BIOGRAPHY OF BENJAMIN CUSLEY
From 'Early Hawkesbury Settlers' by Bobbie Hardy
|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
|© 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
|© 2007 Chalmers Cursley
|First Fleeter Plaque, St Mathews, Windsor, NSW
|© 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
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
AONSW Archive Office of New South Wales
BT Borthwick Transcripts
HRA Historical Records of Australia
ML Mitchell Library
SAG Society of Australian Genealogists
Extracts reproduced with kind permission of Simon & Schuster Australia Pty Ltd.
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