John ARROW 1829-1859 and the Brutal Murder of Catherine Leary
John ARROW, was born at Bathurst on the 26 February 1829. He was the son of William Arrow 1802-1886 and Sarah BURTON 1814-1867.
William ARROW had been born in Albury, Surrey the son of John ARROW 1778-c1810 and Ann ATFIELD 1779-1845 William was sentenced to 7 years transported for 7 years for stealing a bottle of whisky and shooting game fowls belonging to "Weston Manor" Albury, Surrey.
On arrival he was assigned to the church of England minister at Bathurst whom I believe was William HASSALL.
After receiving his ticket of leave William worked as a shoemaker at Kelso where he met and married Sarah BURTON in 1828.
Sarah was born in Albury, Surrey on the 24 December 1814, the daughter of James BURTON 1792-1856 and Elizabeth Hillyer 1795-1829. James had been transported in 1816 and Elizabeth and daughter Sarah followed him out here in 1829.
William ARROW took up a grant of 40 acres at O'Connell, in the Bathurst district, in 1836, where he built a house and they raised their fifteen children. His eldest son John took land further up on Mick's Mount.
The children of William ARROW and Sarah, nee BURTON:-
* 1.John Arrow 18291859 m. Sarah Ann CAMPBELL 1838-1884 in 1858
2. William Arrow 1831 1841
3. Anne Arrow 18331896 m. (1) Joseph FARNORTH in 1850 (2) Arthur Robert BURTON in 1854 (3) Matthew CONROY in 1882
4. Ellen Arrow 18341877 m. Michael William FARRELL 1815-1877 in 1851
5. George Arrow 18381921 m. Catherine McNAMARA 1847-1917 on the 30 April 1864.
6. James Arrow 18401915 m. Euphemia WALLACE 1835-1908 in 1867
7. Roland Arrow 18411866 m. Catherine FINES 1845-1942 in 1863
8. Samuel Godshall Arrow 18451910
9. Peter Arrow 18481901 m. Ann KITT 1857-1897 in 1878
10. William Arrow 18481905 m. Martha LAWRENCE on 23 January 1875
11. Sarah Arrow 1851 xxxx m. George F CLEMENT in 1869
12. Mary Arrow 18521899 m. Dennis RUSHWORTH in 1871
13. Susannah Arrow 18541899 m. Richard HODGINS in 1871
14. Elizabeth Dinah Arrow 18581928 m. John James PEARSON 1851-1923 in 1875
*John ARROW married 24 year old Sarah Ann CAMPBELL 1834-1884 in Bathurst in 1858. John unhappy with this marriage and Sarah Ann rarely saw him.
The couple had no children and John left Bathurst soon after the marriage. Using the alias John HALL, he took a job as a labourer for Edward NICHOLLS at Summerhill near Orange. He moved in with Catherine LEARY and the couple were known as Mr.and Mrs.John HALL, husband and wife. Catherine gave birth to a daughter, she named Eliza.
The following year, on Tuesday the 22 March 1859 John ARROW was indicted for having on the 3rd. of December 1858 at Summer Hill in the Colony of New South Wales, wilfully and feloniously and with malice aforethought murdered Catherine LEARY.
On the evening of Friday the 3rd of December 1858 when doctor Henry WARREN entered a hut at Summerhill near Orange, New South Wales, he found half naked, laying on the floor partially hidden under a mattress, Catherine LEARY whom he knew as the prisoner's wife, as he had been treating Catherine over the past three weeks for another complaint.
On closer examination of the body Doctor WARREN determined she had been dead no more than two or three hours, as the body was quite warm. Her body was covered in bruises, some recent some older. Over the head and face there were a great many bruises and contusions. Several of her teeth had been knocked out, her nose was broken as was her jaw and her skull was fractured. The walls and floor of the hut were covered in blood. He saw an old gun barrel in the hut also covered in blood which he deemed to be the murder weapon.
Although the evidence against John ARROW was circumstantial, the jury only took five minutes to pronounce him guilty.
John ARROW preserved a remarkably cool demeanour throughout the trial, not the slightest emotion having been exhibited by him even during the recital of the most shocking and most painful portions of the evidence.
When his honour sentenced John ARROW to hang and said. " May the Lord have mercy on your soul". John ARROW petulantly exclaimed, "God will have mercy on me." He was then removed from the court quite unconcerned for the awful situation in which he had been placed.
The afternoon of the murder John had been drinking at a nearby public house and Catherine LEARY went to the Inn and asked him to come home for his dinner. He ignored her the first time and she repeated the request. He then left the Inn and went home with her where they quarrelled and he then bludgeoned her to death with the barrel of a gun, stripped her of her clothes and burnt them.
On the 11 May 1859 the day of execution a special train was dispatched for John ARROWS's wife and his family for their final farewell. According to The Sydney Morning Herald 100 people attended the execution and John Arrow confessed his guilt and acknowleged the justice of the sentence.
After the execution, the ARROW Family returned to O'Connell's Plain with John's body for burial on the family property.
The newspapers at the time described it as one of the most savage and barbarous murders ever committed against a woman.
Catherine Leary had a daughter in 1858 she named Eliza. The infant died a month after her mother was killed whilst John Arrow was in gaol on the 5th January 1859 the death was registered at Orange.
The children of James BURTON and Elizabeth, nee HILLYER were:-
Sarah Burton 1814 1867 James Burton 1819 1868
Elizabeth Burton 1821 Elizabeth Burton 1823
Hannah Burton 1825 1912 Catherine Burton 1827 1876
1254/1858 ARROW JOHN CAMPBELL SARAH A BATHURST
1499/1863 ARROW ROWLAND FINES CATHERINE BATHURST
1457/1864 ARROW GEORGE MACNAMARA CATHERINE BATHURST
1457/1864 ARROW GEORGE MCNAMARA CATHERINE BATHURST
1553/1867 ARROW JAMES WALLACE EUPHEMIA BATHURST
1831/1875 ARROW WILLIAM LAWRENCE MARTHA BATHURST
2329/1878 ARROW PETER KITT ANNE BATHURST
V1850831 36B/1850 FARNORTH JOSEPH ARROW ANN OA
V1851467 97/1851 FARRELL MICHAEL ARROW ELLEN LG
1794/1869 CLEMENT GEORGE F ARROW SARAH BATHURST
1559/1871 HODGINS RICHARD ARROW SUSAN BATHURST
1562/1871 RUSHWORTH DENIS ARROW MAY BATHURST
1935/1875 PEARSON JOHN ARROW DINAH E BATHURST
Maria Burton 1829
Researched and Written by janilye 1990
* please note. In Australia up until only about forty years ago Australians had three meals a day namely, Breakfast, Dinner and Tea so when looking at records etc. Dinner was our midday meal and usually our main meal. It occurred between noon and 1.00pm