John and Martha, emigrants from Somerset
John Lamprey was born about 1815 in the small village of South Petherton in Somerset. His parents were William and Mary.
On 1 January 1840, John married Martha Rowsell at the Church of England in his home town. I have discovered virtually nothing of Martha’s background.
Two and a half years after they married, John and Martha, and their two young children, Albert and baby Sarah, migrated to Van Diemen’s Land, where they were amongst the early pioneering families in the Port Sorell (or Green’s Creek) district. They left the Port of London about 25 July 1842 aboard the Royal Saxon, a ship of 510 tons. It sailed via Cork in Ireland, direct to Port Dalrymple at the mouth of the Tamar River in north east Van Diemen’s Land, arriving on 22 November 1842. That year 2446 emigrants landed in Van Diemen’s Land.
The Royal Saxon carried 247 emigrants. Twelve children died of dysentery on the way out, including John and Martha’s second child, Sarah. She was only about six months old.
After disembarking John and Martha, with two-year-old Albert, made their way to the infant township of Burgess (now Port Sorell). Martha was to have another eight children, the next one, Samuel being born soon after arrival, some time in 1843. The youngest, Arthur, was born fifteen years later, on 13 October 1858.
John initially worked as a shepherd and farm labourer at Northdown for about ten years before he took up land, as one of the first genuine farmers in the district, at East Sassafras. In 1853 he selected 300 acres near the head of Green’s Creek and extending east to the Rubicon River. The land, which he named ‘Hill Farm’ was about five kilometres south of the settlement at Green’s Creek and connected to civilisation by the main track from Deloraine which passed through his property.
The task of clearing would have been arduous, and the land chosen was more heavily timbered than the land to the south west. John subsequently acquired a large holding, buying up other properties near Hill Farm. The descendants of his youngest son, William, are still farming land in the Sassafras district.
Martha died at the age of 75, on 18 November 1888. John died of ‘senile decay’ at the age of 75, on 22 February 1890, a little more than a year after Martha’s death. They are both buried in the old Wesleyan cemetery at Harford.
John’s obituary stated: “On Saturday there passed from us an old and much respected resident Mr John Lamprey of Hill Farm, aged 75 years. He was one of the first to settle in the district and lived to gain the goodwill and respect of all. For many years he was an active and useful member of the Road Trust and only retired when his health began to fail.”
In his will, dated 5 November 1883, John left the farm on which he was residing to Martha. In the event of her death, his children Arthur and Sarah were to receive equal share of the ‘Household Furniture, China, Linen, Books and other housekeeping provisions which shall be in or about the Dwelling’ (presumably because they were still at home at the time). All real estate and personal estate remaining were to go to sons Albert and William upon trust for Martha’s use during her life and, at her death, to be sold by public auction or private contract, with the proceeds to be divided equally among his children.
[Updated 24 June 2012]
John Lamprey on my Ancestry Tree