Free Settler or Felon 

Grayson Hartley - Settler

Map 3

First Name

Surname / Subject


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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, having departed Liverpool on 28 June. The two men formed a partnership and probably had high hopes for the future. Both were granted land on in the Williams River district but neither of them were destined for a long life.

Grayson Hartleys land 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. 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 hanged 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.

Other convicts assigned to Grayson Hartley included:

Thomas Montgomery per Hercules 1830
Michael Cahill per Edward 1831
Charles Coff per Fairlie 1834
John Jones per England 1835
George Farrow per Hercules 1832
William Palmer per Royal Sovereign 1835
John Reed per Dunvegan Castle 1830
Daniel Richards per Florentia 1830
Samuel Turner per Edward 1831


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

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