Harper (Harpur), William
William Harper was the father of James Harper, Berrima publican and landowner. At the age of 40, William Harper was tried and found guilty of horse stealing. The crime took place in Buckinghamshire in June 1799 and he was tried at the Old Bailey in London on September 11 of that year and sentenced to death. His sentence was reduced to life in the colonies and he arrived in Australia aboard the convict ship Royal Admiral on November 1800. He received a conditional pardon in 1825.
In 1803 he married Margaret Morgan who had arrived in 1802 from Dublin on the Hercules, after a particularly gruelling journey. We have no details of her crime but she received a 7-year sentence and was granted a conditional pardon in 1809. With special permission from the governor, William and Margaret were married in St. John’s Church of England, Parramatta by the Rev. Samuel Marsden.
Margaret Harper died 7th June 1839 in Sussex Street, Sydney aged 72 years. Presumably it was some time after this that William Harper joined his son and daughter-in-law In Berrima. He died in 1842, aged 83, and was buried in an unmarked grave in All Saints Church, Sutton Forest.
References for William Harper may be found in Ann Beaumont’s publication, A Light in the Window. National Trust (NSW) 2013
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