The son of John CAWTHORN, a spectacle maker in London, and his wife Frances FORD, he was possibly born at Walthamstowe in Essex in 1786.
He married Maria MILNE in 1814.
They emigrated to Van Diemen's Land in 1818 on Lord Melville with their infant son, his cousin John FORD and her brother George MILNE.
He received a grant of 1000 acres at Macquarie Plains and became a farmer, naming his property Arundel, after his mother's family location.
They had seven children, but the eldest died in England and two sons also died in infancy.
John Henry CAWTHORN was a successful settler but he was accidentally killed in 1850 when his gun discharged as he was climbing through a hedge to kill some birds in his grain crop. He did not leave a Will.
He did however leave a heavily mortgaged property, as the 1840s had been poor years. It passed to his only surviving son, who died six months later, leaving it to his wife Ruth, as his sole beneficiary and executor.