Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

John Howe

Redbourneberry - Map 5

John Howe arrived free on the Coromandel in 1802. He received a grant of 100 acres at Mulgrave Place dated 19 April 1803.

He became an auctioneer at Windsor and worked on road and bridge construction projects before being appointed Chief Constable at Windsor in 1814 and Coroner in 1821.

After the death of his first wife Frances, who had accompanied him to Australia, he married Jane Kennedy, daughter of James Raworth Kennedy.


John Howe received grants of land in the Hunter Valley after his expeditions in 1819* and **1820 to find an alternate route to the new settlements and to open up more grazing land to the north. In the Historical Records of Australia (Notes) the route taken is described .....

In October and November, 1819, John Howe, chief constable at Windsor, led a party from the Hawkesbury to the Hunter river, which followed in a general way the direction of the Bulga road. On the 26th of October, the expedition crossed the Colo river, a little above the junction of Wheeny creek. Six days later, after some difficult travelling, under the guidance of some natives, the party, keeping to the west of the Macdonald river, passed the neighbourhood of Yengo mountain, then crossed the upper Macdonald and encamped for the night on Wareng creek, at a spot a mile west of Wareng mountain. During this day, a party of about sixty natives were met, many of whom had never seen a white man. On the 2nd of November, the dividing ridge between the watersheds of the Hawkesbury and Hunter rivers was crossed, after finding it necessary to unload the horses to cross the hills. Two days later, a heavy fog, lying east and west, was observed from the top of some high rocks, and the presence of a river was suspected. On the following day, Friday, 5th November, the Hunter river was reached, a little above the present town of Singleton. The river was followed down for some distance, until the homeward journey was commenced on the following day. The return journey was accomplished after some difficulty in the rough country, and Windsor was reached after an absence of twenty-two days. In a letter, dated 17th November, 1819, John Howe reported the result of his journey to Governor Macquarie. On the 5th of February, 1820, a second expedition under Howe's leadership left Windsor, and spent five weeks in the examination of the valley of the upper Hunter river . As a reward for his discoveries, on the 18th of September, 1820, John Howe was granted a license by Governor Macquarie to graze his flocks and herds at 'St. Patrick Plains' (now Patrick's Plains), which he had discovered, and subsequently a grant of seven hundred acres of land, known as Redbourneberry, was made to him.
HRA, Series 1, vol. X p. 810.

Land Grants

For his services on the expeditions he was granted 700 acres of land in the township then known as Whittingham. The town of Singleton embraces the greater portion of it. Howe called the estate Redbourneberry, after his native town in Lincolnshire, England. (centre on map below).

Five hundred acres was also granted on 8 July 1824. [1]

John Howe acquired land at Morpeth in the 1830's and the Redbourneberry land was afterwards managed by his family. The land at Morpeth was called Raworth, a name from the family of his wife Jane Kennedy. The Raworth land had been a 200 acre grant to James Griffiths.

In 1836 John Howe gifted the use of some of the Morpeth land to John Millwood. The 1836 deed states :-

Nature of Instrument - Deed for Life upon the consideration herein mentioned

Name of Parties
John Howe of Windsor to John Millwood

Names of Witnesses
William Oglethorpe and Thomas Jones

Description of land - 'Twenty rods wide on the back or south side, and to continue the same width from thence adjoining Eckford's or the west side to the River, the same comprising about twenty five acres of the same more or less of Griffith's Farm situated in the Parish of Morpeth in the County of Northumberland and Territory of New South Wales.

Consideration and how paid - 'From Friendship and in consideration of his erecting a comfortable dwelling and substantial barn thereon and clearing the said land from all timber within eleven years from the date these of with the exception of the Cedar, Pine and Flooded Gum now thereon, which is to be reserved for the use and benefit of the said John Howe and his heirs, over and above the quanitity the said John Millwood may require for the buildings on the said farm and the on the death of the said John Millwood the said parcel of ground to revert to the said John Howe or his heirs.[2]

John Howe also acquired a Depasturing License at Carroll on the Namoi River dated 14 July 1842.
James Bowman John Gaggin George Bowman James Glennie David Brown alt=James Mein Dight Family Robert Hoddle George Galway Mills Thomas Parmeter James Hale Richard Hill George Bowman William Sims Bell Robert Adamson Rodd John Howe John Martin Davis Richard Hobden Robert Pringle Sampson Marshall Robert Dawson Archibald Mosman
Early Settler Map 5


John Howe died at Raworth in 1852 and was buried in the Cemetery at Morpeth.

Notes and Links

1. *On John Howe's expedition which departed 24 October 1819 he was accompanied by George Loder junior,

John Millward

John Eggleton (or Egleton?)

Charles Berry

Nicholas Connelly

and two native guides.

On the March 1820 Expedition he was accompanied by:

George Loder junior (free)1st and 2nd expedition

Benjamin Singleton (free)

Daniel Philips (free) arrived per Matilda 1791

Jeremiah Butler arrived Earl Spencer Ticket of leave holder

Samuel Marshall arrived Ocean in 1816

Nicholas Connelly arrived Guildford 1816 1st and 2nd expedition

Frederick Rhodes per Fame

James House per Batavia

Robert Bridle per Batavia

Andrew Loder volunteer

Thomas Dargen junior, volunteer

Philip Thorley volunteer

Myles and Mullaboy natives - These two men actually guided the expedition, having been sent out beforehand by John Howe to locate an elderly aborigine who had told of a better route than the one previously found.

2). Interesting Memoirs - Ebenezer, Portland and Windsor Pioneers - Windsor and Richmond Gazette 11 November 1921

3). Ebenezer Pioneers - Windsor and Richmond Gazette 7 March 1924

4). Select here to find some of the convicts who were assigned to John Howe


[1] State Records Authority of New South Wales; Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia; Series: 13912; Roll: 1434. New South Wales, Australia, Land Records, 1811-1870

[2]. State Records Authority of New South Wales; Kingswood, NSW, Australia; Archive Reel: 1584; Series: 12992; Description: Registers of Memorials for Land. 1825-1842. (Ancestry)