Many of the girls who arrived aboard the Lady Penrhyn became friends. They came from similar backgrounds and circumstances and supported each other during the long voyage and in Port Jackson. Two of these women were Frances Davis 22 and Mary Marshall 29, who is not to be confused with the other Mary Marshall, also on Lady Penrhyn.
Early in the morning on 2 September 1785, Frances Davis, spinster, broke into the house of Agnes Bennett widow, and stole one Canvas Bag and £178.12.6 and monies and bills of exchange being the property of John Wigglesworth. Tried at Chelmsford, Essex Lent Assizes on 8 March 1786 for burglary, she was sentenced to transportation for 14 years having been originally sentenced to death; written on her indictment, Guilty no chattels. To be hanged. Ordered to Southwark gaol on 25 November 1786 she was held over until embarking on 31 January 1787 aboard Lady Penrhyn.
Friend Mary Marshall was tried at the Old Bailey on 10 January 1787 for feloniously stealing ten linen handkerchiefs, value 10 shillings, from a linen draper Dalton Parr. Found guilty of stealing she was sentenced to 7 years transportation. Mary boarded Lady Penrhyn on 26 January 1787.
In Sydney Cove on 1 February 1790, following the death of convict Susannah Allen in childbirth, David Collins and John Hunter decided the baby Rebekah Allen should be given into the care of Frances Davis. Rebekah possibly sickly from birth and even the care lavished on her by Frances, lived until 1 February 1790. A month later, Frances was sent to Norfolk Island by Sirius. She left the Island by Kitty in 1801 and was listed as gone to England. Back in the colony, she married (as a widow) Martin Mintz, a widower at Sydney in January 1811. Mary Marshall was witness. It is said Frances returned to England three times before her death on 11 November 1828. She was buried in the old Sydney Burial ground; wording on the headstone Arrived in the Colony on the First Fleet.
Meanwhile in the colony, Mary Marshall’s name was associated with convict Robert Sidaway off the Friendship. Both earned respect and praise for the care and protection they gave to a 17 year old paralysed and mentally afflicted orphan girl, Elizabeth Mann, until her death in October 1806. Robert Sidaway died on 13 October 1809 and was described in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser as a philanthropist and in all other respects a valuable member of society, in which he was universally respected. Mary was granted administration of Robert’s estate and effects following his death, but her petition to be granted his lease in Sydney was marked by Governor Macquarie as inadmissible.
Mary operated a public house on a leased town lot in Pitt Street from 20 October 1809 until her death, which was recorded in The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday 1 May 1849:
At Bray Grove, Concord on Sunday evening 29th April, Mrs Mary Marshall, who arrived in the colony by the first fleet 1788, in the ninety-third year of her age.
Also included was the Funeral Notice:
The friends of the late Mrs Mary Marshall residing in the city of Sydney, are respectfully requested to meet her remains for interment at four o’clock p.m. The friends also, at Concord, are respectfully informed that the procession will move from Bray Grove, Concord, at twelve o’clock, noon-day. No circulars will be issued.
Henry Thomas Undertaker Clarence Street, May 1, 7101
Mary Marshall was buried with her friend Frances (Davis) Mintz in the Devonshire Street (Sandhills) Cemetery, Sydney. Her name Mrs Mary Marshall was engraved into the bottom of the headstone. (The Sandhills or Devonshire Cemetery was bounded by the Devonshire Street, Elizabeth and Pitt Streets on the site now occupied by Central Railway Station. It was used to bury Sydney’s dead for fifty years from 1819 and 1868).
Mary Marshall’s estate was bequeathed to Thomas Bray and his children of Concord.
Cobley, John The Crimes of the Convicts of The First Fleet
Gillen, Mollie The Founders of Australia, A Biographical Dictionary of The First Fleet
Heny, Helen Australian’s Foundering Mothers
National Library of Australia Trove