ANN SMITH (I) is one of St John’s First Fleeters and, according to her death notice “the first English woman who landed here.” ANN had reportedly accompanied her first husband JOHN SMITH “during the American War,” that is the American Revolutionary War otherwise known as the War of Independence. It is not known what happened to her husband during the war, but by 1 March 1785 ANN was on trial in Winchester, Hampshire, England for stealing to the value of 320 shillings. She was sentenced to seven years transportation and held on the Dunkirk along with her infant daughter, also called ANN SMITH (II) (1785–1791), until they could both be transported to the Colony of New South Wales on the First Fleet ship Charlotte (1788).
ANN gave birth to a son named THOMAS, the child of fellow First Fleeter PATRICK BURN, per Friendship (1788), and later, at Norfolk Island, married another First Fleeter and shipmate who happened to have the same surname as her former husband: WILLIAM SMITH. When WILLIAM SMITH died in 1830, he willed his farm, “Ann’s Place,” to his “loving wife.”
“Mrs. Ann Smith, Relict of Mr. William Smith,” died at Seven Hills at the age of 87 on 26 September 1837 and was buried on 27 September 1837. Her grave is unmarked, therefore its exact location in the parish of St. John’s is unknown, but according to the newspaper notice of her death in the Sydney Monitor, “her remains were followed to the grave by a numerous circle of relatives and friends, especially all old hands who knew her.”
- Born: c.1749, England. Age calculated from age reported in “Family Notice” at death. Birthplace based on the same report which stated she was an English woman.
- Married JOHN SMITH: details unknown.
- Accompanied her husband, JOHN SMITH, for three years during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)
- Tried and convicted of housebreaking and theft of £10 bank note, silver watch and other goods: 1 March 1785, Winchester Lent Assizes, Winchester Castle, Hampshire, England
- Sentenced to seven years transportation: 1 March 1785, Winchester Lent Assizes, Winchester Castle, Hampshire, England
- Gave birth to a daughter, named ANN SMITH (II) – paternity unclear, but JOHN SMITH was noted as “ANN’s husband” in the trial record and visitors were free to come, go, and stay in prisons in this period: c. December 1785, in prison.
- Sent to Dunkirk hulk with her one-year-old daughter, ANN: 8 December 1786
- Embarked on Charlotte: 11 March 1787
- Sailed with the First Fleet per Charlotte: 13 May 1787
- Arrived at Botany Bay per Charlotte: 20 January 1788, Botany Bay, Sydney, Colony of New South Wales
- Arrived at Port Jackson per Charlotte: 26 January 1788, Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, Sydney, Colony of New South Wales
- Partner, PATRICK BURN, brought before the criminal court alongside JOHN ASCOTT, accused of attacking some seamen and acquitted: 10 June 1788, Sydney Cove, Sydney, Colony of New South Wales (c.f. John White, p. 172)
- Son, THOMAS BURN SMITH, by fellow First Fleet convict PATRICK BURN baptised: 22 November 1789, Sydney Cove, Sydney, Colony of New South Wales
- Boarded HMS Sirius with both children, ANN SMITH (II) and THOMAS BURN SMITH, bound for Norfolk Island: 4 March 1790, Port Jackson, Colony of New South Wales
- Sailed to Norfolk Island per HMS Sirius with her two children. Also on board was ELIZABETH ECCLES: 5 March 1790, Port Jackson, Colony of New South Wales
- Landed per HMS Sirius: 13–14 March 1790, Norfolk Island
- Began relationship with fellow First Fleet convict WILLIAM SMITH: > March 1790, Norfolk Island
- Former partner PATRICK BURN married MARY NEWTON, Second Fleet convict per Lady Juliana: 29 July 1790, Sydney Cove, Sydney, Port Jackson, New South Wales
- Former partner PATRICK BURN died: 13 July 1791, Sydney, New South Wales (c.f. David Collins, p. 171, re: BURN’s wake).
- Daughter ANN SMITH (II) likely died: c.1791, Norfolk Island
- Married WILLIAM SMITH during Reverend RICHARD JOHNSON’s whirlwind visit when he married many couples: November 1791, Norfolk Island
- Left Norfolk Island with son THOMAS BURN SMITH per Kitty: 1793
- WILLIAM SMITH also left Norfolk Island per Francis: February 1794, Norfolk Island
- Lived with fellow Charlotte convict WILLIAM SMITH and, as Gillen notes, “one legitimate male child” (THOMAS BURN SMITH): Parramatta, New South Wales, 1806
- WILLIAM SMITH made his will, left “Ann’s Place” (the farm) to ANN as well as six cows, (MAGGOT, COLLEY, PRIMROSE, BEAUTY, FAIRMAID and MOUSE). Stated that the farm would pass to his stepson, THOMAS BURN SMITH “as an inducement to THOMAS to get married and live with his mother and father on the farm” notes Gillen: 29 January 1820, Seven Hills, New South Wales
- Went blind: c.1826
- Bedridden: c.1828 and for the remainder of her life
- Recorded as wife of WILLIAM SMITH and also living with her son THOMAS BURN SMITH, his wife, and their two children: 1828, Prospect, i.e. Ann’s Place, Seven Hills, New South Wales
- Husband WILLIAM SMITH died: 11 January 1830, Ann’s Place, Seven Hills, New South Wales
- Husband WILLIAM SMITH buried: 13 January 1830, Parish of St. John’s, Parramatta
- Died: 26 September 1837, “Ann’s Place,” Seven Hills, New South Wales
- Buried: 27 September 1837, Parish of St. John’s, Parramatta
- Unmarked grave, location unknown, St. John’s Parish, Parramatta
- Spouse of JOHN SMITH
- Parent of ANN SMITH (II)
- Partner of PATRICK BURN, convict per Friendship (1788)
- Parent of THOMAS BURN SMITH, son of PATRICK BURN
- Wife of WILLIAM SMITH, convict per Charlotte (1788)
- Mother-in-law of LAETITIA “LYDIA” ALLCOCK
- Grandmother of WILLIAM SMITH (born c. 1823)
- Grandmother of ANN SMITH (born c. 1827)
By Ben Vine
Abstract: Ann Smith may have been an ‘ordinary’ person by the standards of her day; yet the First Fleet convict was seemingly determined to be remembered as anything but. This essay examines two claims in Ann Smith’s 1837 obituary; namely that she had accompanied her husband for three years during the American Revolutionary War and that she was the first English female to set foot in the Colony of New South Wales. If true, the figure that emerges is a plunderer battling poverty in a war against want in both Revolutionary America and England alike. more>>
- David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: printed for T. Cadell Jun., and W. Davies in the Strand, 1798), pp.99–100 via Internet Archive, accessed 20 January 2017. For Collins’s comments on the wake of PATRICK BURN, see p. 171.
- Philip Gidley King, The Journal of Philip Gidley King, (Sydney: University of Sydney Library, 2003), pp.196–200, accessed 11 March 2018.
- Parish Burial Registers, Textual Records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.
- “Country News,” Sussex Advertiser, Monday 14 March 1785, p. 1 accessed online The British Newspaper Archive (https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/), 5 March 2018.
- “Family Notices: Deaths,” The Sydney Monitor (NSW: 1828 – 1838), Wednesday, 4 October 1837, p. 3.
- John White, Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales : with sixty-five plates of nondescript animals, birds, lizards, serpents, curious cones of trees and other natural productions, (London: Printed for J. Debrett, 1790), p. 172 (re: PATRICK BURN), via Internet Archive, https://archive.org/details/journalofvoyaget1790whit, accessed 8 March 2018.
- Walter Hart Blumenthal, Women Camp Followers of the American Revolution, (Philadelphia, George S. MacManus Co., 1952).
- Michaela Ann Cameron, “Charlotte,” Dictionary of Sydney, (2015), http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/charlotte, accessed 12 January 2019.
- “SMITH, Ann,” in John Cobley, The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1970), p. 251.
- “SMITH, William,” in John Cobley, The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1970), p. 256.
- Sylvia R. Frey, The British Soldier in America, (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2012).
- “BURN, Patrick (c1760–1791),” in Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p. 59.
- “SMITH, Ann (c1750–1837),” in Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), pp. 332–33.
- “SMITH, Ann (c1785–c1791?),” in Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p. 333.
- Linda Grant de Pauw, “The Age of Revolution” in Linda Grant de Pauw, Battle Cries and Lullabies: Women in War from Prehistory to the Present, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), pp. 110–141.
- Donald N. Hagist, Blog post: “Army Wives: The Remarriage Myth Dispelled,” British Soldiers, American Revolution, (17 July 2010), accessed online http://redcoat76.blogspot.com/2010/07/army-wives-remarriage-myth-dispelled.html 30 December 2018.
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- Donald N. Hagist, “The Women of the British Army in America,” The Brigade Dispatch, Volume XXIV, No. 3 (Summer, 1994): 2‑10, Volume XXIV, No. 4 (Autumn, 1994): 9-17; Volume XXV, No. 1 (Winter, 1995): 11-16, Volume XXV, No. 2 (Spring, 1995): 8-14, accessed online http://revwar75.com/library/hagist/britwomen.htm 30 December 2018.
- Donald N. Hagist, Blog post: “Three Brave British Army Wives,” Journal of the American Revolution, (28 October 2014), accessed online 30 December 2018.
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- Paul E. Kopperman, “The British High Command and Soldiers’ Wives in America, 1755–1783,” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, V60 (1982): 14–34.
- Holly Ann Mayer, (PhD. Diss.), “Belonging to the Army: Camp Followers and the Military Community during the American Revolution” (College of William and Mary, 1990).
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- Ron Withington, Dispatched Downunder: Tracing the Resting Places of the First Fleeters, (Woolloomooloo, The Fellowship of First Fleeters, 2013), p. 441.
# Event: American Revolutionary War
# Trial Place: Winchester Assizes
# Punishment: Seven Years Transportation
# Grave: unmarked