Joseph Smith and Mary Ann Kingham

Family history research is generally a process of working back in time, and in Tasmania that usually leaves you with a person's arrival, unless you have aboriginal ancestry. If you can't find a person's arrival then you have what is called a 'swimmer'. In the case of Joseph Smith and Mary Ann Kingham, we have confirmed events such as their marriage and subsequent family and death, but there are also unconfirmed events that will require more investigation.

According to a number of online sources Joseph Smith and Mary Ann Kingham were both born in England and came to Van Diemen's Land as convicts. In the case of Mary Ann Kingham that is quite easy to confirm as her name is relatively unique. Unfortunately that cannot be said for Joseph Smith. Fifty four convicts were transported to Van Diemen's Land with the name Joseph Smith. We can reduce that number considerably if we isolate those that arrived prior to 1834 when Joseph Smith married Mary Ann Kingham, but we still have thirteen contenders.

Again, according to those online sources, Joseph arrived as a convict on the Prince of Orange in 1822. In fact, there were two Joseph Smiths on that journey:

  • Joseph Smith, sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing poultry, aged 24 and a sawyer from Hertforshire.
  • Joseph Smith, sentenced to transportation for life for stealing a horse, aged 21 and a groom and horsebreaker from Oxford.1

We do know that Joseph Smith died in 1868 at which time his age was stated as 67, making his birth year about 1801, so the second contender seems a good match. Our online sources concur and have also matched that Joseph with his ancestral family, stating that Joseph Smith was born on 28 May 1801 in Banbury, England, the son of James Smith and Hannah Dumbleton.2

It seems likely then that Joseph Smith was the convict who was tried at Oxford on 4 August 1821 for horse stealing and sentenced to transportation for life. According to his appropriation list Joseph was 5 feet 4 and 1/2 inches tall with light brown hair and grey eyes. His native place was near Banbury in Oxfordshire. He had scars on his left middle and ring fingers and a scar on his forehead.3

The Prince of Orange departed from England on 1 April 1822 and arrived in Hobart, Van Diemen's Land on 23 July 1822. The ship's master was John Moncrief and the ship's surgeon was John Crocket.4 Upon arrival Joseph would have had his description drafted, along with a note about his conduct prior to his trial, and prior to his journey to the colonies. His gaol report states "not known before orderly" and his hulk report also states "orderly".5

Once in the colony Joseph's record remained relatively unblemished. On 13 May 1823 his master, Dodsworth, reported that Joseph was out after Bell ringing for which he was reprimanded. On 17 July 1828 Joseph absconded from the P. B. (Prisoner's Barracks) in Hobart Town [in] Feb[ruary] 1827 & remain[ing] illegally at large until he surr[endered] himself at this office (Mr. L. Smith's) on the 16th inst.6 Joseph's period of absence was reported in the Hobart Town Gazette:

The following Prisoners having absconded from their respective Employments, all Constables and others are hereby requited to use their utmost exertions to lodge them in safe Custody.

Principal Superintendent of Convict's

437. Joseph Smith, Prince of Orange, 5 ft. 41/2, brown hair, grey eyes,, aged 25, groom and horse breaker, tried at Oxford, August 1821, life, native place near Banbury, absconded from the Prisoner's Barracks, 7th of February, 1827.7

For that transgression six months was added to his sentence. On 15 June 1830 his master J. Thompson reported Joseph as being Drunk last night for which he was reprimanded.8

Joseph married Mary Ann Kingham on 21 January 1834 in Launceston, Van Diemen's Land.9 For some reason no permission was sought for the two to marry as was normal practice at the time, although there may have been such a request and the record has been lost. As previously noted, Mary had also arrived in Van Diemen's Land as a convict, having been tried on 6 December 1830 at Surrey, England,for stealing a bonnett and sentenced to seven years transportation. Mary had been tried before for stealing a pair of shoes and spent two months imprisoned in Guildford. Mary was single but had a child of which nothing more is known.10

Mary was transported on the convict transport America, leaving from the Downs in England on 6 January 1831 and arriving in Hobart, Van Diemen's Land on 9 May 1831. Robert Donal was the ship's master and Richard Lewis the ship's surgeon.11 On arrival Mary was described as a house servant, 4 feet 10 inches in height, aged 21, with a dark ruddy complexion, a large head, dark brown hair, dark grey eyes, with the following markings on her body, H. & James Gregory on rt arm above elbow. Star on left arm above elbow.12

Mary was assigned to Mr. Horatio Mason on arrival.13 Horatio had arrived in the colony in 1820 on the Saracen and was granted land in the Pittwater area. At the age of 25 he married Harriet Lankshear, aged 21 years, on 27 May 1823 at St David’s Church in Hobart Town. Horatio and his wife had a number of children and appear to have lived around Hobart for the next decade which would have included the period Mary Ann was assigned to them. Horatio worked as a wine merchant and licensed victualler.14

On 11 July 1831 Mason reported Mary Ann as being drunk in her service last night, an offence for which she was admonished. He again reported her on 2 August 1831 for neglect of duty, drunkenness and being absent from her service the whole of last night without leave. This time she was placed on bread and water for six days and re-assigned to the interior. On 7 February 1832 Mary Ann's new master, Bryant, reported her for repeated drunkenness for which she was given ten days solitary confinement on bread and water. There are no further offences recorded on her conduct record.15

As already mentioned Mary Ann and Joseph Smith were married in January 1834. Joseph and Mary had the following children, nearly all in the Launceston district of the island, during which time Joseph was awarded a conditional pardon on 21 November 1836.16

  • Ann Smith was born on 25 January 1833 and baptised on 4 February 1835 in Launceston. Joseph was a farmer at Patterson Plains.17
  • George Smith was born on 1 March 1834 and baptised on 4 February 1835 in Launceston. Joseph was a farmer at Patterson Plains.18
  • Elizabeth Smith was born on 14 January 1836 and baptised on 3 July 1839 in Launceston. Joseph was a farmer at King's Meadows.19
  • John Smith was born on 22 February 1838 and baptised on 3 July 1839 in Launceston. Joseph was a farmer at King's Meadows.20
  • Joseph Smith was born on 24 May 1839 and baptised on 3 July 1839 in Launceston. Joseph was a farmer at King's Meadows.21
  • Mary Ann Smith was born on 15 June 1842 and baptised in St. John's Church in Launceston. Joseph was a farmer in Launceston.22
  • Sarah Smith was born on 13 July 1844 in Launceston. Joseph was a farmer in Wellington Street, Launceston.23
  • Caroline Smith was born about 1845.24
  • Catherine Smith was born on 30 Mar 1846 in Launceston. Joseph was a farmer in the Frame (?) Valley.25
  • Jane Smith was born about 1849.26
  • William Smith was born about 1849 (not a proven child of Joseph and Mary Ann).27

At some stage between 1846 and 1850 Joseph and Mary Smith moved from the Launceston district to the Circular Head area of Van Diemen's Land. From 1850 all the family events occur in what was called the Horton district. The first event was when Joseph and Mary Ann's daughter Elizabeth Smith (16) married Henry Anthony (28) on 3 August 1850 in St. Paul's Church in Stanley.The witnesses to the ceremony were William Hobson and Mary Ann Smith, either Elizabeth's sister or her mother.28

Henry Anthony was born about 1825 in Bristol, Somerset, England. He arrived in Van Diemen's Land as a convict on the Coromandel in 1838. He had been tried in Bristol for stealing metal and sentenced to seven years transportation.29 Elizabeth and Henry had fourteen children that have been traced. The Anthony story is retold in the book "A Salute to their Courage" by Margaret M. Muir.

Elizabeth's sister Mary Smith (17) married next to Thomas Murray (28) on 2 August 1858 in the Horton district.30 Thomas was born about 1830, according to Ross Price on the Chestnut Blue site in County Roscommon, Roscarnarvon, Ireland.31 Mary Ann and Thomas would go on to have twelve children that have been traced.

In the following year, Joseph and Mary Ann's son George Smith (25) married Rachel Williams (20) on 26 September 1859 in the Horton district.32 Rachel was born about 1838, the daughter of John Williams and Rosanna Brown. Rachel had arrived with her family, at age four, on the Adelaide on 9 November 1842.33 George and Rachel had twelve children that have been traced.

One year after that, George's brother Joseph Smith (22) married Rebecca Spinks (17) on 11 June 1860 in the Horton district.34 Rebecca was born on 27 October 1842 in Horton, Tasmania, the daughter of John William Spinks and Sophia Francis.35 Joseph and Rebecca had fifteen children that have been traced.

The marriages continued into the 1860s. John Smith (24) married Elizabeth Williams (17) on 29 September 1862 in the Horton district.36 Elizabeth was born on 21 June 1845 in Horton, Tasmania, another daughter of John Williams and Rosanna Brown.37 John and Elizabeth had seven children that have been traced.

Sarah (Serah) Smith (18) married Michael Burke (25) on 2 November 1863 in the Horton district.38 Michael was born about 1838, calculating his birth year from the age stated at marriage. His origins are currently unknown. Sarah and Michael would have eleven children that have been traced.

Caroline Smith was in a relationship with Thomas Corcoran from about 1865, at least no marriage has been discovered to date. Thomas was born about 1841. Caroline and Thomas had eight children that have been traced.

Jane Smith (21) married James Malley (23) on 7 June 1867 in the Horton district.39 James was born 1845. Jane and James would have four children that have been traced.

Joseph Smith, the patriarch of the Smith family, died on 2 March 1868 in the Horton district. The cause of death was reported as a fever, and the event was registered by Joseph's son in law Henry Anthony.40 This registered date differs from that reported at the time in the newspaper.

SMITH.-At his residence, Highfield, Circular Head, on the 1st of March, Mr. Joseph Smith, aged 67.41

An obituary was reported in the Launceston Examiner.

(From a Correspondent.)

The death of Mr. Joseph Smith on the morning of the first March at his residence near Highfield has created a blank that cannot easily be filled up in this small community. Many persons, nay, over hundreds directly or indirectly have felt the benefit of his assistance-never grudgingly given. Mr. Smith had raised himself from a humble position to one of comfort by his careful and industrious habits, and it is gratifying to know that his large family of sons and daughters seem likely to follow in their lamented parent's footsteps, and who this day joined with nearly two hundred other residents in following Mr. Smith's mortal remains to their final resting place.42

Joseph Smith's Will is available online.43

Elizabeth Smith, nee Williams, died on 9 November 1873 in the Horton district.44 Cause of death?

Mary Ann Smith, nee Kingham, died on 23 September 1874 in the Horton district. The cause of death was recorded as chronic bronchitis. George Smith, Mary Ann's son, registered the event. Mary was noted to the widow of the late Joseph Smith, Farmer, Highfield.45

Jane Malley, nee Smith, died on 29 May 1879 in the Horton district.46 Cause of death? After Jane's death James Malley married Charlotte Jane Ollington on 7 July 1880 in the Horton district and they would go on to have a further eleven children.

William Smith (30) married Charlotte Spinks (23) on 5 December 1879 in the Horton district.47 Charlotte was born about 1856.

Rachel Smith, nee Williams, died in the Horton district on 21 March 1882. 48 Cause of death?

SMITH - On 21st March, at her residence, Sawyer's Bottom, Circular Head, Rachel, the beloved wife of George Smith, aged 43 years.49

Henry Anthony died on 2 July 1887 in the Horton district of Tasmania.50 Cause of death? Henry was buried on 5 July 1887 in Stanley, Tasmania.

Henry Anthony's Will is available online.51

Elizabeth Anthony, nee Smith, died 21 January 1903 in Stanley, Tasmania.52 Cause of death? Elizabeth was buried 22 January 1903 in Stanley, Tasmania.

A very old resident passed away on Wednesday morning in the person of Mrs Elizabeth Anthony. Deceased was a widow and leaves a grown-up family of seven sons and six daughters to mourn her loss.53

George Smith died 16 October 1906 in Stanley, Tasmania.54 Cause of death?


It is with much regret that the death is recorded of an old and respected resident in the person of Mr George Smith, of Western Plains, in his 73rd year, after a residence in the district of over 50 years. Deceased passed away after a long and painful illness at 2.30 a.m. on Tuesday, leaving a family of four sons and five daughters.55

Rebecca Smith, nee Spinks, the wife of Joseph Smith, died 20 February 1908 in Stanley, Tasmania.56 Cause of death?

John Smith died on 5 August 1916 in Green Hills, Tasmania.57 Cause of death?

The death occurred on Saturday of one of Circular Head's oldest residents in the person of Mr. John Smith, of Green Hills, Stanley. Deceased had been in ill-health for some months, and underwent an operation at the Launceston Hospital, but only temporary relief was afforded. He was 80 years of age, and was a tenant farmer of the Van Diemen's Land Company for half a century. Although of retiring habits, he was held in high regard by all who knew him. He leaves three sons and four daughters, to mourn their loss.

The mortal remains were interred in the Stanley Cemetery on Sunday afternoon, Rev. H. H. Anderson officiating at the graveside. There was a large number of friends at the funeral.58

The funeral of the late John Smith, sen., of Green Hills, took place at Stanley on Sunday afternoon, when a hearse to the grave, out of respect to the memory of the departed. The last sad rites at the graveside were performed by the Rev. H. H. Anderson, the funeral obsequies being in the hands of Mr. H. B. Eustace. The pall bearers were Messrs. H. G. Spicer. T. S. House. F. Burgess, and T. Wilkins.59

Mary Ann Murray, nee Smith, died on 4 October 1921 in Forest, Tasmania.60 Cause of death?

MURRAY. At Forest, on Oct. 4, Mary Murray, relict of the late Thomas Murray, in her 81st year. Funeral takes place from Forest on Thursday afternoon, 6th inst. R.I.P.61

Mrs. Mary Murray, one of the oldest pioneers of this district, passed away at her home at Forest on Tuesday, after a long illness, at the ripe age of 81 years. Her husband predeceased her by some years. She left three grown-up sons and three daughters. There are five generations of children to mourn their loss. The remains were interred in the Catholic portion of the Stanley general cemetery on Thursday. There was a long cortege. Rev. Father Barry conducted the service at the Star of the Sea Church, and at the graveside. The carriers were Messrs. J. S. House, C. Burke, D. Tatlow, and T. Burke. Messrs. F. M. Medwin, L. Medwin, M. J. Breheney, and D. Brown acted as pall-bearers. Mr. H. B. Eustace carried out the funeral arrangements.62

Caroline Corcoran died on 30 August 1923 in the Mental Hospital at New Norfolk, Tasmania.63 Cause of death?

Joseph Smith died on 3 September 1923 in Stanley, Tasmania.64 Cause of death?


After a long illness Mr Joseph Smith passed away at his residence at Highfield on Monday afternoon. He leaves a large family of grown up sons and daughters.65

Sarah Burke, nee Smith, died on 13 August 1931 in Green Hills, Tasmania. Cause of death?

Mrs. Sarah Burke, Stanley.

Mrs. Sarah Burke, an old and highly respected resident of Stanley, passed away at the residence of her son, Mr. John Burke, Green Hills, on Saturday, at the age of 86 years, after a very brief illness.

The late Mrs. Burke was born near Launceston, but had lived in Circular Head for 80 years. The house in which she died had been her home for the past 58 years. She was the widow of the late Mr. Michael Burke, a well known farmer, who died 23 years ago. Blessed with good health until three weeks ago, she was bed-ridden for only three days prior to her death.

She leaves four sons and three daughters - namely, Thomas and Charles (both farmers, of Forest), John (a farmer, of Stanley), Joseph (Williamsford), Mrs. Luke Medwin (Black River), Mrs. T. Bellinger (Mengha) and Mrs: J. A. Gourlay (Montumana).

The funeral will leave her late residence to-day at 2.30 p.m., for the Stanley cemetery.66