was the second youngest of thirteen children. He was also the second of Roberts children to be named Sampson. The first was
born in 1788 and lived for only seven weeks.
not surprising that Sampson was to join the Royal Navy. His older brother John was already serving and was to reach the rank
of Service" issued by the Admiralty on 17th June 1834 shows that Sampson "entered His Majesty's Service on the 15th.May 1800".
He was just over 9 years of age at the time and joined as a Volunteer 1st Class under the sponsorship of Peter McKellar, Commander
of the ship "Renommee". This ship of 38 guns had been captured from the French in 1796.
Captains Clerk on an expedition to Egypt, then promoted on 23rd.October 1801 to the rank of Midshipman. He was then just 10
years of age. The expedition lasted until 12th April 1802 at which time he was discharged. as appears to have been the custom
at the end of a tour of duty.
as Volunteer 1st.Class, firstly on the "Childers" in Portsmouth, then on the "Princess" in Liverpool. These tours of duty
lasted until 18th October 1807. and it was during this period that he received permanent promotion to Midshipman on 1st October
1803, then to Master Mate on 1st.Jan.1806. Master Mate, is the equivalent rank to-day of Sub-Lieutenant, and he was still
only 14 yrs.of age.
For a short
while he was Supernumary on the "Royal William" under Admiral George Montagu at Spithead ' before joining the "Thalia" as
Midshipman on 4th.November 1807 on duty in the channel, then on to Hudson's Bay.
November 1808 he joined the "Atlas" under Rear Admiral Purvis (a name carried on by a number of later Marshalls) as Midshipman
and as Master Mate, and which was on duty at Cadiz until 14th.March 1810. He then served for 17 months as acting Lieutenant
on the "Zealous" before joining the "Gannett" as Master Mate in the channel.
gained his commission as Lieutenant, at the minimum age permissible of 21 years, on 3rd.February 1812. He was posted to H.M.S.
"Barham" the same day and remained until 24th July 1812.
shipboard posting was on 9th January 1813 when he joined H.M.S, "Diadem". The ship didn't sail immediately which allowed Sampson
to return home in order to marry Mary Ann King at the Hatherleigh Parish Church on 18th January 1813.
didn't have much time together as England and America were at war (War of 1812).
He rejoined the "Diadem" and sailed to join the fleet at its base at Halifax, Nova Scotia.
11th September 1814 the fleet entered the mouth of the Potapsco River and laid siege to Baltimore. With 40000 inhabitants, Baltimore was the third largest city in America at the time. Because ships drawing
16 feet couldn't approach closer than 5 miles it was decided to land troops and seamen under General Ross and march on the
September, Sampson, who was to act for the artillery bombardment at the Battle of North Point, with 40 small arms men under
his command went ashore with the Naval Brigade under Captain Crofton R.N. serving with the Army under General Ross. They were
about halfway to the city when General Ross was knocked off his white horse and killed by a bullet through his right arm and
into his chest. It was the same day that Sampson was badly injured when hit in the right leg by a musket ball.
the day and evening of the 13th, the British bomb-ships stayed for the most part out of range of the small cannon of the Fort,
and easily lobbed some 1800 bombs into and around the enclosure. The firing
ceased around one o'clock in the morning of the 14th. when the British realised just how well prepared Baltimore actually
was and they commenced re-embarking their troops from North Point during the night.
Five days later Admiral Cochrane sailed his fleet back to Halifax.
bombardment referred to above features in the American National Anthem, written by Francis Scott Key. Key was aboard "Minden", a cartel ship on which he had gone to interview Admiral Cochrane about the release
of a prisoner. Although he achieved his mission, the British kept him aboard
until after the attack was over. After watching the British mortar shells and rockets exploding over Fort McHenry, and the
Forts hugh flag still flying, he was inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner", which he put to the eighteenth century
British drinking song "To Anacreon in Heaven".
in Halifax, Sampson entered the naval hospital. He was repatriated back to England
and transferred to the Plymouth hospital after a report from Halifax stated "Gunshot
in the right leg. Totally disabled at present, a change of climate would do him
granted extended leave to recover, but progress was extremely slow. On 6th July
1815 his wife wrote to the Secretary of the Admiralty asking for an examination for a wound pension. This was agreed and three
months later a report from the College of Surgeons stated "Wounds equally prejudicial
to bodily exertion as to the loss of a limb". When it was backed up three weeks
later by a report from the Council Offices of the Prince Regent that "Musket
ball passing through the right leg totally deprived him of its use". he was granted
a pension of 5/- per diem from 4th November 1815. He received this pension for life.
is known of the next few years, except that he returned home to Hatherleigh. He most likely became a farmer because in a later
testimony in Australia before a commission investigating the free immigrant scheme he stated
"having for some time been connected with agricultural matters...."
was finally fit enough to assume some shore duties, he returned to Portsmouth, and on 27th April 1831 was appointed Warden
of Portsmouth Dockyard - a position he held until sailing to Australia in 1834. Accommodation was provided for him and his
family in the Dockyard.
Sampson was granted three years leave of absence an half pay by the Naval Board with the proviso that he did not enter into
the service of any foreign Prince or State, and he must inform their Lordships' secretary of any change of address.
was a 3rd. Rate (64 cannon) of 1869 tons, built at Chatham Dockyard . She was ordered on 5th February 1777, her keel was laid
on 2nd. November 1778, and she was launched on 19th December 1782. Primarily
a Frigate, she spent some time from May 1798 to 1799 as a troopship, and again in 1810. She was hulked in 1815 and broken
up in 1832.
MIGRATES TO AUSTRALIA
wife and 6 of their remaining 7 children (Richard Purvis stayed behind until 1837) he left London on 10th July 1834 aboard
the "David Scott" arriving in Sydney, Australia on 25th October 1834. Also on board was his brother-in law, Richard King with
his wife and their 5 children.
Scott" was a "Splendid Teak-Built Ship" of 773 Tons Register under the command of Captain Samuel Owen. It carried merchandise
and in addition to 18 First Class passengers, were 347 Bounty passengers (mostly female). Sampson had been recommended for,
and had accepted, the post of Superintendent of the Bounty immigrants. This was an honorary position, although the Emigration
Committee decided later that future Superintendents were to receive 50 Pounds for their duties.
Immigrants seem to have been quite a handful for Sampson, which coupled with a complete lack of discipline on the part of
the crew, made it an eventful voyage. On reaching Sydney he made a blistering report to Governor Sir Richard Bourke on the
morality of the women and of the crew.
LAND - A NEW LIFE
after their arrival the family settled in the Maitland district. Sampson joined the pastoral industry by renting the 2000
acre property "Rosebrook", near Maitland, from Lieutenant James Reed R.N.. Sampson never owned "Rosebrook".
wasted no time in acquiring his own land. Just days after arriving in Sydney he wrote requesting purchase of a block of 734
acres at Jerrys Plains. County of Hunter, Parish of Wambo. This was approved
on 13th December 1834 and granted on 20th April 1835 at 6/- per acre. Annual
rent was one peppercorn. The property was bounded on the west by James Robertsons
property "Strowan", and on the North across the Hunter River by James Robertsons
property "Plashett". There is no way Sampson could have seen the land beforehand
so he must have been advised by friends.
James Robertsons third son John Robertson, (later Sir John Robertson K.C.M.G.) worked his passage to England on the "Sovereign"
under Captain McKellar and inspected the Dockyard at Portsmouth. (Aust.Dict.of Biography Vol 6). Sampson was the warden of the Dockyard at this time.
almost certain that the two families were friends in England as it was only months after John Robertsons visit to the Portsmouth
Dockyard that Sampson with his family migrated to Australia and acquired land bordering "Plashett" and "Strowan" where James Robertsons family lived.
second son Brisbane Robertson was later to marry Sampsons eldest daughter Caroline Marshall at "Plashett". This was one of
many,many,many marriages between the Marshall, Robertson, Rodd, and Blaxland families to take place over the next half century
was to acquire at least three other areas of land at Jerrys Plains, and Wollombi Brook, At the same time, probably late in
1836, he squatted on land in the Gwydir District of the Liverpool Plains. This land, which he called "Boolooroo" was 62000
acres and was located about 5-6 miles north east of present day Moree. This was outside land at the time, but when the authorities
decided to acknowledge occupancy rights by lease in 1837, he applied for, and received, a depasturing licence on 11th.September
1837. He held this land until his death.
passed away on "Rosebrook" on 17th October 1842. It was here that he had lived
since arriving in Australia only eight years earlier. Sampsons burial place
is unknown however it seems probable that it is on "Rosebrook".
Sampsons will was dated at Hatherleigh on 6th April 1820 and was proved
in London on 18th October 1843.