Tonight has been one of those nights…”I’ll just do a tiny bit of research, perhaps tidy up my tree some…”
…that was about five hours ago. Here I am, neck deep in discoveries and no where near finished for the night. I got working on my Nana Peace’s side of the family (Dad’s Mum) and have come across a rather interesting ancestor couple (all of my ancestors are interesting, if I do say so myself) by the names of Charles Homer Martin and Ann Martin (nee Forrester).
Charles Homer Martin, my fifth great grandfather was born in 1795 in England. He was charged with highway robbery in Surrey, UK on the 30th of March, 1818 and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to transportation for life to the colonies (aka Australia). Records indicate that, at around the age of 44, Charles was granted a conditional pardon.
By 1822, he had married Ann Forrester, daughter of First Fleeter Robert Forrester and Isabella Ramsay in Liverpool NSW. They went on to settle in the Windsor area, and together they had twelve children. Their eldest, Jane, is my fourth great grandmother.
Naturally, wanting to know more I googled good old Charles. Up popped a book, called Southwark Luck: The Story of Charles Homer Martin, Ann Forrester & Their Children by Louise Wilson. I just about fell out of bed in excitement and have ordered the book straight away. The blurb on Louise Wilson’s website reads:
“Charles Homer Martin, son of a London victualler, was born in 1795 in Southwark (pronounced as ‘Suthuck’), on the southern banks of the river Thames. He was working there for a rope maker when arrested for the highway robbery of the well-known swindler Richard Coster in March 1818.
Arriving in newly-named Australia as a ‘lifer’ on New Year’s Eve, 1818, his city-slicker lifestyle was overturned when he was selected as part of William Cox’s workforce at Windsor, in the Hawkesbury district near Sydney. There the ‘building materials scam’ surrounding the construction of Francis Greenway’s iconic St Matthew’s Church sent him briefly to Newcastle. He returned to the Hawkesbury and became a self-employed sawyer in the forests of the lower Blue Mountains around Kurrajong.
Charles and his wife Ann Forrester made a home for themselves by ‘squatting’ with their children on the Wilberforce Common for six decades from 1828. The picture shows part of their old land. Twelve children kept them poor, but they proved to be very enlightened parents, educating their daughters as well as their three sons.
Four of the Martin children helped to pioneer the Maranoa and Darling Downs districts of Queensland during the 1850s and 1860s, and their stories add much to sparse local histories. The bushranger ‘Thunderbolt’ and the Martin cousins ‘Black Bill’ and ‘Red Bill’ Forrester formed part of their world.”
I am so looking forward to reading this book. It appears that Charle’s wife’s father, Robert Forrester, also has a book written about him by Louise Wilson as well…must pace myself right!?
More on this particular line to come! As always, if you’re a descendant of the aforementioned people, please get in contact. I’d love to hear from you!