Dickinson/Milson Genealogy
Discovering our American, Australian, British, Canadian and European Ancestors
First Name: 
Last Name: 

David Kilpack

Male 1757 - 1797  (40 years)

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  • Name David Kilpack 
    Born 1757 
    Gender Male 
    Died 30 Nov 1797  St John's, Parramatta, NSW Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I384  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 19 Jun 2018 

    Family Eleanor McDonald,   b. 1754, Dublin, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Sep 1835, Field of Mars, Parramatta, NSW Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years) 
    Married 15 Jun 1791  Sydney, NSW Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. David Kilpack
     2. Martha Kilpack,   b. 16 Feb 1792,   d. 19 Jul 1826, Sydney, NSW Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 34 years)
    +3. Elizabeth Kilpack,   b. 16 Jun 1793,   d. 17 Oct 1850, Careening Cove, East St Leonards, NSW Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 57 years)
    +4. Eleanor McGill Kilpack,   b. 30 May 1795, Sydney, NSW Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1868, Parramatta, NSW Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years)
    Last Modified 19 Jun 2018 
    Family ID F162  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 

      An Account of his life by a relative: John Williams

      The late 18th century was a cruel era, with floggings of several hundred lashes for trifling offences, and huge crowds at public hangings. On a Saturday night in January 1783, David Kilpack, my great-great-great grandfather, was 'making merry' at Clapham in London. He was apprehended with a bag over his shoulder containing two cocks, two hens, two ducks and one gander, each of them worth a shilling.

      He told Justice Buller at the Old Bailey that he had found them in the street, and 'supposed they had been dropped from some cart or wagon'. The judge's verdict: 'Guilty. Transported for seven years.' But the boat to Australia didn't leave till May 1787, four and a half years later.

      It arrived in January 1788 after a 252-day voyage. Kilpack's ship, Scarborough, was the worst in the first fleet, but hopefully not as bad as the ships in the second, on which his wife-to-be travelled. These were equipped by the firm which had designed the living quarters for slaves being transported from Africa to America on the notorious 'Middle Passage'. The convicts' ankle-irons were rigid bolts some nine inches long, and just to walk was to risk breaking a leg.

      In his bestselling account of the convict era, The Fatal Shore, Robert Hughes describes conditions on one second fleet ship, Surprize: 'In a heavy sea, the water sluiced through her. The starving prisoners lay chilled to the bone on soaked bedding, unexercised, crusted with salt, shit and vomit, festering with scurvy and boils.' One prisoner wrote to his parents, who printed the letter as a broadsheet: 'When any of our comrades that were chained to us died, we kept it a secret as long as we could for the smell of the dead body, in order to get their allowance of provision, and many a time have I been glad to eat the poultice that was put to my leg for perfect hunger.' Such men and women were emphatically not willing settlers intending to spoil a paradise. But their experiences may have left them so brutalized that they were quite unprepared to meet people of a totally different culture -- let alone 'conciliate their affections'. Between 156,000 and 162,000 men, women and children were sent to the other end of the earth before transportation ended in 1868. As the decades passed, conditions for convicts improved -- and many free settlers arrived.

      David Kilpack was granted a conditional pardon in December 1794, by which time he had married Eleanor MacDonald, who had stolen four linen sheets. They had four children, and in 1795 were granted a lease of 80 acres of land at a quarterly rental of one shilling. One of the Kilpacks' descendants became a respected High Court judge.

      Ann account from James Stanley Milson:

      David Kilpack's background is interesting, originally sentenced to transportation to the Americas for stealing an amount of poultry. He was held aboard a prison hulk in Thames River pending the outcome of the American war of independence.

      He and some forty or so fellow prisoners escaped from the hulk ( SWIFT ) by swimming to the Thames embankment. Though his hard swim to freedom did not last very long. He was recaptured after only two days and appeared once more before a magistrate. This time he was re-sentenced to death. However by the grace and mercy etc. of King George 111 the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in the colony yet-to-be at Sydney.