Free Settler or Felon?

Hunter Valley Settlers
Joseph Underwood
Map 4

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Hunter River, Glendon, Darlington, Singleton, Patrick Plains

The wealth of coal and cedar to be found on the banks of the Hunter River led to the development of a regular coastal trade. About forty vessels made Newcastle voyages between 1803 and 1821 although not all regularly.

Simeon Lord was the first to gather coal from this region for export in 1801. Other early traders were James Underwood, Henry Kable and Isaac Nicholl. In 1810 those trading with goods from the Hunter included Solomon Wiseman, Mary Reiby, Garnham Blaxcell and James Underwood's brother, Joseph Underwood.

Joseph Underwood was born in 1779 and arrived in New South Wales on the Sydney Cove in June 1807. On board the Sydney Cove also were 109 female convicts and four boys who were escorted by soldiers of the N.S.W. Corp.

Joseph Underwood was accompanied by his wife Charlotte and their two sons. Their daughter Elizabeth was born on the voyage out however died a few months after reaching Sydney.

The Sydney Cove was owned by Joseph's brother James Underwood in partnership with other Sydney traders Henry Kable and Simeon Lord.

Joseph Underwood owned several vessels. One, the Campbell Macquarie was captained by Richard Siddons. Another, the Elizabeth & Mary which Joseph Underwood purchased from Thomas Abbott and Samuel Thorley in 1814, was used for many years to carry cedar and coal from the Hunter River.

Joseph Underwood abandoned his sea-faring life in 1820. In March 1821 he was granted 1500 acres of land in the parish of Stanhope. The grant can be seen on the map below adjoining the land of John Gaggin.  It is unlikely that Joseph Underwood ever resided on this grant and the land was claimed by James Mitchell in 1834.

In 1826 he purchased, for 670 the estate Melville, formerly a grant to William Hicks and situated three miles from Wallis Plains.

Joseph Underwood died in 1833 aged 54.



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