Graves of William, his infant son Sydney,  and his father at St Matthews Church, Windsor, NSW
William Williams (1814-1864)

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Line of Descent to Joan Gaffey

William Williams
(Great grandfather)

Thomas Williams

Stella Williams

Joan Gaffey

William WILLIAMS (bet 1775 & 1777- 1840)

Julia LEAHY (bet 1778 & 1780-1840)

Sep 28 1814 in Pitt Town, near Windsor[1] [2]

Mar 27 1815 in Windsor[3]

Farmer [4]

Dec 31 1863 (age 49)[5]

Jan 1864 in Windsor C of E (St. Matthews) NSW (age 49)[6]

Mary Anne PENDERGAST (1848 in St. Matthews, Windsor) [7]

James William WILLIAMS (1848- 1902)
Sophia Jane WILLIAMS (1850-1854)
Charles Edwin WILLIAMS (1852-1932)
Elizabeth Mary WILLIAMS (1854-1922)
Sydney Edgar WILLIAMS (1853-1854)
Wilfred Thomas WILLIAMS (1856-)
Thomas Herbert WILLIAMS (1858- 1918), married Mary Ellen Hyde, 1880 Woollahra
Sarah E WILLIAMS (1861-)

William was a “Currency lad”, the term given the first white Australian-born colonists. Like the many others who merited the description, William was the colonial-born son of two convicts.

Although William had two older sisters, his parents didn’t get around to getting married until just before William’s own birth in 1814. Commonly for the time, there are various conflicting estimates of his age and year of birth, but the baptism record and the 1828 census agree on the 1814 date. It appears he had also had a second name, Morgan, recorded only in the death certificate of his widow, Mary Anne.

He grew up on a small farm on the fertile, but frequently-flooded river flats of the Hawkesbury River, near Windsor in Sydney’s north-west, and probably escaped going to school - for the simple reason there weren’t any in the area at that early stage of settlement, and as the only son of his farmer father, he would have been needed in the fields.

The colonial shortage of eligible females meant that he didn’t marry until comparatively late, when he was 34, to the 17-year-old granddaughter of another convict couple, the Pendergasts, who had large landholdings in the Windsor-Hawkesbury district.

William and Mary Anne had eight children in their 15 years of marriage; at least one of the children died in infancy. William himself died at a comparatively young age, just 49 years, when his youngest child, Thomas, was only five years old.

William's life was largely unnoticed in official records - even his death certificate is missing, and part of his gravestone inscription has been obliterated by time and weather. However, the Sydney Morning Herald recorded his death on December 31, 1863, "at his residence, Breakfast Creek, near Windsor, after a painful illness, aged 49, leaving a wife and 6 children". Breakfast Creek was probably a purely local name for that area of Eastern Creek, which feeds into South Creek, a tributary of the Hawkesbury.

In his Will, made shortly before his death, William left his property to his wife Mary Anne. The land was described as being “between the Blacktown to Richmond railway, and the Windsor Road” (see right).

He was buried next to his father in the churchyard alongside the historic St. Matthew's Anglican Church at Windsor. Also buried with William was his young son, Sydney, who had died nearly 10 years earlier, aged only four months.

(right): A deteriorating remnant (c1999) of the early European settlement, in the farming area just south of Windsor, NSW, where William and Mary Ann Williams raised their family.

[1] NSW Registrar of Births Deaths & Marriages. NSW Birth Certificate (son Thomas).
[2] Church Records. NSW Registrar of BDM. Baptism register, volume 1A. Williams age in 1858 (recorded by his wife on his son's birth certificate) was thought to be 41(which would mean a birth year of 1816/17) - however official records of his Baptism, and the 1814 Windsor District muster and the 1828 census give it as 1814
[3] As above
[4] NSW Registrar of Births Deaths & Marriages. NSW Birth Certificate (son Thomas).
[5] Gravestone - cemetery records St. Matthews C of E, Windsor (His gravestone notes his death as 31st of December 186?, with the last number obliterated.).
[6] As above
[7] Their son's birth certificate gives the marriage date as 1847; church records on microfiche give it as 1848