Mary Stephens, ex Inchinnan
Mary Stephens, from Castlebar, was age 18 when she arrived in Sydney on the Inchinnan. She was of the Church of England, could read and write, and her parents, John and Ann, were both dead.
Mary Stephens was very quickly embroiled in the controversy arising from the treatment of the orphan girls on the journey, and in particular, to the assault she suffered at the hands of Alexander Taylor, the Chief Mate of the ship.
On arrival in Sydney, the ship’s Doctor took Mary Stephens to Mr Merewether, the Immigration Agent; she was then sent with an inspector to the Police Office to make her complaint. The ensuing court case is discussed here.
Interestingly, the newspaper accounts report elements of personal information of some of the girls examined during the court case. Mary Stephens claimed that she had been in service twice before she entered Ballina Union workhouse (Sydney Morning Herald, 16 March 1849), and for part of the voyage she had acted as a servant to ‘Mrs Martelly’, and had attended on her child (Sydney Morning Herald, 8 March 1849). Margaret Martelli, aged 25 and a governess, was a widow with a 7 year old son, Edward. She had been appointed as one of the matrons of the emigrants and testified that she witnessed Alexander Taylor beating Mary Stephens.
The Irish Famine Orphan Database notes that four months after the court case, on 20 July, Mary Stephens' indentures with Mr J. Mackay, merchant, were cancelled, and she was "to be sent into the country".
It is not known what happened to Mary Stephens after this date.
© Barbara Barclay (2015)