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Watts, John (c. 1763–1837)

John Watts (c.1763-1837) was a marine in the 42nd (Plymouth) Company, a cardmaker by trade, when he arrived at Sydney aboard the Friendship as part of the First Fleet. He served in Captain John Shea's Company at Port Jackson before being sent to Norfolk Island on the Sirius in March 1790.

Deciding to settle, Watts was granted 60 acres of land on Norfolk Island in 1792. By October 1793 he had cultivated five of his ploughable acres and was living with Margaret Stewart; they had no children.

Watts and Stewart left Norfolk Island for Port Jackson on the Daedalus in November 1794. He joined the New South Wales Corps, serving for five years until October 1799. He became quite a substantial landholder receiving a 25 acre grant of land at Parramatta in 1796, 160 acres at Mulgrave Place in 1804 and 200 acres at Richmond Hill in 1809. Margaret Stewart had also received a 20 acre grant under her own name in 1800 and in 1801 they were recorded as holding land in partnership.

The couple were still together in 1828. Watts was acting as sexton at Richmond in that year and gave his occupation in the Census as labourer. He was buried at St Peter's, Richmond, on 23 August 1837; his age was given as 74.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 374

Citation details

'Watts, John (c. 1763–1837)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/watts-john-30995/text38364, accessed 4 December 2020.

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