John Freer & Hannah Mitchell

The  Family of John FREER and Hannah Perring MITCHELL

Edward Joseph KEITH married Elizabeth FREER in 1882 in Cootamundra. Elizabeth was born 3 October 1861 at Broughton Creek, Berry, NSW to John FREER and Hannah (nee MITCHELL), the youngest of 8 children. This is the FREER/MITCHELL story compiled from my own sources, together with information on the Devon Mitchells.

John Freer
Hannah Mitchell


John was baptised in the church at Paignton, Devon on 27 August 1815 to Henry and Mary (Frere).

Hannah Perring MITCHELL:  Hannah was baptiosed in Berry Pomeroy, Devon on 21 July 1816, to William and Dorothea (nee Perring).

John and Hannah married on 4 August 1939 at St George, Bloomsbury London. The witnesses were William Mitchell (probably Hannah's father and Ann, her sister.

1841 census: In 1841 John, Hannah and son William were living at James St, St Pancras, London

1851 census:  In 1851 Hannah and her three living children - Henry, Mary and Sophia were at 95 Grove St, St Pancras. Husband John was absent - transported to Australia for 7 years:

John the Convict and Transportation

In April 1847 John Freer and four of his friends robbed a goods train at Camden Town Station. John was sentenced on 10 May 1847 to transportation to Australia for seven years for larceny. His brother Samuel was sentenced to 1 year imprisonment for receiving stolen goods.

After a spell in Millbank Prison, then in Pentonville Prison, on 29th November 1848 John was embarked on the ship "Hashemy" for the trip to Australia.
The ship arrived in Sydney on 7th June 1849. (For the full story, see the book "Tennyson of Cullinga" written by Tim and Gwen Freer).

John received his Ticket of Leave in 1849, very shortly after his arrival and was granted land.

Hannah to Australia

His wife Hannah and their three children followed him several years later, arriving in April 1853 aboard the "Java". The immigration note records "Paid 18/15 for self and family", suggesting that Hannah raised some of the money to join John in Australia.

John became a farmer in Australia, working properties on the South Coast of NSW near Geringong.
In 1855 John was on the electoral roll and leasehold at Broughton Creek on a 600 acre property called "Omega Retreat" near Gerringong.
In 1859 John shown as leasehold "Brundee", Shoalhaven Extract from the Berry estate returns for 1865. This recorded that John Freer was leasing 39 acres at Broughton Creek. The yearly rent for this was 39. He had payed 12 1s 9d against this. Most of the tenants failed to pay all their rent that year because of a flood which almost completely inundated the estate.
Some time between 1878 and 1881 moved to Cullinga near Cootamundra. (Possibly as early as 1874). In 1881 John was listed as freehold Cullinga (600) acres.

John and Hannah had 8 children, with a break of 8 years between Sophia and George:

               John FREER=================v======================Hannah MITCHELL
                  1815-1896            m: 1839                 
 William     Henry       Mary Ann       Sophia       George       Martha      Ann    Elizabeth
1840-1847 1842-1918    1844-1906     1846-1927       1854-1922     1857-  1859-1883   1861-1891
    |          |            |             |            |            |                   |
                                                                                Edward Joseph KEITH
                                                       Sydney  Francis     Annie  Elizabeth Iris
                                                       1883-  1887-1969  1889-1933  1891-1985
                                                                  |          |          |

John died in Cootamundra on 2 February 1893.
Hannah died in Cootamundra on 29 November 1915. Both are buried at Cootamundra Cemetery.

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Last updated: 13 Aug 2017