Peter Omery alias Brown - convict on the Earl Cornwallis in 1801
Peter was transported to New South Wales as "Peter Omery alias Brown". He was also tried as "Peter Omery alias Brown". (In 3 out of 4 references that have been found to his trial he is shown as "Peter Omery alias Brown" and in 1 as "Peter Oonery alias Brown".) The only references to Peter in New South Wales under the name of "Omery alias Brown" were on 5 lists of convicts aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" one of which was delivered with the convicts when the ship landed (Omeroy), and four of which were copies (Omery and Omeroy), and in the 1825 muster (Omroy).
Omery is a corruption of the name Honery resulting from a transcription of the name spoken with an accent, and a dropped "H" in the pronunciation. In New South Wales Peter was known as Peter Onery/Honery or variations thereof. Variations included Oonery, Honary, Honnary, Honory, Honery, Honnerey, Honnery, Ornery, Orney, Hornary, Hornery, and more. The many variations in spelling resulted because Peter was illiterate. Others always wrote his name as best as they could from their understanding of how he or others pronounced his name.
The spellings used by descendants of Peter's 2 eldest sons today are Honnery and Hornery, and all those with either of these two names in their family trees in Australia today descend from Peter.
The other name used by descendants of Peter's 2 youngest sons today is Groves, a variation of Grover, from Peter's partner Martha Grover nee Crop.
The reason for the 2 different surnames retained by Peter's sons and their descendants, one from Peter and one from Martha, is that Peter's 2 eldest sons lived and worked with Peter after their parent's split before 1822, and Peter's 2 youngest sons, then both under 10 years of age, stayed with their mother.
The other name that Peter was known by in New South Wales was Bradcock. It was the name that he was using when his eldest son was baptised in 1804, and a name that was sometimes used by his 2 eldest sons.
The surname that Peter was born with, and his origins, are unknown. The most common name that turns up in the records is (H)onery or a variation, so this appears to be the name that he prefered.
Peter's children were baptised under the following names:
1804 - Peter as Peter Bradcock, son of Peter Bradcock and Martha Grover
1807 - Hannah as Ann Grover, daughter of Martha Grover
1808 - John - not baptised
1813 - Thomas as Thomas Groves, son of Martha Groves
1814 - James as James Groves, son of Martha Groves
During their life-times Peter's children variously used the surnames of Bradcock, Ho(r)nery or a variation, Grover or Groves.
With the various spellings of the name Honery, the spelling that has been used in this Wiki for Peter is the spelling used in his death registration. For his individual children it is the name and spelling used in their death registrations, or in the case of his daughter Hannah in her marriage registration.
Peter arrived in New South Wales aboard the "Earl Cornwalliss" on 12 June 1801, having left England on 18 November 1800. The voyage took 206 days. It left England with 193 Male and 95 Female Convicts on board, and arrived in Sydney with 166 Male and 87 Female Convicts, a loss of 27 Male and 8 Female Convicts. The Master of the "Earl Cornwallis" was James Tennet.
Some documents have survived giving a little information about Peter's trial.
On Thursday 6 March 1800 Peter had been found guilty by the jury and had received a sentence of transportation for 7 years in the Lent Assizes at Chelmsford, Essex. It was fortunate that Peter's was the first case of the day as others tried that day received sentences to hang for lesser crimes. (Some record his trial date as 5 March 1800 but documents in England record his trial as being on Thursday, and Thursday was 6 March 1800.)
In the previous quarterly Assizes in December 1799 "Peter Omery alias Brown" had been brought before the court charged (indicted) both with larceny (theft) and with "feloniously being at large before the expiration of a term for which he had been ordered to be transported". In other words Peter had been previously convicted and sentenced to transportation but had returned to England before his term had expired. Peter was also using an alias to try to avoid detection. Then whilst in Essex he had stolen some goods and been arrested. On his arrest he had continued to use his alias, unsuccessfully, to try to avoid the legal authorities making a connection between the currect crime and his previous conviction. It appeared to the court that the evidence necessary to be produced at the trial for the offence of "feloniously being at large before the expiration of a term for which he had been ordered to be transported", the evidence of his previous trial and transportation, could not be produced that day. It was therefore decided to detain the prisoner, Peter, in Gaol until the next quarterly Assizes in March 1800.
On the morning of Thursday 6 March 1800 Peter was brought back before the court after having been detained in gaol for 3 months. Standing before Mr Baron Hotham, Peter was again charged with stealing goods valued at 1 pound 2 shillings, the property of James Bonner, and with the charge of "feloniously being at large before the expiration of a term for which he had been ordered to be transported". The little documentation that survives from this case refers to the charge of larceny (theft) but not the second charge. In contrast when the "Chelmsford Chronicle" reported the case in their newspaper on 14 March 1800 they refered only to the charge of "being at large before the expiration of a term for which [he] had been ordered to be transported". The jury found Peter guilty and ordered him "to be transported beyond the seas for the term of seven years". This was then Peter's second sentence of transportation.
Details are unknown of Peter's original sentence, what he was charged with, when and where the sentence was handed down, and how much of the sentence he had served. It can be assumed from Peter's new sentence on 6 March 1800 that his previous conviction of transportation was also for 7 years, or else his new sentence would have been more severe. It can also be assumed that he had either escaped from a work-gang off a Prison Hulk on the Thames while awaiting transportation, or had managed to return to England after previously being transported to New South Wales sometime in the period 1792 to 1799, the only place in that period where British convicts were being sent. Peter's habit of using aliases, and that not all convicts who were on the prison hulks or who were transported to New South Wales in that period were recorded, make it difficult to ascertain more.
Peter's life in New South Wales
Peter was sent to Parramatta, and once there he met Martha Grover nee Crop. Peter and Martha never married. Their first child, Peter, was born in July 1804. Peter was using the alias of Peter Bradcock and nearly 12 months later the baby was baptised at Parramatta as Peter Bradcock, the son of Peter Bradcock and Martha Grover.
In 1806 Peter, who has not yet completed his sentence, is working as a government servant.
By 1807 both Martha and Peter have completed their 7 years sentences. By 1807 the family had also moved to the Hawkesbury River District, where their next child Ann (aka Hannah) was born. Their daughter was baptised as Ann Grover the daughter of Martha Grover.
Their next child, John was born about 1808 but was not baptised. His place of birth is unknown. He may have been born in the Hawkesbury River district, or in Sydney.
On 1 October 1808 Peter signed his mark (an "x") to become a member of the Loyal Sydney Association, showing that he was living in Sydney at the time. His name was shown as Peter Anray. This is the first evidence to show that Peter was illiterate. The Loyal Sydney Association was a voluntary militia formed to counteract the threat of convict insurgence. In February and June 1810 he was still shown as a member of this association.
On 8 August 1809 Peter was granted 60 acres in the Minto District for a quit rent to begin in 5 years of 2s per annum. This grant was surrendered on 6 December 1810. A grant was surrended when it had not been developed. Peter was given a replacement grant by Governor Macquarie on 18 October 1811. The new grant was for 200 acres at Cooke (Liverpool).
By 1813 the family was not living on Peter's grant at Liverpool but was living at Richmond. It was at Richmond that Peter and Martha's 2 youngest sons were born, Thomas Groves (1813) and James Groves (1814), who were both baptised at Richmond as the sons of Martha Groves.
By 1814 Martha and Peter and their 5 children are off the government stores with Peter working as a labourer in the Hawkesbury River district (Richmond is on the Hawkesbury River).
In the 1816 muster Peter is shown as working as a labourer at Richmond.
In the 1817, 1818, and 1820 musters Peter is shown as a landholder. This was in relation to his land at Liverpool. In the 1821 muster he is shown as a clerk which is a clerical error as he was illiterate. The entries immediately above and below are landholders, which is what Peter still would have been in this period. Peter was a landholder at Liverpool but supplemented his farming income with bricklaying.
By 1822 Martha and Peter had split. In the 1822 muster Peter is shown as a bricklayer in the Windor Area (which includes Richmond). Their son Peter, 17, is also shown as a son of Peter, and a labourer in the Windsor area. Another child, unnamed and no age given, is shown as a son of Peter. (Their daughter was already married, having married in 1820 at the age of 12 when she was already living and working away from home.) Martha is shown as Martha Grover, a "widow" at Richmond. Immediately under her entry are her youngest sons Thomas, "12" (he was younger), and James, "9" (he was younger) identified as the sons of "William Grover" of Richmond. Above Martha's entry is to be found her son John shown as John Grover, "16" (he was younger), son of "William Grover" of Richmond. John was therefore double counted as both John Grover and the unnamed child of Peter. Another copy of this muster shows Martha as Matha Grover, a "widow" at Windsor (Richmond is in the Windsor District) with 2 unnamed and no age given children. The summary of these entries is that the 2 eldest sons were living with Peter, and the 2 youngest sons with Martha.
Before 16 September 1823 Peter was bricklaying at Liverpool. On 16 September 1823 at Liverpool Peter received on account £16 (or 64 spanish dollars) for his bricklaying work on the new Male Orphan School then being built at Liverpool. He signed the receipt with his mark (an "x").
On 31 October 1823 Peter received Joseph Bentley from the "Asia" as an assigned servant to help him in his work at Liverpool. Whether this was Peter's bricklaying or farming work is not stated.
The 1825 muster shows Peter living with his 2 eldest sons, John and Peter, and he is shown as a landholder at Liverpool referring to his 200 acre grant. He is recorded a second time as "Peter Omroy alias Brown" with John Omroy and Peter Omroy Jnr both born in the colony. This time he is shown as a bricklayer at Richmond. It can therefore be assumed that Peter divided his time between his farm at Liverpool and his bricklaying business based at Richmond.
The 1828 census shows Peter as a bricklayer at George Tyrells in Pitt Street, Sydney. His age was given as 69 years.
Peter died at Richmond and was buried there on 11 April 1837. No tombstone survives.
|Offspring of Peter (H)onery aka Peter Bradcock and Martha Crop (1776-1843)|
|Peter Hornery (1804-1864)||15 July 1804 Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia||17 May 1864 Kurrajong, New South Wales, Australia||Catherine Carroll (1811-1899)|
|Hannah Honary (1807-1835)||10 October 1807 Hawkesbury River, New South Wales, Australia||1835 New South Wales, Australia||John Fitzgerald (c1799-)|
|John Honery (1808-1884)||1808 New South Wales, Australia||23 May 1884 Jerrys Plains, New South Wales, Australia||Elizabeth Reynolds (1820-1875) Elizabeth Reynolds (1820-1875) Mary Ann Watters|
|Thomas Groves (1813-1857)||16 August 1813 Richmond, New South Wales, Australia||1857 Richmond, New South Wales, Australia||Jane Bibben|
|James Groves (1814-)||14 May 1814 Richmond, New South Wales, Australia||Rosanna Taylor|
Henry T Stiles.