William Davis and Mary Geer
Davis unknown Edward Geer
(b 1763 Henfield Sussex, m Mary Bowlden 1788
This family is a 50% chance
Mary Bowlden (b 1767 Henfield)
William Davis (b abt 1772 WAR Eng, m
Mary Geer 1815 St Johns Anglican Parramatta)
Mary Geer (b 1789 Henfield Sussex, d 1851
Kent St Sydney)
Hepzibah Davis (b 1807 Windsor NSW,
m William Syrett 1823 St Phillips Sydney, d Aug 1823 Sydney)
James Davis (b 1809 Parramatta, m
Elizabeth Fowles, d 1892)
Davis (b 1811 Parramatta, m George
Onslow 1826 St Phillips Sydney, d 1879 Margaret St Petersham)
(Jane) Onslow (b 1829 Liverpool, NSW, m John
Rowley 1846 St Lukes, Liverpool , d 1909 Yule St, Pertersham)
Clarkson Rowley (n 1847 Liverpool, m Sarah
Jane Smart 1874 Beechworth Vic, d 1928 Bethanga)
Smart Rowley (b 1875 Yackandandah Vic, m Eircell
Broome 1909 Albury NSW, d 1957 Bethanga)
Avis Sirl 1922 Albury
John Davis (b 1814 Parramatta, m
Elizabeth Dowling, d 1858)
Samuel Davis (b 1816 Parramatta, m
1840 Cecilia Thompson-Hooper, d Orange, NSW 1878)
Ebenezer Davis (b 1818 Parramatta, m
1846 Louise Valla Briarley, d Kings Plains NSW 1895)
Robert Davis (b 1822 Parramatta, m
1843 Elizabeth Hollongshead Paramatta, d Gulgong ?)
Charles Davis (b 1825 Parramatta, d
Grinstead Common, East Grinstead, Sussex, all
born in county
Edward Geer 62, Agricultural
These Geer appear miles to young
Mary Geer 58
William Geer 22 Agricultural Labourer
Thomas 18 Agricultural Labourer
There is a Mary Geer
Aged 70, Parish St John The Baptist Southover,
Who is closer in age
To follow up
Davis-Slade's emails - He has suggestions as to parents
"For some time I have been
trying to identify the date, and where William died
with little success. The best lead I have is Mary
Geer's grave-stone and death certificate.
Inscription on the stone is;
Sacred to the memory of MARY DAVIS the beloved wife of WILIAM
DAVIS who departed this life March 27th 1851.
The death certificate Number
85 of Vol: 113 shows:
Her abode: as Goulburn Street
""Age: 67 years
When buried: 30th March 1851
Where ceremony performed:
Parish of St. Andrews
County of Cumberland NSW
By whom ceremony performed:
The wording on the head-stone
could indicate that William was alive in 1851 as his death
details are not included.
notice Margaret Hardwick suggests that only one
William Davis was buried by the Baptist Church and that this
may be him."
"The ages of William Davis
like all early convicts vary greatly and everyone has a
theory as to the correct one, here is mine.
advised by Sheila Tilse (a descendant of William Davis and
Mary Geer through their son Robert).who worked on the
Australian Dictionary of Biography project. She suggested that
I take the ages given on William and Mary's Marriage
certificates as these were the ones given by the person
themselves. William gave the age of 35 at his
marriage to Mary Geer in 1815, which puts him born in 1780.
At the trial he was described as a native of Birmingham.
checked my past research records and found the following
In 1981, I made contact with a Mr
T.G.A Watson a Birmingham based Genealogical Researcher,
the brief I gave him was to
search local church records for the birth/baptism of William
Davis and the possible marriage of his parents in the
He found the following results:
born/baptized at St. Martinís
in the Bull Ring Birmingham
baptized at St. Philipís Cathedral Birmingham
William Davis the son of William and Ruth Davis
Search A. Completed for 1775 to
1780 Records for Baptisms St.
Martinís in the Bull Ring
were nineteen William baptisms at these three Churches
during the period requested. Only one was found for the year
1780. (10th September 1780, son of William and
Search B. Completed for 1730 to
1780 Records for Baptisms St. Philipís Cathedral
were eight Williams baptized during this period, three had
fathers named William. One in 1732, another in 1738 so they
were not our William, there was only one record for 1780 on
the 11th September, the son of William and Ruth
Note: Reason for two records at different Churches not
it be that St. Martins was their local church and they
had a relationship with the pastor there? And then they
wanted a grander ceremony at the St Philip's Cathedral?
Mr Watson recorded the names of all
children born as well as their parentís names during the
above years. There were 62 records and only two had a
mother named Ruth and these were the two listings for
Completed for 1719 to 1779 records for marriages at St.
record found for William Davis to Ruth Davis: I am having this
researched in further years.
Search D. Completed for 1730 to
1775 records for marriages at St. Martinís in the Bull
record found for William and Ruth Davis:
am continuing with this line based on the reason I have
given, and in the absence of any other reasonable
alternatives. As you know William
arrived 207 years ago, and so far, no birth or death date
has been determined due to the common name William Davis.
uncommon name Ruth, attached to William Davis is the
first real opportunity I have seen to try and trace
PS: A lot of family researchers, including
myself, have originally followed the line of William Davis
alias Robert Hudson, tried at the Old Bailey in 15th
February1792, and who was transported on the Royal
Admiral which arrived Port Jackson on 7th Ocober
1992. As some of us have learned after a lot of wasted time,
this is the wrong William.
We learned that the correct
William Davis appeared at a Hereford Assizes several times
between January and March 1797 and was returned to
Hereford Gaol on the 21st March 1797 having been convicted
and sentenced to Hang, then reduced to Life
transportation. He arrived at Port Jackson on the
20th November 1800 on the Royal Admiral (2). Many researchers have missed
the (2) ofet rthe name of the ship which as we all know
now denotes the second voyage of the shipo carrying
convicts to Australia."
1789 Born Henfield Sussex, parents Edward Geer and
Mary Bowlden (probable)
1804 Charged with housebreaking at Horsham,
Sussex, aged fifteen. Convicted at Lewes. Her accuser was David
Baker of Etchingham.
Sentenced to be hanged,
later changed to life imprisonment and transportation.
1805 Arrived Port Jackson on William Pitt
1806 Assigned to Benjamin Haywood, as servant to
his defacto wife who was having a baby
1811 Ticket of leave. Eliza born.
1815 Mary and William Davis married St John's
Anglican, Paramatta .
William had five more children
1831 Mary founding member of the first baptist
church in Sydney
1851 Mary died, Kent St, Sydney . She
is buried in the Baptist section of Pioneer Cemetery. (Janet Hill)
Janet Hill gave us the above. See http://www.geocities.com/geer_family
Janet Hill's write-up directly
was one of the first converts to the Baptist Church in Sydney
she is the 5th on the original Baptist roll and no details of
the four before her have survived . It is also recorded Mary was
deaf and fell asleep in sermons and meetings and snored."
"William & Mary are on the Welcome Wall at
the Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour, where most of the early
settlers have their names"
Trees in Ancestry have Peter Geer and
Mary Patchin as parents for Edward Geer, but seeing we
are not that confident of Edward, stop with him.
No parents for Mary Bowlden
Mary Geer Convict Indictment from Vic
Also went by the alias William Brown
1772 Born Birmingham, England (-1776?) His
Convict Indent has his native place as Parish of Ross (Hereford). I
think this is Ross on Wye
1797 Arrested Ross-on-Wye for stealing,
sentenced to life imprisonment Hereford
1800 Arrives Sydney on Royal Admiral
1810 Ticket of leave
1816 Conditional Pardon
1818 Granted convict servant (at the 1823, 25 and
Davis does have records in the Colonial papers mainly memorials
for land for him or his children they are easy to follow you
look for two leads (William Davis convict on the Royal Admiral
1800 or William Davis alais William Brown).
40 acre land lease at Castle Hill - Reel 2560 also Vol 3 348 121
original lengeth of time the lease was till 13 September 1824 at
an annual rate of one shilling the condition was to cultivate 12
acres. It was on the road to Dural and it was bounded on the
south side by Sexton's Farm. (I think I know exactly where it
is, there is a Steiner School on it today) In 1825 William tried
for a further 40 acres on the grounds of the size of his family
- it appears he was granted it but never took it up. At a guess
too swampy too out of the way just not practical he was living
in Sydney by this time. Eliza and James both got their land.
question William Davis dying in Windsor Hospital that date
according to the church records he is a pauper why do you think
its William. I think the one buried by the baptist minister at
Camperdown Cemetery is more likely, I have no evidence beyond he
is the only William Davis buried by the Baptist Church."
William Davis Convict Indictment from Vic
"Benjamin Haywood did have a
defacto wife who was expecting when he employed Mary from the
William Pitt as a servant There is no record they ever had a
sexual relationship and none of Mary and William's children have
any record of being Haywoods. Hepizabah is always recorded as
Greer or Davis all are baptised as Davis children and William in
his various memorials always claimed them as his children.
Haywood is an ex convict alias William Morris arrived on the
Salamander 29 August 1791 enlisted in the NSW Corp 1 April
1801was on Norfolk Island 1802 until 1804, (I have read and
unfortunately did not keep a copy that he was injuried in
the Vinegar Hill Riots), 1805 apparently transferred back to the
mainland his commanding officer was Wilson he definitely had a
land grant (but I think he had problems managing it and it was
over taken by his officer this was a little trick they pulled to
get more land - I have no back up information). 1808 he was in
Parramatta - 1809 he was attached to 500/600 24 April 1810 he
was transferred to the to the 73 rd (that means he was invalided
- there are no records of death etc) this information came via
Jan Stinson "A Colonial Regiment New Sources Relating to the NSW
Corps 1789 -1810" edited by Pamela Statham."
Sheila (Davis) Tilse, descendant ot of William Davis and Mary
Mary's surname is spelled "Geere" in
the Henfield church records.
are possible reasons why their union was not officially
recognised sooner. In January 1807 Samuel Marsden, the only
Church of England chaplain in New South Wales, left for
England, where he recruited other ministers for the colony,
The first to arrive was William Cowper, who was appointed to
St Philip's Church in Sydney. Samuel Marsden did not return to
Parramatta, where William and Mary were living, until February
1810. Andrew Houison, writing in the Australian Historical
Society Journal and Proceedings, vol. 3, 1916, p. 363, says
that during the period 1807-1809, some people opted to be
married by a magistrate. The majority preferred to live "in a
state of unblushing concubinage". William and Mary were
apparently in that group.
his return Marsden again resumed his farming activities and
was also responsible for many civic duties, including sitting
on the bench as a magistrate. It was here he earned his
reputation as "the flogging parson". The time he spent caring
for his flock was naturally curtailed. It was almost two years
before he baptised the three oldest Davis children. In 1814
Marsden sailed for New Zealand to oversee his project to teach
skills to the Maori. William and Mary married in 1815 after
the family moved to Sydney they had a closer relationship with
that good man, William Cowper at St Philip's Church where
William was sexton in 1830. Cowper baptised Robert and Charles
Davis, presided over the marriages of Hepzibah and William
Syrett in 1823, Eliza and George Onslow in 1826, James and
Elizabeth Fowles/Faulkner in 1831 and Samuel and Cecilia
Thompson Hooper in 1840. In 1823 he buried Hepzibah and in
1832 baptised William, oldest son of James and Elizabeth.
Thanks to Janet Hill, George Geer, Margaret Hardwick and Lyn Black.
Margaret and Lyn corrected some of my errors on William Davis (much
Edward Geer and Mary Bowlden's information came from Becci5 on a
Also some details about the family
Vic Douglas for the Indictments above.
Some puzzling pieces of Geography
Mary's trial was held at Lewes, but Etchingham, the address
of David Baker who was burgled is nearly 50 miles east of Lewes.
Henfield is 10 miles west of Lewes.
The Henfield family
Edward Geer (b abt 1763, m Mary Bowlden 12 May 1788, Henfield
Mary Bowlden (b abt 1767, d 1792 Henfield)
Ann Geer (chr 13 Feb 1789 Henfield)
Mary Geer (chr 18 Apr 1790 Henfield)
Thomas Geer (chr 04 Dec 1791 Henfield)
This is the only one in the LDS that looks even close. But May's age
at her trial is given as 17. But the Henfield Mary was christened
April 1790. That look close to her birth as an earlier child was
christened in Feb 1789, and the couple married in May 1788. But this
makes Mary just turned fourteen at her trial..
Note Mary Bowlden's early death could help explain the geography
query above, and possibly was a factor in Mary ending up in trouble
with the law. So the Heyfield family are only a 50% proposition?
Received from Jan Hill
Copies of Mary and William's trial documentation. Some images are
difficult to read, so need to be turned into text before adding to
See References 198, 199 on file also
Genes Reunited checked for Mary and Edward geer, Mary Bowlden
and William Davis
Opinions vary as to who Mary's first three children's father was
I am inclined to believe it was William.
The only further information that I can think of that might be
material is whether Benjamin Haywood's wife produced children
regularly through the period 1806-11
There's a project if you want one
From Barbara Price
I recently found the following
site - it might fill in some blanks for you
www.familytreelegends.com/trees/becci click on Andrew Davis
- I have had a look, still thinking about it
William Davis christenings in Birmingham (1771-75)
26 Aug 1771 Saint Martin, (John and Anne)
19 Jan 1773 Saint Phillips (Hannah)
28 Aug 1775 Saint Martin (John and Mary)
Any of theses are possible
I have received an intriguing email
I am an archaeologist
working on material from sites in Sydney, including early
Parramatta. I found William Davis and other Davises on your
family website via google.
I have catalogued early smoking
pipes marked "WILLIAM / DAVIS" and wonder if you have any
information about what any Williams did. I am
particularly interested in the convicted William as these pipes
are rare and date to before 1840. Do you have any records
about where or for whom he was working for as a convict or
later, aside from farming? I have perused the Col Sec records
but wonder how many relate to your particular family member(s).
These clay pipes are found amongst other early
pipes made in Sydney and possibly Parramatta, as well as
those imported from the UK. I would be very interested in
any material you have relating to early Parramatta as this
area is the focus for much current work, including the 3
early Hospitals beside the river.
William lived in Parramatta from 1815 to 1825. My writeup on the
webpage does not agree whith Janet Hill's story, which
suggests that William Davis moved to Kent St Sydney about 1825
We can check past that from Convict
Musters. etc which ran thru the 1820s and 30s I think. (He had
servants assigned by then). I will check this out on my next
trip to the Genealogy Library, and see what I can find. A lot
of this material is available on CD
Some notes from Janet Hill suggest William
may have been a shoemaker in 1814.
I will get back to you, but it may be a few
But it looks as if your Parramatta pipe is
our Williams, it predates 1825
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Page last updated - 26 Nov 2007 5 Mar 09 28 Sep 11 17 Dec 2012