User Tools

Site Tools


Lieutenant Peter Burnett French Mills (1786-1816?)


  • married Jennifer Ann Brabyn (1795-1871), my great, great, great, great grandmother
  • Peter's father was a businessman in the silk trade in Dublin, his brother a doctor of medicine.
  • Peter attended Dublin University and chose a Naval career, and in Feb 1804, became an able seaman on the Hazard and soon transferred as a midshipman to the Warrior under Capt Bligh.
  • At 19yrs of age, he was chosen by Captain Bligh to man the HMS “Porpoise” to Australia in 1805, arriving in Port Jackson in 1806.
  • After the Bligh rebellion, he is said to have acted as secretary to Bligh and was recalled to London to give evidence at Major Johnston's trial after the governor was deposed.
  • in July 1807, Peter was sent on the Estramina to be stationed at Port Dalrymple and occupied the position of Pilot & Harbour Master for a short period.
  • He married Jennifer Ann Brabyn 1810 two weeks after the 1st ever wedding in Tasmania. The marriage was solemnized by the Rev. Robert Knopwood (who was the Rev. North in Marcus Clarke's famous book, For the term of his natural life.)
    • the 1st wedding in Van Dieman's land was of Marine Sgt William Gangell who had came out on the Calcutta. His descendants include Heather Kay who supplies me with additional information for inclusion on this website.
  • He bore 3 children there.
  • With a Dr Jacob Mountgarret he sustained financial trouble:
    • “In January 1812, the brig Active arrived from Calcutta. The vessel, owned by J B McHugo, was loaded with luxury stores, tea, sugar and spirits, etc. McHugo professed to be a member of the Royal Family traveling incognito. Mills and others purchased luxury items from McHugo to the value of £667 and Mills was having trouble paying back his creditors.”
  • He was also the deputy surveyor but after litigations resulting from his mistakes, he was suspended in June 1812 by Gov. Macquarie, losing his entitlement to a land grant of 200 acres but allowed to become a settler with rations for his family and assigned servants.
  • In 1814 to escape his creditors, he went bush for some time and formed a bushranging gang with the deputy commissary, George Williams and several convicts.
    • in May, 1814, Gov. Macquarie issued a proclamation calling for surrender of Peter Mills and others with promise of pardon for all offences other than wilful murder (see here).
    • “They stole the government boat from Low Head intending to sail to King Island, but the boat was wrecked at the second Western River (River Mersey) and Mills returned overland to Port Dalrymple and surrendered to the authorities. He was placed in irons in the guardhouse at Launceston.”
    • Mill's wife brought rum (supplied by Mountgarret) at 1am for the guards and this allowed Mills to escape but he was soon found again in a stable. At his trial in Launceston he was committed to the Supreme Court in Sydney along with Mountgarret. Due to delays in his case being processed and lack of evidence, they were discharged after promising to behave and he returned to his family.
    • more information on associated Tasmanian bushrangers in 1814-1815:
  • in October 1816, he finally disappeared on the “Adamant”, although in Olive Mills' book, he disappeared on the “Bella”.
  • see more info on Peter Mills, Mountgarret and his famous adopted half-Aborigine daughter, Dolly Dalrymple:
  • in 1935, his descendants tried to prove their claim to his father's presumably unclaimed multi-million pound estate from the silk business but it appears they failed to do so - see

Other possible but very unlikely relatives

Frederick James FRENCH (1885-1974)

  • born in West Ham, Essex in 1885
  • son of:
    • Charles FRENCH (1852-1932)
      • son of Frederick FRENCH
    • Charlotte Jane KAYLEY
  • married Eliza Hanna ARCHER (daughter of Samuel ARCHER; b 1886 in Hunslet, Yorkshire, d. White Hills, Bendigo) in 19071), 2)
  • children:
    • Joyce Alma FRENCH (1919 - 2012)
  • died in Bendigo, Victoria in 1974
  • Australian war service details of a presumably different Frederick James FRENCH - see
    • 21yr old single man who was assigned as a gunner and whose career was stated as “seaman” and joined Australian service in Nov 1914
    • father was J. FRENCH of “Alberta”, Kinsgway, Westcliff, England
genealogy/peterburnettfrenchmills.txt · Last modified: 2021/03/15 19:34 by gary1

Donate Powered by PHP Valid HTML5 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki