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Details for the convict Eleanor Lawler (1796)

Convict Name:Eleanor Lawler
Trial Place:Limerick
Trial Date:1793
Arrival Details
Ship:Marquis Cornwallis
Arrival Year:1796
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Claimed convict


Elinor McArty arrived aboard the Sugar Cane 19.9.1793 a transportee from Ireland.
Eleanor was also known as Eleanor Lawler, Eleanor Burke, Eleanor Bradford.
She was born in 1770 in Limerick, Ireland, was tried in Limerick, Assises, County Limerick, Ireland in August 1793, transported for 7 years. Sometime after her arrival she became known as Eleanor Lawler.
Michael Donovan arrived on The Boddingtons which departed Cork at the same time, but arrived 6 weeks apart.
It is not known when Michael and Eleanor commenced living together, Their daughter Mary was born 10.5.1797 and baptised at St John’s Parramatta in July. Michael was 38 and Eleanor was 27.
Michael and Eleanor both completed their sentences in 1800. They were living at Prospect Hill in 1802 with their 2 children and 3 servants on a grant of land of 49 acres. Michael possessed one gun, a horse and 4 pigs. The farm was planted with 13 acres of wheat and 12 of maize.
In 1806 Michael Donovan inherited his father’s estate in Ireland and left the Colony (from Eleanor’s testimony) around 1810.
One of their assigned convict servants was Michael Murphy. It is likely Eleanor then cohabited with Michael Murphy on the 49 acres until his death in 1819, initially on the land granted to Michael Donovan and then in 1809 moving to a land grant of 100 acres to Murphy upon his attaining his Certificate of Freedom, He named this land Tallow Farm. They had 4 daughters together.
In 1811 Eleanor was granted her Certificate of Freedom which stated she had completed her sentence in 1800.
It appears that Eleanor and Murphy were involved in cattle rustling and raising those cattle for later sale at a butcher’s in Parramatta. The Sydney Gazette reported on 9th March, 1813 that Eleanor and Michael Murphy along with a butcher were found guilty of purchasing stolen cattle and were sentenced to 21 years transportation in Newcastle to be served at the Governor’s pleasure.
Eleanor did not go immediately to Newcastle, being recorded in 1814 as a single woman living in Parramatta, a convict with 5 children, living off the stores.
This indicates that she was not deriving a living from either of the properties. In a Court Action in 1816 Eleanor states that around 1810 Michael Donovan left the Colony leaving her with the land at Parramatta and a sum of 270 Pounds in cash to support herself and their daughter. With this money she had purchased stock, built the house and improved the property. He had left a will expressing his wishes on his death and in 1814 his executor disregarded these instructions and disposed of the property, keeping the proceeds, leaving Eleanor and her children destitute. There is no information regarding the outcome of this action. In 1817 Eleanor is mentioned as being in Newcastle accompanied by two children, (but not serving a sentence). By 1919 she was back at Tallow Farm.
Murphy died on May 5th 1819, leaving all his goods to his 4 daughters, nothing to Eleanor or Mary.
22nd August 1820 Eleanor married William Burke, convict arr Admiral Gambier at St. Johns Parramatta. Both signed the Register with an “x” there is no record of them living together.
1822 Muster Eleanor is listed as living in Parramatta with 2 children, no mention of William.
1825 Muster Eleanor is listed as a landowner living at Prospect with 3 daughters. In 1825 her daughter Mary married Patrick Flood and gave birth to Eleanor’s first granddaughter Roseanna.
1828 Census she is listed as Eleanor Lawler Bradford, aged 44 free by servitude, Catholic, living with husband John Bradfield, a flax dresser, aged 60.(there is an age disparity here of 14 years, she was 58). They were living on the farm of Abbott Osborne at Botany with 2 of Eleanor’s daughters.
At some point she co-habited/married a man by the name of Mahoney and was buried as Eleanor Mahoney after her death in 1840. Eleanor died, destitute, in the Benevolent Home, Sydney.

Submitted by Researcher (12879) on 2 September 2020

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