by Margaret Kennedy for Dorothy Martin

282 Trenayr Road, Junction Hill, Grafton 2460NSW Australia.

A book is available for sale about HENRY MARTIN, son of John Martin and Mary Randall by Dorothy Martin. Cost is $25.00 posted. "A Look At A Unique Australian Family". "Phone (02) 66447201 for your copy.

Henry Martin was born in Parramatta, or Field of Mars as it was called on 5th April, 1813, the son of convict JOHN MARTIN (1788 First Fleeter to Australia from England onboard the ship "Alexander" - Negro born in Caribbean) and MARY nee RANDALL (daughter of 1788 First Fleeter from England to Australia also onboard the "Alexander" - John Randall African/American. Homepage for Randall & Martin : http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~randallmartin/

When Henry's father died in 1837 he was left the home and ten aces. The address was 157 Pennant Hills Road, DUNDAS, NSW, AUSTRALIA.He lived among men who ventured to the Clarence River in Northern New South Wales, Australia.One of whom was Thomas SMALL son of 1788 First Fleeter. In 1838 the "Susan" built by Henry Gillett at Thomas Smalls Kissing Point NSW, Timber yard, was the first ship to sail into the Clarence River.Although he was "coloured", Henry claimed he was the first 'white man' to walk off the ship. He is listed in the 1841 census as living in Parramatta with thirteen persons in his house.In the book 'The Gillett Line' it is mentioned that: "On Monday 20th August 1849 Henry Gillett bought a few slabs of pine from Henry Martins pit-saw at Grafton. Henry must have returned toSydney area because on the 8th November, 1849 at Scots Church Sydney, Henry Martin married a red-haired dairy maid from Chertzy, England, named MARY ROSE INGRAHAM. She had arrived on the "Steadfast" 24th June,1804. She is listed on the shipping records as literate, church of england and born on the 14.12.1828. Her father was Joseph Ingraham who was born on the 24th June 1804 in Chertzy, England and married an Eliza Ball on the 1st October, 1825 at Chertzy in Surry England. Mary was the eldest of eight girls, two of who died as infants. It was said that Mary was a very sick woman. She had twenty years of marriage.In the early days Henry worked for Edward Williams and Joseph Chowne 1840-1849. They owned a sawmill in what is now Market Square and a shipbuilding business at Rocky Mouth now called Maclean in Northern New South Wales, Australia. Henry later had his own mill at Lavadia, and the Martins worked it for many years. It eventually burnt down.

Henry and Mary had eight children. The first born was a son.

JOHN MARTIN was born two years after Henry and Mary married., however he was injured and died of lockjaw at 22 years of age. He was buried at Ulmarra, Northern NSW. James and William Knox were witnesses at the funeral on the 22.10.1873. b:26.12.1851,Grafton died.23.10.1873.Ulmarra. Not married.

RUBEN MARTIN was born two years later on 14.04.1853 in Grafton and married MATILDA KNOX who was the district mid-wife. They had thirteen children.

ELLEN MARTIN was the first born daughter on 31.07.1857 in Grafton and married JOHN SMITH. She died 05.10.1930 in Grafton.

GEORGE JOSEPH MARTIN born 12.07.1855 and died 28.11.1856. Grafton.

GEORGE HENRY MARTIN was born 20.08.1859, Grafton and married ADA MAUD SHAW [a step-sister of Matilda Knox who married Reuben Martin] on the 06.12.1881. George died 28.01.1937 at Tubacia Northern NSW Australia.

ARTHUR JOSEPH (Art) MARTIN [1862-1957] born 24.02.1862, Grafton married 1.1.1892 PRISCILLA ANN SMITHERS (daughter of "The Black Prince of Halifax" Henry Smithers [a negro born c1827 in Nova Scotia Halifax, Canada.[Smithers - 2002 descendant Mary Senj (nee Pearce) Email: [email protected] ]. "Art" Martin lost his wife whilst she was holidaying in Sydney NSW Australia. She was found gassed to death in the holiday house. No issue found. Arthur J Martin died at 96 years of age on 13.09.1957. Priscilla Ann died as Priscilla Weeks 8.10.1931. Sydney Inquest into her Death No.1571 on 29.10.1931- Accidental death recorded!

An Article printed in the Clarence River Newsletter No.8 page 11. [Clarence River Historical Society.P.O. Box 396 Grafton NSW 2460]


"One of the most well-known characters of Grafton was one Henry Smithers, who styled himself as the "Black Prince of Halifax". He was well-known for his musical abilities upon the violin, and for his varied eccentricities. He had been up to his death in July 1879 a resident in Grafton for upwards of 20 years, and was especially noted for his boasting by means of advertisements in the press of the way he had contributed towards its inhabitants enjoyments from cooking dinners down to providing music, by himself and family, for balls and parties. He, at one time attempted the role of lectuer both in Grafton and Sydney, upon his experiences of slavery, &c; but found it did not pay. He had served onboard a man-of war in his young days, but in what capacity it was never very clear, and at one time was in very well-to-do circumstances inVictoria. There he got into some trouble by resenting an insult offered him as a man of colour, and he suffered imprisonment in consequence. He was liberated before the expiration of his sentence, but only to find his property and means gone, he knew not where. He claimed to be the rightful owner of a considerable amount of property in the town of Halifax, Nova Scotia and hoped to live to receive some share of it. He had been a very powerful man in his prime, like many of his race of African descent. A severe stroke of paralysis broke down the strong frame already feebled by old age, and just before his death he depended a good deal on the chartiy of kind neighbours. A good feature of his character was the cleanly industrious way he endeavoured to bring up his family of 3 girls and one boy, most of whom were left upon his hands when little more than infants." Examples of some of his advertisements:


I, Henry Smithers, hereby appoint...................of Grafton, sole agent and guardian of my children. while alive, and after my death sole executor of my property in Halifax, Nova Scotia and elsewhere. The said land is in Governor Street, Princetown and consists of 28 and 56 acres. H.SMITHERS. p.s. - A boat and violin, for sale Price. 3 shillings.



The full rigged ship, Dolphin, built by Smithers in glass case, to be raffled, 20 members at 3/- each. The ship can be seen in the window - the one I was in. H.SMITHERS. Halifax House.


Henry Smithers by Dorothy Martin.

(An abridged version - edited by M.Kennedy)

Henry Smithers [c1827-1879] was a negro born c1827 in Nova Scotia, Halifax, Canada. He came to the Clarence River as a cook employed at Edward Creers Hotel, on the Corner of Pound and Prince Streets, Grafton in Northern New South Wales, Australia. Later the Freemasons Hotel and then the Parkview Hotel. Henry could play the banjo and was a natural minstrel. He had no palate and Mrs.Creer had difficulty understanding him so bought him a silver palate.

On November 13th 1860 Smithers opened a bathing room for men in Grafton. it was his intention to open another for ladies when he had the assistance of a respectable woman. In 1861 he opened a barber shop in Prince Street, opposite the cricket grounds. He announced himself as a scalp shearer., he was a character.

In 1861 legal action was taken against him by Marcus Lowanthal for illtreating a dog. In 1862 Henry advertised Dairy products and vegetables, he sold choicest pastries. He had a pleasure boat called "Black Diamond" and had a river run dealing in eggs and produce and seeds. He could deliver a lecture on Black America.

On February 14th, 1862 Henry Smithers married a Mary Ann Eddins, in Grafton Church of England church. She was 17 and he was 35 years old - a widower.

By April 15th 1862, Henry had cautioned people about giving credit to his wife Mary Ann as she had left him. The young bride must have returned because a daughter was born at Bunnyong, Victoria on 16 November, 1863. She was named Nancy Violet Smithers who married Nana Soli - a native of Madras in June 1879 (Name changed from Nana Soli to Naremy S Duggan) Children born to Nancy registered as Duggan and died as Murray. Nancy had been living with a George Murray. Issue 7 children. George Murray born at Marie, New Calendonia, died 01.10.1895 at Maclean NSW at 50 years of age. Nancy then married in 1895 a Albert James Mitchell - 29 year old farmer owning property at Maryvale near Tucabia NSW.No issue. Nancy died 18.01.1920 at Grafton Base Hospital at 56 years of age.

In 1866 a son Henry Smithers was born in Newcastle, NSW, and the father was listed as a violinist. Priscilla Smithers was born in Grafton 1868, father Henry recorded occupation being a cook. Annie Elizabeth Smithers was born in Grafton 1880 - Henry father was now a fruiterer. In February 1871 Henry Smithers was back working for the Halifax Restuarant in Prince Street, Grafton. In August 1871, Mrs. Smithers advertised she intended carrying on a hairdressing and shaving business at Halifax House, Prince Street, Grafton.

HENRY SMITHERS SENIOR DIED 28.06.1879. Buried in Grafton.


ALFRED MOSES MARTIN born 09.08.1864, Grafton married ELLEN INMON and died 27.06.1943 Coffs Harbour, NSW.

MARY ELIZA MARTIN born 29.02.1868, Ulmarra married ALFRED AMOS on the 30.09.1884 and died 21.01.1951 Coffs Harbour.

The early settlers lived off the land, part from flour, sugar and tea they ate wild pig,pigeons and all species of waterfowl were plentiful, as well as seafoods.

Most of Henry Martins descendants worked in the timber industry, felling, sawing and bullock driving. The bullock/driver/cutters brought the logs and poles to the Coldstream River. A punt from Grafton took the logs to the mills on the river bank. Logs were made into rafts and floated from the Red Rock River to the coastal ship for transport to Sydney and elsewhere.

Many of Henry Martin descendants served in the World War I and World War II -Trooper Wilfred Clarence Martin son of Ruben Martin., enlisted in the First Australian Imperial Forces at Lismore, Northern NSW, Australia in February 1916. Embarked Brisbane for services overseas with the second Australian Light Horse Regiment and served in the Middle East, returning home in April 1919. Discharged June 30th 1919 with British War Medal and Victory Medal. Died in a shooting accident at North Codrington aged 35 years in 1928. Trooper Richard Martin son of Ruben born 1887 Pillar Valley, enlisted the same day as his brother Wilfred (February 4th 1916) in Lismore. They sailed on the same vessel "Seang Choon" in May 1916 for service in the middle East. [Articles in the Daily Examiner dated Monday February 13 1995. Local newspaper. "Commenorating the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II" 'MARTINS ANSWER THE CALL'] Information available from Dorothy Martin regarding other serving Martins.

Dorothy Martin is a dedicated researcher living in the Grafton area, she had spent many years researching the Martin family tree and the branches THE MARTIN FAMILY MEMBERS ARE PIONEERS OF THE GRAFTON AND SURROUNDING DISTRICTS INCLUDING ULMARRA IN NORTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES AUSTRALIA.

Questions and Queries to email: [email protected]

Disclaimer: Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this material, due to the fact that it is based on various records, and in some cases vary, it may or may not be, 100% correct.Consequently, no responsibility can be taken for any errors or ommissions that may have inadvertently crept in.[M.KENNEDY]

Page created by Margaret Kennedy, Ballina NSW, Australia.