FROM PHIL READY’S READY OR NOT.
KING’S successor WILLIAM BLIGH had even more trouble with MACARTHUR and the NSW CORPS as he was more interested in discipline than seeing the officers get rich for he well remembered the mutiny of his crew on the BOUNTY. So while JOHN and ANN worked hard to build a future for their family which had grown to five with the birth of two sons, JAMES and JOHN, friction was building up between BLIGH and MACARTHUR.
The smaller settlers and emancipists whom the Corps despised, backed BLIGH as he tried to bring the Corps under control and stop them abusing the privileges they had squeezed from his predecessors. On Friday 1st January 1808 as evidence of their backing they penned an address of loyalty to him , which JOHN CURTIS also signed.
Unfortunately, under the threat of financial ruin along with other signatories, John was forced to retract and sign another in favour of MAJOR JOHNSTON when MCARTHUR and the more influential settlers , feeling threatened by Bligh, persuaded Johnston to depose BLIGH and assume command himself ( Banks papers. vol 622 captan bligh and nsw corps 1906 1811 p 301).
As no provision had been made for settlers by the English Government when setting up the prison Colony, there was a great shortage of coins at this period so coins from other nationalities were put into use and IOUS and PROMISSORY NOTES came into circulation. John Curtis was unfortunate enough to lose one of these promissary notes and during March 1809 advertised in the papers for its return. ( Check the details on https://lynnesheritage.wordpress.com/2008/08/21/st-johns-church-parramatta-john-curtis-and-ann-moran/. They read a little differently with access to NLA ).
Leaving Lt Gov Patterson in charge McArthur and Johnston made the mistake of going to England to explain their actions to the English Government which was not amused by the way they had deposed BLIGH. Major Johnston was casheered and John McArthur exiled from the Colony for 8 years.
On 17th December 1809 JOHN CURTIS was notified that Lt Gov Patterson had granted him land at Parramatta. Eleven Days later Lachlan Macquarie Bligh’s replacement arrived and within a few weeks had assessed the situation and cancelled everything that had been done officially since Johnston had deposed Bligh ; all land grants, appointments and trials. It had been decided that the NSW CORPS was to become one of the ordinary regiments of the British Army and sent home.
With staggering speed Macquarie started to clean up the mess he had inherited for he found the population continually threatened with starvation, the buildings decaying and the morals of most of the population in the lowest state of debasement whilst religious worship seemed to be in a state of almost total neglect. Arrival of the grain ship MARIAN a fortnight after Macquaries arrival followed by a mild autumn and bounteous spring partly relieved the problem of feeding the starving community and Macquarie was able to concentrate on other matters needing his attention.
Cancellation of all land grants made during the rebel’s rule meant that JOHN CURTIS too lost the land granted to him by Lt Col Gov Patterson so he wrote a memorial to Gov Macquarie seeking confirmation of the grant. ( sm folio pp 4 1810 NSW Colonial Sec in letters and memorials 1810 AK NO 80 REEL 1066 AONSW). Macquarie as was his way when dealing with those he considered worthy emancipists acquiesced.
The skills John was acquiring in the Colony coupled with those he had learned as an accountant in England were coming in handy and life was improving steadily for he appears to have been able to use some of the Government Land at the dairy for his own cattle. Ann too was proving to be a marvellous help and mother and on Wed 3rd July 1811 gave birth to their third son PETER. This was ANN’s 4th child but John’s 16th, two of his English children had died before he left England leaving 5 sons and 5 daughters there.
During March 1812 there were again heavy rains and the Hawkesbury rose 12 feet over its banks. Flood years seemed to stir John’s spirit for on 7th December he further petitioned the Governor , this time for a free pardon which was granted. (NSW COL SEC IN LETTERS Petitions mitigating sentences 1811 – 1812 pp 110-111 reels 1227 and 612 ) (register of pardons and tickets of leave Vol 1 p 183 Col Sec papers COD ML ).
As cattle were always straying through the burial grounds behind St Johns Church Parramatta, an appeal for funds towards enclosing the grounds was made, to which JOHN CURTIS subscribed ( Sydney Gazette Jan 1813).
On Tuesday 16 August 1814 in a ceremony at St Johns Church at Parramatta witnessed by Chistopher Grogan and Margaret Neale , JOHN CURTIS and ANN MORAN were married. This ceremony was followed by the baptism of 3 year old PETER and his baby sister CATHERINE ( Kitty) born on 7th June that year ( 1814) . A muster taken at this time lists JOHN, ANN and these 2 children as still being supplied from Govt Stores whilst the other 3 children were not.
The CURTIS children grew as the years passed with all helping out on the farm as they became able . Elizabeth blossomed into a young woman and JOHN READY who lived nearby became interested in her. In 1829 when ELIZABETH was 17 and JOHN READY was 30 they were married.
With other ROMAN CATHOLIC members of the community, JOHN CURTIS signed a petition to J T BIGGE for a ROMAN CATHOLIC CHAPEL when Bigges came out to the Colony to investigate and report on how it was going. ( 20 Feb 1820 Bigges Report app p 3943).
Because of John’s advanced age,( he was now 72), ANN CURTIS set up business for herself. On 21 April 1821 she paid into the POLICE FUND for 6 months brewing licence and a retailing licence ( Wenworth Papers dip 228).
Almost six months later on Wed 12 September 1821 , John Curtis died and was laid to rest in the BURIAL GROUND behind ST JOHNS CHURCH PARRAMATTA.