Catherine Christie (1798?-1845?)
by Jan Richardson
Catherine Christie was aged 40 when she arrived in New South Wales on the Margaret in 1839, having been convicted of ‘stealing fowls’ at her trial in Mayo, Ireland on 12 April 1838. She was an unmarried laundress who gave her place of birth as Jamaica. Catherine had a previous conviction of six months and was consequently transported for 7 years. She had brown hair, grey eyes and a ‘dark sallow & freckled’ complexion. In addition, Catherine had ‘Lost four front teeth in [her] upper jaw’, there were scars on her nose and forehead, and the nail of her middle finger was ‘disfigured’.
In August 1841, eighteen months after arriving, an application was lodged to marry the 42-year-old Catherine by the former convict Richard Weaver, aged 55. Permission was granted by ‘Rev G E Turner’ of Hunter’s Hill, who then married them in the parish church on 6 September 1841. Richard Weaver arrived on the second sailing of the Baring in 1819 and was granted a pardon in 1821 and a certificate of freedom in 1825. There are no further convict records for Catherine. She did not receive a ticket of leave, a certificate of freedom or a pardon.
The evidence suggests that she is ‘Catharine Weavers’ of Hunter’s Hill who died only four years later in 1845 and whose funeral service was conducted by ‘George E. Turner, Chaplain, Church of England’ of the ‘Parish of Hunter’s Hill’. If so, then the burial certificate incorrectly records her age as 35 years old, rather than 46, and is possibly incorrect in recording her ‘Quality or Profession’ as ‘Free’.
It would seem unlikely, however, that there were two women named Catherine Weaver (or Weavers) of approximately the same age living at the same time in the small town of Hunter’s Hill. There are no records of any children being born to Richard and Catherine Weaver either before or after 1845 and Richard seems to have died in Sofala, New South Wales in 1852 aged about 70.
Jan Richardson, 'Caribbean stories: born in the West Indies, tried in the British Isles, transported to New South Wales', in From the Edges of Empire, eds L. Frost and C. McAlpine, Convict Women’s Press, Hobart 2015, pp. 114-130.
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