Friday, October 8, 2010

Four convicts (2): Edward Wedge

One of my projects has been trying to trace the fate of the three convicts sentenced for transportation with my ancestor Edward Ewer. They were sentenced in Feb 1820 at the Berkshire assizes for a crime they had commited late in 1819:

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."

Following their conviction, on 28 Feb 1820, WEDGE, GREEN and TALBOT were tranferred to the hulk 'York'. The hulk register gives Edward Wedge's age as 22, meaning he was born about 1798.

They were held till transfered to the convict ship Hebe (Edward EWER remained on the hulk till the following year), 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. As described in my previous post, TALBOT probably died on the voyage to Australia and GREEN settlined in Sydney town.

The early time-line in NSW for Edward WEDGE is based mainly on the Colonial Secretary’s Index and convict musters. As with TALBOT and GREEN, his birth record in England (if he really was born in the Windsor area) has not yet been identified.

1821 Jan 11 On list of convicts disembarked from 'Hebe' & forwarded to Windsor for distribution (Reel 6007; 4/3503 p.37). The 1822 general muster shows Edmind Wedge as employed as a general servant to William Cox, Windsor. On 1 May 1823 Edward was on a list of Government men in the employ of William Cox of Hobart Ville (Fiche 3062; 4/1834B No.73 p.445), west of Sydney. William Cox was responsible for a number of public works at the time. However it was clearly not plain sailing as William also appeared on a list of convict absconders in 1823.

In the 1825 general muster, Edward was listed as employed by P.L.W. Day, Bathurst. Edward was now far beyond the Sydney area, over the Blue Mountains and into pioneering farming country. The 1828 census of NSW lists Edward as aged 37 (born abt 1792), Religion: Protestant, employed as a Shepherd, Residence: Mr. McLeod, ? Bathurst.

In 1834 Edward was awarded a Ticket of Leave which allowed him to seek employment, and he must have sought permission to leave the district as the 1837 General muster gives Edward's age as 34 (so born abt 1803) living at 'Gunderoo' in the Yass/Queanbeyan district. In the same year he applied to marry Elizabeth Strangeways, though the marriage did not occur and she subsequently married someone else.

An 1840 article shows Edward had been employed at the Queanbeyan gaol, and himself waas returned to gaol for allowing a prisoner to escape (possibly a friend):

The Sydney Herald - Wednesday 29 July 1840

"Edward Wedge, lock-up keeper at Queanbeyan, allowing a prisoner to escape, charged with horse-stealing. Guilty - Two years in an ironed gang."

Edward does not appear again in records till he is recerded as receiving a pardon in 1850, number 355 in 1850, and it states he has been a ticket of leave holder: 6 ¾ years, suggesting he'd received another ticket of leave in 1843.

From here it gets confusing - 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, and not death certificate. I will soon extend this biography with information on Edward's family.


Anonymous said...

Hi Matt
Edward Wedge and Betsie Hall were both Aboriginal people. I believe your ancestor is the person from whom Edward Wedge took his Aboriginal name - and I found your site in researching the Aboriginal history of the Aboriginal Wedge family, the descendants of whom I know. Hence your confusion abut their marriage. Two different people but who evidently knew each other well enough for one to take the name of the other - a common practice at the time when Aboriginal people took on conventional 'whitefella' styles of names. The Aboriginal Edward was better known as Ned and was orn c1813, living until his nineties.
The area Ned associated with - and his descendants - was the upper Lachlan (Yass was the nearest town of any size at the time I believe) but nearer to Gunning and Dalton than Yass. If you have any other information about your Edward which might help with establishing what kind of relation it was (were they both shepherds?), that would be great!


Anonymous said...

Hi Matt,
Edward Wedge was born in 1843 in Gunning NSW and Died in 1910 he is buried at the Warangesda Aboriginal Mission Darling Point NSW. He had a daughter Emma to Clara Woodhouse (aboriginal)in 1860. Emma is my Great grand mother. She married George Merritt. She died in 1903 buried in Yass.

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt, how can I get in contact with Toni - the person who left a message on this post? I think we may share ancestors and I would love to compare notes - Toni if you read this please post your email address so I can contact you privately! Thanks krystle

Anonymous said...

Hi to all
I am trying to trace my wife's tree, her grandmother was Kathleen Mary Merritt this was on her marriage cert and sons birth cert. No birth cert found, Her parents are/were ? George Merritt and Mary Peacock and she was born in Binalong in 1866 ? Have any of you come across her in your searches ? Thank you for any help

Anonymous said...

Just in case of the above contact me at

Anonymous said...

Hi Read this book it may be helpful
The Pajong and Wallabalooa:
A History from the Records of Aboriginal Farming Families at Blakney and Pudman Creeks, 1820-1945, and Historical Overview, 1945-2002 Ann-Jackson Nakano

Anonymous said...

I have been tracing my aboriginal family tree since 1990 My great great Grand parents were Alfred Merritt and Mary effie Lowe they lived on the Yass black camp and married in 1899 in Queanbeyan Alfred's parents was George Merritt he married Bridget Donovan Alfred Merritt amd Mary effie Lowe had a daughter Mary Jane Merritt Mary Jane Jane Merritt was my nans mother. Mary Jane married Edwards Webb in Yass in 21. They're daughter my nan was Cecilia Irene. Any one tracing their aboriginal Merritt family please email me at

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt, you might find some information if you search for an article "Camp Of Mercy", regarding Warangesda Aboriginal Mission at Darlington Point. Edward Wedge was an ex convict who married Clara Woodhouse an Aboriginal Woman.

Jodie Vincent said...

Currently researching my family - Euabalong Partial Genealogy. Edward Wedge and Clara Woodhouse actually had 5 children. Sophie, Victoria, Emma, Alfred and Alice. All born at Yass NSW

Pat Kennedy said...

I am researching a Caroline Wedge who married Marrice Egan 7 Oct 1861 at the House of Edward Wedge Fish River District of Yass, I do not know if Caroline is a daughter of Edward or if she took the surname of Wedge when she married, she later went by the name of Caroline Wade. I believe Caroline is Aboriginal, there is no birth for her at all and no other certificates for her give me any information on her parents.

Pat Kennedy

Kara said...

Hi Matt,

From my research I've found Edward Wedge, born in England approx 1803, was a convict transported by the 'Hebe' to Australia in 1820. He had relations with an aboriginal woman known as Annie, (surname may have been Benton,) that she took from a previous relationship with a white man.
Edward b1803, with Annie ,had among other children , a son , also called Edward Wedge b1843-1910. It was this son Edward Jnr that later married a Elizabeth (Betsey) Hall who was Inot aboriginal. He went on to live for a time at the Warengesda Mission. He was also known as Ned.
The Wedges were close to and had family ties to the Fish River tribe of Nnunnawal aborigines living in the area , who had been given farming land , most settling around Rye Park, Pudman. The family names included the Russell's, Bells,Merritts amongst others.
Edward, b1803 had another son called Henry Wedge b1845-1885 who married (m1882) Elizabeth Mary Dickson b1850-1927 who after Henry died (d1885) went on to marry (m 1885) William Russell b1861-1934 who raised Henry's family with Williams and Elizabeth's children. The Russell family is my connection.

I have most of your information and the last whereabouts I have of Edward Wedge b1803 is a 1886 Police Gazette where he was charged with stealing a horse,committed for trial at Yass. Because this would make him approx 83yrs old I am still trying to make sure this is my Edward b 1803. While it can be confusing with families using the same Christian name over and over its simply a need to check their ages and get some other backup to confirm its the correct Person and not a son or cousin.

Regards Karyn

Ps Caroline Wedge b 1839 in the above post was the daughter of Edward Wedge b 1803. She had approx 2 other sisters and brothers. There was Caroline b1839,Martha b1841, Edward Jnr b1843, Victoria b1844 and Henry b 1845.

Clara Woodhouse had a relationship with Edward Jnr

Edward Jnr is buried at Warangesda Mission

Emma is Edward Jnrs daughter