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Griffiths, John (c. 1758–1844)

John Griffiths (c.1758-1844) was a marine in the 51st (Plymouth) Company when he arrived at Sydney aboard the Friendship in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet. He served in Captain James Meredith's Company at Port Jackson. He was described as having a fair complexion, hazel eyes and was nearly 5 feet 10 inches tall.

Griffiths worked as a carpenter at Port Jackson. He was sent to Norfolk Island on the Supply in June 1789. Deciding to settle he was granted 60 acres at Creswell Bay. He had married Jane Thompson on 5 November 1791 at a mass wedding ceremony on the island; they had at least six children.

Griffiths returned to Port Jackson with his wife and three children in April 1796 on the Supply. By 1796 he was sharing a 75 acre grant at Mulgrave Place with two other people. He was a sergeant in the Sydney Loyal Association at the end of 1802. Between 1809 and 1822 he worked as a sawyer at The Rocks. He had been granted 100 acres in St George's parish in 1809.

Following his wife's death in 1813 he married Bridget Ann Holland at Christ Church, Castlereagh on 1 February 1819; Griffiths signed the register, Holland marked it with an 'x'.  By 1828 Griffiths was running a dairy at Evan for Sir John Jamison. His wife, daughter Mary, and two small children, James and Mary, probably his grandchildren, lived with him on the farm. His daughter Mary was Jamison's housekeeper and later married him.

John Griffiths died on 5 May 1844 at his son-in-law's house at Hobart. His age was given as 82, occupation as 'landholder', and cause of death as 'natural decay'.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 150-51

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Citation details

'Griffiths, John (c. 1758–1844)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/griffiths-john-31199/text38588, accessed 22 January 2021.

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