John Anstiss **
- Born: ca. 1810, Islington, , Middlesex, England
- Marriage (1): Catherine Lahy ** on 19 Jul 1852 in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia
- Marriage (2): Bridget Cushion on 31 May 1858 in Church of St Michael, Bathurst, , New South Wales, Australia
- Died: 28 Jul 1900, 84 Church St, Balmain, , New South Wales, Australia aged about 90
- Buried: 30 Jul 1900, Section 4, Plot 3314, CofE Cemetery, Rookwood Cemetery, New South Wales, Australia
Cause of his death was Chronic bronchitis, senile decay/ some years.
Other names for John were Anstice, Anstise and John T Anstiss.
A number of researchers record his name as John Thomas Anstiss but I have not yet seen any document which records his name as anything other than just John Anstiss.
John was convicted in the Old Bailey on 6th January 1831 of Theft: Simple Grand Larceny, having stolen a Plane valued at 2s 6d, belonging to Benjamin Jenery. The theft took place just before Christmas, the Plane was pawned almost immediately after he stole it. Perhaps he was trying to find a couple of shillings for Christmas. John was sentenced to transportation to Australia for 7 years.
The following text of the trial proceedings point to a very summary trial process.
"343. JOHN ANSTISS was indicted for stealing, on the 20th of December, 1 plane, value 2s.6d., the goods of Benjamin Jenery.
BENJAMIN JENERY. I am a carpenter, and live in Britannia-row, Islington. On the 20th of December I left my work at Mr. Young's shop to go to dinner; the prisoner came in there, but did not say on what business - when I returned from dinner I missed my plane, which had been on the floor; I found where the prisoner lived, and had him taken up.
HENRY NEWMAN. I am shopman to Mr Goodburn, a pawnbroker, at Islington, about five minutes walk from Britannia-row. I have a plane, pawned by the prisoner, about half-past twelve o'clock on the 20th December, for 1s. (Property produced and sworn to.)
THOMAS OLDFIELD. I took the prisoner, and found this plane - he did not tell me anything about it.
GUILTY. Aged 21. - Transported for Seven Years."
By 7 February he was ensconced on the Prison hulk Leviathan waiting to be shipped to Australia. His record here says he was 20 years old. Taken with his court record and his shipping record which says 21 years old (in 1831) this suggests a birth year of around 1810. His Certificate of Freedom also says he was born in 1810. His death certificate suggests a birth year of 1812-1813. Despite all these records I have only found one baptism record for a John Anstiss born to parents William and Sarah which was b. 28 Jan 1804, bap. 5 Aug 1804 in St Marylebone, Westminster.
He arrived in Sydney as a convict aboard the Portland on 26 March 1832, having sailed from Portsmouth on 27 Nov 1831, a journey of 120 days. The ship carried 178 male convicts who were all disembarked in Sydney. John was assigned to work as a servant for Major Benjamin Sullivan, a landowner who had a property "Thalaba" at Williams River in the Hunter Valley. He owned this property until 1832. John was a brickmaker by trade but could also plough.
John received his Ticket of Leave (No 36/1955) in 1836. His Trade or calling was listed as "Plasterer" and he was allowed to remain in the District of Bathurst. Having a Ticket of Leave meant that a former Convict could employ himself for his own benefit and acquire property, provided he notified the clerk of the local Bench of Magistrates within seven days of any change of address. However, he could not travel any more than ten miles from his residence without a pass, and he had to attend Worship weekly.
John became a free man on the 2nd August 1839. According to his Certificate of Freedom, he was 5 feet 6&1/2 inches tall, sallow complexion, with dark brown hair and dark grey eyes. He had two slight scars on his back left hand.
On the 5th Anniversary of his death his wife, Bridget, placed an "In Memoriam" notice in the Sydney Morning Herald in which she says he died at age 87 years and 5 months. This would place his birth at February 1813. Various other documents would suggest a birth year of around 1810.
According to Catherine's Death Certificate she was 20 when she married which would have put the date at 1837. This may have been a smokescreen to disguise the fact that the children were all apparently born out of wedlock, as John and Catherine were not actually married until 1852, just 5 years before she died.
All of the children who had been born in Bathurst (Sarah, Thomas & James) were Christened on the same day as the marriage suggesting, perhaps, that a lack of a proof of marriage had prevented this previously?
John is buried at the Rookwood Cemetery. His plot was purchased in 1900 by Ellen E Williams, eldest daughter of John and Bridget Cushion. In 1932 she arranged, or gave consent, for the grave to also be used for the burial of Thomas Sandland, husband of her younger sister Martha Mary. There is no indication on the headstone that Thomas is buried there. The Sandlands didn't have any children and lived in Redfern / Surry Hills during the height of the Great Depression, so it is possible that there were no funds available to bury him in his own grave.
John's marriage certificate with Bridget from NSW BDM records both their parents names but they are written in a decidedly more modern handwriting that the original certificate. This is very strange, and casts some doubt on the accuracy of that information. His parents names were "Not Known" by his son Edward on John's death certificate.
A DNA match with a descendant of William Anstiss and Sarah Pierson strongly suggests that these were John's parents, especially given that they lived in Islington at the right time and had children with names common to those that John named his own children.
Noted events in his life were:
• He worked as a Plasterer according to his Ticket of Leave.
• He worked as a Plasterer according to his Death Certificate.
• He worked as a Plasterer at the time of son, William's baptism on 18 Jul 1841 in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.
• He worked as a Plasterer according to son William's Death Cert.
• He worked as a Builder according to his daughter, Sarah Jane's Death Certificate.
• He worked as a Plasterer according to son Henry's Death Certificate in 1920.
• He resided at the time of son William's baptism on 18 Jul 1841 in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.
• He had a residence in 1860 in Piper St, Bathurst, , New South Wales, Australia.
• He resided at the time of the 1870-71 Electoral Roll in 1871 in Seymour St, Bathurst, , New South Wales, Australia.
• He resided at the time of the 1878-79 Electoral Roll in 1879 in Ranken St, Bathurst, , New South Wales, Australia.
John married Catherine Lahy **, daughter of Unknown Lahy and Unknown, on 19 Jul 1852 in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. (Catherine Lahy ** was born about 1813-1817 in Waterford, Waterford, Munster, Ireland, died on 8 Apr 1857 in Piper St, Bathurst, , New South Wales, Australia and was buried on 11 Apr 1857 in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.). The cause of her death was Dysentery and debility of constitution from intemperance/ 3 weeks.
It was a C of E Ceremony. Witnesses were Samuel Jones & Sarah Jones both of Bathurst.
John next married Bridget Cushion, daughter of Edward Cushion and Ellen Madden, on 31 May 1858 in Church of St Michael, Bathurst, , New South Wales, Australia. (Bridget Cushion was born about 1831-1835 in Ireland, died on 8 Mar 1912 in Balmain North, New South Wales, Australia and was buried on 9 Mar 1912 in RC Cemetery, Rookwood, Lidcombe, , New South Wales, Australia.)
It was a Roman Catholic Ceremony. Witnesses were Nicolas Bichsel and Isabella Thompson.