Thursday, August 21, 2008

Edward Ewer's conviction, and the fate of his colleague Edward WEDGE

My ancestor, Edward Ewer, was convicted with three others - my interest in the others was at first passing but I've had some luck looking into them, and hope to piece together each of their fates.

Edward EWER, Edward WEDGE, John GREEN and James TALBOT were all arrested for shoplifting, and tried/sentenced at the Berkshire Assizes on Monday the 28th day of February 1820.

Transcript of verdict slip:
"Berkshire. Shoplifting. The jurors for our Lord the King upon their oath present that Edward Ewer (^guilty, to be hanged) late of the parish of New Windsor in the County of Berks labourer; John Green (^guilty, to be hanged) late of the same labourer; James Talbot (^guilty, to be hanged) late of the same labourer; and Edward Wedge (^guilty, to be hanged) late of the same labourer, on the twenty third day of November in the sixtieth year of the reign of our late Sovereign Lord George the third of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland their king defender of the faith, with force and arms at the parish aforesaid in the county aforesaid One time piece of the value of One Pound of the goods and chattels of John Sturgis and One other Time Piece of the value of One Pound of the goods and chattels of Robert Butcher Smith in the shop of the said Robert Butcher Smith then and there found privately and feloniously did steal take and carry away against the Peace of our said Lord the King his crown and dignity."

New Windsor is the town now known as Windsor. I don't have baptisms for Edward Wedge, John Greem or James Talbot - Edward Ewer was baptsed in the adjacent village of Clewer. All four were found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. This was obviously commuted to transportation, as following their conviction on 28 Feb 1820, WEDGE, GREEN and TALBOT were transported at the same time, on the Hebe, departing on 31 July 1820 under the command of Thackeray WETHERALL, with Charles CARTE as surgeon. After calling at Van Dieman’s Land, she reached Port Jackson on Sunday 31 December 1820. She carried 100 male convicts, stores and a detachment of the 48th Regiment. One death occurred on the voyage. The convicts weren’t landed till the following Thursday. Colonial Secretary CAMPBELL directed the convicts to Parramatta by water, to be divided between Windsor, Liverpool, Airds and Bringelly.

Edward Ewer was transported at a later date on the Mary (2) - it seems that Edward EWER was married and there may have been an appeal based on this. It appears that James Talbot probably died on the journey to Australia, as his details (apart from place of trial and sentence) are not noted on the Indent for the ‘Hebe’. He does not appear in the various Musters or the 1828 NSW Census.

The time-line in NSW for Edward WEDGE is based mainly on the Colonial Secretary’s Index:
1821 Jan 11 On list of convicts disembarked from "Hebe" & forwarded to Windsor for distribution (Reel 6007; 4/3503 p.37)
1823 May 1 On list of Government man in the employ of William Cox of Hobart Ville (Fiche 3062; 4/1834B No.73 p.445)
1822 General muster: Wedge Edmund, Convict, Ship: Hebe, Sentence: Life, Where and by whom employed: G.S. William Cox, Windsor
1823 Convict Absconders: Wedge, Edward from ship Hebe
1825 General muster: Wedge Edward, Vessel: Hebe, Arr: 1821, Sentence: Life, Employment: P.L.W. Day, Bathurst.
1828 NSW Census: Edward Wedge, age 37, Ship: Hebes, Arrived 1821, Sentence: Life, Religion: Protestant, Employment: Shepherd, Residence: Mr. McLeod, ? Bathurst.
1834 Tickets Of Leave – Wedge Edward, Hebe
1837 General muster: Wedge, Edward, Age: 34, Ship: Hebe, Year arrived: 1820. Name of district: Gunderoo, Remarks: Ticket of leave
1837 Application to marry Elizabeth Strangeways (marriage did not occur)
1850 20 Dec Convict Pardons: Edward Wedge, Hebe, 1820, Number of pardon: 355, Period in the colony: 29 years, How long a ticket of leave holder: 6 ¾ years.

Edward Wedge, at one stage, was thinking of marrying as he applied to marry Elizabeth Strangeways in 1837 - but she married another convict a couple of years later. Note that there seems to be seem divergence in ages in these records, making him frim 1795-1803. The originals of many of these documents would furnish a great deal more information.

There is a marriage for a Edward Wedge in 1861 to Betsy Hall and some children can be found to this couple in the NSW BDMs, but it has never been clear to me whether this is the correct Edward WEDGE.

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