ANN MORAN CURTIS : FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF JOHN
FROM PHIL READY’S READY OR NOT.
In his will JOHN CURTIS left everything to ANN in trust for his children, ELIZABETH, JAMES, JOHN, PETER and CATHERINE.
Ann having an equal portion in the rest. To his married daughter ELIZABETH READY he also left 10 head of cattle.
This left 26 head of cattle and 2 mares, a certain house in the township of PARRAMATTA , and a 30 acre farm along the SYDNEY ROAD which he had bought from JAMES WRIGHT. These were to be divided as evenly as possible between ANN and the children but if ANN were to remarry ad the childrens’ shares become endangered , then his friends, JOHN LACEY and THOMAS GARTY were to become the guardians of his children’s property until they were able to look after their own interests. Witnesses to his signature were JOHN LACEY, THOMAS GARTY and his son-in-law JOHN READY.
Two months after John’s death, a letter came from J MEEHAN ordering him to remove his herds etc from his land at TOONGABBIE as it was now required by the Government. ( NSW COL SEC in letters p 14 reel 2167 ) .
ANN had received a grant of 100 acres at PARRAMATTA ( Vol 18 p 169) and was leasing two small blocks nearby one of 36 perches ( Vol 16 pp 339 and one of 38 perches Vol 16 p 231 ) In 1822 she is reported as supplying yeast for the prisoner’s barracks at PARRAMATTA (A 766 p 2 ML)
As ANN’S brewing licence had expired although her eyesight had been damaged in an accident she went to SYDNEY on 5 MARCH 1822 to renew the licence. Upon her return she found that her brewery with most of its stock had been destroyed by fire. There was always the danger of this happening for at that time there were only wood fires for cooking or oil lamps for lighting. The fire was put out with the help of several people and in the 14th March Edition of the AUSTRALIAN Ann thanked them for their help. At the same time she circulated a petition for help from the local populace to get started in business again so that she could feed her children. ( petition to the people of SYDNEY from ANN CURTIS )
The 16 October 1822 edition of the SYDNEY GAZETTE carried an advertisement from Ann advertising that she was leaving the Colony but in November that year a court case COOPER V CURTIS took place with the verdict being found in favour of COOPER.
On the 10 November 1822, J T CAMPBELL placed a notice in the SYDNEY GAZETTE,
“Pursuant to levy I will cause to be set up and sold. one Cow and calf, 1 pig,a small quantity of sugar and sundry household items of furniture . I will further sell by auction at my office in HUNTER STREET at 12 noon the defendant CURTIS’ right, title and interest in and to the house wherein she now resides situated near the Turnpike gate at PARRAMATTA on the road leading to WINDSOR being on a corner of the road leading to the ORPHAN SCHOOL.
On Tuesday 25 November 1823 JOHN CURTIS’ request for land was granted ( too late for JOHN ) : 80 acres at PILGRIM HILL, LIBERTY PLAINS. (Bk p 4 D 225 ) . The following year 1824 on page 4 of the 19th February Edition of the SYDNEY GAZETTE Ann’s home was again advertised for sale and she moved to the 30 acre farm on SYDNEY ROAD where in 1826 she was listed as property owner ( Wentworth Papers A 767 p39).
As soon as he was old enough PETER CURTIS was apprenticed as a BUTCHER to WILLIAM SHARP in HUNTER ST SYDNEY and on 5 DECEMEBER 1828 gave sworn evidence for SHARP when SHARP was accused of dishonesty. Apparently Sharp was unable to read and signed a document read out to him by one BENJAMIN KIRKBY purported to be an agreement to lease a house which Kirkby was about to take from one MERRITH. it later turned out that what Kirkby had really tricked Sharp into signing was a bill of exchange for 50 pounds and it was only because of PETER being there at the time that he was able to appear as a witness for SHARP.
By 1828 John and Ann Curtis’ eldest son JAMES had reached the age of 22 and had met and courted MARY PARSONS born in the Colony in 1811. During the year they were joined in marriage and set up home together.
When the Census was taken in November of 1828, there were only 15 year old Catherine, Ann and 72 year old JOHN BRYAN left living at the SYDNEY ROAD property. Bryan had arrived on Sat 15 Feb 1806 aboard the TELLICHERRY and was working as a labourer for ANN.
(This census shows ANN as arriving on the ATLAS but careful research shows that none of the three Anns who arrived aboard that ship married a CURTIS. AS THE ATLAS and HERCULES had left the same port on the same day sailing most of the way together it is reasonable to assume that a mistake has been made in the entry.)
1829 saw the birth of a son JOHN HENRY to JAMES and MARY CURTIS and to ELIZABETH READY who had given birth to a daughter in 1826, a son- PETER MARK READY.
WHAT part if any ANN played in the events that shook the family in 1829-30 is not known but one day in 1830 her son-in-law JOHN READY arrived at her farm with some cattle which were branded JC on their rumps . These beasts he left at the farm and departed. The next day they were removed by the Police. Later JEREMIAH DALEY who lived at the farm testified that JOHN READY was the one who brought them there.
Two years later on 6 October at the age of 60, ANN died and was buried at the SYDNEY BURIAL GROUND, at that time where central Railway Station now stands. About 73 years after ANN’S burial, when the land was required to build the Railway Station and tracks her remains were transferred to the PIONEER SECTION of BOTANY CEMETERY where her headstone still stands today among those of numerous well known early settlers.
2. JOHN CURTIS MARRIED 1814 TO ANN MORAN
1 1803 ELIZABETH MARRIED 1820 TO JOHN READY 2 1806 JAMES MARRIED 1828 TO MARY PARSONS 3 1807 JOHN 4 1811 PETER MARRIED 1842 TO ADELA AUSTIN 5 1814 CATHERINE MARRIED 1833 TO GEORGE ECCLESTON
JAMES CURTIS became a very successful cabinetmaker, upholsterer and UNDERTAKER carrying on his business in HUNTER STREET , SYDNEY and several times having to move into larger premises. After the death of his wife MARY in 1848, JAMES with a family of 7 children to care for remarried , his wife being ELLEN SWEENEY.
CATHERINE continued to live at the SYDNEY ROAD property until she married GEORGE ECCLESTON who had arrived in NSW as a soldier and was later a founding member of the NSW MOUNTED POLICE.
Very little is know of JOHN CURTIS JNR and although there is an interesting story of a JOHN CURTIS who was executed in 1828 for stealing a cow at BRINGELLY belonging to W C WENTWORTH, the account does not appear to tie up with our JOHN whom I believe was in the MOLONGOLO PLAINS AREA where he advertised in 1844 for three lost horses which had strayed. It was to this general area that PETER CURTIS and GEORGE ECCLESTON moved after their respective marriages with George setting up his cattle station BLACKFOREST near COOMA and PETER running a very successful cattle and butchering business there . The last known of JOHN JNR was at DIAMOND CREEK in VICTORIA . After that there were too many JOHN CURTIS’ to distinguish one from another.
PETER CURTIS raised a family of four girls and one son and lived until 1885 , his wife ADELAIDE, having died in 1875 at the age of 52.
CATHERINE and GEORGE ECCLESTON had a family of two boys and eight girls. both George and Catherine died in 1882. George on the 18 May and Catherine on 22 September at the age of 62.