NATHANIEL LUCAS 1764-1818
Nathaniel Lucas was born in Kingston, Surrey, England, about 1764. His father was William John Lucas, a builder of Thames Ditton, Surrey, his mother was Mary nee Bradford.
Nothing is known of Nathaniel's early life, except that he followed in his father's footsteps, taking up the trade of Carpenter and Joiner, and later becoming a builder.
His story commences when he is twenty years of age. At this time he was living in a public house in Red Lion Street, Holburn, London. On Wednesday 7th July 1784, Nathaniel was tried before Mr. Rose at Justice hall in the Old Bailey and convicted of feloniously stealing clothing, the value of which was £ 2-0-0 ($ 4-00). This being the property of his neighbour Mary Davis, a spinster.
Sentenced to transportation for seven years, Nathaniel was to spend some time in a prison hulk anchored in the Thames. On the 13th of May 1787 he left Portsmouth aboard the “Scarborough” one of the transport ships of the First Fleet, bound for Botony Bay, New South Wales. Aboard another ship in the fleet the “Lady Penryhn” was Olivia Gascoine, who was destined to become Nathaniel's wife.
RESIDENCE ON NORFOLK ISLAND
Shortly after the arrival of the fleet in Sydney Cove, Phillip decided to set up a colony on Norfolk Island. The occupation of the island was to serve two ends, to make available masts and sails for the refurbishment of British ships, from the pine and flax found on the island, and because of the fact that there were two French ships, the “La Boussole” and the “L'Astrolabe” in the area, Phillip wanted to forestall any chance of them claiming Norfolk Island for the French.
Nathaniel Lucas and Olivia Gascoigne, were among the 23 settlers, 7 freemen and 15 convicts specially selected by Phillip for their good character and their vocation to go to Norfolk Island. Along with a detachment of marines, under the command of Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King, they were to help set up this pioneer settlement, that was later to become so infamous in Australia's early history. This small party sailed from Sydney Cove on 15th February 1788 aboard the “Supply”, with enough supplies to last six months. They arrived off Norfolk Island on 29th February, but owing to bad weather they could not get ashore. On the 2nd of March, King was able to get ashore, but it was another five days before a place could be found to safely land the main party, and transport the provisions ashore.
King had some initial trouble with some of the convicts, but despite this the settlement soon began to flourish. Land was cleared and cultivated, crops were sown and harvested, and buildings erected. The settlement soon became a small township. In March of 1790, Norfolk Island received about 300 new people to its shore. The ships “Sirius” and “Supply” arrived bringing two companies of Marines plus new convicts from Sydney, where dwindling supplies of food had become a very convicts from Sydney, where dwindling supplies of food had become a very
OLIVIA GASCOIGNE 1761-1830
Olivia, it seems was an Aristocrat. Her parents have not yet been clearly identified, however research points toward the fact that she was the daughter of the High Sheriff of Yorkshire, John Gascoigne of Wentworth Castle, near Sheffield, and Sarah Vernon - Wentworth of Hanbury Hall, Droitwych, Worcestershire. The name Olivia Gascoigne appears three times in the Castle's records
A John Gascoigne married Olive Partridge in Droitwych in 1724, (these are thought to be Olivia's grandparents). This John Gascoigne appears to have been a naval Captain, commanding HMS “Greyhound” in Admiral Thomas Rowley's Fleet. Olivia's family in Australia still possesses a locket with a painting believed to be that of Captain Thomas Rowley. Mary Rowley, daughter of a Captain Rowley of the New South Wales Corps, married Olivia's son, John.
Olivia's problems, which culminated in her being transported to New South Wales, may have stemmed from a dispute within the Wentworth family. The Gascoignes were the originals of a line, which merged with the Wentworths to become the Earls of Stafford. Some descendants have recalled that Olivia always asserted such a connection. At about the time of Olivia's birth the Stafford estates were carved up. The Gascoignes inherited the title of High Sheriffs of Yorkshire and the use of Wentworth Castle (England's largest castle) from the Wentworths whilst the Wentworths continued as the Earls of Stafford but acquired the lesser estate of Wentworth Wodehouse and the Vernon family acquired ownership of Wentworth Castle, which the Earls did not appreciate. The Vernons were a descendant branch of the Wentworths, they later changed their name to Vernon-Wentworth. They remained in Hilton Park, Staffordshire and in Droitwych. The Gascoignes were cousins and it seems that they had married back into the family. The Earls of Stafford were the cousins of the Marquis of Liverpool, The Duke of Argyle, the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Cumberland and were all Yorkshire Aristocrats. They all had estates in Longford County in Ireland. A cousin, Sir Thomas Watson Wentworth, was Prime Minister of England in 1782. He was of the Wodehouse faction. Olivia was of the Castle faction. Could Olivia's transportation have been a result of this family feud?
Olivia Gascoigne was tried at Worcester Lent Assizes, 5th March 1785. The indictment reads: -
“That Olive Gascoigne, late of the Parish of Seven Stoke in the county of Worcester, Spinster, on the 10th day of August 1784, with force and arms in the parish aforesaid…. 13 pieces of gold coin of the proper coin of the realm called guineas of the value of £131-13. One piece of foreign silver coin called a Dollar of the value of 4 shillings and six pence. Of the goods chattels and monies of Edward Griffith in the dwelling house of George Griffith, then and there being found feloniously did steal take and carry away”.
Verdict . Guilty. Sentence. To be hanged.
Although convicted and sentenced to the ultimate punishment, Olivia received a Royal reprieve, having her death sentence commuted to transportation.
Whereas Olive Gascoigne was severally attainted at this assizes of the severe capital felony of stealing the value of above 40 shillings in a dwelling house. His Majesty hath been graciously pleased to extend Royal mercy to her on the condition of her being severally transported beyond the seas for and during the term of 7 years. It is thereby ordered by this Court that the prisoner Olive Gascoigne be transported beyond the seas accordingly as soon as conveniently may be pursuant to the acts of Parliament in this case made provided that Reginald Lygon and Charles Trubshaw Withers Esquires, two of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the county of Worcester do contract with any person or persons for the performance of the transportation and order such and the like sufficient security to be taken for the same acts of Parliament direct. I also cause the prisoner Olive Gascoigne, pursuant to such contract or contracts to be delivered over by the Gaoler of the county of Worcester (in whose custody she now is) to the person or persons contracting for him or to his or their assizes and certify such contract or contracts and security to be taken at the next assizes. General Gaol delivery to be holden for the county of Worcester in order to have the prisoner be certified and contract or contracts and security filed among the records of this Court.
By the Court
In the court hearing, no evidence was presented to say that Olivia had actually held the pistol used in the armed robbery, nor that she had personally received any of the proceeds. The others, all males, appear to have disappeared from the records after being sentenced to death but having their sentences commuted.
It is interesting to note that Olivia lived in Sydney at the time the streets were being named. She lived at the intersection of Clarence, Argyle, York, Cumberland and Kent Streets (Nathaniel was related to the Lord John Lucas, the Earl of Kent). When Lord Lucas died in 1799, the title passed to Prince Edward, the father of Queen Victoria whose son, The Duke of Edinburgh, visited Australia in 1866, during this visit he privately spent a half a day with Olivia's son John's family.
Olivia was also among the first families to live in Liverpool and when she moved to the Norfolk Plains area in Tasmania, the village was named Longford shortly afterwards.
Another interesting fact is that most of the children of a later Duke of Argyle migrated to Australia and linked up with Olivia's youngest son, Thomas in Camperdown, Victoria in the 1850's.
Among the Norfolk Island records was a free person, Martha Wentworth. Martha married a convict named John Paul and followed Olivia to reside in Liverpool when the Lucas's left Norfolk Island. It seems that Martha was Olivia's aunt.
Whilst this is a highly speculative story, the coincidences are too great to be ignored.
BACK TO THE LIVES OF NATHANIEL & OLIVIA IN AUSTRALIA
In 1791 Nathaniel received a grant of fifteen acres of land, which he farmed with the help of William Walsh, a convict assigned to Nathaniel, who by this time had served his sentence and was an emancipist farmer.
In 1793 Nathaniel purchased a further sixty acres from Charles Heritage a former marine. Apparently Nathaniel was quite a successful farmer, for in August 1802 he sold wheat, maize and pork worth £450- 0-0 ($225-00) to the Government stores.
In 1795, Nathaniel constructed an overshot water-mill on Norfolk Island for a fee of three ewe sheep, the mill having a capacity to grind and dress eighteen bushels of flour a day.
On 11th June 1795 Nathaniel was appointed master carpenter succeeding William Peate. He was suspended on 5th September 1800, and reappointed 13th March 1802 and held this position until the settlement was reduced in 1805. During this time on Norfolk Island, eleven of their thirteen children were born, and two were killed tragically.
An entry in the “Journal of Lieutenant Governor King”, dated 15th August 1792 gives a sad account of the tragedy, which claimed the lives of Nathaniel's twin daughters, Sarah and Mary and almost killed his wife Olivia.
“ The carpenter Nathaniel Lucas, incautiously set fire to two pine trees which he thought would fall clear of his dwelling house, one of them unfortunately fell on it and killed two fine twin children, two years old, bruised the mother in many parts of her body and broke her arm in two places. An infant child that was in her arms at the time providently escaped unhurt, although the house was dashed to pieces.
Also whilst on Norfolk Island Nathaniel was to write the following letter to his father. He gave the letter to Governor King to deliver on his return to England.
Sydney, Norfolk Island
New South Wales
20th October 1796
After so long an absence, an account of my state of health and situation, will no doubt be pleasing to you, and I have the pleasing satisfaction to acquaint you that me and my family are all in perfect good health and thank God and my own industry very comfortably situated my family at this present time consists of my wife and 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. - I had the unspeakable misfortune to lose 2 twins, girls, by an accident, which, could it be represented in a proper manner would awaken, the most tender feelings and melt the hardest heart in sympathy. It was by the fall of a pine tree which stood near my house, which buried my lovely infants in the ruins, and almost my worthy partner, who nearly escaped with her life, for she was dragged out in a situation in which her life was despaired of, O' Father I am not able to express the poignant grief I felt on this very shocking scene, without dwelling long upon this displeasing subject together with a variety of misfortunes, liable to those who transgress the laws of their country. I can now with truth assert that I have surmounted them all, and with the blessing of God I hope in the course of 2 years to return to my native country with a competency for life.
I am Master carpenter of this island for which I have a sallary of £50-0-0 per annum. I have 2 freeholds consisting of 75 acres of land. I should be worthy very much to gratitude if I did not acquaint you that my present good fortune is to be imputed in a great measure to the humane (Governor?) and assiduous respect of Lieut. Gov. King who has even promoted my interest since my residence on this island. Perhaps it will not be unentertaining to give you some account of this island, which I believe to be one of the most fertile in the world, it produces two crops in the year one of wheat, and another of Indian corn, the crop of wheat is rather precarious on account of the variableness of the climate. Potatoes and Vegetables of all kinds are produced here in great abundance, and will grow in any month of the year provided there is a little rain when planted.
The wheat harvest generally starts about December, which is for the most part excessive hot, often accompanied with thunderstorms. The Indian corn is generally planted in June and January.
This island produces several kinds of fruit i.e.:- Watermelons, Bananas a rich and luscious berry called tomatas or Gooseberrys, a native cone, which grows upon vines, Grapes, Figs, Apples, Lemons, and various other kinds of fruits coming to great perfection. Fish of an excellent quality are plentiful on this coast, hogs are had here in great quantities, Poultry with…… quantity of sheep and goats.
I had the honour under the direction of Lieut. Gov. King to construct a Water Mill for the Government, and a Wind mill on my own estate.
I have permission from His Honour Lieut. Gov. King for you and any of my friends to wait upon him who will afford any necessary assistance you may require these persons for. Do not fail in embracing the first opportunity in writing to me … nor to all friends and…. Farewell and may God Almighty bless you.
Your affectionate son
Remember me to my brothers and sisters and all inquiring friends and anyone of my relations may wait upon Gov. King, who will aquaint you particularly of my situation.
This letter was taken to England by Lieut. Governor King, but never delivered as he appears to have been unable to locate Nathaniel's father. It is now in the Mitchell Library, Sydney.
Envelope from Nathaniel's Letter
RESIDENCE IN SYDNEY
In April 1804 Nathaniel returned with his family to Sydney aboard the “Investigator”. The ship carried materials for a Government windmill, which Nathaniel was instructed to erect for the Government on a site on Church Hill. This site was approximately where the toll gates for the Sydney Harbour bridge now stand. He was also permitted to carry material for another windmill for himself, which on completion of the Government mill he was given permission to erect in the Government Domain, the site of his mill was where the Shakespeare Memorial stands near the State Library of New South Wales.
These two windmills were of the unusual post type, which had never been built in the colony before. The upper section, holding the propellers rotated on a post with their direction being determined by sails positioned like rudders. The mill stones were made on Norfolk Island, as they were more durable than the ones produced in Sydney. This mill was capable of grinding six bushels an hour.
In 1805, the Colony's Superintendent of Carpenters died and Nathaniel was appointed to the position, he was to hold this position for a short time. After this appointment the Lucas family lived in Sydney Town, having a house next door to John Macarthur. (Now 1 York Street). As well as carrying out his duties as Superintendent of Carpenters, Nathaniel and his sons operated the “Government mill” and for some time leased his mill in the Domain to Henry Kable, at this time the mill was known as “Kable's Post Mill”
Nathaniel also became a private builder, and as the colony was growing very fast by this time he was kept quite busy. In 1808, after the “Rum Rebellion” against William Bligh, in which Nathaniel took part (he was one of the 160 who signed the petition for Governor Bligh's arrest), Nathaniel was again appointed Superintendent of Carpenters at a salary of £50-0-0 per annum, with the extra privileges of victualling from the Government stores and being able to use assigned servants (convicts).
He apparently did so well in this position, that in 1813 he was appointed superintendent of the Government lumberyard, having sixty-one men under his control. The next year, when Governor Macquarie published Bathurst's order abolishing the privileges attached to this and many other offices, Nathaniel along with many others petitioned the Governor for them to be restored. The petition was successful, as Macquarie suspended the order.
It was about this time that Nathaniel started to give more attention to his private and public building contracts. He had already been associated with the building of the “Rum Hospital”, part of which is the New South Wales State Parliament.
In 1816 he built the parsonage at Liverpool, he was also associated with the building of the one at Parramatta (both now unfortunately demolished).
In 1818 he was successful in his bid for the contract for the building of St.Luke's Church at Liverpool. The convict architect Francis Greenway designed the Church. Both Nathaniel and Francis Greenway were present when Governor Macquarie laid the foundation stone on 7th April 1818.
Greenway, who had quarreled with Nathaniel over the Hospital, also quarreled with him about the foundations of the Church, alleging that Nathaniel was addicted to the bottle, and that he was using inferior quality stone in the Church.
On 5th May 1818 Nathaniel's body was found in the mud of the river
Nathaniel's sons built a number of windmills elsewhere in the colony, as well as numerous other timber buildings.
At Harris creek, near Liverpool, John Lucas built his first watermill in 1822. The capacity of this mill was said to up to one thousand bushels a week. Additional water for this mill was supplied from a reservoir constructed close to the mill, approximately 150 acres in area. John also built a mill at Woronora in 1825, at the head of the tidal waters, this mill could also grind one thousand bushels a week. Today's Lucas Heights is named after John and his mill.