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Biography of Samuel Free

by * Lee Chambers

Samuel Free was tried at the Old Bailey in 1788, for the theft of one cotton handkerchief, and was transported for seven years. He was transported to Norfolk Island on the 3rd Fleet ship Salamander in 1791.

Samuel's trade was listed as Constable, in the book, 'Exiled three times over'. He married Elizabeth Smith, who was transported for robbery. She was also sent to Norfolk Island. Elizabeth arrived on the 2nd Fleet ship Lady Juliana in 1790, at Port Jackson, and was then transported to Norfolk Island via the Surprize on 7th August 1790.

Elizabeth had a daughter, Elizabeth, who was born in February 1792. The father is believed to be James Grace, who was also on the island at the time. By 1807, Samuel, Elizabeth, and their children, including Elizabeth jnr, were living in a shingled house and had a barn, plus 50 acres of land.

They came to Van Diemen's Land via the Porpoise, arriving 17 Dec 1808. On his arrival, Samuel was granted 70 acres of land at Queenborough (Sandy Bay area). He and Elizabeth were married in 1810 at Hobart Town. Samuel was also a Constable at Sandy Bay.

At his death the Hobart Town Gazette reported that he was one of the oldest settlers from NI and much beloved by his neighbours for his strict propriety of conduct during his long residence in the colony. Samuel is buried in St David's Cemetery, Hobart.

(Sources: Hobart Town Gazette, Tasmanian Pioneers Index, and the book 'Exiled three times over')

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Updated 13-Jun-2012