years away, death was the only freedom they could ever hope for unless they were prepared to risk everything to escape. But when John Martin’s earthly remains were buried in his unmarked grave at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta three days before Christmas, they were the remains of a man who had not been forced to wait till the next life to finally know how it felt to be free.[47]

IMG_7413

The grave of Mary Martin (née Randall) in Section II, Row P, No.11, which contains the Fellowship of First Fleeters’ memorial plaque for John Martin, who was buried in an unmarked grave at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta on 22 December 1837. Photo taken on the 178th anniversary of his funeral by Michaela Ann Cameron (22 December 2015).

For an interesting epilogue to John Martin‘s story, see “The Old Bailey Revisited” on The Old Parramattan.

CITE THIS

Michaela Ann Cameron, “John Martin: The Self-Freed Slave,” St. John’s Cemetery Project (2016), https://stjohnscemeteryparramatta.org/bio/john-martin/, accessed [insert current date]

References

Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, NSW: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991)

Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989)

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, [4 July 1776] (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Evening Post, 1776) accessed 17 March 2016

Library of Congress

Abraham Lincoln, The Emancipation Proclamation[1 January 1863], Presidential Proclamations, 1791-1991; Record Group 11; General Records of the United States Government; National Archives, accessed 17 March 2016

James M. McPherson, “Who Freed The Slaves?” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 139, No. 1 (Mar., 1995): 1-10

Edmund S. Morgan, “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox,” Journal of American History, Vol. 59, No.1 (Jun., 1972): 5-29

National Portrait Gallery

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2), July 1782, trial of JOHN MARTIN (t17820703-5) accessed 4 March 2016

Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The Unknown Story of Australia’s First Black Settlers, (Sydney, NSW: University of New South Wales Press, 2006)

Trove

Further Reading

Ellen Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery, (London: William Tweedie, 337 Strand, 1860)

Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom. Part I. Life as a Slave. Part II. Life as a Freeman, (New York: Miller, Orton and Mulligan, 1855)

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Written by himself, (Boston: Anti-Slavery Office, 1845)

Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African: Written by himself, (London, Printed for and sold by the Author, No. 10, Union-Street, Middlesex Hospital, 1789)

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Written by herself, (Boston: Published for the author, 1861, c.1860)

Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, Rescued in 1853, (Auburn, NY: Derby and Miller, 1853)

Moses Roper, A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery, (Philadelphia: Merrihew and Gunn, 1838)

LISTEN TO THE WPA RECORDINGS OF FORMER SLAVES AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS:

Library of Congress, Voices from the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories, https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/voices/title.html 

Notes

[1] Patrick Henry, 23 March 1775 cited in Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.11

[2] Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, [4 July 1776] (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Evening Post, 1776)  accessed 17 March 2016

[3] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006) p.185

[4] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006) pp.43-5

[5] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 04 March 2016, July 1782, trial of JOHN MARTIN (t178203-5)

[6] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 04 March 2016, July 1782, trial of JOHN MARTIN (t178203-5)

[7] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006) p.56

[8] “Jane Poole,” 24 August 1786, Series HO47, Piece Number 5, Home Office: Judges’ Reports on Criminals, 1784-1830 – correspondence, (Home Office, Kew: The National Archives, 2016).

[9] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006) pp.56-7; Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 04 March 2016, July 1782, trial of JOHN MARTIN (t178203-5)

[10] The British had only recently withdrawn from offensive operations in North America at the time of Martin’s trial.

[11] In the 1770s-early 1780s slavery had been abolished or was in the process of being phased out in some of the American colonies, such as Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut, Rhode Island while abolition societies began to be established in other parts of the newly formed United States of America. By 1787, the Northwest Ordinance prohibited the establishment of slavery during westward expansion into new area of the Northwest Territories.

[12] See Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006) pp.53-4 for more detailed discussion of these points.

[13] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006) p.54

[14] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006) pp.58-60

[15] Edmund S. Morgan, “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox,” Journal of American History, Vol.59, No. 1 (Jun., 1972) 16.

[16] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), pp.58-9

[17] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), pp.58-9

[18] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.60

[19] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.75

[20] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), pp.82-3

[21] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.88

[22] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.89

[23] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.74

[24] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), pp.96-7

[25] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), pp.102-3

[26] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), pp.115-20

[27] After the American Civil War many emancipated slaves had been given cause to expect that the land they had worked as slaves prior to the war would be divided up among them in 40-acre allotments and a mule. In reality, this was not the case and the land was restored to its previous owners.

[28] New South Wales Government, Special Bundles, 1794-1825, Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia; Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), pp.122-3.

[29] It was challenging because, unlike the civil officials who could use convict labour to clear land and plant crops, emancipated convicts had to do everything for themselves and, often, without any previous farming experience. The grants were also conditional; grantees had to clear the land and become self-sufficient within eighteen months, after that time they would stop receiving provisions from the government store. “After five years of cultivation they would receive freehold title, and after ten years their grant would be subject to an annual quit rent of 1 shilling.” See Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), pp.123-4.

[30] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.122

[31] Parish Marriage Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

[32] One of those setbacks included Parramatta’s public granary burning down in September 1794, taking with it some of John Martin’s crop. There were also strained relations with local Aboriginal people at Northern Boundary Farms; one encounter in the summer of 1794 resulted in the deaths of two Aboriginal men. See Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), pp.131-2; New South Wales Government, Special Bundles, 1794-1825, Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia

[33] Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989) p.239

[34] In this period the police force was, by necessity, comprised of the best behaved ex-convicts who received victuals for their constabulary work; Returns of the Colony, “Blue Books” 1822-57, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Series 1286, 176 rolls.

[35] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.141

[36] Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989) p.239

[37] Mary Randall was the daughter of John Randall and his wife Mary Butler; an Irish convict who, like Martin’s first wife Ann Toy, survived transportation on the notorious Neptune with the Second Fleet. John Martin and Mary Randall were not married until July 1812 and there is some doubt about the precise number of children John Martin fathered overall. He acknowledged five children he had with Mary Martin (née Randall) as his own and left instructions in his will that his estate should be divided among them. However, researchers have stated that the couple had as many as eleven children. Other researchers also assert that John Martin had children with Darug women and that Aboriginal people who bear the surname ‘Martin’ are descended from this First Fleet convict who began life as an African American slave. See Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The unknown story of Australia’s first black settlers, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.155; Parish Marriage Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

[38] “Classified Advertising,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803-1842), Saturday 12 October 1816, p.2; “Classified Advertising,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803-1842), Saturday 15 March 1817, p.4; “Town and District of Sydney,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803-1842), Saturday 20 May 1820, p.1; “Classified Advertising,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803-1842), Thursday 2 September 1824, p.4

[39] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[40] New South Wales Government, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825, Series 897, Reels 6041-6064, 6071-6072. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia; “Government and General Orders: Colonial Secretary’s Office,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803-1842), Thursday 29 December 1825, p.1

[41] “Advertising,” The Australian, (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848), Wednesday 3 May 1826, p.2

[42] It is unclear whether the violent assault was the misconduct that led to his dismissal, or whether he assaulted someone in retaliation for being dismissed over another transgression; Ancestry.com, New South Wales, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930, [database online], (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2012); “Advertising,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW: 1824-1848) Wednesday 3 May 1826, p.2

[43] Returns of the Colony, “Blue Books” 1822-57, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia: State Records Authority of New South Wales, Series 1286, 176 rolls.

[44] Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989) p.239

[45] That is, the five children he acknowledged as his own. Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989) p.239

[46] Parish Burial Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia; Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989) p.239

[47] Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” [1963]; Nina Simone, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” Silk and Soul, (New York: RCA Victor: 1967)

© Copyright 2016 Michaela Ann Cameron