Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

The Greyhound Inn


Richard Alcorn arrived free with his mother and brother Edward on the convict ship Glatton in 1803. His father Richard Alcorn was transported as a convict on the Glatton. Richard Alcorn senior died in 1812.

Richard Alcorn's Grant

An article in the Singleton Argus explains how Richard Alcorn came to possess his grant at Glennies Creek...... In 1826 Richard Alcorn married Miss Charlotte Gulledge. The cattle belonging to the family increased so rapidly that it was thought to be time to push out for 'pastures new,' - and a severe drought was raging also. So Mr. Alcorn, Mr. Loder, (father of Mr. Loder of Abbey Green, Singleton), Ben Singleton (whom Singleton is named after), and others - all young men of a daring and enterprising spirit - pushed on in a northerly direction, and crossed the Bulga Range in 1826. No pen can describe the toil and hardship this little band of pioneers had to undergo, in working their way through the impassable scrub, over rivers, up mountains, and in encounters with the blacks - but they were equal to the task, and succeeded. They were delighted to see, from off a spur of the Bulga, the splendid plains of the valley of the Hunter. Simple circumstances gave names to the various discovered places Patrick's Plains being discovered on Patrick's Day ; Jerry's Plains, from the circumstance of one of their faithful servants Jeremiah, losing his thumb through the bursting of a pistol loaded to obtain fire and mortification setting in died, and was buried in the paddock opposite the post office here. Each one of those pioneers received a grant of land from Governor Darling, at places chosen by themselves, Mr. Alcorn taking his up on Glennie's Creek. [3]

Bridgman Attacked by Natives

Richard Alcorn managed Bridgman, the grant of Robert Lethbridge nearby his own grant. The Sydney Gazette reported on a terrifying incident that took place at their house at Bridgman in 1826......

The Mountain Blacks in the neighbourhood of Glenny's Creek, in one of the more remote districts of Hunter's River, have again not only been troublesome, but also evinced a spirit of revenge, and have murdered two shepherds belonging to Captain Lethbridge, at his station. On Monday, the 28th of August last, at the farm of Captain Lethbridge, an unexpected visit was paid to the house by four black men entering, having spears,etc. and bearing the appearance of hostility. Some black native women had a short time before informed the woman of the house, that the natives intended to come down, to kill and eat her white child, but no credit was given to this assertion, viewing it merely as a stratagem used to extort bread or other food to assuage their hunger.

On the arrival of the four black men on the morning of the 28th, the Reader may in some measure be capable of judging the dreadful thoughts which would at once start across the mind of Mrs Alcorn for the safety of the infant then in her arms. Mrs Alcorn was nursing, and the only man in the house was frying some kangaroo; there was a youth also present about 13 years of age.

She immediately ordered the man to give the remaining part of the kangaroo 'to the poor black men,' they accepted it, and appeared well delighted, and Mrs Alcorn availed herself of an opportunity of communicating her wish, by gestures used to her brother, the youth before mentioned, that the two shepherds, who were splitting some railings for fencing, should be immediately fetched; the little boy very artfully performed his part, and left the house without suspicion, and the men armed with the utmost punctuality; the boy returned with them.

At this moment also, Mr Richard Alcorn arrived, but casually, not suspecting the visitors were in the house, on his return from a neighbouring farm. The youth went outside of the house, and hastened in again, saying- 'Oh, what shall we do here's the blacks all coming with their spears shipped.' Ten or twelve more blacks were actually bearing down upon the house with their warlike implements in battle array. To describe particularly, it will be necessary to explain, that the house consists of two rooms, the inner is Mr Alcorn's bed-room, and has a door appended, the outer room has no door.

The blacks surrounded the house, and its inmates, suspecting their intention, spoke to them, but without the appearance of fear, and desired them to tat tut , or go away which injunction they refused to obey. The two shepherds were standing near the door way, but outside the house. A black cast a spear at him and struck him in the body. Cottle was the unfortunate man's name. He exclaimed 'I'm a dying man and instantly expired. They speared the other shepherd through the body and with an instrument described by the name of nulla nulla, struck him a violent blow on the back of the head, and fractured his scull - this poor man was not heard to speak. During this murderous scene, Mrs Alcorn crept under the bed in the inner room of course taking the baby from the premeditated danger (as may) now be fairly conceived, and the little boy followed her example.

Mr Alcorn was lightly speared in several parts of the body but no dangerous consequences were entertained from the spear wounds. He also received a blow with a stone of about four pounds and a half weight, as described, thrown at him by some peculiar instrument of war used in that part of the district. He fell, and was senseless for some short time. When Mr. Alcorn recovered, the surviving man and himself went into the bedroom, and secured the door. They were yet in a perilous situation, there as a window place to the room, but no window shutter, and they were exposed to the enemy through that aperture. Invention was not long idle and self preservation soon found an expedient they placed a long box against the vacuum, and by that means defied the effects of the spears. The natives kept hammering the box with the aforesaid instrument nulla nulla, until they broke it, the man in the room with Mr Alcorn now charged a gun, with powder only, no other ammunition being in the house, he fired, but the black fellows cried out distinctly-'fire away -fire away bail black man fall ' nevertheless the man conceived he might do some good, and was about to reload when be said- 'I want some wadding ' Mrs Alcorn now tore her gown, and threw pieces from her from under the bed, and supplied him with wadding, and, strange be it said it had a good effect.

The report of the gun brought down a neighbouring shepherd towards the house, who beholding the blackfellows in their attack, made off towards Captain Glennies, at whose residence is a party of mounted police. This man's movement however, caught the eye of one of them and they chased after him and cast spears at him but missed him.-

They were heard to say-'Gone for soldier', and they left off the siege, they then entered the outer room, and took away the blankets and spare wearing apparel of the men they had killed. We had nearly forgot to mention, that when they killed the man, as before stated, they made loud acclamations three different times. Mr Alcorn was taken to Captain Glenny's where he received the most hospitable welcome It is supposed Mr Alcorn would be able to walk about in a week from the date of the affray, he lost a copious flow of blood
. [1]

An authenticated account, dated Sept. 5, 1826, has arrived at Wilberforce, and other places of the Hawkesbury, that Mr. Richard Alcorn is unexpectedly recovering; he has regained his speech, and converses intelligibly; the wounds he received on the head, are nearly healed ; he is at present at Captain Glennie's estate, but intends next week to remove his family to the farm of Mr. John Brown, his brother-in-law, until fully restored to health, and he has determined to abandon that remote district. The letter we heard read, very pathetically expatiates on the peculiar privation of medical aid; and adds, ' Captain Glennie wrote for a doctor, who could not come for want of a horse.'

The mounted police and Dr. Scott's party, as it is called, pursued the natives from the day of the depredation and murder until Saturday, the 2nd of September, when they surprised them encamped on the mountains; the reception was spiritedly noticed by the firing of guns and acclamations; the blacks fought nobly in their way, and the party gave them a practical lesson in one or two manoeuvres in the science of arms, which had every probable effect. One of the party was speared through the cheeks and tongue, and the corporal narrowly escaped a spear
. - Windsor Correspondent [2]

The Greyhound Inn

Richard Alcorn remained in the district. He was listed as a farmer at Falbrook in 1828. He was granted a license for the Greyhound Inn at Falbrook on 15 October 1831.

In August 1833 he was required to travel to Sydney to testify as a witness in a court case involving bushrangers Henry Beard and John Richardson. The previous June, Beard and Richardson had robbed Alcorn's dray being driven by his servant John Quantrell who was returning from Maitland, a trip of 41 miles, with a load of goods he had purchased from the St. Michael Store ship. He was stopped on the road at Anvil Creek at 2 o'clock in the afternoon and robbed at gunpoint of goods such as tea and blankets, glassware a hogshead of rum, a keg of brandy, vinegar, pickles and a bag of salt. Beard and Richardson were later executed.

In 1838 Richard Alcorn built the Queen Victoria Inn at Jerry's Plains

Death of Richard Alcorn

Richard Alcorn died in 1879. His obituary was printed in the Maitland Mercury........

The bereavement for the late Mr. Richard Hobden had scarcely passed away before I am called upon to notice the death of a much older colonist, in the loss the district has sustained in the death of Mr. Richard Alcorn, who died at his residence, Oakleigh, on the morning of the 3rd January, instant, aged 78 years. With your kind permission I must beg a small space in your valuable paper for the following facts in relation to the deceased's long life in this colony, of over seventy-four years.....

Mr. Alcorn often graphically described his overland trip, to Sydney in the years '26 and '27, taking in his cattle for sale, and to bring out necessary supplies. On one occasion Mr. John Browne, of Macquarie Place, Singleton, (father of our worthy member), and himself, were as usual coming out, driving their old faithful pack-bullock before them, they on foot, when they overtook on the Bulga Mr. John Duff, struggling up the mountain, carrying a half chest of tea on his back, with other things, and his servant struggling under a load of sugar and other necessaries. Those who were not fortunate to have a pack bullock had then to carry their household necessaries out in this manner. Horses were but few, and too valuable to ride. All cattle were herded, and drove to Sydney, on foot, in those days. In fact a man on horseback, they said, would frighten them away.

Mr. Alcorn sold his estate at Glennie's Creek, and bought one at Jerry's Plains, and built a large stone house, which has been used as an hotel ever since. He was ever a good consistent member of the Anglican Church, helping other denominations at the same time, and was a churchwarden of St. James' Church here for over thirty years. He always gave freely of his cash, time, or labour for the good of his Church. He was never known to miss divine service in his Church for thirty years, considering it his first duty to be there to thank God for the great kindness vouchsafed to him through his many dangers. A pattern to the rising generation. Thus died this good old man, full of years, full in his faith, full of honors won in subduing the wild land in his adopted country- and a sheaf fully ripe for his Master's farm. The whole of his family, three sons and four daughters (some of these grandmothers), were present at his last earthly rites. It is the wish of your correspondent that his posterity may always consider their noble sire's example, and go thou and do like- wise
. Jerry's Plains, January 7, 1879. [4]

Notes and Links

Probable Usefulness - An account of the Connor family from Ireland to Australia (Chapter 2)


[1] Sydney Gazette 9 September 1826

[2] Sydney Gazette 16 September 1826

[3] Singleton Argus 15 January 1879

[4] Maitland Mercury 11 January 1879