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DUGGAN - Griffiths Family History

This is the start of my Griffiths Family;
Updated: 9 Oct 2005 

Thomas GRIFFITHS, b. Stone, Gloucestershire. d. 11th Aug.1782, Stone.
Sarah WITHERS,b. Apr.1740 Thornbury, Gloucestershire. c.13th Oct. 1743. D. 28th March 1783 Stone.

Jonathan GRIFFITHS, c.14 March 1773 Stone, Gloucestershire. d. Nov 1839, Port Fairy Vic.
Eleanor MACDONALD, b. Abt 1769 Dublin, Ireland m. (nm) d.1 Mar 1831 Richmond NSW.

Jonathan GRIFFITHS, Per "Scarborough", 1790, ship owner and builder; landholder at Richmond Hill NSW and later Launceston Tas, then Port Fairy Vic.
Jonathan and his partner, Eleanor McDonald, Per "Queen" 2nd fleet, never married .


Jonathan and Eleanor had nine children :-
Thomas 1797,
Sarah 1799,
John 1801,
William 1803,
Mary 1804,
Elizabeth 1804,
Ann 1806,
James 1808,
Henry 1812.

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Jonathan Griffiths and Eleanor McDonald.

Jonathan and Eleanor had nine children :- Thomas 1797, Sarah 1799, John 1801, William 1803, Mary 1804, Elizabeth 1804, Ann 1806, James 1808 and Henry 1812.

Their daughter Elizabeth Griffiths married Thomas the elder of Thomas Parnell and Agnes Shales two sons.

( The photo of Jonathan Griffiths was donated by the Griffiths family, but cannot be authenticated).

Jonathan Griffiths was born in Stone, Gloucestershire, in the March of 1773 the youngest of four children to Thomas and Sarah Griffiths. At the age of thirteen in 1788 he was committed to Gloucester Castle Gaol and charged. He had stolen from Thomas Morgan a box containing two coats-two waist coats-two pair of breeches and several other articles including plated boot buckles; the goods were valued at a total of five Pound. He was sentenced to seven years transportation, and arrived on the second fleet ship the "Scarborough". The "Scarborough" entered the Sydney heads on 28 June 1790, two days after "Surprise".

The prompt disembarkation of all the convicts was essential but still took more than a week, as tents were being prepared for them. A witness described the following scene. "The landing of these people was truly affecting and shocking; great numbers were not able to walk, nor to move hand or foot some were slung over the ships side in the same manner as they would a cask a box, or anything of that nature. Upon their being brought up to the open air some fainted, some died upon deck and others in the boat before they reached the shore. When they came on shore many were not able to walk or stand. Some creeped upon their hands and knees, and some were carried upon the backs of others".

In Dublin on Wednesday 27th October 1790 Eleanor McDonald had stolen a metal watch, chain and locket, valued at six guineas, the property of Thomas Dalton. She was sentenced to seven years, and transportation. Eleanor was on board the first Irish convict ship "Queen" when it departed Cork. She was twenty-two years old; with her were one hundred and thirty three men and twenty-two women. A magisterial inquiry later found that the second mate Robert Stott had ordered some of the lead shaved off the weights used to measure the prisoners allocated food issue. When Stott received complaints, he ordered more lead to be shaved; the result of all this meant that instead of one hundred and thirty Pound of beef being served he only issued sixty-Pound, sixty eight-Pound of fish and not one hundred and twenty. The magistrates found that the rations stipulated in the shipping contract with Messrs. Camden, Calvert & King had not been supplied. They were unable to reach agreement on how to compensate the prisoners; the matter was then given over to Governor Phillip. The Governor in his dispatch to the state, Quoted "I doubt if I have the power of inflicting a punishment adequate to the crime" Lieutenant Blow, the ships master was reprimanded by the Naval Board. It was found remarkable that only seven lives were lost on the ship. Both the "Active" and "Queen" sailed into Farm Cove 26th September 1791 .

Norfolk Island.
Captain James Cook on the eleventh of October 1774 wrote in the Log of the "Resolution". "We found the Island uninhabited and near a kin to New Zealand , the Flax plant, many other plants and trees common to that country was found here. The chief produce of the Island is Spruce Pines which grow here in vast abundance and to a vast size, from two to three feet in diameter and upwards. It is of a different sort to those in New Caledonia and also to those in New Zealand and for masts and yards superior to both. My carpenter tells me that the wood is exactly of the same nature as the Quebeck Pines. Here then is another Isle where masts for the largest ships may be built".

Jonathan Griffiths had only been in Farm Cove for five weeks before being transported to Norfolk ; one hundred and ninety three females accompanied the male convicts on his ship. They reached the Island in August 1790; Eleanor had been sent to the Island shortly after Jonathan. She was returned to Sydney in February 1796, as was Jonathan five months earlier.

James Kirby a Private with the 5th Plymouth Company, served some time in Sydney after arriving on the "Alexander" with the first fleet, before being sent on active duty to Norfolk Island . He is mentioned here as he later has several connections with Jonathan. By the time Jonathan Griffiths arrived on the sub-tropical Norfolk Island , two Cobles (fishing boats) had been constructed and another was under way. Jonathan was put to work and learned about boat building. Although no large vessels were built there, the pines were cut and shaped for masts, spars, yards, and other components; he also learned about sailmaking from flax. Whales were also common at Norfolk Island , an example being in later years two whaling stations were in operation on the Island . In 1882 the Islanders caught eighteen "black" whales using only small open boats. While Jonathan would possibly not have seen whaling as an operation, certainly would have made lots of observations about the creatures.

By 1799 Jonathan and Eleanor were occupying land in what was then known as South Creek at Mulgrave Place (Richmond), with their first two children Thomas and Sarah. The couple never married; at that time it was probably not acceptable for convicts of English and Irish heritage with Catholic and Anglican religions to marry. He had seven acres sown in maize and owned seven pigs and a goat. Supporting the family was difficult; he received Government rations for his wife and children. He joined a group of farmers from the district and petitioned the Governor for assistance, as the floods and drought the previous three years had been devastating to the crops and stock. The forced sale of their farms and imprisonment for debt appeared eminent. The local magistrate Charles Grimes doubted the severity of the problem, but admitted severe damage had been done. He claimed "I do not believe cultivating their farms has contracted their debts", adding that Jonathan and a few others were worthless characters. Grimes's had a poor opinion of Jonathan and a personal dislike.
Jonathan in 1799 had sued a Lieutenant Kemp for committing acts of "Tyranny and Oppression", including damaging his house and shooting his guard dog. This action made him most unpopular with Kemp's fellow officers.

The family's wealth and land holding had continued to grow even with these early setbacks, and later in 1801 he moved to Richmond Bottoms on the Hawkesbury river and renewed his interest in boat building. The river became the means of transporting the grain and other produce to Sydney, so the restrictions on the size of vessels built in the colony was quickly overlooked by Governor King.
This gave boat builders like Samuel Thorley whom had arrived on the "Active" in 1791, Jonathan, and several others the opportunity to commence shipbuilding at Richmond a short distance from Windsor . Samuel Thorley went into business with Jonathan in his boat building operation; Samuel also owned several properties in the district as well as in Sydney .

The voyages from Windsor to Broken Bay in boats loaded with produce were extremely difficult requiring a change from the purpose built boats that could manage the river. Then transferring produce to the ocean going "Coasters" for the journey to Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour).
Jonathan designed and built both class of boats.
The Hawkesbury is a little over one hundred kilometres in distance from Windsor to the mouth of the river, then there was the ocean passage to Sydney . The problems for seamen on the river in laden sailing boats were many. The river was prone to continual flooding, bringing shipping to a halt not only because of the swift current but also by logs cut for clearing and building. Quote: "The waters that come rolling down, gathered from an enormous watershed are piled up between the steep rocky banks because there is no lateral discharge for them". Flood marks on the trees show that the river has risen sixty and even eighty feet above the ordinary height. Even when the river was not in flood the seamen had to contend with a tidal river with an average flow of about three knots, the whole length of river has extremely sharp bends in flat open sandy country and between very high cliffs of sandstone with narrow gorges. These conditions meant that sailing was extremely difficult, on the flat open sections they had to contend with shallow water and sand banks, while in the other sections of the river there was often little or no winds. Rowing and towing was quite common.

Two of the first vessels built by the partners were the "Speedy" of seventeen ton, and "Hazard". True to her name the "hazard" floundered in huge seas and horrendous weather then ran aground. Aboriginals saved the ships boy but the skipper perished. The "Nancy" was also built for the river trade. Christmas 1816 she was rented to a Richard Perkins for nine Pound a month paid monthly, with certain restrictions on the cargo she carried. The lease was for "one boat, one frying pan, one muscat, provisions, and supplies", with the proviso that the same will be handed over in the same good order and condition.

James Kirby had been given a land Grant of Two Hundred Acres, in October 1799 at Mulgrave Place ( Richmond ). James was not a dedicated farmer. The Muster of 1800/02 shows on his property, one female, two children, wheat, barley, oats, and maize, with no stock. In 1806, Jonathan purchased one hundred acres of this land from James Kirby, the remaining section was purchased by three separate buyers. Jonathan Griffiths continued to run the farm known as Kirby's farm and was active in local civic affairs at Richmond and Sydney where he had acquired a house. In 1808, he added his signature to an address to Governor Bligh, enrolling his name for the defence of the country if needed.

In February 1812, Jonathan assigned to his son Thomas (then 15 years old) the Dalton and Kirby farms, to act as Trustee and to pay as rent to Eleanor the sum of twenty-five Pounds per year. (Farm 12 on the Richmond Properties map). Jonathan also granted to Elizabeth Kirby (His ward) the land shown as Anne Potts No.1 this land had a reserve of ten acres to give access to the Plummer, Thorley, and Parnell properties. In those days the road from Enfield ( North Richmond ) only went as far as Anne's land. The title was disputed in 1837 when Robert Potts claimed his wife, a daughter of Jonathan Griffiths, had purchased the land from Elizabeth Kirby. The result was in favour of Anne.

Elizabeth Kirby had married Thomas Walker in 1828 then in 1939 Phillip Summers (A grandson of Charles Parnell) was engaged professionally in lawsuit, the object of which was to determine the next of kin of Thomas Walker late of Yaralla. The Griffiths family were among the hundreds of claimants. Phillip had acted for a group of thirteen including people from South Africa and Norway . It had been claimed that the true name of Elizabeth was Griffiths and not Kirby. Although the evidence was strong, the Griffiths claimants failed to convince the court of this contention.

In earlier years Jonathan had supplied 2000 lbs of fresh meat to the Commuriat Department. He also obtained a free pardon for a David Linley by giving him an excellent character reference. His increasing wealth encouraged a conservative attitude; he commented in a letter in 1817, that the mustering of convicts for Divine Service on Sundays would be the means of their combining to raise wages. Jonathan and his good friend Samuel Thorley were representatives on the Richmond branch of the Committee of Emancipated Colonists. Both Thomas and Jonathan had become very interested in church matters and were generous benefactors.

Fur seals had been discovered on the Bass Straight Islands in the first few years of the 1800's. Soon sailing ships were coming from England, America and many other places for the prized skins. Governor King was quick to see the benefits in this potentially new industry and encouraged boat builders, seamen, and emancipated convicts to join in the hunt for Fur seals, this then led to the whaling trade and bark stripping. James Kirby having sold most of his land to Jonathan was quick to take up this new trade. In 1810, the "Elizabeth and Mary" a 92-Ton Clipper named after Jonathan's twin daughters, was launched. (Cumpston lists the owners Jonathan Griffiths, boat builder and Samuel Thorley of Sydney Dealer, Joint Owners)

Jonathan and Eleanor had purchased the lease on a house and land in High Street Sydney , (corner of George and King Street ) from Sergeant James Cox. The land size was ninety-eight Rods, with lease payments of Five Shillings per year for fourteen years. Then on the 21st.of September 1811. Jonathan advertised it for sale in the Sydney Gazette. The Sydney Gazette moved to the site next door at no 96 in May 1822.

A solicitor while conducting a land search of Jonathan Griffiths states: - (I have had a lengthy and careful search made through all the old records in various departmental offices. I find the transactions of the late Jonathan Griffiths somewhat extensive and I cannot say even now I have collected all of them, but I have gone further than the funds placed at my disposal.)

A part excerpt of that report reads: -
Jonathan Griffiths gave or granted the following lands to the following persons, to go to their heirs and administrators for ever:
Thomas Griffiths 70 acres of land fronting the Hawkesbury River, Richmond.
Anne Griffiths 4 acres with buildings thereon Front Street, Richmond.
George Plummer 35 acres of land at Richmond, being portion of 230 acres which had been granted by Governor Hunter to James Kirby and N Wilson in the year 1799. A purchase from them by Jonathan G. (No indication of the remaining 120 acres).
Elizabeth Griffiths 35 acres at Richmond.
Robert Cooper a dwelling house and premises No. 49 George Street, Sydney and the land on which the same stood having a frontage of 99 feet to George Street and 134 feet frontage to Bathurst Street.
Other land in the name of Jonathan Griffiths is as follows:
100 acres of land at Hunter's Hill granted 5th. April 1821 at 2/- pa.
100 acres of land at Botany Bay granted 1st. January 1810 at 2/- pa.
75 acres of land on the Hawkesbury River granted to Jonathan Griffiths and others on the 1st. May 1797 at 1/- pa.
The search concludes: - (The above will give you some idea, and if you want me to trace up these various matters further, and collect further information for your benefit and guidance. You will be good enough to forward to me a further sum of two pounds to enable me to continue the same).

Robert Cooper a convict arrived on the 9th.Oct.1813 in the "Earl Spencer". Five years after arriving in the colony he was granted a conditional pardon and started a shop on the property given to him by Jonathan.
An example of the shop is indicated by the following advertisement.
To be sold at Robert Coopers facing the burial ground (now the site of the Sydney Town Hall / St. Andrews). Paint, paint oil, turpentine, Swedish bar, square iron, nail-rod, sugar by the bag, tea by the chest, good Brazil tobacco, super fine blue, grey, black, and green cloth, good Welch flannel, Brimstone @ 1s per pound, English Bengal Paints, bran @ 1s6d per bushel, lamp oil by the cask. A house to be let at NO.1 George Street.
By 1822 the range of goods sold at the shop grew considerably. Robert Cooper's shop became so well known that he advertised only as Robert Coopers with no address or location. He became extremely wealthy travelled extensively and built the family home which still stands today as the heritage listed "Juniper Hall" in Paddington.
"Paddington House", the English style home of James Underwood was also built in the district now know as Paddington, Sydney.

In April 1811 Jonathan sold his interest in the "Elizabeth and Mary" to Samuel Thorley. Samuel took on a new partner, Thomas Abbott. Samuel with his new vessel had taken no less than 4700 sealskins and 60 ton of salt from Kangaroo Island by June of 1811. Early in 1814, she was sold to Joseph Underwood (qv.) for sealing at Macquarie Island . It is interesting to note that Jonathan sailed in the "Elizabeth and Mary" to Macquarie Island on the 23rd July 1819 .

The "Elizabeth and Mary" grounded on the Bar and broke up in heavy seas in February 1831 at Port Waikato, New Zealand. The crew reached shore and returned to Sydney on the "Sydney Packet" in March.

George Plummer was born in Scotland the son of a ship builder, his mother was Rebecca Stuart a member of the Stuart Clan. It has been claimed he had the command of a British ship trading around the Cape of Good Hope to India. During the England/French war, his ship was captured and he was taken prisoner. The story goes (believe it or not) that the jail-keepers daughter let him free, believing that he would come back and marry her at the end of the war.
After arriving in Australia, George sought employment with Jonathan, as George had a Masters ticket with ship building knowledge, he was just the right man for Jonathan, he worked in Jonathan's whaling and sealing interests.
George built several ships with Jonathan and married his daughter Sarah at Castlereagh, NSW in January 1816. George was then given command of a family owned ship. Jonathan also gave George thirty-five acres of the land he had bought from James Kirby in 1806; later George commenced ship building in his own yard at Windsor.
In 1815 Jonathan built a whaler, the "Rosetta", in conjunction with George Plummer, it was described as being close timbered, well tunnelled, and bolted to endure the hardship of the coast.
In January 1816 under the command of William Rook she sailed to Kangaroo Island and returned in July with 2000 sealskins and fifty ton of salt. Between the following October to April she had taken another 5000 skins and salt.
In October 1816 with a party of the 64th Regiment on board, the "Rosetta" was sent in pursuit of the eighty ton square rigged brig "Trial" that had been " piratically boarded by seven fugitives and taken away from her anchorage at Port Dalrymple" (George town). The prisoners were returned and sentenced in Newcastle. Captain Rook was given a grant of land and the indulgences of a Settler while Jonathan received Two Hundred Pound sterling and a cask of spirits for the use of his brig. In addition, a written authority to apprehend at sea, all runaway convicts suspicious persons and boats breaking Port Regulations. The "Rosetta" returned to Sydney 12th June with a further 3500 fur seal skins, 4700 kangaroo, half a ton of whale oil, 11 ton of salt, and 1090 bushels of wheat. Three years after she was built, Jonathan sold her for twelve hundred Pound sterling to the Crown. Two thousand-Pound was spent on a refit.

Quote: -Sydney Gazette 28th.Nov.1818: The Governor renamed the Colonial brig "Rosetta" the "Prince Leopold", in honour of Prince Leopold of - "Saxe Cobourg". In Nov.1831 she was owned by James Kelly, Thomas Griffiths and Thomas Lucas who had again renamed her, this time the "Mary and Elizabeth", skippered by Captain Lovitt, she called into Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand. Maoris attacked the ship for reprisals for crimes against their women, by the whalers. The Captain managed to sail to Cloudy Bay where his crew deserted. Friendly natives assisted him in returning to Hobart.
Captain Kelly sent the ship back to New Zealand under the command of Captain Young, where Maoris again attacked it. This time it was agreed that the problem started with the Maoris. Captain Kelly and the Maoris had had problems since the Otago affair of 1817.
Still with the same owners, the "Mary and Elizabeth" was wrecked on the north coast of Port Sorrell 1835.
It was practice to place a notice at the time when one was leaving the colony, but the departure on the 16th Sept.1820 of the brig "Glory" is noted as it contains the names of several crew members.

Quote: - Leaving the colony in the brig "Glory", all claims settled for Jonathan Griffiths, Robert Brown, William Hunt, John Griffiths, William Griffiths, Robert Atkins, James Golden, James Anderson, Robert Brown, James Hatch, Thomas Chaceland, William Howe, George Allen, John McMahon, Andrew Pearson, William Coleman, William Picket, Thomas Petre and George Roberts.
The following year The "Glory" again made the news in Sydney Town.

Quote:-Information reaches us that the brig "Glory" Mr. John Griffiths owner, had arrived at Port Dalrymple with a second cargo from the wreck of the ship "Phatisalam". That the vessel had or the remains of her been burnt it has been found totally impracticable by Mr. Griffiths, who had been engaged by Captain Dillon for the purpose of salvage to recover the vessel, most of the iron work of course will be saved.
The busy "Glory" returned to Sydney after a fifteen month sealing voyage that included three return trips to port Dalrymple in 1822.

1821-1822 must have been a very bitter- sweet period in the Thorley-Griffiths households, in this short period; Phillip Thorley a son ? (See story Thomas Parnell and Agnes Shales) of Samuel married Mary Griffiths, Jonathan's daughter. Jonathan's son William married Elizabeth Thorley. Also sadly, Samuel Thorley senior passed away.
Six months after the death of his friend Samuel in 1821; Jonathan moved his business interests to Launceston, Van Diemens land with his sons John and William. They arrived in Launceston in their own ship the "Maid of Richmond" under the command of George Plummer. They purchased one hundred and fifty acres in three town lots from a builder, James Lightfoot, then cleared and camped on this land. Lightfoot had also promised another one thousand five hundred acres at Green Point. Also Governor Macquarie granted him two hundred acres at Norfolk Plains, after complaining it was insufficient to run his eight hundred sheep, the grant was extended another one hundred and fifty acres. Shortly after, George moved his wife Sarah and her brother Henry down to Launceston from Richmond .

A whaler named "Echo" left England bound for New Zealand in 1819 she was wrecked on the Cato Reef in the Coral sea in April the following year. The crew got away in two small boats, the first reached Sydney on July 8, followed by the second in August 1820. One of this crew was a man named James Everitt, he was also known as Everest. He left Sydney three days later to work at a southern sperm whale fishery. He made several whaling trips, but was again ship wrecked in the Torres straight; this time on a Griffiths owned ship while on a voyage to Batavia. Everest/ Everitt is of interest because of the name, his connection with the Griffiths family, and his special interest in whaling. However he may or may not be connected to Rosa Everest (see main Story), but the strong circumstantial evidence indicates he probably was. Early in 1824, James Everest was found to be living on Kangaroo Island, as were other sealers including James Kirby who was living with a black woman. Kirby was again seen living at King George Sound three years later with Dinah, a native of Van Diemen's land. Kirby offered to rejoin the Navy with the HMS "Success" while she was at King George Sound in April 1827 but was refused. Everest is reported to have abducted a native from Piper Point, and murdered her on Woody Island because she had not cleaned his mutton-birds properly. At the time of his death in his early sixties, he was married to twenty-five year old Elizabeth Mirey.
In June 1824 Jonathan set sail in the "Glory" in search of a Mr. John Lawrie in the "Fame", suspected of having on board a small stolen boat. He found the "Fame" at Twofold Bay, took off Lawrie his passengers and cargo, then towed the "Fame" to Launceston and handed it over to the Government. Lawrie was sentenced to seven years and transportation, but sued Griffiths in the Tasmanian Supreme Court for trespass and false imprisonment and, won a verdict for 460. After long and costly appeals, Governor Arthur Phillip recommended him to the Colonial Office for relief, which Jonathan received.

The case. "Lawrie V Griffiths".

About 1827, Jonathan received the land he had been promised by Lightfoot at Green point on the
Tamar River; also he had accrued four thousand five hundred acres at Freshwater point. They built a new wharf at Launceston using timber from this land, and fitted out early whalers for the fishery at Portland Bay. The Freshwater property is on the West Bank of the Tamar River at Legana, just across the river near Dilston, The old house has been restored and is now operated as a lovely guesthouse named "Freshwater Point" set in park-like surroundings. It has been regarded by some as "The states most perfect example of Architecture of the post-Napoleonic period".

Eleanor made a number of visits to Launceston but spent most of her time on their Richmond property where two of their children remained. She died at Richmond in 1831 and is buried in the family vault at St. Peters Cemetery Richmond. In 1836, Jonathan let his farm at Richmond to Robert Eather, leaving in his care three grand children. They were the children of his eldest son Thomas, who at the age of 29 had been thrown from a horse and killed. Several of the family members then also moved to Tasmania.
On 6 December 1831, the new Griffith built schooner "Elizabeth ", under the command of John Hart, aged 22, and sailed for the NW Islands. Mr. Griffiths was on board to ascertain the success of the sealing parties, and to keep his whalers busy in the off season by stripping bark from wattle trees. This became a very profitable industry; the bark was exported to be used for tanning leather and in the wattle and daub building industry.

Quote- The Launceston Advertiser- 11/4/1833 The "Friendship", the property of Mr. Griffiths, has returned to port, after an absence of scarcely four months, filled with seal and kangaroo skins, salt, seal oil, etc. to the value of nearly 1700. Surely sufficient attention is not paid to the mercantile community to this profitable branch of our export trade. We congratulate Mr. Griffiths on his success. (End quote).

Thanks to John Griffiths and

Norman Clarke,




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