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This group is for all who have convicts in their families. So we can share how naughty they were.

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Latest Activity: Oct 28, 2020

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What did your convict do?

Started by Anita Payne. Last reply by Beth Gatlin Nov 11, 2010. 14 Replies

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Comment by Rosemary Miles on November 11, 2010 at 8:49pm

Euphemia Urquhart (nee Yule) born about 1795 in Haddington, Scotland. Married George Urquhart in Canongate, Edinburgh 21st May 1818.

Euphemia was first convicted of the theft of a black coat, a vest and three shirts from her husband, George Urquhart on 28th October 1839. As the items were deemed to be less than 10 pounds value she was sentenced to be imprisoned in the “Police Office” (I assume the equivalent of our Police Lock-up) for ten days. She pleaded not guilty.

On 3rd November 1840 she was charged once again with theft, again from her husband, George Urquhart, of a moleskin jacket, a pair of moleskin trousers and a blue and white striped shirt. Again, as the value was less than 10 pounds she was sentenced to twenty days in Edinburgh Prison after pleading guilty this time.

On 24th February 1841 she was again charged with theft, this time of 3 striped cotton shirts, 3 pairs of moleskin trousers and a pair of grey worsted stockings, again from her husband, George. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to sixty days in the Edinburgh Prison.

On 18th September 1841 she was further found guilty of the theft of a silver watch and sentenced to a further sixty days. There is no record of who the watch belonged to.

On 2nd April 1842 she was at it again, this time being charged with the theft of 4 striped cotton shirts and a pair of shoes. She pleaded guilty to stealing 2 of the shirts and the other charges were dropped. She was sentenced to 9 months in Edinburgh Prison.

On 29th June 1844 she was charged with the theft of a goblet, a double blanket, a piece of carpet measuring 2 yards, a cast iron fender, a cast metal boiler, a pair of bellows and a tartan shawl. She pleaded guilty to everything except the goblet, the charge of which was dropped. She was sentenced to a further 12 months in Edinburgh Prison.

On Wednesday, 12th May 1847 she appeared in the High Court charged with stealing a shawl from Flimany Moncur of Little Jack’s Close, Canongate – the official wording “you, the said Euphemia Yule or Urquhart did, wickedly and feloniously, steal and theftuously away take, a shawl…” She pawned the shawl for the sum of 6d, the pawn broker being one of the witnesses for the prosecution. Her luck had run out. She was found guilty and, due to her previous record, sentenced to “be transported beyond the seas for the period of seven years from this date”

She sailed from London on board the Cadet with 146 other female convicts for Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) on 4th September 1847 and arrived in Hobart 20th January 1848 where she was assigned to the Hobart Female Factory.

Her description upon arrival was height 5` 1`, age 44, complexion
sallow, head oval, hair brown, face oval, forehead high, eyes brown,
nose medium, mouth rather large and chin small. The surgeon`s report
was `very good `. She is listed as married with 9 children although I have
only found 7. Police No. 28
Her age upon arrival is debatable. I believe she was closer to 50
than in her 40s.

She was granted her Ticket of Leave 19th November 1850 but then
was sentenced to 6 months hard labour and an additional six months
probation for absconding. (a Ticket of Leave gave conditional freedom
for a particular area only) Her Ticket of Leave was revoked on 17th January
1854. She was granted her Certificate of Freedom 29th May, 1854.
She was my great great great Grandmother and I wonder how she would have felt about her quite numerous descendants who followed in her footsteps but as free settlers?
Comment by Lionel Benson on July 2, 2010 at 12:44am
My Great Grandfather Robert Walker or Robert Searby, not sure which is correct at this stage, was convicted at the Leeds Quarter Sessions, Yorkshire on the 24 August 1827 for house breaking in the company of two other persons Michael and John Leonard for stealing clothing. All were convicted and sentenced to 7 years Transportation to Van Diemens Land ( Tasmaina, Australia ) on the ship Woodford leaving Portsmouth on 2 May 1828 and arriving at Hobart on 25 August 1828, John Leonard the younger of the Leonard brothers died on board the Woodford 2 days out of Hobart. Robert was not what one would call a model prisoner as he absconded and when re captured a further 12 months was added to his sentence, he also received a penalty of 30 lashes for the ill treatment of a cow owned by the master to which Robert was asigned, the cow being ill at the time. After serving his sentence he was given his Ticket of Freedom and then married another convict Elizabeth Hopper who was was given permission to marry. Robert and Elizabeth had 3 children in Tasmania and then moved to Geelong in Victoria where they had one more child. Robert Walker must have redeemed himself as he was granted a Publicans Licence in 1859 and was Licensee of the Waggon and Horses Hotel in Geelong. In 1861 Elizabeth died and Robert apparently went back to Hobart in Tasmania where he met Louisa Emily Gould ( My Great Grandmother )who was was either 38 or 40 years younger than Robert, as we are not sure of Roberts actual dirth date, either 1804 or 1806, Louisa was born in London in 1844. Robert and Louisa returned to Geelong where they had 12 children, the first 7 were all named Walker 4 of which having the name Searby as one of their Christian names, as did the 4 children born to Roberts first marriage, the last 5 children were all named Searby without any reference to the name Walker. all but one of his children who reached adulthood all married in the name Searby, some with the name Walker as a Christian name, Robert died in July 1885 in Geelong and was buried in the name Robert Searby
Comment by Penelope Bell on April 18, 2010 at 10:18pm

On 22 December 1899 the following appeared in the Northern Territory Times, (it is hard to imagine a similar account in our newspapers in these politically correct times):

A pastoral leasee named Joseph Bridge was up before the Police Court on Tuesday on a charge of illegally branding horses. . . . The case was more than usually interesting, owing to the prisoner being a brother of Ben. Bridge, who is ‘wanted’ in three colonies, and whom the Kimberley police are now running down. Joseph Bridge is the lessee of a run at Turkey Creek, on the gold fields road. The run has a fair sized herd of stock on it, both horses and cattle, though no one seems to know exactly how the stock got there. It looks as if they ‘just happened’ as Huckleberry Finn said of the stars, or perhaps as Huck’s nigger argued, the moon ‘could’a laid them.’ But anyhow there’s the stock and the police at last brought matters to a head by seizing five horses whose brands had been tampered with. The erring Joseph had first put his own brand on the horses, but afterwards defaced it. Then when the police confronted him with the offence he denied all ownership of the animals and professed to know nothing at all of the matter. However, the evidence sufficiently proved that Bridge branded the horses and afterwards faked the brands, and the magistrates sent him to gaol for six months. This sentence is generally regarded as more merciful than Bridge had a right to expect. This Joseph Bridge and his brother (Benjamin) were grandsons of Joseph Bridge, transported in 1806, who died in Moreton Bay in 1829. But they seem to have been luckier than their grandfather . Joseph Bridge’s light sentence might have been due to his standing in the community; the previous year he was among the “gentlemen” to be appointed by the Governor to the local board of health at Wyndham. He continued to live at Wyndham until his death in 1938.
His brother, Benjamin, had several brushes with the law during his ninety years of life, but he seems to have emerged despite it all as some sort of folk hero. In his later years he told stories of his meeting when he was a boy with two bushrangers, Yellow Billy and Fred Ward (Captain Thunderbolt). Perhaps this determined his course for the next few years. In the 1880s while working near Singleton in NSW he had dealings with the police over the “borrowing” of his boss’ horse to ride home one day. He escaped from the police, was arrested at Murrundi in 1892 and placed in the local lock-up from which he also escaped. He headed north to his brother Joseph’s home in Burketown, Northern Queensland. But when he arrived he found that his brother had moved to Western Australia. (In view of the brothers’ history the question of why he moved so far away arises!! ). Ben appears not to have mended his ways because he next landed in the Burketown lockup and it was from here he made his next escape. A fire in the lockup gave him his chance and he absconded and was last seen jumping into the nearby river swimming away. Not unsurprisingly the locals thought he had been taken by a crocodile but he had in fact managed to follow his brother to the Northern Territory and later Western Australia where he worked some time on rural properties. His luck held in 1900 when he was recognized and extradited to NSW for trial but pardoned by Queen Victoria as part of the celebrations to mark the federation of Australia. After his he appears to have used his talents more within the law. He was a renowned horseman and spent the last thirty years of his life as a registered horse trainer. His obituary in the Northern Daily Leader on 25 August 1950 said he was a pioneer bushman, drover, showman and horse breaker who had had a remarkably colourful life—a life of adventure, of hardship and pleasure.
Comment by Alison Cantwell on April 13, 2010 at 9:22pm
My convict actors:-

3g grandfather, James Cantwell 1797~1857 of Cloneen, Co.Kilkenny, Ireland was transported to Australia via ship 'James Laing' after being convicted of “unlawful oaths” at Kilkenny on 14 March 1833 and sentenced to life. He had no previous convictions. He was a Coal Miner and we found that he had been part of the 'Whiteboys' - a well-entrenched society amongst the rural Catholic population. Whiteboys would send menacing letters to Protestant Landlords in an effort to prevent them from seizing common land. When my ancestor obtained his TOL his wife and children followed on ship 'Garland' of which I'm still looking for a ship's picture. My granddad always said of our ancestor that the reason he got here was because "...he had a big mouth!...". My Cantwell's were called Red Cantwells because of their ruddy complexions. It is very likely that there were more family transported to Australia but I haven't been able to verify this to date.

3g grandfather James Parker 1799~1883 of Norwich, Norfolk, England was tried on 6 March 1833 at Norfolk Quarter Sessions for stealing wheat and sentenced to 7 years and transportation to the Colony of New South Wales, arriving in Sydney on 3 November 1833. More to the story that I've unearthed is that no doubt he was trying to feed his wife and six children who all ended up dying of starvation which to me sounds appalling knowing the rich agricultural area that they came from. I have an idea that he may have been involved in the Swing Riots 1830-32. Luckily he remarried in Australia and had a large family of 9 children.

It seems that I may have two more 3g grandparents who were convicts but I need to find out more about them. They were Samuel Dinner b 1821 Bristol, Gloucestershire, England died 1872 Grenfell NSW Australia arrived Sydney NSW Australia via ship 'Barossa'. I don't know what his conviction was as I can't find him on the indent. But NSW State Records online reveal several Dinner men to have had committals for larceny, horse stealing and stealing from the person. His wife Caroline James who I've been told by a relative was a convict arrived Sydney via ship 'Surrey'. It seems that several of their children were born at the female factory, Parramatta.
Comment by J.R. Fox on February 16, 2010 at 11:06pm
My descendant Samuel Fox stole a mahogany tea caddy and a looking glass, plus 5 shillings in London Middlesex in 1758. He was tried at the old bailey and sentenced to transportation to America on a ship called THE BROTHERS bound for Maryland. He did some time at Newgate Prison as well and that place was horrible from my understanding.
Comment by Anisah Sheryl Lorene DAVID on February 9, 2010 at 1:02pm
Hello, I'm happy to see this group! I have the "pleasure" of having a relative who was the last Stage Coach Robber in the Western US. He failed in the end, due to his character...he pissed off his wife by having an affair & she turned him in after years of him abusing her. He's only related by marriage, but he apparently had a colorful life near Yellowstone National Park, where his criminal activity took place at a time when stage coaches had been relegated to tourist transportation. His name was Ed Trafton. Here is one online account of from 1914.
Comment by Jenny Halliday on July 23, 2009 at 4:36am
Hi all, glad to become apart of "Australian royalty". I have 2 forebears who have given me this privelidge! William Cox for highway robbery, sentenced to life but given a pardon. Sarah Ann Jones, 10 years for stealing a pair of shoes, but she already had a record for larceny so was transported. (lucky for me!) She was returned to barracks for misconduct being pregnant, and then they reported her again for trying to strangle herself 10 days later! she did have the baby a girl and was eventually pardoned. William and Sarah went on to have 8 children & eventually my grandmother Christina Cox married a Smith. so how lucky am i Cox Smith & Jones in the 1 family! ;-p
Comment by Cindy Johnston Sorley on July 12, 2009 at 2:08am
Debbie, what a great story... you made my day.. Uncle Remus Starr, sounds like a "Wild" Montana Cowboy to me.
Comment by Anita Payne on July 11, 2009 at 7:35am
Hi Debbie,
I love it, been thinking now how we can improve the story of our convict girl and make it distinguished. Thanks for sharing.

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