Peter Coups, Hannah Martin and Coups Creek Fox Valley
(Site under construction)
Modern Map of Fox Valley showing Coups Creek, Twin Creek and Browns Field.
Peter Coups (Coops, Coopes)
(Peter and Hannah's descendants use the names Coops and Coopes. Children of the couple are registered as Coups, Coops, and Coopes.)
Peter Coups was born between 1795 and 1803 (sources vary) near Manchester in England. The Name "Coups" (or variants) is common in the Lancashire area. Peter was convicted with two others in 1818 for Theft and Transported in December 1818 to New South Wales, ariving in 1819 aboard the Baring(2). He was granted a Ticket of Leave on 28 July 1825.
Click here for the trial transcript and the Conviction and Transportation details..
Hannah Martin was a daughter of John Martin (Alexander 1788) and Mary, a daughter of John Randall (Alexander 1788). They were married in 1812 but had several children before this date. Hannah was born at the Northern Boundary farm on 20 November 1815.
Peter Coups married Hannah on 10 May 1830. She was six months short of her fifteenth birthday! They were married by the Church of England at "Field of Mars". Four children were born to the couple between 6 February 1831 and 21 October 1836 and registered at "Pennant Hills, "Northern Boundary" (John Martins property?), and "Parramatta".
John Martin died in 1837 and his land grant at Northern Boundary was divided between some of his children. Some of the remaining children to Peter and Hannah were registered as having been born at "Lane Cove", indicating that they had moved! Mary (Randall) Martin died on the 27 th August 1857.
Children of Peter and Hannah
|Children||NSW Volume reference||Born on||Where Born||Married to||When Married||When Died||Age||Where Buried||Number of Children|
|George||1/9/1832||Pennant Hills||Eliza Carrigge||17/11/1853||1/2/1907||75||Taree,NSW||6|
|Henry||V18344 /19||11/12/1834||Northern Boundary||
|Aldriana Anna aka Adeline, Adelaide and Lydia||V1836535 /21||21/10/1836||Parramatta||George Watson||13/12/1853||
|John||V1838679 / 24A||24/11/1838||19/5/1910||72||Taree|
|Ann||V1841858 / 25A||5/2/1841||17/10/41||8 months||Lane Cove|
|Robert||V1841857 / 25A||5/2/1841||1903||62||Bathurst|
V18441044 / 31A
V18441512 / 145
V18441044 / 31A
|7/4/1844||Lane Cove||Walter Goodlet||27/12/1861||9/6/1899||65||Sofala, NSW||13|
|Celia aka Cecilia||1/6/1846||Parramatta||1912||67||Sydney|
V18482290 / 66
V18481513 / 145
|Hannah||V18502274 / 35||1/7/1850||Lane Cove||n/a||n/a||
|Thomas||1852||Surry Hills||Mary Jane Campbell||12/12/1890||11/12/1928||76||Portland||6|
V18533922 / 39A
Coups Creek Fox Valley
Comenarra Parkway, Coups Creek Fox Valley
Browns Field is about 2 Km east of this point on Twin Creek
The creek is described by the Geographical Names Register of New South Wales as "A watercourse about 3 km long. It rises at The Glade and flows generally SW by W into Lane Cove River". The name was formally assigned on the 19 October 1973, but was clearly marked as such on old Parish Maps of the valley.
Views of the Coups Creek in the Fox Valley (Photos Topsy
Burns nee Coopes).
It is highly likely that the creek was named after the Coups family who were Sawyers and Timber Cutters in the area.
The Fox valley (aka "The Fox Ground") was first surveyed in 1857. Notes on the original Surveyors Field map indicate that a "Peter Copes" was "squatting" on the Crown Land. He had an established Peach Orchard and three permanent buildings near the modern Warwick Place stretching over to the cultivation on the modern "Browns Field" shown on the maps. Expert advice suggests that a peach tree takes 6-10 years to mature. It is highly likely that the "squatter" was Peter Coups and that he had occupied the site for a long time.
The black arrow above points to the location of Peter Coups three buildings in 1857
Eighty Five Acres of the valley (Portions 27 and 28) was bought in the early 1860's by the Brown Family. They occupied the site until it was subdivided and sold in 1962. Coincidentally, they were also descendants of John Randall's daughter Frances, who produced a number of children to John Aiken before marrying William Brown sometime after Aiken's death in 1840. A Brown descendant (Also John Brown of Tweed Heads NSW) was responsible for the subdivision of the above lots in 1962. He has provided the information about the Coups occupancy of the site.
A plausible theory!
John Brown has proposed a theory to explain :
Peter Coups presence in an isolated, hidden valley full of uncut rain forest, and
Why he would have a peach orchard!
He suggests that :
"Very recent reading of the history of nearby Ryde disclosed that peaches were frequently grown by settlers for making of a palatable and potent peach cider. The secluded nature of Fox Valley would certainly have made it most suitable for such a purpose, and such an industry would have been consistent with newspaper reports of about 1841, describing the North Shore as the origin of various products originating from illicit distilling and fermentation".
The Browns Field site looking south from Campbell Drive near Coopers Crescent.
Much of the site is now occupied by an Soccer oval. Two deep creek-beds run either side of the latter (hence Twin Creek), and join to give the "Y" shape shown on the map near the tall trees in the background.
A walking track passes through the site leading to areas of regenerated bush.
A waterfall on the creek near Browns Field.
The Coups and the Gold Rush.
Sofala in late 1852
Sometime soon after 1857 most of the Coups and (it seems) some other Randall descendants moved to Wattle Flat near Sofala. Most (but not all) of their children accompanied them. It is possible that many of the Randall / Martin descendants were "squatting" on Crown Land, and this was about to be sold to the highest bidder. They would have been faced with a stark prospect where they were. Moving to the gold fields must have been the most attractive option.
In 1860 at Sofala the family was involved in a dramatic incident with George
West (aka Watson), whom Adelaide Coups had married in 1853 at Hunter Hill.
This is a Contemporary Newspaper account of George's trial and conviction.
The Trial and Conviction of George West (Watson) Wednesday 31/3/1860
(This transcript is from a contemporary newspaper account provided by Dot Martin, probably from the Bathurst Free Press & Mining Journal)
Abduction: George West was indicted for that he did on the 13th , January 1860 at Sofala unlawfully take one Catherine Coops a girl under 16 years of age from , and against the will of, one William Davis, the lawful guardian of the said Catherine Coops for the time being. Plea: not guilty The prisoner was not defended. Sir W. Manning briefly opened the case and called Peter Coops who deposed:
I am a Sawyer; the prisoner is married to my eldest daughter; they have been married three or four years; I have another daughter Catherine 14 years of age; My wife with my sanction placed my daughter in Mr W Davis service; She was there about a fortnight before the weeks-end that this took place; While my daughter was with Davis, I received information that she was missing on a Friday, and on Sunday morning I found her at Wattle Flat.
Hannah Coops deposed; I am a native of the country; I have a daughter named Catherine under 15 years of age; I placed her in the service of Mr. Davis of Sofala; I didn't know how she left. By the prisoner; You told me the Sunday morning that you had given my daughter a pound and had sent her to Bathurst., and that you had taken her away from Davis because you owed him a spite, and that you were determined to pay it if you waited six months for it.
Deposition by W Davis Publican Sofala. I
had a girl named Catherine Coops in my service; she was placed there by her
father; while she was there the prisoner came several times to my house and
spoke to the girl, but being her brother-in-law I took no notice of it, but
my suspicions were aroused by seeing him going into a bedroom which he thought
was hers; on Thursday the prisoner came to my house and I saw him "give the
office" to the girl with his hand as if he wanted her to come out; in order
to watch I then pretended to be drunk; on that night the prisoner came to my
house and demanded the girl to take her home; my wife said she mustn't go then,
if she wanted to go home, but must go by daylight; I saw her all day on Friday
and saw her go into her bedroom that night; on Saturday morning she was gone.
By the prisoner; the girl had been in my service a fortnight before she went
away; you have often been in my house; I don't think you were looking in the
bedroom for me or my wife; the girl went away either on Friday night or Saturday
Mr Coops recalled; It was against my will that the prisoner took my daughter away. Catherine Coops; I reside with my parents at Wattle Flat; I am not married; I lately resided at Mr. Davis' at Sofala. The prisoner is my brother-in-law; I have seen him at Mr. Davis'; he threatened he would take my life if I did not go away with him; he said he would meet me at the gate at 10 o'clock on Friday night; I met him at the top gate, and he lifted me over it, and he then took me where his horse was, and he lifted me on the horse, and took me on the top of the race-course, and said he did not want me then; I was going away from him, and he told me to come back or he would take my life; he again lifted me on his horse and took me to Spring Creek where we laid in the bush all night; he had connexion with me; he left me about sunrise for Sofala and said he would come back at 12 o'clock, which he did, and on that night he took me into the scrub and he did the same to me as on the night before; on Sunday morning he left me, and before he went he gave me 11 (Pounds) and some Shillings to keep for him until he came back; he did not come back; I was in the bush all Sunday night and on Monday I went into a neighbour's house; I have known prisoner three years; he had connexion with me three years ago; some days previous to my going away with prisoner he gave me 1 (Pound) to go to Bathurst; I refused several times to go with him but he threatened to take my life. By the prisoner; you always threatened to take my life, if I told my parents that you had connexion with me; you took me away forcibly from Mr. Davis; I was always in dread of my life, and I thought it better to go with you as I might some day escape; I came out of the back door; the fence is about as tall as a man; you pulled me over the gate; the back door was open; it was not locked; you sent for me to a neighbour's house and I went to you; but I did not know at the time that it was you who wanted me; you did not give me a 1 (Pound) note at the gate; and I never said so before the magistrate; Mr. Davis threatened he would give me the horsewhip if I spoke to you; when I went away with you, you took me 2 miles and a half; I was at Mrs. Taff's; I told Mrs Taff that you had taken me away from Mr. Davis's employ; my brother and the Sergeant of Police found me at Taffs. I did not tell them anything about it; I never told anybody I was going to Bathurst; I don't remember you leaving a bundle at Davis's; I took nothing but a frock in my hand when I left Davis's; I don't remember anything else.
Thomas Bowen deposed; I was in the service of Mr. Tilling; I remember the prisoner coming on the Friday night about 12 o'clock and fetching his horse away.
By Prisoner; I don't remember seeing anyone with you.
John Staunton deposed; I apprehended prisoner on Sunday the 15th January. By prisoner; I apprehended you at Big Flat; I took you out of a tent from your wife; I read the warrant to you and you said that you were perfectly innocent of the charge.
This closed the case for the crown.
The prisoner in addressing the jury contended that he had not induced the girl to leave Davis's but that she wished to leave because Davis threatened to horsewhip her, and that she could not agree with Mrs. Davis. That if he had taken her away as he was charged, he should have been at a greater distance than 4 miles. The Judge having summed up the jury returned a verdict Guilty.
Sentence; Two years imprisonment in Darlinghurst Goal.
Note: The sentence in italics is extremely difficult to read in the original and this is a guess as to what it means based on the context. RGF 24/4/2001
Hannah died on 4 December 1871 and Peter on 22 August 1877. They left many descendants some of whom still live in the Bathurst area.
A dance in Sofala in the 1860's