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BIOGRAPHY OF BENJAMIN CUSLEY
 
From 'Early Hawkesbury Settlers' by Bobbie Hardy

hawkesburysettlersweb.jpg
Early Hawkesbury Settlers - Bobbie Hardy

Cus(s)ley, Benjamin (X) 1759? - 1845
 
Of Kettering, Northampton, cordwainer (shoemaker); dark hair and hazel eyes; private of marines Friendship 1788; April 1792 enlisted for five years service in the New South Wales Corps.  In 1795 he married Phoebe Penlarick (1755? - 1815; Exeter, Devon, 1790, 7 years: Mary Anne  1791).
 
Probably as member of the contingent serving at the Hawkesbury in 1795, he aquired a 25-acre portion of a land grant jointly awarded to military personnel.  Two hundred acres in his own right was granted in 1799 on Robinson's (Bushell's) Lagoon.  The family may have already been in occupation when Cusley's term of duty expired in 1797.  Flood losses perhaps inspired his re-inlistment in 1800 for an unlimited period.  Part of the farm had been sold by 1806, the remainder some time later, without Cusley apparently ever himself returning to the plough.  But he remained among the small guard stationed at the Hawkesbury, and it was there in 1806 that poor Phoebe laid herself open to a charge of receiving stolen goods.  She was exonerated perhaps, as no penalty seems to have been imposed.
 
On recall to England of the Corps in 1810, Benjamin elected to join the Veterans' Company of the 73rd Regiment and continue stationed at Windsor.  Wife Phoebe died there in 1815, and was buried in the new cemetery.  The family's ties with Wilberforce remained, for both daughters became wifes of local farmers.  Benjamin in 1824 married the elderley widow of a fellow Veteran.  Having arrived with Phoebe in the Mary Anne, she was probably an old friend and was, it seems, devoted to the Cusley family and the motherless McGinnis grandchildren.
 
Daughter Anne in 1807 had married George McGinnis (X) (1780? - 1829. An Irish Protestant, his offence most likely political: Trim, Meath 1796, life: Britannia 1798)
 
McGinnis and James Connolly ( Monahan 1795, 7 years: Marquis Cornwallis 1796) in 1800 were assigned to McKellar's farm.  Both were to carve out respectable careers along the river.
 
George with a ticket of leave by 1806, was renting 21 acres from Bushell of Wilberforce, a well set-up little farm to which he brought his bride, following their marriage by George's compatriot, the Reverend Fulton.  Two years later, with a baby daughter, they suffered severely in the floods that swamped the lowlands in 1809.  Although reduced to accepting government aid of rations and blankets, George neither lost heart nor fell behind in debt.  Evidence of good financial standing was his aquisition of a cow on credit from the government herds.  She cost him 28.
 
Conditionally pardoned in 1811, strangely the only land grant he ever received was the standard allocation of a Wilberforce town allotment.  He finally aquired-and paid for-his own 25-acres on Bushell's Lagoon in 1821.
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Cusley Family Grave, St Mathews, Windsor, NSW
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2007 Chalmers Cursley

 
 
Sadly, wife Anne shared little of her husband's more secure years.  She died in childbirth in 1822, leaving George with eight little girls.  He had no need to solve the problem of child care by remarriage,with the children's aunt Maria Dunston living but a few doors away in Wilberforce and Benjamin's new wife Mary a helpful step-grandmother.
 
George himself, before joining Anne in the Cusley family plot, saw only two daughters married:  The marriage of the eldest united the Connolly and McGinnis clans.  In time the McGinnis girls' husbands provided a roll-call, almost, of the Hawkesbury.  Many Cusley-McGinnis descendants, bearing other surnames, pioneered the Macdonald and Hunter rivers and the pastoral lands beyond.  Grandfather Cusley alone lived to see the girls all married; then took his place beside grandmother Phoebe in the churchyard of St Mathews.
 
 
 
 

Benjamin and Phoebe Cusley, St Mathews, Windsor
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2007 Chalmers Cursley

First Fleeter Plaque, St Mathews, Windsor, NSW
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2007 Chalmers Cursley

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Children of Benjamin Cusley and Phoebe (Penlarick)
Ann 1792 m.  1807 George McGinnis
Maria 1797 m.  1818 David Dunstan junior
 
Children of George McGinnis and Ann (Cusley)
Agnes 1808 m.  1828 James Connolly
Mary 1810 m.  1828 David Brown junior
Phoebe 1811 m.  1831 Joseph Fleming
Ann 1815 m.  1835 Thomas Simpson Hall
Maria 1818 m.  1835 George Cobcroft
Catherine 1820 m.  1837 Ebenezer Hall
Sarah 1822 m.  1841 William Brown (Bushell)
 
Children of David Dunstan and Maria (Cusley)
Tristam 1816 m. Jane Anne Ford
Charlotte 1818 m. John Henry Fleming
David Charles 1820 m. Sara Cobcroft
Benjamin 1823 m. Ann Turnbull
Mary Ann 1824 m. James Everingham
Richard 1825 died in infancy
James 1826 m. 1) Jane Chaseling 2) Lucy Ann Hudson
 
 
 
 
 

X  Illiterate who made his/her mark
 
Extracted from 'Early Hawkesbury Settlers' Bobbie Hardy
Copyright Bobbie Hardy 1985
Published by Kangeroo Press Pty Ltd
ISBN 0-86417-037-8
 
Sources:
Based on research of E.A. Roberts and Emma Parkes. Their references: Army Records, reel 418, 1908, ML; Description book, New South Wales Corps, Department of Defence, Canverra; HRA, ser 1, vol. 1, pp, 81, 499; transcript of land grants 1795 - 96, BT boxex 88, p.14, ML; register of land grants 1795 - 1800, SZ 47, reel 773, AONSW; 1800 muster, SAF 1/105, reel 204, ML; 1806 muster ibid; convict pardons, ed. Sainty, M., and Johnson, K; storekeeper's return 1809 (blankets after flood) 9/2673 reel 2658, AONSW; Wilberforce land return, B.T. box 25, pp. 5457 - 58, ML; Mary Cusley (nee Baker) power of attorney (in possession of Mr. P. Fleming, Cessnock); Col. Sec. Letters, 34/6310, 34/8927, 37/9893, 38/8710, AONSW; 1814 muster, SAG, reel 7017; RG land transaction, Book 1/A, no. 1172, Book 2/8, no. 354, Book 74, no.140, McGinnis Estate, Books 49-212, 49, no. 897: 58 no. 104: 186 no. 790: 196 nos. 4644, 465, 677: 212 no. 750
 
Abbreviations:
AONSW  Archive Office of New South Wales
BT            Borthwick Transcripts
HRA         Historical Records of Australia
ML            Mitchell Library
RG            Registrar-General
SAG         Society of Australian Genealogists
 
Extracts reproduced with kind permission of Simon & Schuster Australia Pty Ltd.
 
 

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