John Nichols

Born: c1755 in England.
Arrived: 26th January 1788.
Vessel: Scarborough.
Status: Convict, 7 Years.

Married: (1) Mary Carroll.
               (2) Ann Pugh on the 25th August 1803 at St John's Church, Parramatta, N.S.W.
Died: 25th November 1822 at Sydney, N.S.W.
Buried: 26th November 1822 at the Old Devonshire Street Cemetery, Sydney, N.S.W.

Prior to the Macquarie era the following children were born to John and Ann:-
John Pugh born c1802.
Ann born 22nd May 1803.
Charles born 12th July 1804.
Sophia born 10th March 1806.
Mary born 2nd  April 1808 at Prospect and died on the 3rd April 1808 at Parramatta, N.S.W.
Martha born c1809.

During the Macquarie era the following child was born to John and Ann:-
Amelia born 26th February 1811.
Susanna born 18th January 1814.
Thomas born c1815.
Joseph born c1817.
Eliza born 8th June 1819.
Sarah born c1822.

John Nichols came to trial at the Old Bailey on 21st April 1784 for stealing razors, scissors, soap, ribbons and powders to the value of fifteen pounds normally attracting a death sentence but a notable Lord came forward and said “he was a good lad with a bad master”. So at the age of 24 John was found guilty of theft, spent several years on the prision hulk Censor in the middle of the Thames River and four years later was transported as a convict to Australia on the First Fleet.

On 24th March 1788 John married Mary Carroll, however, Mary was separated from John when she was transported to Norfolk Island on the 2nd October 1788 along with other convicts in an attempt to relieve the plight of the colony caused by food shortages. By the end of April 1791 John had completed his sentence and took up an offer of land to become a settler. He received the twentieth land grant in the colony at Prospect Hill on the 18th July 1791. The 1800 muster shows John as having 40 acres sown with wheat, 12 acres planted with maize, 110 sheep, 28 pigs and 1 horse. Two years later he had 44 acres of wheat and maize sown or ready for planting. He owned a horse and 34 hogs but no sheep were recorded.

A successful farmer with 16 bushels of wheat and 50 of maize in hand he supported a woman, one child, six free men and two convicts. The marriage to Mary Carroll was to later impede John’s marriage to Ann Pugh, who had been assigned to him upon her arrival as a convict in 1801. In 1803, following Mary Carroll’s death, John and Ann married at St. John’s Parramatta. By that time they had two children, a son John and a daughter Ann. Another ten children were born after their marriage. They were Charles 1804, Sophia 1806, Mary 1808, Martha 1809, Amelia 1811, Susannah 1814, Thomas 1815, Joseph 1817, Eliza 1819 and Sarah 1823. John was recorded in subsequent years as a land holder of various properties by grant and purchase. In 1815, during a severe drought, he sold his properties at prospect and moved with his family to Sydney. He continued to farm on a small scale until his death on 26th December 1822 aged 67.

A Register of Pioneer Familes, Volume 1, Pages 335 to 345, published by The 1788 - 1820 Pioneer Association Inc.
John Cobley, The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts, Pages 199 to 200.
The Story of John Nichols First Fleeter and Five Generations of His Family [by] K. Purnell, S. Tuck, S. Draper, B. Coleman, J. Marden. Sydney, John Nichols Family Society, 1988.
The website of the John Nichols Family Society,


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