Thomas Berryman (1818-1872)

 

PART 2:

 GAFFEY FAMILY

ANCESTORS’ CHARTS 

(parents of Joan Gaffey):

INDIVIDUAL SUMMARIES

Father Thomas BERYMEN/BERRYMAN

Line of Descent to Joan Gaffey

Thomas Berryman

(Great grandfather)

Margaret Berryman

Thomas Gaffey

Joan Gaffey

Mother

Esther ANDREWS (unconfirmed)[1]

Birth

1818 in Portsmouth, England[2],[3], [4]
Occupation Hawker (1835) convict, stock keeper/labourer/farmer (between 1837 and 1872)[6],[7],[8],[9],[9]

Convicted

Jan 9 1835, Southhampton Quarter Sessions Assizes[11]

Transported

June -Aug 28 1835 to Australia[12] on the  second voyage of the convict transport, England

Lived at

Bundarra, near Armidale[13]

Death/Burial

Jan 25 1872 at Torryburn, near Armidale[14] of “sudden heart disease”.
Marriage Catherine STUART/STEWART (Jan 1844, Leets Vale, [Hawkesbury R.] NSW)
Children 

Marianne BERRYMAN (1846-)

Margaret BERRYMAN (b Mar 9 1849 – 1923), married James Gaffey, 1868, Bundarra

Thomas BERRYMAN (Jan 15 1851-1900)

John BERRYMAN (1852-)

Joseph BERRYMAN (1854-)

Henry BERRYMAN (1856-)

Frederick BERRYMAN (1858-)

Elizabeth BERRYMAN (1860-)

Emily BERRYMAN (1864-)

Maria BERRYMAN (1866-1876)

Thomas Berryman was a rebellious young rogue who grew, in time, into a respected member of the society he’d been forced to join as a convict outcast.

Convict records give a comprehensive physical description: Tom was short, only 5'2" (157 cm),  with brown hair and blue eyes, with a scar below the right elbow, a small wart on the back of the forefinger of his left hand and a scar on his right knee cap.

Growing up uneducated and illiterate, he'd been in trouble with the law early.  In 1835, as a 17-year-old, Thomas, who earned what little he could as a street hawker, was convicted at Southhampton Quarter Sessions Assizes of housebreaking, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.  It wasn’t his first foray into a life of petty crime – the court took into account a previous conviction that resulted in a one-month jail sentence.  On this subsequent occasion, it appears that young Thomas was accompanying his father, Tom Senior on a little bit of housebreaking when they were caught.

 Convict trial and convict hulk records show that Thomas Berryman Senior, and Thomas Berryman Junior (or Younger) were convicted and sentenced together in Portsmouth in 1835, for "l.arceny of a dwelling house (£5)".  They were both taken to the prison hulk Hardy, moored in Portsmouth Harbour while they waited to be transported to New South Wales.

Tom was kept on the Hardy until June, when he was transferred to the England, for the voyage to Australia.   Thomas Berryman Sen was not so fortunate  - he didn't survive in the often horrendous conditions on the prison hulk, dying in April, less than four months after his conviction.

On the England, he earned a reputation as something of a troublemaker.  Even before the voyage started, he injured his arm in an incident with another prisoner on the vessel taking them from the wharf out to the England.

 Once landed in Sydney, his record did not improve.  At one stage, he was sentenced to an extra six months in irons for robbery, and on another occasion, one month on the treadmill for insolence.  In between these and other transgressions, Tom was held for nine months at Hyde Park Barracks (a wing of which still exists as a convict museum near St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney), until the robbery that led to his stint in irons on a road gang. 

(above) The treadmill at Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney – a secondary punishment for recalcitrant convicts.  Eighteen- year-old Tom was sentenced to one month working the treadmill for the crime of insolence.  The treadmill has been described by a writer of that time as "a very useful piece of machinery for the purpose of correcting the tarnished morals of Botany Bay" 14a

(above) Hyde Park Barracks, designed by convict architect, Francis Greenway, where Thomas was held before he was assigned to the Hawkesbury area.


A road gang in the bush near Sydney, c1838, shows convicts with ‘a pinched and sallow look’, according to historian Robert Hughes in his book, The Fatal Shore.  Thomas was sent to one such road gang in 1836.

Picture: National Library of Australia, Canberra

When his term on the road gang was up, he was assigned to a farm belonging to the Fleming family on the river flats at Wilberforce in the Macdonald Valley, near Wiseman's Ferry northwest of Sydney.  In 1837, the younger Fleming sons had branched out to establish their own properties in the northwest of the state.  In those early years, many of the families from the Macdonald Valley developed pastoral links with the area north of Tamworth, and it was not uncommon for new settlers along the Gwydir River and to the west to have come from the Hawkesbury.

Twenty two-year-old John Fleming and his older brother  Joseph took up a run, known as Mungie Bundie, on the Gwydir river, 20 kilometres east of Moree, and Thomas Berryman was sent there as a hut keeper.  It was in this capacity he was questioned about John Fleming's involvement in the notorious Myall Creek massacre in April 1838[14b].  According to Roger Millis, in his book Waterloo Creek, Berryman’s “equivocation and dissembling made [another witness] look like a model of candour.  He was nothing if not loyal to his absent master”.[15]

A more kindly interpretation is given by another historian:

The evidence of Thomas Berryman, Fleming’s hutkeeper, reveals a man humble and ignorant, always receiving visitors – “I believe all the stockmen about are in the habit of calling here” – remembering exactly how they came and went because these were central events in his life, but ignoring or forgetting everything else.[16]

Seven of the white men involved in the massacre of a group of aborigines were hanged, but Fleming escaped.  According to Millis,

"The ringleader of the exercise ….  lived his life out to the full without ever have to face the music. The £50 reward for John Fleming was never lifted, but the man-hunt for him was soon quietly abandoned.  By 1840 he felt so sure of himself as to get publicly married, giving his place of residence as 'Macdonald River', where he had apparently been hiding out with sections of his spreading clan.  In due course, he emerged completely to claim his place in the sun, and for 24 years was a warden of St. Johns Church at Wilberforce before dying a pillar of respectability in 1894 at the age of 78, the blood of Myall Creek long washed from his hands by piety."[17]

While still a convict, Thomas met Catherine (“Kitty”) Stewart, a young woman who came out from Ireland as a child.  Kitty’s mother had petitioned the Irish authorities to be allowed to join her husband, a convict assigned to a farm in the Macdonald Valley, less than a kilometre from the Fleming family property where Tom worked.  Kitty and Tom were married by special permission in 1844 in a small, now-vanished Catholic Chapel at Leet’s Vale, near Wiseman’s Ferry, northwest of Sydney.

Kitty and Tom had 10 children, two before Thomas officially gained his freedom.[18]   In the 1850s, the Berrymans moved northwards to territory familiar to Tom through his assignment to the Flemings, this time to the Bundarra area, west of Armidale, where the family settled.

Winscomb, a property near Bundarra, where Thomas is thought to have worked in the 1850s

 

 

 

 

In 1859, in a petition filed with the Legislative Assembly, Thomas was listed as a freehold land-owner at Winscombe, Bundarra.  Winscombe is a large pastoral property, some 15 kilometres south of Bundarra, and it's believed that Thomas may have worked on the property before settling on a selection nearby.  Alternatively, the Winscombe property may have given its name to the general area. In records such as his children's baptism and birth certificates, Thomas was variously described as a stockkeeper, labourer, and farmer.

He died of a ‘sudden disease of the heart'  (although there had been speculation in the family there was something untoward with his death, as he was reputed to be carrying a large sum of money which wasn’t accounted for, at the time[19]) at Torryburn, near Armidale, in 1872 aged 54, and was buried in Bundarra cemetery.


[1] An English researcher, commissioned by Berryman descendant Jean McDonnell, found an entry for the marriage of Thomas Berymen and Esther Andrews at Alverstoke, Hampshire on May 16, 1818.  Both signed with an “X”.  However, no record of a baptism for Thomas has been found (although baptisms were recorded for two other children, John and William, believed to be from the same family) so the connection with Thomas, while probable, cannot be confirmed.

[2] NSW Registrar of Births Deaths & Marriages.  NSW Birth Certificate.  birth cert of daughter Elizabeth.

[3] NSW Archives.  Convict Indent.  Fiche no 714, page 132

[4] NSW Death Certificate.  Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages

[5] NSW Archives.  Convict Indent.  Fiche 714 page 132.

[6] Church Records.  NSW Registrar of BDM.  V 1851/1422 68

[7] NSW Death Certificate.  Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.  (Thomas).

[8] NSW Registrar of Births Deaths & Marriages.  NSW Birth Certificate. (daughter Elizabeth).

[9] NSW Government Gazette.  Tuesday September 13, 1859 (No. 182).

[10] As above

[11] As above

[12] As above

[13] NSW Registrar of Births Deaths & Marriages.  NSW Birth Certificate (daughter Elizabeth's birth certificate). 

[14] NSW Death Certificate.  Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.  Thomas' death certificate (1872/2869)

[14a] John Maclehouse, Picture of Sydney and Strangers' Guide in NSW for 1839, (first published 1839), quote posted by Sid Hammell 19 April 1999

[14b] Peter Stewart, Demons at Duck: Massacre at Myall Creek, Temple House, Hartwell, Victoria, 2007, pp 203-207

[15] Roger Milliss, Waterloo Creek, McPhee Gribble, 1992, p 339

[16]  Alan Atkinson & Marian Aveling (eds.), Australians: 1838, Fairfax, Syme,  &Weldon Associates, Broadway, 1987

[17] As above, p721,

[18]  Tom gained his ticket of leave in 1844 (44/611) and a conditional pardon in 1849(49/376)

[19]  Jean McDonnell