Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Vicars Jacob - Settler

Knock Finn and Miller's Forest - Map 1

Birth: Queens Co. Ireland 1788
Arrival: Medway to VDL in 1822
Occupation: Soldier; merchant
Land Grant: 2000 acres. Knock Finn and Millers Forests
Marriage: Ann Watson 1817
Death: Calcutta 1836

Vicars Jacob was attached to the 3rd Regiment Bengal Native Infantry when he first arrived in Australia.

He arrived in Hobart with his wife Ann and their children Vicars and Australia on the Medway in 1822 with the intention of entering the mercantile industry.

Arrival of Vicars Jacob Hobart Town Gazette 20 April 1822

An article in the Sydney Gazette in 1823 gives the reason for his decision to settle in Australia:

'Vickers Frederick Jacob, son of Vickers Jacob died on 9th instant. He was the third child of the Jacobs to die within four years. All had died from fever due to teething. The loss of the two former children was ascribed to the influence of the Indian climate. Mr. Jacob had retired from the service of the East Indian Company and settled in New South Wales under the hope of being here spared a similar trial but this last infliction has shewn the deceitfulness of such hopes and the inefficiency of human precautions.'

In May 1823 he was permitted at his own request to resign from the service of the 3rd regiment, to come into effect on 11 July 1822.

He established a mercantile business in George Street Sydney and was granted land on the Hunter River he named Knock Finn and Millers Forest.
Location of his grants can be seen top left on the map.

Ash Island - Alexander Walker Scott John Laurio Platt Australian Agricultural Company Joseph Weller George Weller William Brooks Jonathon Warner George Brooks Richard Windeyer and Adam Beveridge William Peppercorn Richard Siddons John Maclean G.T. Graham William Sparke Henry Rae Vicars Jacob Francis Shortt Francis Moran John Eales William Bradridge Edward Sparke John Field George Thomas Graham Early Settler Map 1


By December 1823 Vicars Jacob was attempting to have his land cleared. His name also appears alongside 192 other men who were granted allotments of land in Newcastle in 1824. His allotment adjoined that of James Reid.

He was involved in a dispute with the military at Newcastle in this year when Magistrate Captain Henry Gillman entered Jacob's property without permission and was sued by Jacob for misuse of a search warrant. [1]

Assigned Convict Servants

Vicars Jacob also had difficulties with his convict servants. In correspondence to the Sydney Gazette in 1824 he vented his frustration....

Extract....In the month of December last, in consideration of a grant of land received from Government, I took upon myself the maintenance of twenty convicts, whom I sent to the farm ; it so happened, that the greater proportion of them had just arrived from Ireland, for, in their own words, 'doing nothing,' an art of which they appear perfect masters. About the 1st of April I visited them, cherishing all the moderate characteristic expectations of a Settler, of seeing ' 80 acres of the finest maize in the Colony,' my land being the very best any where to be found ; but fancy, Mr. Editor, my disappointment at not finding one stalk. I had, however, the satisfaction to perceive that the Irishmen had not injured my timber, they having left the blue gum's and iron barks in statu quo antes.

Their huts appeared desolate, until I hailed ' Dennis' On his appearing, I enquired his present occupation ? ' Frying a rasher and a couple of eggs to keep the hunger out of my stomach.' 'And where's Larry ?' ' He's holding the frying-pan while I'm wid your Honor.' ' And where's Paddy ? ' - ' He's gone to Mr. M'Leod's smith to mend the gridiron which he broke on the dog's back, for looking at him doing a bit of a stake off one of the kangaroos the boys hunted this morning.' And where's Tim, and Jem ? - .'They are gone with the dogs after another kangaroo.' ' And where's Roger?' - ' He's gone to the stock-yard for milk to cool the tay.' 'And where's Morgan?' 'He's gone wid him to carry it ;'and similar throughout was the result of my enquiries

Convicts assigned to Vicars Jacob included:

Booth, John
Convict Ship - Isabella 1832

Brennan, Thomas
Convict Ship - Captain Cook 1832

Bryan, Catherine
Convict Ship - Mary 1822

Clinch, Patrick
Convict Ship - Isabella 1823

Crossley, Richard
Convict Ship - Prince Regent 1824

Fernhead, John
Convict Ship - Henry 1823

Finnegan, William
Convict Ship - Isabella 1823

Herring, Samuel
Convict Ship - Lady Harewood 1832

Hine, John
Convict Ship - Portland 1832

Humphreys, Thomas
Convict Ship - Surry 1819

Ibbotson, Robert
Convict Ship - Surry 1823

Jones, William
Convict Ship - Hive 1834

Kennedy, James
Convict Ship - Isabella 1823

Mears, James
Convict Ship - Guildford 1824

Mitchell, Thomas
Convict Ship - Indefatigable 1812

Morley, Robert
Convict Ship - Guildford 1824

Mullen, Arthur
Convict Ship - Isabella 1823

Murphy, John
Convict Ship - Countess of Harcourt 1822

O'Brien, John
Convict Ship - Earl Grey 1836

Potter, Timothy
Convict Ship - Lord Melville 1829

Price, Aaron
Convict Ship - Guildford 1824

Scott, John
Convict Ship - Guildford 1824

Thorn, Thomas
Convict Ship - Mangles 1833

Tunmore, David
Convict Ship - Lord Melville 1829

White, James
Convict Ship - Captain Cook 1832

Wright, Michael
Convict Ship - Elizabeth 1820

Vaughan, Henry
Convict Ship - Minstrel 1825

Departure from the Colony

The Sydney Gazette reported in February 1824 that his daughter, Miss A.H. Jacob was to return to England on the Ocean. Vicars Jacob departed Sydney on the Princess Charlotte in February 1825 [2]. He became an indigo planter at Jessore.


Assigned convict servant Patrick Riley absconded from Jacob's estate in July 1825 after being sentenced to 50 lashes for losing sheep. Riley was soon joined by other convicts from the Estate as well as two more from the nearby estates of Dr. Moran and John McDonnell. They formed a bushranging gang that became known as 'Mr. Jacob's Irish Brigade. This gang terrorised settlers in the lower Hunter for months. In response to these bushrangers, the first Horse Patrols, forerunners of the Mount Police, were established in the Hunter region.


Vicars Jacob died of fever died in Calcutta in 1836 shortly before embarking for Hobart. His wife continued the journey with their four children and died soon after arriving in Hobart.

Notes and Links

1. Walter Rotton was found guilty of embezzling goods belonging to Vicars Jacob in 1822 Sydney Gazette 25 October 1822

2. Vickers Jacob - a life in Ireland, India and Australia - Untold Lives Blog - British Library

3. Find out more about Vicars Jacob


[1] Sydney Gazette 28 October 1824