John Reeves was the first of the early settlers at Patersons Plains to arrive in the colony of New South Wales. In July 1790 at the Old Bailey in London he was sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing silk stockings and handkerchiefs with a total value of 34 shillings (see trial proceedings).
He arrived in New South Wales in 1791 on the Albermarle (part of the third fleet) and would have been free in 1797 when he had served his seven years. The NSW muster for 1805-06 confirms he was free-by-servitude (had completed his sentence) and was at that time working for James Badgery, a settler who had been granted 100 acres of land on the Nepean River near Yarramundi (Badgery's Creek in western Sydney is named after him).
In March 1813 John Reeves was again sentenced to seven years transportation, this time by the Court of Criminal Jurisdiction in Sydney, for corrupt perjury (see clipping at right). The following month he was shipped to the penal settlement at Newcastle to serve his sentence.
Evidently Reeves was well behaved at Newcastle and merited a reward, probably at the expiration of his colonial sentence in March 1820. He received permission to settle at Patersons Plains and took up a block on the eastern bank of the river between Dwyer and Powell's blocks (see map).
By 1822 he was living on his 30 acre block but had not cleared or cultivated any land. Dangar's 1823 survey indicates Reeves had not constructed a hut or other form of residence (perhaps he lived in a hut on a neighbour's place).
A notation on a map of Patersons Plains explains the fate of Reeve's land, as follows:
Reeves - original claimant - and on his death owing money to Brown - he claimed the property and sold it (30 acres) to Powell for 80 or 90 £. Powell subsequently had this decided in his favor by the Court of Claims, see Sydney Herald 5th February 1835.
Notes and references
1. The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674 to 1913 (on-line).
4. SG 13 March 1813 p2 (on-line).
10. SG 1 January 1824 p3 (on-line).
Index to the NSW Colonial Secretary's papers. There are several papers listed for John Reeves per Albermarle.
An overview of settlement at Patersons Plains up to the end of 1821.
Further research needed
Look up the details for reference 7 above.
Abbreviations sometimes used on this site: CS = NSW Colonial Secretary; HRA = Historical Records of Australia; LB = Letters to Benches of Magistrates, Justices of the Peace and Superintendents of Police; ML = Mitchell Library (State Library of NSW); NLA = National Library of Australia; NSWGG = NSW Government Gazette; PRO = Public Record Office, London; PSC = Principal Superintendent of Convicts; SG = Sydney Gazette; SH = Sydney Herald; SRNSW = State Records Authority of NSW;
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