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Maria Coverly was born 1792 in London, Middlesex, England to Richard Coverly (1755-c1796) and Elizabeth Burton (c1755-) and died 29 January 1864 Kurrajong, New South Wales, Australia of decay of nature.

Maria Coverly - convict on the Wanstead in 1814

Life Sketch

Maria Coverly was baptised in the outer London church of St Giles, Cripplegate on 2 May 1792. Her parents Richard Coverly and Elizabeth Burton had been married in nearby St Lukes, Old Street, Finbury in August 1791.

Maria grew up to be an illiterate servant girl. She was tried at the Old Bailey on 6 November 1812 for stealing from her employer, Mrs James Smith and sentenced to 7 years transportation. She had stolen three gowns value 10s, two petticoats value 4s, and one apron value 1s. Her next 10 months were spent in Newgate Prison. She sailed on the "Wanstead" from Spithead on 24 August 1813 and arrived in Port Jackson (Sydney) on 9 January 1814. She was allocated as a nurse in the hospital at Parramatta.

On 2 March 1815 Maria gave birth to an illegitimate daughter at Parramatta. A month later the child was christened Elizabeth Coverly at St Johns Parramatta, the father being named as the convict William Badgood(sic). On the 1816 muster William Bidgood (spelt Badgood) is recorded as living, and on the 1817 muster he is recorded as deceased.

On 13 February 1817 Maria next gave birth to an illegitimate son at Parramatta. He was christened William Coverly some 6 months later at St Johns Parramatta, the father being named as the convict William McLaughlan. It is not known what happened to William McLaughlan.

With her 2 small children Maria now worked at the Female Factory Parramatta until her sentence expired in 1819. On becoming free Maria obtained a position as Servant in the house of Thomas George Palmer Esq. of "Pemberton Grange" Parramatta.

In November 1819 Maria fell pregnant to the convict James Lord. On 7 February 1820 they obtained the Governor's permission to marry and were married at St Johns Parramatta on 13 March 1820. (James was still serving his sentence.) Their first child Ann was born on 29 August 1820 and christened at St Johns Parramatta in Oct 1821.

In the 1822 muster Maria is found with James and their 2 year old daughter Ann. Her older children Elizabeth and William were not listed. James was being employed by Mr Williamson at Liverpool (Cabramatta).

In the 1825 muster the family is living at Richmond, and has gorwn to include Sarah aged 4, and Esther aged 1. Sarah baptism in June 1825 gives her date of birth as 22 February 1822. Esther was born in 1824. Her older children Elizabeth and William were again not listed, and neither was her son James born in 1823 who is found on the 1828 census as "Lord".

In the 1828 census the family, still living at Richmond, has grown to include John who was 2 years of age - born in 1826. Also shown are Sarah aged 6, and James (as "Lord") aged 5. In this census her elder children Elizabeth and William are not listed. Neither is Esther listed. Her daughter Ann at the age of 8 is listed as working as the servant of Mr Harper at Maquarie Hospital in Sydney.

Maria and James appear to have always remained poor. In 1830 Maria was before the courts for lewd behaviour. Maria Lord and a military labourer Thomas Moore indecently exposed their person in the daytime of the 4th of March 1830, and for lewdness (prostitution probably instigated by her husband James Lord) on the banks of the river at Windsor NSW. They were described as "being persons of wicked, filthy, lewd, depraved and abandoned of minds and dispositions and wholly lost to act with a sense of decency and good manners heretofore to wit on the 4th day of March 1830 near the dwelling houses of the King's subjects and also near the Common Highway there unlawfully, wickedly and indecently did expose to the view of said subjects their bodies and persons of them the said Thomas Moore and Maria Lord naked and uncovered for long spaces of time to wit for the space of an hour. To the great scandal and disgrace of Maria Lord, to the evil example of all others...of our manifest violation of decency and good manners and against the said Lord the King his Crown and Majesty." Maria was further described as "being a scandalous, and evil disposed person and devising contriving and intending the morals of divers liege subjects of our Lord the King to debouch and corrupt." The outcome of the case was that Maria was sentenced to 3 months work at the Parramatta Female Factory but her husband stood bail for her. No penalty was recorded against Thomas Moore.

On 22 November 1833 Maria's husband James died at Windsor Hospital.

In her later years Maria lived with eldest daughter Elizabeth, her son-in-law Edward Mitchell, and her grandchildren. Maria was therefore able to help her daughter when her son-in-law Edward died in 1859. Maria also witnessed first hand the scandal of her middle-aged daughter Elizabeth then having an affair with a local teenager and the birth of their baby in 1860.

Maria died at the home of her eldest daughter Elizabeth on 29 January 1864. When Maria died her living children were listed as Elizabeth, William, Ann, Sarah, and John. Also listed as living was Henrietta, who, according to the age given for her in 1864, had joined the family in 1830. Also recorded was 2 deceased sons and 2 deceased daughters. One of the two deceased sons was James. Esther who was still living was not recorded. It is not known if this was an oversight, or if Esther was mistakenly included among the deceased daughters. It is therefore not known if Maria gave birth to 10 or 11 children.


Offspring of Maria Coverly and William Bidgood (c1783-c1816)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Elizabeth Coverly (1815-1879) 2 March 1815 Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia 18 April 1879 Kurrajong, New South Wales, Australia Edward Mitchell (c1799-1859) Edward Mitchell (c1799-1859) James Overton (1842-1878)

Offspring of Maria Coverly and William McLaughlin (c1785-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
William Coverly (1817-aft1864) 13 February 1817 Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia

Offspring of Maria Coverly and James Lord (c1788-1833)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Ann Lord (1820-1888) 29 August 1820 Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia 3 January 1888 Tighes Hill, New South Wales, Australia Charles Lane (1809-1899)
Sarah Lord (1822-1922) 22 February 1822 Cabramatta, New South Wales, Australia
James Lord (1823-bef1864) 1823 Richmond, New South Wales, Australia
Esther Lord (1824-1864) 1824 Richmond, New South Wales, Australia 12 August 1864 Catherine Creek, Yass, New South Wales, Australia Joseph Sibrey (1817-1892)
John Lord (1826-1894) 1826 Richmond, New South Wales, Australia 17 July 1894 Yarramundi, New South Wales, Australia Annie E Mortimer (c1841-1907)
Decesaed son Lord (c1828-bef1864)
Henrietta Lord (1830-aft1864) 1830 Richmond, New South Wales, Australia
Deceased daughter one Lord (c1831-bef1864)
Deceased daughter two Lord (c1833-1864)



Footnotes (including sources)