Elizabeth Barefoot

Born around 1814, Parramatta – although no record found, Elizabeth was married at 17 to Thomas Bird at St John’s, Launceston on 31 Oct 1831

In October 1831 an outraged John Barefoot wrote to Governor Arthur that: “Thomas Bird, a prisoner of the Crown, has carried on a private and clandestine correspondence with my Girl Elizabeth about 16 years of age for now upwards of 18 months.” While John made a variety of accusations, it seems that Thomas and Elizabeth had been married with the permission of the Crown for about 6 weeks, and that “I believe the object of John Barefoot has been to extort money, he is a very bad character, and has often connived at the Prostitution of his children“. See here for the letters..

Elizabeth Barfoot & Thomas Bird marriage

Thomas was 15 years older than Elizabeth, a convict born in Warwickshire and transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1821 on the Lord Hungerford. Thomas was found guilty of stealing 25 yards of kerseymere (a fine woollen cloth with a fancy twill weave), and sentenced to 7 years transportation.

Elizabeth and Thomas had three children:
– Zipporah Susan Bird (1832 – 1882) m Frederick Charles Niblett and had 9 children
– Thomas Bird (1934 – 1911) m Mary Ann Martin and had 3 children
– Ann Elizabeth Bird (1837 – 1837)

Thomas had a pretty chequered life in old VDL! His convict record…

6 Nov 1822Absent from Muster and Church (Rev Robert Knopwood)
1 Feb 1823Possession of a hat the property of J.B. Clarke / acquitted / (Bench Magistrate)
22 Jul 1823Out after hours / Hard labor – one month
11 Oct 1823Conspiring with W. Frazer and others to defraud Mr J.R. Deane and others, of fabricating and uttering certain notes of land purporting to be signed by John York, Daniel Stanfield, Edward Westwood, Edward Gallagher, and W. Abel / 100 lashes and Macquarie Harbor 4 years (Bench Magistrate)

But .. he obviously didn’t go to Macquarie Harbour …

29 Apr 1824Rioting in Launceston Yard confined three days to be fed on bread and water only. (Command.)
4 Sep 1826Aiding and abetting and making a knife contrary to orders / 25 lashes / (Command.)
5 Nov 1827Working up sheet copper contrary to orders / 35 lashes (M.H.)
17 Feb 1829Reported to the Steward of the “Sarah ——– ” to effect his escape. / Dismissed no proof / J. Spode
18 Jul 1830Scott / Coming from Perth to Hobart ——- and not reporting himself at the Police Office on his arrival. Administration (AOM & COM)
10 Dec 1833having in his possession sundry articles well knowing them to have been stolen, charge dismissed JHK
22 Apr 1835F S / Suspicion of having 11 Flagons value 20 pounds the property of James Scott. Committed for trial (AWH & SPB

At this point his record states:

Free By Servitude. Afterwards tried and convicted in the colony. Freedom certificate 23 Jan 1833 Life – to be sent to Port Johnson? Vide Marine Colonial Secretary.
44/35 3 Mar 1838 (Freedom Certificate?)

It would appear that by 1838, Elizabeth and Thomas had gone their separate ways. There is a possible second marriage for Thomas to Isabella Walker in 1838 in Hobart. They came to Victoria and had children. If this is correct, there should be DNA links from those children to descendants of Elizabeth and Thomas.

Elizabeth married again, stating she was a spinster. Remember that in those days there was no proof one way or another – she would have just maybe come to Victoria as an unmarried women (with 2 children). She married William Smith in 1843 at St James’ C of E in Melbourne, and one of the witnesses was Hannah Cronin, who married Elizabeth’s brother Michael.

Elizabeth died in 1886 in Geelong, aged 67 years, and is buried in Geelong Eastern Cemetery.