Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Grayson Hartley - Settler

Map 3

Grayson Hartley was born in May 1807, the second son of Thomas Hartley of Giltfoot, Whitehaven.

Arrival in the Colony

He arrived in the colony with another young man, Joseph Rookin on the Medway in December 1829. The two men formed a partnership on arrival and probably envisaged a successful future. Both men applied for and were granted land in the Williams River district, however neither was destined for a long life.

The location of Grayson Hartley's 2560 acre land grant can be seen centre of the map below.....

Ferdinand Anley Matthew Chapman John Hooke John Mann Benjamin Sullivan Alexander McDuff Baxter James Dowling John Lord Alexander Park Charles Boydell Francis Gibbes John McIntyre Joseph Rookin John Verge Crawford Brown Grayson Hartley Duncan Mackay Major Smeathman Charles Windeyer Henry John Lindeman George Townshend Lawrence Myles Early Hunter Valley Settler Map 3


Grayson Hartley resided at Minchinbury in 1830. On 19th December 1830, he and Francis Watkins were robbed while travelling by gig to Parramatta. Two men rushed from the bushes with fire arms at the ready and robbed them of money and other belongings. The bushrangers were William Webber and John Walmsley, former companions of the notorious Bold Jack Donohue. While Donohue had been shot and killed in 1830, these two had escaped and continued with their robberies. This was not a violent robbery and there was quite a conversation between the two bushrangers and their victims.

Francis Watkins when interviewed later as a witness at the trial of Webber stated that when they found out who Mr. Hartley was, they would not have stopped them, but would have let them pass by unmolested. He then returned Mr. Hartley's watch and other articles which he had previously taken, although he kept the money. When asked by Watkins what induced him to lead such a life, Webber replied that starvation and tyranny were the cause in the first instance, which caused him to take to the bush and that it was then too late to retire. (Walmsley was sent to Van Diemen's Land in 1832). Webber was later executed for his crimes.


Grayson Hartley married Sophia Peash in April 1835 and by 1837 had moved to Maitland.

Assigned Convict Servants

The Hartleys were robbed by a former assigned servant James Kelly during the night of 25th June 1837. For his crime, Kelly received a sentence of death recorded with a recommendation that the sentence by commuted to transportation for seven years.

Convicts assigned to Grayson Hartley included:

Cahill, Michael
Convict Ship Edward 1831. Ploughs, milks, reaps, sows. Native of Longford. Tried 10 March 1830 and sentenced to 7 years transportation for cattle stealing. Assigned to Joseph Rookin on arrival. Assigned to Grayson Hartley in 1837. Granted Ticket of Leave in March 1837

Coff, Charles
Convict Ship Fairlie 1834. Assigned to Grayson Hartley in 1836-37

Farrow, George
Convict Ship Hercules 1832. Sentenced to 14 years transportation for attempting to poison his infant daughter. Assigned to Grayson Hartley in 1837. Granted Ticket of Leave in 1839. Ticket cancelled for dishonest conduct  and not preventing destruction of property in 1843. Ticket re-issued in February 1844

Jones, John
Convict Ship England 1835. Assigned to Grayson Hartley 1836 - 37. Sent to Newcastle Gaol in January 1843. To be sent to Hyde Park Barracks for identification

Kelly, James
Convict Ship Earl Grey 1836. House servant from Roscommon Sentenced to 3 years in irons at No. 3 Stockade, Newcastle for larceny

Montgomery, Thomas
Convict Ship Hercules 1830. Married with 2 daughters. Ploughman, reaps and sows. Tried in Fermanagh 23 March 1830 and sentenced to transportation for Life for Murder. Assigned to Grayson Hartley in 1836-37. Granted Ticket of Leave for Maitland in 1839

Palmer, William
Convict Ship Royal Sovereign 1835. Height 4ft 8 1/2in Complexion: sallow and pockpitted. Brown hair, hazel eyes. 'Stout made' with carrotty whiskers. William Palmer was convicted of stealing a stove at the Surry Quarter Sessions in May 1835. He was assigned to Grayson Hartley in 1837

Reed, John
Convict Ship Dunvegan Castle 1830. Native place Liverpool. Occupation tobacconist. Tried at Liverpool 4 May 1829. Sentenced to 14 years transportation for picking pockets. Assigned to John Larnach at Hunter River on arrival. Assigned to Grayson Hartley in 1837

Richards, Daniel
Convict Ship Florentia 1830. Assigned to Grayson Hartley 1836 - 37. Absconded and apprehended in June 1837

Turner, Samuel
Convict Ship Edward 1831. Ploughs, reaps etc. Age 28. Native place Co. Cavan. Married with 2 children. Tried 13 March 1830 and sentenced to transportation for life for stealing a horse. Assigned to John Rookin at Minchinbury on arrival. Assigned to Grayson Hartley in 1837. Granted a Ticket of Leave for Upper Williams River in 1839


Grayson Hartley died on 1st October 1838 at Maitland and was buried in the Old Glebe cemetery. He was about twenty-nine years of age.

Notes and Links

Hartley of Gillfoot - A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland..., Volume 1 By Sir Bernard Burke