The marriage of John Ready to Elizabeth Curtis was bigamous – see TROVE “The Sydney Monitor” Saturday 5 June 1830.

Betty Apr 4, 10:58 am

An update on Elizabeth Curtis

The marriage of John Ready to Elizabeth Curtis was bigamous – see TROVE “The Sydney Monitor” Saturday 5 June 1830.

Elizabeth married Thomas Hogan at St Mary’s Ch, Sydney on 10 June 1831. She had at least six children with Thomas Hogan, not including Peter Mark Ready who was most likely the child mentioned by Johanna Ready/Pendergast as belonging to another man. Thomas Hogan died in January 1839 in Bathurst. (Think descendants should really have been Hogan in answer to Phil’s “Ready or Not”)

Elizabeth next married James Quinn at St Mary’s Ch, Sydney in 1840. James Quinn died 28 July 1841.

Elizabeth’s final marriage took place in 1847 at Parramatta to Michael O’Brien, he died 18 August 1862 in Parramatta.

She died on 11 September 1867 at Parramatta and was buried in the Parramatta Roman Catholic cemetery on 13 September 1867.

 

Many thanks Betty for these details.

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8 thoughts on “The marriage of John Ready to Elizabeth Curtis was bigamous – see TROVE “The Sydney Monitor” Saturday 5 June 1830.”

  1. Another snippet – John Ready’s mother, Johanna Pendergast died 3 December 1838 and was buried at St Matthew’s RC Church, Windsor (Burial No 112, page 225, Windsor burial register 1835-1874, described as a settler, officiating priest W Brady).

    Betty

  2. I think this line on John Ready is a bit harsh, and doesn’t look at the whole picture. He and Elizabeth had problems for a long time – back in Feb 1822 and again in May 1829 he put one of those notices in the paper that his wife had left home without just cause so he wasn’t going to be responsible for debts she incurred in his name – perhaps she was flighty from the start, after all she was only 17 when she married him. As Johanna Ready wrote 16 months later in 1830, we know that by May 1829 Elizabeth had moved out to live with another man and had a baby boy baptised that year who was possibly the other man’s child (your ReadyorNot page). Then a year later in 1830 it gets really interesting – on 15th, 19th & 22nd May 1830 John again advertised that Elizabeth had left him, adding that he would prosecute anyone who harboured her (clearly aimed at the de facto husband).
    On 24th May he wrote a notice that he would be available on 24th June to pay all his debts, and he advertised this intention on 29th May & 5th June. THEN also from 5th June (and on 12th & 19th June) he advertised that he had a first marriage in Ireland that was still on foot so Elizabeth was free to marry someone else. Really? What man would open himself to criminal prosecution so willingly? It adds up to either someone threatening him about an Irish wife after he ran his May prosecution ads OR to his becoming so despairing that he was trying to “clear out” his life including letting Elizabeth off the hook by publicly saying his marriage to her was not legal. Perhaps he had not been married at all in Ireland, after all he’d only been 25 years old when Three Bees left Ireland in 1813. If anything, Elizabeth was the proven de facto “bigamist”, John had not even been charged. I believe his ad was a ploy. Then after he paid off his debts in June he did the stolen cattle thing – he was entered into Sydney Gaol on 29th June from the Parramatta Sessions. Perhaps he stole the cattle on purpose to be caught – as his mother wrote, he was not thinking straight. History has to be seen in context,one event can’t be seen in isolation and then sensationalised. Anyway … a bit more to think about.
    Robin

    1. Some interesting opinions, Robin.

      John Ready was tried in August 1812, arrived in Sydney on 26 May 1814; his ‘marriage’ with Elizabeth Curtis took place on 2 Feb 1820. Whether he had actually been married in Ireland is not known. However, he would have had little reason to have feared being charged by making it public when he did in June 1830 that Elizabeth Curtis was not his lawful wife.

      Not disclosing the existence of an earlier marriage by a convict was apparently fairly common in the early years of colonization when communication was difficult. “A popular way out of a bigamy charge could easily be based on the presumption of death. This presumption was based on a common law rule in English law that a person could be presumed dead, who had not been heard of for seven years by those who would be most likely to hear of them if they were alive.”

      Betty

      Robin commented: “I think this line on John Ready is a bit harsh, and doesn’t look at the whole picture. He and Elizabeth had problems for a long time – back in Feb 1822 and again in May 1829 he put one of those notices in the paper that his wife had left home without”

  3. Ah well, understanding history is very much about context, not bald facts alone. Non-disclosure of a prior marriage was because the poor old convict was otherwise never going to have a married life again. Your points reinforce the view that laying 21st century labels of bigamy on John tries to sensationalise what he did. The simple fact of his notice is a bit odd when a month before he was squaring up to the de facto in the press, ready to sue. Something was going awry for poor John when you look at all the (odd) things together that he did over 1829/1830. So I guess we’ll never know, including whether his statement of a prior marriage was true or not, I just don’t think this is the main thing he ought be remembered for …. 🙂

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