Martha Carroll (1822?-1855)

by Colin Tuckerman


Martha Carroll was born in America. Her maiden name was Dunlop. At the time of her arrest, Martha’s mother, three sisters and one brother named John Dunlop were still in America. Her brother in America was serving with the 7th Regiment of Foot, so perhaps Martha’s father and husband may also have had some connection to that Regiment.

Martha had last lived with her stepfather in Belfast, although she had been on the town for the past seven years. She was arrested with Alice Watson for the pick pocketing of five sovereigns and sentenced at Antrim to transportation for a 10 year period. Both women stated they were housemaids.

She sailed to Van Diemen’s Land on the Phoebe, with her friend Alice who gave birth during the voyage and with 130 other women sailed from Dublin arriving in Hobart on 2 January 1845.

Although Martha had been tried before for stealing she carried with her a letter supporting she was of good conduct. The ship’s surgeon recorded she behaved very well on the voyage.

Martha gave birth to a son, Robert in August 1846 at the Brickfield’s Depot. Unfortunately Robert died five months later. Martha married Walter Phillip Davis on 4 January 1848 in Hobart. Walter was a 26-year-old labourer who had arrived on the Lord Lyndoch in 1841 with a 7-year sentence. Walter had previously served a 6-year sentence of transportation in Bermuda. They had a son Walter born in 1850 and a daughter Elizabeth born in 1853. Elizabeth died aged 8 months, but Walter junior married Jane Young in 1883 and they had three children.

Martha died on 15 February 1855 in Murray Street Hobart aged 33 of inflammation of the lungs. Her friend Alice also died in that year, but Walter lived till 1890.

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