Mary Betts (Marsden) (1806 - 1885)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: at the old parsonage, corner of Church- & George-streets, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
Death: Died in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
Managed by: Simon Hulse
Last Updated:

About Mary Betts (Marsden)

Published in the "Windsor and Richmond Gazette" of Friday 20 July 1928:

"CHAPLAIN SAMUEL MARSDEN AND HIS FIVE FAMOUS DAUGHTERS. BY GEO. G. REEVE (For the 'Windsor and Richmond Gazette') CHAPTER II.

The third daughter of Rev. S. Marsden and his wife, Miss Mary Marsden, was undoubtedly the beauty of the family. All the Marsden people agree and say so, and judg ing by the splendid hand painted dagurre-type portrait, it appears to be a correct opinion of a type of a beautiful 'currency lass,' that is, an Australian woman. Miss Mary Marsden was born in the year 1806, at the original parsonage house at the corner of Church and George streets, Parramatta. Nowadays shop fronts cover the former street's full length, but on the rear portions of the site can still be seen the remnants of the stone stabling walls, which must have, in the early days, sheltered the parson's horses and his famous, gig vehicle. Miss Mary Marsden was, like the fifth daughter, Miss Martha Marsden, both good looking in physical featuers and intellectual. I, on one occasion, read some of this lady's verses in a collection written by her, and in one of them she refers to the incident of her father and mother having to go aboard ship immediately after her parents wedding in the city on the Humber: — 'We hasten to a church in Hull, A bridal party near — Yes. I will, we hear pronounced, In accents soft and clear. Too soon his farewell sermon came, Scarcely had it begun, Ere the good preacer's voice gave way He heard the signal gun. 'Twas finished on the sea girt shore, A crowd was gathered there, And like Ephesian elders now The part with farewell prayer. They fell upon his neck and kissed, And many wept full sore, Sorrowing, most of a' that they Should, perchance see his face no more.' In the early thirties of the last century Miss Mary Marsden married Mr . John Betts, the pioneer member of the Bedford shire Betts. This gentleman arrived in New South' Wales about the year 1828, having came as a tutor to a gentleman's family who were settled at North Parramatta. Mr. John Betts also opened an academy school of his own, as he was like his younger brother, Mr. Josiah Allen Betts, an accomplished scholar. The latter arrived during the year 1833. Four years later — in 1837 — the two pioneer sons brought their mother, Mrs. Sarah Betts, three sisters, Sarah, Mary, and Ann Betts, and a younger brother, Matthew Betts, to Sydney. The foregoing names of members of the Betts, as a family, all came from a town named Potton, in Bedfordshire, England. Mrs. Sarah Betts, the foundress mother, died on the 1st July, 1860, at the age of 89 years, and is buried in the grave adjoining the Marsden vault at St. John's cemetery. After the marriage of Miss Mary Marsden to Mr. John Betts, the latter gave up the teaching academy and went forth as a pastoral pioneer, his wife having been granted a large area as a pastoral holding as a marriage gift (this, was a usual thing for the Government to do when an Australian born youth ar young lady was married). The land grant was 16,000 acres, situated just west of Orange, and was called Molong Station. That portion of western N.S. Wales was only then being opened up as far as the Wellington Valley, at the junction of the Macquarie and Bell Rivers, where a government stockade existed, and where many government men were engaged making roads out westward, with Orange or Blackman's Swamp, as starting point. On Molong holding, which then included Gamboola and Copper Hill portions, Mr. John Betts laid the foundations of a flock bred from sheep imported from Spain and purchased by Rev. Samuel Marsden, his father-in-law, one of the earliest merino, sheep enthusiasts in N.S. Wales; Gamboola was purchased from Mr. Betts about 1847, and it was from the Marsden importation of merino sheep that quite a number of western flocks have since been built upon and improved. Upon portion of Molong holding, near where the heart of that town is now situated, Mr. John Betts built a splendid house. 'Vale Head' was the name of the place. This 'Round House' residence which is said to have been designed from the circular front round house of 'Greystanes,' at Prospect, or that of Bungarrabee House, near Blacktown, was originally built for a residence for his wife, Mrs. Mary Betts, by Mr. John Betts; but, as the superintendent of Wellington Valley convict stockade desired at one period to rent it for himself and family, a lease was given to Captain Buttenshaw, as the captain desired to be at a place as near midway between Orange and Wellington in order to carry out better government operations with the prisoners assigned for the work of roadmaking. That would be about the year 1841. The Betts family lived in the 'Vale Head' house from about the year 1834 to 1840, for it was in the year 1834 that the 'Round House' was erected. Mrs. Samuel Marsden, only a year before her death (1835), desired the circular front design to be thus constructed as her daughter's residence. Captain Buttenshaw and three sons were killed on one of his journeys over the Blue Mountains from Molong early in the year 1842, and the three years' lease of 'Vale Head,' from 25th March, 1841, was necessarily terminated thereby. 'Vale Head' house has had a number of tenants during its long existence, but eventually came into the possession of Mr. Henry Betts, during the year 1869. He was the second son of Mr. and Mrs. John Betts, the Molong first pioneers. The house and ground surrounding 'Vale Head' is the only part of Molong holding now owned by the family. Mr. Frederick R. Betts, the fourth son of Mr. Henry Betts, now resides within the historic portals in which during its eventual history of 94 years, it had been tenanted by Mr. Thos. Finch, once C.P.S. at Molong, Captains Hope and Clymo, and others. Mr. Sam Phillips opened the 'Round House' as an inn, and was succeeded by Charles H. Cobden (a brother of the English politician, Richard Cobden), until his death in the fifties. The inn was then in turn kept by Joseph Cobcroft, Joseph Parslow, and another party, until it again reverted to a private residence when it was occupied by Mr. John Woolbank, Mr. Francis Smith and others. It should be mentioned that where Molong town is now situated was, in the year 1828, a military camp site, where soldiers had their quarters, they being used as the guards over the prisoners. 'Moulong' Plains,' as it was designated, was then a government cattle station, and Mr. Andrew Kerr, later of 'Wellwood' estate, Orange, became the first superintendent of the run of Molong, after it was granted to Miss Mary Betts. After Mr. John Betts' death, that gentle man acted as a trustee of the estate. Let it be understood that the original or first wooden homestead erected by Mr. John Betts, at 'Vale Head,' was built in 1831, and it was used as the residence of Superintendent Mr. Andrew Kerr, who looked after the Marsden interests at first hand. The actual site where that house stood is on the banks of the creek opposite to where the flour mill stands, and close to the site, up to a few years ago, stood a clump of gnarled acacia trees. One can still see above the stream, on an outcrop of rock, the remnant relics of the soldiers' settle ment of 1828, and the first Betts homestead. The road to Wellington went by between it, and of the second or permanent homestead with the circular front, 'Vale Head Round House' nothing further remains. Where the town of Molong now stands was cultivated wheat fields for many years dur ing the early forties. After Mr. A. Kerr resigned the position of overseer, he was succeeded by Mr. John Smith, who was there when His Excellency, Governor Sir George Gipps paid a vice-regal visit to the western settlements in 1839. Governor Gipps stayed two weeks at the 'Round House' with the Betts family, and was delighted with that part of N.S. Wales. From Mr. Betts' homestead visits were made to the Canoblas Hills and other places of interest in the locality. Summer Hill pastoral holding, on the Sydney side of Orange, was also at one time owned and occupied contemporaneously with 'Vale Head' estate, and, likewise also, a cattle station on the Bogan River, above Nyngan. There can be no question that Mr. Betts was a man of great enterprise and energies. He specialised in breeding fine merino sheep and cattle. He also went in largely for breeding the then necessary upstanding coach horse, also saddle horses, and sustain ed many injuries caused through falls from young, vigorous colts. It has been said that internal injuries were the cause of his death, or, at least, shortened his life. Mr. Betts, besides being a pioneer of the continuation of the Marsden experiments with the improvement of sheep, was a shipper of the breed to New Zealand, where he resided for about two years; but through the Maori War occurring at the time he landed there with the first shipment, he had a great loss of financial values. In his absence, things had not gone as they should have done. Mr. John Betts died in the prime of life, on the 11th May, 1852, aged 48 years. He and his wife (nee Mary Marsden Betts) had a family of ten children. Some of the sons carried on the pioneer's achievements as a pastoral settler. The names of the family of Mr . and Mrs. John Betts were:— (1) Sarah Elizabeth Betts, who married v Rev. James. Carter, L.L.D.,' (both deceased)'. (2) John Frederick Betts, who, late in life, settled at Downa, near Albury, as a sheep farmer and had six children (deceased); (3) Henry Samuel Marsden Betts, who was a pioneer pastoralist in Queensland in the fifties, where he married Miss Charlotte Anning. On that lady's death, 15th December, 1868, aged 27 years, he returned to the ancestral home of 'Vale Head,' where he was born and later married Miss Louisa Finch. Mrs. Louisa Betts bore five children to Mr. Henry Betts. She died on the 3rd August,1888, and on the 24th February, 1899, Mr. Henry Betts died, aged 60 years. (4) Rev. Charles Marsden Betts (unmarried) . This gentleman was drowned in Ju ly, 1857. (5). Heber Betts (unmarried), died at Brisbane. (6) Alfred Musgrave Betts, died at the age of two months, at Parramatta. (7) Augustine Matthew Betts, solicitor of Goulburn, died in 1925. He married Miss Elizabeth A. Tompson, of Wagga, Mr. Sel wyn Betts, barrister-at-law, Sydney, is a son. (8) Rev. James Cloudesley Betts, died February, 1919, interred at Manly cemetery, two children. - (9) Mary Jane Betts, married Mr. James Gibson, grazier, of Queensland. Mrs. M. J. Gibson died in June, 1926, aged 74 years. (10) Clara Susan Betts, married Mr. Edward Palmer, once M.L.C., of Queensland. Mrs. John Betts, third daughter of Chaplain Marsden, lived to the goodly age of 78 years and died on the 14th February, 1885. Her remains were interred alongside her Husband, father and mother, in the Marsden vault. Her epitaph says: — At Rest. 'Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away.' (To be Continued)."

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Mary Betts's Timeline

1806
July 1, 1806
Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
1830
1830
Age 23
Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
1831
1831
Age 24
New South Wales, Australia
1833
1833
Age 26
Molong, New South Wales, Australia
1833
Age 26
NSW, Australia
1834
1834
Age 27
NSW, Australia
1836
November 30, 1836
Age 30
1840
1840
Age 33
NSW, Australia
1842
1842
Age 35
NSW, Australia
1846
1846
Age 39
NSW, Australia