b. 1816 Parramatta;
d. Dec 6, 1838 Sydney; dau. of Thomas Gorman (1776-1849 from Trim Ire., convict on ‘Rolla’ 1803, life sentence, CP, wheelright, and Catherine McLaughlin 1783-1838, ‘Tellicherry’ 1803, 7 yr)
iii. GEORGE PATRICK BUTLER, b. March 15, 1815, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia;
See Blog on Lawrence Ormond Butler Junior:
See Blog on Mary Ann Butler
CURRENCY CHILDRENConvict transport ship Surgeon Peter Cunningham wrote:
When their father, Laurence Butler, died in December 1820, Walter was aged 13, Lawrence Jnr was 8 and Mary Ann was just 3 years of age. Laurence's left his estate, which according to Walter in his Memorial of 1825 was valued at upwards of £2000, equally to his wife Ann Roberts and his three children, while their appointed guardian was named as the Catholic priest Fr. Joseph Therry. Ann found the terms of this bequest difficult and stated that "she had for some time struggled to clear off the encumbrances attached to her property in which she has succeeded". She wanted to marry the man who had taken charge of Laurence's business, Miles Leary, but her application to Rev. Cowper was denied on the advice of the children's appointed guardian Fr. Therry. In August 1823, Ann then petitioned Governor Brisbane to grant her permission to marry, "that she not be debarred from a privilege to which she is entitled". The response from the governor, written by the Colonial Secretary on her petition was:
Answered verbally- she might marry whenever she has secured her late husband's property upon his children.
By February 1824, just six months later, she was placing an advertisement in the Sydney Gazette cautioning Miles Leary not to ever come into her house or premises. Whether this break-down in her relationship with Leary was due to the fact that she had no control over Butlers' property, which clearly Leary would have been interested in obtaining through a convenient marriage, is unknown. Sometime during the next ten months, Ann died leaving the children orphaned.
It is difficult to fathom how three children orphaned at such a young age, albeit financially comfortable, could manage in such a harsh society as Sydney was in those early years of the colony. It could only happen through a tight network of family friends and the guardianship of the Catholic priest, Father Therry. Such a young family with so many assets would have been a prime target for thieves and charlatans.
Irish Emancipist Childrens Education 1820's:
Mary Ann’s later life would indicate that she was well educated, her education continuing at David Greville’s boarding school where she was lodging in 1828.
In April 1830, Arthur Hill advertised in the Sydney Monitor for his Runaway Apprentice, Lawrence Butler, calling for his apprehension. (24 April 1830). Lawrence was soon arrested and given a harsh penalty: 7 days in a solitary cell on bread and water.
(SRNSW Bench of Magistrates, Punishment Book 1830; Series No. 3403, Reel 2648, No. 139).
A month later, Lawrence had again absconded. Edward S.Hall placed an advertisement in his Sydney Monitor for his two Runaway Apprentices, offering a reward of £2 each for their apprehension. (29 May 1830). They evaded arrest for four months, but on 7 October 1830, Lawrence Butler and Richard Oldfield were brought before the Court, charged with being Absent from their indented Service without leave, and sentenced to 7 days each to House of Correction, and were discharged on 14 October. (Reel 2648, No 35). However, this was not the end of the saga. The two boys were obviously angry and belligerent about their punishment and with their employers, because they were re-arrested on the same day as their release, for refusing to work. The judge had had enough and gave them a harsher penalty to teach them a lesson: Thursday 14 October 1830, Lawrence Butler and Richard Oldfield, Refusing to work. One calendar month each to the Gaol as House of Correction. (Reel 2648, No. 69)
This would prove to be the pattern of Lawrence Butler's employment throughout his life. He must have been efficient at his work, to continue to find employment by the newspaper proprietors despite his growing reputation as an unreliable employee.
In the following year 1831, Lawrence was charged and acquitted of assault , and his bond was paid by his employer, Edward Hall, Arthur Hill and another printer Thomas Armstrong.  He had been indicted on an assault against William White, a carter who had been hired to convey a party to and from the Sydney races. Lawrence and a lame man named Grady had been invited by one of the party to partake of refreshments. The lame man tried to get in the cart and was ordered out by White. When he did not comply White knocked him over the side of the cart, the man falling under the wheel. Lawrence interfered and reproached White for behaving in so unmanly a manner to a cripple, to which he replied that he would serve him the same and, according to witnesses, ran at him with a case knife. To avoid the consequences of which, Lawrence seized Grady’s crutch and struck White several times with it, causing much bruising. The Chairman of the Court observed that very contradictory evidence had been brought forward by the statements of Lawrence and White, which he said were so opposed to each other that it was evident that gross perjury was committed on one side or the other. The Jury returned a verdict of acquittal.
Hall advertised for his Runaway Apprentice on 2 May 1832, and again on 30 June, and on the 25 July he accused Henry Melville, Proprietor of the Colonial Times in Hobart of employing Lawrence "at this moment in your office" and warned him of the consequences if he continued to employ him.
Lawrence returned to Sydney in 1833 following the death of Arthur Hill, which may have cancelled his apprenticeship contract, as he did not continue his employment with the Sydney Monitor. Maybe Hall had had enough of his wayward apprentice and cancelled his contract.
He appears to have gone to Hobart on several occasions over the course of the period 1832-1837, when his brother Walter went there. .
In 1835 he was employed as a compositor by the Sydney Gazette and again broke his employment contract, for which the Gazette advertised and cautioned the public against employing him.  At that time, this was an offence for which one could be prosecuted. The adverts were repeated in 1836.  The Sydney Gazette on 2 July reported that Lawrence had been arrested and had appeared at the bar of the Police Office. The Gazette stated he had entered into an agreement to work as a compositor for the Sydney Gazette for 6 months at 35s. per week. Some time before, he had absented himself from work and was apprehended. The Magistrate had sentenced him to 20 days in jail. At the end of which he refused to return to work unless his salary was increased to 38 s. per week, which was refused. He again absented himself. His solicitor George Nichol’s defence was, that having been punished, Lawrence was not bound to go back, and as this was the same offence he couldn’t be punished twice for it. He also claimed that, because a compositor’s business was of a mental and manual nature, it did not come under the Act. The newly appointed editor George Cavanagh denied it was anything more than a mechanical occupation. Lawrence was sentenced to a further two months jail. He was allowed to appeal to the Quarter Sessions on bail. There is no follow up report on his appeal.
After unsuccessfully applying for a Publican’s license in 1841, he returned to the printing trade for a Melbourne newspaper, and was heavily involved in a bitter dispute between two of his newspaper employers, which was played out in public in the “Port Phillip Patriot” and the “Herald” in June and July 1841 . The “Port Phillip Patriot” was owned by John Fawkner, the founder of Melbourne, and employed him for a short time as overseer of the printing office as a temporary replacement, before Lawrence left to work for the owner of the “Herald”, his old employer at the Sydney Gazette George Cavanagh,who had given evidence against him in his absentee case but who obviously did not hold a grudge. The editor of the ‘Patriot’ William Kerr, accused Lawrence of revealing private business information such as circulation figures, to his new employer Cavanagh, which Cavanagh then published. The Patriot editor then vilified both Cavanagh and Lawrence in his editorials, attempting to destroy their reputations. In a series of newspaper articles, Kerr described Lawrence variously as:
a scoundrel named Lawrence Ormond Butler; one of our cast-off servants; the mean wretch; the infamous Lawrence Ormond Butler; he never knew a printer guilty of such cool, deliberate treachery as this of Lawrence Ormond Butler; and of his reluctance to employ Butler, knowing the character of the man from his previous doings in Sydney and Hobart Town; Butler has, in this matter, been guilty of a flagrant breach of Confidence; we feel perfectly satisfied that the trade will note such a dereliction from honourable principle, by expulsion from their society. Paltry and disreputable however, as every employer of labour will consider Butler’s conduct, it does not match in downright blackguardism the conduct of Mr George Cavanagh. With reference to his new employer George Cavanagh, in August 1841, Kerr referred to Her Majesty's jail where his friend Larry Butler is employed nappin stones (breaking rocks with a sledgehammer).
Lawrence was called as a witness in a trial of a prisoner charged with theft in South Australia, who had offered him a gold watch. The trial was held in Sydney in March 1842, so it would appear that Lawrence had returned to Sydney after his release from jail in Melbourne.
© B.A. Butler
Contact email address butler1802 @hotmail.com (NB. no spaces)
Link back to Introduction:
Links to all the chapters in this blog:
The 1798 rebellion
Laurence Butler's trial for his role in the Rebellion
Analysis of Butler's trial
Laurence Butler at the Battle of Tubberneering
Laurence Butler's imprisonment
Butler's life and family in Wexford
Laurence Butler's transportation to Sydney in 1802 on the Atlas 2
Conditions on Convict Ships
Life as a convict in Sydney
Laurence Butler's property investments in Pitt Street Sydney
Sydney Town in 1800-1810
Laurence Butler's petitions to the Governor
Laurence Butler's 100 acre land grant in District of Petersham
Butler's membership of the Commercial Society of Sydney
Laurence Butler's court cases
Laurence Butler's business interests in Sydney
Laurence Butler's cabinet making business
Laurence Butler's property investments in Sydney
Laurence Butler's colonial family
Laurence Butler's death in 1820
Laurence Butler's issue- Walter, Lawrence Junior and Mary Ann
The Catholic Community of Sydney up until 1820
Genealogy- Butler's possible ancestry and possible descendants in Ireland, and BDM records
Butler's fellow Irish rebels transported to Sydney
Conclusion about the life of Laurence Butler