Life in Port Dalrymple

Elizabeth and John

Elizabeth and John in Van Diemen’s Land

Port Dalrymple (now Launceston)

So, after arriving in 1820 …

1820 Muster: Free Men: John BAREFOOT. Ship: Boyd. When and where tried: 1806, Dublin. Sentence: Life. On or off Stores: Off.
Free Women: Elizabeth CHURCH. Ship: Providence. When and where tried: 1807, Dublin. Sentence: Life. On or off Stores: Off. Married to J.BAREFOOT.
Children of free people (MUSTER)
Rosetta BAREFOOT Age 8, Off stores
Elizabeth BAREFOOT Age 6, Off stores
John BAREFOOT Age 3 Off stores
Michael BAREFOOT Age 1, Off stores

1821 Ann born.
Muster of 1821 Free Men: John BAREFOOT. Ship: Boyd. When and where tried: 1806, Dublin. Sentence: Life. On or off Stores: Off.
Free Women: Elizabeth CHURCH. Ship: Providence. When and where tried: 1807, Dublin. Sentence: Life. On or off Stores: Off. Married to BARFORD.
Children of free people
Rose BAREFORD Age 10, Off stores
Betsy BAREFORD Age 7, Off stores
John BAREFORD Age 4 Off stores
Michael BAREFORD Age 1 1/2, Off stores
Anne BARFORD Age 2 months, Off stores.

On 30 June 1823 Sir Thomas Brisbane granted John Bearfoot 50 acres of land in the District of Morven later Evandale), at a bearing north 45 degrees west, 12 chains to the south of the Esk River, and on the south west side.

WHY? In the book Convicts Unbound: The story of the convicts and their settlement in Australia (Marjorie Tipping, 1988), it is suggested that it Land Grants of 30 acres were given for capturing and testifying against 3 bushrangers. It is possible that the land grant was in payment for John testifying against the two persons operating an illegal still, for which he received his pardon.

However the farm did not appear to be doing well.

Over the next few years the children were removed several times, with comments about them being very poor and fit for the institution.

What was happening with John and Elizabeth at the time?
1824 Children removed and placed in orphanage: Eliza (10), John (8), Michael (6), Ann (3). Ellen (Helen) born this year but maybe too young to be removed from mother?
1825 Children removed and placed in orphanage: John (9), Michael (7), Ann (3). Bridget must have been born this year – perhaps she and Ellen too young to be removed from their mother?

In 1826 Governor Arthur ordered a survey of destitute and orphaned children in the colony – often known as the Children’s Census.  Various ministers of religion and local magistrates reported to Gov. Arthur the details of children in their districts.
From this Census: John (12), Elizabeth (14), Michael (10), Ann (7, Ellen (5), Bridgett (3), William (18 months). Father John Barefoot: Character Bad. None of the children were attending school, none could read or write.

CSO1/1/918 page 70

1826 Children removed and put into orphanage in Launceston. Elizabeth (10), John (9),Michael (7), Ann (5), and Ellen (3). William born this year, maybe both he and Bridget too young to be removed?
9 Aug: Elizabeth Church – Wife of John Barfoot. Drunk and disorderly. Fined 5 shillings.
8 Nov: Elizabeth Church – Drunk and disorderly. Fined 5 shillings.
9 Nov: Elizabeth Church – Drunk and disorderly. To be placed in the stocks 2 hours and sent to the Factory at George Town for 1 month.
27 Nov: Elizabeth Church – Drunk in the streets of Launceston. To be confined to the stocks 3 hours.

1827 Feb 6 – John Barefoot/Constable/Charged with receiving a bribe and neglecting his duty. Charge dismissed.

1827 Feb 25 – Three of the Barefoot children were baptised in the Roman Catholic Church, Hobart. At the baptism, parents’ names were John Barefoot and Elizabeth Heany. (Translated from the Latin)
2392 Gullielmus (William) BAREFOOT (b 1827 Launceston) Sponsor: Maria Sheehan
2393 Anna (Ann) BAREFOOT 4 yrs (b 1821 Port Dalrymple) Sponsor: Bernard Kearns
2394 Eleonora (Ellen) BAREFOOT 2 1/2 yrs (b 1823 VDL) Sponsor: Allicia Brown.
The children’s ages are not correct, and why was Bridget not baptised as well, when she would have been about 2 at this point?

Record of baptism of William, Ann and Ellen Barefoot TAHO

Why did the priest write down Elizabeth as Elizabeth Heany? No record of such a person has ever been found. Did he mistake them for relatives of the Ricardo Heany mentioned earlier in the record?

8 Mar – Elizabeth Church – Repeatedly drunk and disorderly. To find sureties to keep the peace: 3 months and sent to the Factory at George Town 1 month.

Now … not sure in which order the following two events occurred …

16 Nov John Barefoot: Disobedience of orders & gross immoral Conduct in living in a state of Adultery with a woman. Dismissed from his office of Constable & Recommended to be deprived of the Salary now due to him.

Convict court and selected records – convict conduct registers
Hobart Town Gazette

However, the primary offence entry for this raises a few more questions:
John Barefoot (CF?) November 16 – disobedience of Orders and grossly immoral Conduct in cohabiting with a woman by whom he has had several children he having a wife living in Ireland. Dismissed from his office as Constable and to be deprived of the part of salary which is due to him. Subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor.


Cohabiting with a woman with whom he has several children?? A wife in Ireland?? Very confusing as we know he was married by Samuel Marsden in Sydney

16 Nov Elizabeth Church – Drunk and disorderly. To be sent to the Factory 1 month.
Did this happen AFTER John was dismissed as Constable?

Interesting article on convict constables in Tasmania here

1828 25 Nov – Elizabeth Church – Drunk and disorderly. 28 days in the Gaol as the House of Correction.
Things started to go even more pear-shaped in 1829 when it seemed that a war flared up with neighbours!
In a nutshell – on 22 October Elizabeth was charged with Assaulting and threatening to beat a neighbour – Hannah Murphy. The charge was dismissed.
Then on 24 October John saw three bullocks belonging to his neighbour Timothy Daley in his wheat, and sent them to the pound in Launceston. Mr Daley was probably not too happy about having to get his cattle from the pound, and retaliated by returning in the small hours of the morning with Hannah Murphy, who lived with him, and removing part of John’s fence, letting 25 head of cows and calves out, 11 of which were not to be seen again. In the Colonial Secretary’s papers there is a statement from John, one from Elizabeth, alleging that Hannah Murphy also threw stones at her while breaking the cattle out, and one from Isaac Jackson, providing an alibi for John Baptiste Boyette. Transcripts of sworn statements here.

1829 George born.
1830 13 Aug – Elizabeth has left John. From the Launceston Advertiser:

How old was George at the time? Did she take him with her? Leave a new baby with John?

1831 19 Sep – Elizabeth Church – Drunkenness. Fined 5 shillings.

More trouble was afoot in October, when an outraged (faux outrage I think) 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.

13 Jan 1832 John Barefoot was the owner of 80 acres at Perth. Date of Deed 14
and 15 Sept 1830. Conveyance from Donald and Catherine McLeod.

13 Aug 1832 – Land in Wellington Street Launceston owned by J Barefoot,
sold to Richard Baker for 22 pounds. (This could be the block next to
the hospital.)
1833 11 Dec – Elizabeth Church -Drunk. Fined 5 shillings.
183? 6 Sep – Elizabeth Church -Being drunk. Fined 5 shillings.

no further record of Elizabeth has ever been found.
so… that’s all we have found about our 4th great grandmother Elizabeth, but there are still many, many unanswered questions… such as when she died! Also remaining unanswered is where was Elizabeth BEFORE she was transported?
Perhaps a better question might be WHO was Elizabeth before she was transported.

To answer both of these questions we turn to DNA to start unlocking the mysteries of the past … here.

John’s life after Elizabeth …

30 Apr 1835 [Book 1 4751] 30 acres Launceston bought in part by John
Barefoot , his share 30 pounds.

30 Jun 1835 – Next to Elizabeth Street Launceston [Book 1, # 4999] John
Barefoot and others paid 84 pounds. Others involved in the deal, William
Effington Lawrence, Richard Baker, Henry Reading.

On 27 July 1838, Samuel Hockey sought and was granted permission to marry Ellen Barefoot. This did not take place. Ellen married Edward Cassidy, and her story is here.

and then on 6 Dec 1840 permission was obtained to marry Bridget Barefoot.

We know that John BARFOOT was the owner of a small farm soon after his
arrival in VDL. The acreage was increased by the generosity of Thomas
TOMBS and by 1838 a Land Census shows that John BAREFOOT had a farm of
at least 80 acres.

1838 Land Census [CSO 49/67] Land and Stock p261/23
31 Dec 1838, District Morven, John BAREFOOT – Wheat: 45 acres, Oats: 8,
Potatoes: 1, English oats: 2, No. of acres in crop: 56, Total number of
tilled acres: 80, Horses: 5, Cattle: 19.

31 Dec 1838 John BAREFOOT or BARFOOT (Snr) was living at Westbury
(Morven). His household consisted of 5 males and 1 female. He was
employed in agriculture. Only a few census returns for the 1840s have
survived but John BAREFOOT’s is not one of them. [Letter from Archives
Office of Tas, 30 Aug 1982 to Robert Allen]


On 21 May 1840, John, a 60 year old farmer, married Ann Hammond, a 48 year old widow, in the Catholic Church in Launceston.

The marriage however, was soon on the rocks, with John posting a warning on June 3 1841 …

Launceston Courier, Monday 27 Feb 1848

1843 27 Feb John was advertising a brick cottage in Frankland St for sale by tender.

However – was this our John or another?

John died 31 July 1846 at his home in Franklin Street, of inflammation of the bowels. He was 72 years of age, according to the informant. He was buried 1 August.

Obituary – Launceston Advertiser Mon 3 Aug 1846

As we have never found any record of John prior to his trial, it is likely that he was not Irish, but perhaps English. This is another puzzle for DNA to help sort out, we hope.

On to their children’s stories … Rosetta, Elizabeth, John, Michael, Ann, Ellen, Bridget, William, George.

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