Mary Eliza HILLSDON
Name Variations HILLSDEN, HOLLSDEN, HILLSDAN, HILSDON, HILSDAN, HELLSDON
Father Richard HILLSDON b.c. 18091 m. 18422 d. 18883
Mother Susannah PIKE b. 18274 m. 1842 d. 18975
Sister Martha Susan Elizabeth HILLSDON b. 1842 m.6 Robert UNWIN7 d. 19268
Sister Sarah Jane HILSDON b. 18449 m. 187910 William WATKINSON d. 192011
Sister Mary Eliza HILSDON b. 184512 m. none - d. 184913
Brother Joseph William HILLSDON b. 184814 m. d. 193215
Brother Richard Edward J. HILLSDON b. 185016 m. none - d. 185617
Brother George Robert HILSDAN b. 185318 m. none19 - d. 194020
Inmate Mary Eliza HILLSDON b. 185521 m. 1880 (see below) d. 193222
Brother (twin) Mathew Ellis23 HILLSDON b. 185724 m. d. 194725
Brother (twin) Luke John HILLSDON b. 185726 m. d. 185727
Sister Susannah HILSDON b.c. 1860 m. none - d. 186228
Sister Rose Victoria HILSDON b. 186229 m. (1) 188430 (2) 189131 (1) Richard PEARCE (2) Richard LEWIS d. 192332
Brother Edward HILSDON b. 186433 m. none34 - d. 190435
Sister Annie HILSDON b. 186736 m. 188937 Thomas Henry EDWARDS d. 190238
Husband (1) unknown b. m. d.
Husband (2) James HARRIS b. 185539 m. 188040 d. 193741
Son Joseph Charles HILLSDON b. 187242 m. none - d. 187243
Daughter Martha Susan HILLSDON b. 187344 m. 189645 William J. GOODSELL d. 192446
Son Percy Henry Albert HARRIS b. 188147 m. Gertrude Maggie NAPIER d. 195648
Daughter Ethel Annie HARRIS b. 188349 m. d.
Son James William HARRIS b. 188450 m. d.51
Daughter Ellen Jane May HARRIS b. 188752 m. George E. GRAY d. 196753
Daughter Lorrie HARRIS b. 188754 m. d.
Daughter Frances Lily May HARRIS b. 189255 m. Thomas STODDART d.
Description
Relationship Name Age Height Hair Eyes Complexion Build Distinguishing features
Father Richard56 20 5' 5" light grey ruddy, freckled reputed [?] on left eye; slight [?] centre of upper legs[?]; C G, man, fish and anchor, crown on right arm; bracelet on wrist [?] in bowing attitude; J H H M C man[?] R H on left bracelet on wrist (An 1841 description identified this as a wreath of flowers.)

Mary was fourteen when she was admitted to the school from Parramatta court on 23 February 1868. She had been arrested under the act and charged with living with a convicted thief. Mary was recorded as a Protestant. Her reading was assessed as first book and she was writing on slate.57 No records of admissions from any Parramatta court have been found reported in any newspaper on Trove and it is unknown whether any report was made or whether the relevant newspaper is still to be scanned. Mary was listed on SELWYN's list of Protestant girls in 1868.58 At about 6 o’clock on the evening of 8 July 1868, just before the first riot in the school, Mary was one of ten girls,59 who escaped from the school.60 They were all recaptured by the Newcastle police – some at Borehole and some at Waratah – before 10 o’clock that night and were returned to the school.61

Mary was named in CLARKE’s list of girls eligible for apprenticeship on 15 December 1869, where she was recorded as having been in the school for one year and ten months and was currently aged sixteen and a half.62 In a letter from CLARKE to the Colonial Secretary on 28 December 1869, he sought permission to find an apprenticeship for her.63 Mary was apprenticed by order of the Colonial Secretary to John TAYLOR or TAILOR, a farmer, of Hinton on 11 January 1870, for one year. CLARKE reported in his letter to the Colonial Secretary on 1 August 1870, that she was to earn five shillings a week for the first six months and six shillings a week for the last six months of her apprenticeship although the letter in December indicated that she would be paid eight shillings a week.64 A further letter was sent to the Colonial Secretary on 12 January 1870, confirming her apprenticeship.65 It is believed that this apprenticeship was completed and by its conclusion Mary would have been 18. She therefore never made the transfer to Biloela in May 1871.

Mary was the mother of two illegitimate children born in Parramatta in 1872 and 1873 – a son who died and a daughter, Martha Susan. Her daughter was probably named after Mary's oldest sister, Martha, who married in Bathurst in 1861. Mary Eliza HILLSDON, the daughter of Richard and Susannah HILLSDON, married James HARRISON, a bushman, the son of William HARRISON and Elizabeth GARDINER, at St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, Prospect, on 29 May 1880. The witnesses were her siblings Joseph (X) HILLSDON and Rose HILLSDON. While her marriage registration doesn’t list any parents or ages, these details were provided in the St Bartholomew’s register.66 James was twenty-one and Mary was twenty-three and her parents were confirmed. Mary and James' descendants identify that six further children were born between 1881 and 1892.67 They do not indicate, and it is unknown whether there was a name change or an error in the original register, but James' surname became HARRIS after he married and the birth and death of every child was recorded as this surname. I greatly appreciate the research of the descendants of James and Mary for clarifying this and providing these details on online trees.

Mary died in February 1932 and her death was registered at Parramatta as Mary E. HARRIS. Funeral Notices identified that her middle name was Eliza. Her funeral left from her residence Edgeware Road, Prospect, and she was buried in the Church of England Cemetery, Prospect. At this stage her husband was still alive.68

Family

Mary's parents, Richard and Susannah, were both named in the Entrance Book.69 Richard HILLSDON married Susannah (X) PIKE in St John's, Parramatta, by H. H. BOBART, with the consent of the governor, on 29 August, 1842. They were both from Seven Hills. The witnesses were Jeremy (X) BRIEN and Elizabeth PIKE.70 Their permission to marry was granted by Reverend H. BOBART of Parramatta on 15 August 1842.71

The Permission to Marry indicated that Richard had been tried in Maidstone and transported for life at the age of twenty aboard the Marquis Huntley (3) in 1830.72 He was on a bond at the time the permission was granted.73 He was a brickmaker who had been born in Deptford, England, in about 1809.74 Richard received a conditional pardon in 184975 and became a timber merchant in Sydney. He appeared in the gaol records at Parramatta on two occasions – in 1841 and 1842 and in 1867 for stealing.76 The 1867 admission is very likely to have been the catalyst for Mary's admission to Newcastle as her crime was living with thieves. Richard died in Parramatta in 1888 at the reported age of 75. The informant was not a family member. It was recorded that he had had four children but they were not named and neither was Susannah, who at that date was still alive.

Susannah was recorded with a ditto on the Permission to Marry suggesting that she had also arrived on the Marquis Huntley and was recorded with a ditto as being on a bond. Susannah had been born in NSW in 1827. On her baptism her parents were recorded as John and Jane77 John was 32 and Jane was 17. Family researchers have identified that they were the couple John PIKE and Jane FERRIDAY.78 Susannah HELLSDON died in Parramatta in 1897.

Updated July 2015

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