John Hore and Elizabeth Love

John Ho(a)re was born in 1776 in County Wexford, on the south-east coast of Ireland, in the province of Leinster. In 1798 Wexford was the centre of the independence movement known as the United Irishmen of which John was a member. He enlisted in the Royal Navy at the Port of London on September 7, 1795. Initially, he was assigned to the HMS Royal William and then the HMS Impregnable. By 1796 he was a sailor on board HMS Defiance. The crew of the Defiance had mutinied in 1795 and again in 1797 but it was their 1798 mutiny as part of “The Great Mutiny” that saw the lives of the crew change forever.

Standing at the Court Martial, held between September 8 and 14, 1798 on the deck of HMS Gladiator anchored in Portsmouth Harbour, John, one of the youngest in the crew, would surely have been nervous. As the charges were read out, that on the deck of the Defiance, before it set sail, the accused had all sworn the oath of the United Irishmen, he would have probably thought about his future, if he had one. And as the sentences were read out his heart must have been in his mouth, with thoughts of the family and siblings at home, wondering if they knew what was occurring.

25 sailors charged and 19 sentenced to death by hanging. The remainder to receive lashes and imprisonment. Sentenced to death. A terrible burden for his parents to bear. But then a plea for leniency from a voice closer to the judge due to the young age of some of the accused. Transported for life to the colony of NSW, along with 7 others.

Extract from Trial Papers:

Following the trial, John and at least four other mutineers were imprisoned on the prison hulk Captivity, moored in Portsmouth Harbour (centre of the image below).

Hulks were moored up along the Thames and Medway estuaries, as well as at Portsmouth, Bermuda and Gibraltar. In these locations, the work of convicts increased the efficiency of dockyards. Yards were in a constant state of evolution and needed to keep up to date with the latest technologies, such as the advent of steam power and iron-hulled ships. Convicts provided a cheap and efficient workforce, and rather than build new barracks to house men, prison hulks could be acquired at little cost and towed from site to site.

A day in the life of convicts on board hulks differed from their counterparts in prisons on land due to the nature of their confinement. Daily routines were more naval than penal. However, over the eighty-year period of their operation, discipline and routine on board the hulks began to reflect reforms which took place on land. Generally, convicts were put to work unloading ballast and timber from ships. They moved cables, dredged channels and shifted rubble. All men were required to wear a heavy chain on one or both ankles at all time. If they misbehaved, the weight of their leg irons would be increased. Having worked from 7:30 am the convicts returned to the ship for one hour for lunch and then returned to the dockyard to their work, finishing at 5:30 pm.

John Ho(a)re arrived on the hulk Captivity in September 1798 and left the hulk 21 months later in June 1801 when he was transferred to the convict transport Canada. An extract from the hulk record is shown below:

The transport ship Canada arrived in Sydney Cove on December 14, 1801, having travelled via Rio de Janeiro. As an Irish political prisoner, John and his fellow mutineers were hero-worshipped by the Irish colonists and feared by the establishment who believed they might spark unrest. John was imprisoned on Norfolk Island from November 1802 until June 15, 1804. On his return to NSW, he was assigned to the government farm in Castle Hill which was the site of a convict rebellion in March 1804. In 1805 when his sentence expired John Hore worked for John Llewellyn of the NSW Corps on his Hawkesbury River property. He was granted a Ticket of Leave on July 15, 1811.

John married Elizabeth Amelia Love on July 10, 1809, at St. Phillip’s Church Sydney. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Love of the NSW Corps and Martha Searle (Merriman). John Love arrived with the Third Fleet, on the Matilda, in 1791. No records exist of family members of soldiers on the transports and so it is not certain whether Elizabeth was born in England, born on board the Matilda or, as per census documents, born in the colony. Her headstone, with details completed by her descendants, states that she was 96 when she died in March 1878, thus indicating a date of birth as 1782.

John was granted 45 acres at Airds – Upper Minto in an area known as the Cowpastures on August 25, 1812. The land was described as being bordered on its western side by the Nepean River. The Cowpastures region was named because in 1788 2 bulls and 5 cows which arrived on the First Fleet escaped from Sydney Cove. In 1795 the herd was found thriving in an area to the south of the Nepean River. By 1801 the herd was estimated to contain between 500 and 600 head. In 1803 orders were given to protect the herd. Like most of the settlers in the area, John raised pigs on his land, as well as vegetables for food for his growing family.

John and Elizabeth had 12 children, 5 sons and 7 daughters and at least 100 grandchildren. They lived in the Camden-Campbelltown area until about 1833 when they appeared in Dapto. John Hore died in Dapto on April 25, 1862. Elizabeth lived with her daughter Ann in Sydney and died March 3, 1878, aged 96 years.


Ann and Elizabeth Hore                          John and Elizabeth’s graves at West Dapto.



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