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Orphan Number: 4334
Orphan: Mary Ann PERKINS
Mother:PERKINS, Elizabeth
Father:LEACH, John
Mother's ship:Friendship
Father's ship:
Age when admitted:8yrs
Date admitted:7 Mar 1829
Date discharged:9 Feb 1832
Institution(s):Queens Orphan School
Discharged to:
Remarks: father executed for murdering the mother
References: SWD24, CSO5/86/1885

This orphan has been claimed by: Matthew Johnston

In 1829 Elizabeth Perkins was brutally murdered by her companion of ten years, John Leach.

A little girl, Leach's daughter, went to the room where they were, but speedily came out terrified, saying her mother's face was cold and she thought she was dead.”

Leach’s subsequent execution left Mary Ann Perkins an orphan. She was taken into care at the Orphan School for three years until “returned to Mary French who had formerly charge of the girl. The committee believing Mary French to be a decent woman and capable of taking care of the girl

When Mary French marries in 1835, Mary Leach signs as one of the witnesses in a hand seemingly unused to writing this surname.

Mary Ann Leach signs the registry when she marries Thomas Steadman Potter in 1836. The two Leach signatures bear a strong resemblance.


Mary Ann Potter died in 1910, mother and grandmother to seven surviving children and their families.

Mary Ann Potter



There are two births on record for Elizabeth Perkins, Ann and Sarah. There is a death record for Sarah Ann Leach in 1825

Mary Ann Potter's birth date is noted by her daughter as February 1815. Ann Perkins was born in February 1819. It is possible that her age was altered to suit her marriage to Thomas.

Mary French was a witness to the trial of John Leach


TAHO, RGD50/1/1 Gordon Registry,$init=RGD50-1-1p008jpg

TAHO, RGD42/1/1, INDEX TO MARRIAGES, img67 & img84

TAHO, RGD36/1/3 Hobart 1836/3213,

TAHO, NS282/10/1/1-4, St David's Cathedral marriage register

TAHO – The Tasmanian Mail, 22 January 1910, Photographic Inserts, Page 4

TAHO, SC32/1/1, Minutes of criminal cases,$init=SC32-1-1p348jpg

TAHO, SWD28/1/1, Orphan School register,

TAHO, SWD24/1/1, 7/3/1829 & 9/2/1832 - Orphans School Minutes

TAHO, RGD32/1/1/, Register of Baptisms in Tasmania 1803-1832 no 695

TAHO, RGD32/1/1/, Register of Baptisms in Tasmania 1803-1832 no 972

TAHO, RGD34/1/1, Register of Deaths no 987

Trove - 1909 'THE OLDEST TASMANIAN NATIVE.', The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), 11 March, p. 7, viewed 21 September, 2015,

Trove - 1910 'Family Notices.', The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), 7 January, p. 1, viewed 2 October, 2015,

Trove - 1910 'PERSONAL.', The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), 7 January, p. 5, viewed 4 October, 2015,

Trove - 1829 'Dreadful Murders.', Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 - 1857), 20 February, p. 3, viewed 24 September, 2015,

Trove - 1829 'THE HOBART-TOWN COUR[?]ER.', The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 - 1839), 21 February, p. 2, viewed 24 September, 2015,

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 Site last updated June 2021