John Williams Snr
John Williams (1787-1854) and Sarah Nash (1798-1875)
The following photos were supplied by Michael Povey <mpovey-at-tpg.com.au> 26.08.11
Farmers and Graziers in Castlereagh, West Bargo, and the Monaro
Sarah Nash was born in 1798 at Mulgrave Place [Windsor] NSW. In 1814 she married convict John Williams (Duke of Portland 1807), a red-head from Brecknockshire in Wales who had been sentenced to 14 years transportation after deserting the 35th (Sussex) Regiment.
John Williams' place and date of birth will almost certainly be impossible to determine. John Williams, informed the military authorities that he was born in Llangammarch, Breconshire.
After serving nearly 10 years of his sentence, John Williams received a conditional pardon early in 1816, and the Williams family settled in the Castlereagh district, probably initially with Sarah’s mother Maria and “step-father” Robert Guy at their farm near the Nepean River.
In 1823 the Williams family left Castlereagh to reside on John’s recently acquired 50-acre grant of land at West Bargo. They remained there for a decade before selling the farm early in 1833 and heading south-west to the grazing areas near the “limits of location”.
John and his family settled south of Queanbeyan on the western bank of Jerrabombera Creek. Stories suggesting that the Williams family settled at Guises Creek in 1833 and were the source of the name "Williamsdale" are almost certainly incorrect.
In 1839 John applied for a depasturing licence for the Monaro district, moving his cattle to a run near Nimmitabel that eventually came to be known as “(Head of) Curry Flat”. His family had joined him there by mid -1840 where they remained until late 1847 or early 1848.
The Head of Curry Flat run comprised, by 1847, 10,240 acres, and was running 840 cattle, and producing 600lbs of butter annually from a dairy. It was located north and north west of Nimmitabel and encompassed all of “Gourock”, parts of “Bobingah”, “Naronga” and “Baringa” . The eastern boundary and followed Tom Groggin Creek from “Gourock” to “Thistle Brook”.
Their third daughter, Sarah (married Joseph Connors), died here during childbirth in 1844. She is one of the earliest internees of the Pioneers Cemetery. Her headstone still stands.
Around 1848 John and Sarah sold Head of Curry Flat to D. McDonald and Sons and relocated to “Groses Plain” (at Ingebyra, south of Jindabyne), a cattle run held by their son-in-law Martin Hyland.
They were residing at Groses Plain in 1854 when John died from exposure while riding a horse from Jindabyne to Groses Plain.
In 1863 Sarah’s sons acquired the lease for a nearby run known as “The Gullies” where Sarah and other members of her family settled soon afterwards. Sarah was recorded as a grazier there when she died in 1875.
John and Sarah are both buried in the Myalla Cemetery at Cooma.
Go to Carol Baxters page for more information on John Williams and Sarah Nash
Information about John Williams Snr extracted from:
Nash: First Fleeters & Founding Families
by Carol J. Baxter (copyright 2004).
John Williams was a redheaded Welshman from County Brecon in Wales. Colonial family stories record that he was born on 25 December 1787 and, although his Christmas birthday could be accurate, a birth year of 1786 or even 1785 seems more likely. These family stories also record that John was the youngest child of a family of four with siblings named David, Morgan and Ann.1 Although this information has proved impossible to confirm, naming patterns indicate that John almost certainly had a close family member named David - probably a father - as this Welsh name was given to John and Sarah's third son.
Military records describe John’s place of birth as Llangammarch in Breconshire.2 Under the "poor laws" of the time, the military authorities required details of parish of birth as that parish was generally responsible in the event of incapacity or impoverishment. Unless John had a reason to dissemble, he therefore would have provided the information that he believed to be true.
Despite these references to John’s native place, no appropriate baptism entry has been found and, sadly, it is unlikely that John Williams’ origins will ever be determined with any certainty. Research into John Williams’ Welsh and military background has determined that no child named John who could have carried the surname Williams either as an hereditary surname or as a patronymic was baptised in Llangammarch between the years 1784 and 1788.3 However this does not necessarily reveal an inaccuracy in the information John provided. It is possible that:
It is also important to note that unless John had a reason to dissemble, he would have provided the information he believed to be true although, unknowingly, this information could have been inaccurate. Details of birth-date and place are not recollected, instead deriving from information provided by parents or siblings and John, for example, could have been unaware that his parents had moved into the parish when he was a young child.
If John was born elsewhere and moved to Llangammarch as a young child, his place of birth will almost certainly prove impossible to identify as John carried one of the most common names in Wales. Historically, John and William were the two most common given names in the United Kingdom and the use of patronymics in Wales has resulted in a number of extremely common surnames deriving from these given names, including Jones and Williams. As John carried one of the most common given names and the most common surnames in Wales, it would be extremely difficult to differentiate between the hundreds of John Williams born or residing in Brecon County. In fact, all that can be determined with certainty regarding John’s background is that he was probably born or spent a large proportion of his childhood in Llangammarch parish.
 Information from numerous descendants: original source uncertain.
 List of deserters from The Hue and Cry, or Police Gazette 5 April 1806; War office – Service Returns: 35th Regiment [PRO ref: WO25/1126]
 This detailed research was undertaken by descendant Alby Williams.
From: firstfleeter [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
If you are able in some way to connect my details with the family line of John and Sarah Williams and mention that if people would like a copy of our Family history book, they can contact me on the following, either by:
I am happy to provide them with some details of costings. P&P will be dependent on where people live as the books (2 volume set) weigh over 3kg.
Hoping that you are able to help me out and will look forward to hearing from you,
Descendants of John Williams
David Williams <glenbog-at-cyberone.com.au>
David Williams <glenbog-at-cyberone.com.au>