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Reuben Uther (1791–1880)

Old residents of Sydney will remember the shop in Pitt-street, opposite the Victoria Theatre, where for many years Mr. Uther carried on the business of a hatter. Not more than two or three are aware that he was one of those who, on the 26th January, 1808, signed the paper addressed to Major Johnstone (then in command of the troops) requesting him, for reasons therein briefly stated, to depose Governor Bligh. Such, however, is the fact, and his death on Saturday last severs the last living connection with that historical event, as all the other persons who signed that request long since passed over to the majority. This document is in the handwriting of Captain Macarthur, and is written on a sheet of notepaper. It is signed by about eighty colonists of all classes, and amongst other signatures there appears in a clear and neat handwriting, the name "Reuben Uther." On being asked by a friend of the writer of this paragraph, some years ago, whether this signature was his, Mr. Uther said that it was, and that, being requested to sign the paper, he did so at once, he being, as he said, then a lad of 20. As this transaction took place 72 years and 6 months ago, that would place Mr. Uther at the time of his death, not in his 90th, but in his 93rd year. One is almost inclined to think, unless Mr. Uther's family have some authentic statement of his birth to the contrary, that he was in his 93rd year, because it seems hardly likely that a lad of 17 would have been asked to sign what may be called the warrant for the Governor's deposition. This "warrant" is now in the possession of Captain Johnstone, R.N.. of Annandale, the eldest son of Major Johnstone, and himself almost a nonogenarian. This gentleman was born in this colony. He was present as a naval officer at the unfortunate and ill-planned attack on New Orleans in 1815. He remembers seeing Lord Nelson in London before the Battle of Trafalgar, and was afterwards a spectator of his funeral. Captain Johnstone has also in his possession another paper, dated the 28th January, 1808, approving Governor Bligh's deposition, and bearing the signatures of some of those who signed the paper of the 26th, and of others who did not sign it. At the head of these signatures appears the name "Edward Macarthur," Captain Macarthurs eldest son, who afterwards became General Macarthur. The General, who died some years since, was the last survivor of those who signed this second paper.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Uther, Reuben (1791–1880)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


27 March, 1791


10 July, 1880 (aged 89)
New South Wales, Australia

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Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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