Tombstone Tuesday: Sarah’s haunted grave

At last I’m posting a photograph of the grave of my great-great-great grandmother, Sarah Simpson, who arrived in New South Wales as a convict on the Friendship in 1818.

Sarah's grave (Michael Wood 2011)

Sarah’s grave (Michael Wood 2011)

Sarah Marshall, as she was then, was lucky to be sentenced to seven years’ transportation. She had been caught stealing clothes to the value of fivepence – but theft was still, in those days, a hanging offence.*

As I’ve written about earlier on this blog, Sarah died in December 1838 and local legend says that she was murdered and that her ghost haunts Castlereagh Cemetery to this day.

The reason this photo is so special is that it arrived in my inbox today, sent by my cousin Michael Wood, who is descended from Nicholas and Elizabeth Delaney’s son William (9th January 1817 – 14th December 1881).  Michael has just got back from visiting the graveyard, where he took this picture.

Thank you, Michael!

* That makes three of my ancestors lucky to escape the gallows, and who knows, I may discover more.

What’s Tombstone Tuesday? you may ask. It’s an idea by the excellent people at Geneabloggers to prompt genealogy bloggers to write. If you’re one, do visit their website – it may inspire you, too.



 © Frances Owen and A Rebel Hand, 2010-2014

About rebelhand

A Rebel Hand is: about Nicholas Delaney, Irish rebel of 1798, transported as a convict to New South Wales, roadbuilder, innkeeper and farmer. My great-great-great grandfather. Other ancestors transported to Australia, like Sarah Marshall, John Simpson and James Thomas Richards, pop up as well. This blog's also about the historical background to their lives, in England, Ireland, and Australia. My respectable Welsh ancestors sometimes get a look in.
This entry was posted in Convicts, Nicholas Delaney and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Tombstone Tuesday: Sarah’s haunted grave

  1. Pingback: 2011 – what a year it’s been! | A Rebel Hand

  2. Pingback: Was Sarah murdered? Is she a famous ghost? | A Rebel Hand

  3. Pingback: A Rebel Hand

  4. Pingback: Illuminating Blogger Award | A Rebel Hand

  5. Pingback: So was Nicholas Delaney murdered? Did John Kennedy hang? (Trove Tuesday post, part 2) | A Rebel Hand

  6. Pingback: Two today! | A Rebel Hand: Nicholas Delaney of 1798

  7. Pingback: The Bloggers’ Geneameme – my answers | A Rebel Hand: Nicholas Delaney of 1798

  8. ANN SIM says:


    • rebelhand says:

      Hello Ann, I’ve heard that arrests have been made. I can’t understand why anyone would do a thing like vandalise graves. It’s senseless and has caused so much upset for descendants like you and me and other people who care about Sarah.

      It must have been very special for your family to visit Sarah’s grave and leave her a lovely tribute. Thanks for getting in touch.

      • ANN SIM says:

        Hello Patricia and/or Frances, Yes it was a special time for us. When I get home I will send you a photo of us by the headstone. My brother said he hopes Sarah haunts the vandals. I am pleased arrests have been made. Regards Ann

      • rebelhand says:

        How wonderful to have a photo of three generations of your family at your (our!) ancestor’s grave. Thank you – I would love a photo! If there’s one good thing to come out of this it’s ‘meeting’ a new cousin, which is something that always excites me.

        I’m planning to write a blog post about the incident over the weekend. May I mention you?

      • Ann Sim says:

        Hello again, I think I just lost my reply so sorry if you get it twice. Yes you may use my name in your blog. Apparently the vandals were identified by their “tag” graffiti by Police. I tried to send the photo but couldn’t and I’m not into facebook or other media, only email. I will persevere though.
        Yes it is lovely to meet new relatives however distant. You probably have had contact with Owen Benson, he has done a lot of our family tree. Owen is Dad’s (Richard Richards) first cousin. Cheers Ann

      • rebelhand says:

        Hello Ann, and thanks. So the vandals tagged the headstones – they’re obviously not the brightest of buttons.

        Yes, I know Owen. He’s been a huge help. I met him and Mary once. Lovely people. Owen is so knowledgeable. I’ve got a copy of his book.

      • Ann Sim says:

        Hello Frances, Just to let you know I managed to send two photos on your Facebook page. Have a good week. Ann

      • rebelhand says:

        Thank you so much! That’s wonderful.

  9. Kara says:

    Very Sad to hear of the Vandalism, The headstone was quite covered in Graffiti as well as the historic noticeboard.
    Such a shame, and so disrespectful, I hope they did make arrests.

    here is a link to an article on it

    • rebelhand says:

      Hi Kara, it’s good to hear from you. Disrespectful is exactly what it is. And totally pointless.

      Thanks for the links. The Telegraph article’s good – was that your quotation? I’m sure you’re right about the legend being the reason these idiots attack the cemetery. Pity the Telegraph got their facts wrong about Sarah being on the first Friendship!

      Glad to see the Sydney Spirit Stalkers on side. You’re the good guys!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s