Sunday, October 3, 2010

Four convicts

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' where they were held til transfered to the covict 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.

That one death was probably James TALBOT. While he is recorded as being transferred to the 'Hebe', the arrival indents in Australia do not list his deatils and not musters in the colonies list him. I hope to access the surgeon's journal some day to confirm his death at sea.

Once in Australia the other two convicts, Edward WEDGE and James GREEN were assigned, and this entry is to describe what I know of John GREEN's fate (a relatively common name).

An approximate biography is sketched out here based on a range of records and indexes.

In the Colonial Secretary’s Index John Green is noted as "1821 Sep 8 - Bricklayer. On list of all persons victualled from H.M. Magazines (Reel 6016; 4/5781 p.115)". Not long after (122 Jun 4) John is listed seeking permission to marry at Sydney (Reel 609; 4/3505 p.380). This was clearly approved as the NSW BDM shows in 1822 the marriage of John GREEN to Ann TAYLOR at St Phillip’s Sydney, Church of England.
Ann had in fact arrived in 1810 on the Canada as Mary Ann DRAKE. She had been sentenced at Suffolk Quarter Sessions, sentenced on 12 July 1809 to seven years transportation. She married James TAYLOR in 1811 and they had five children (according to a later news article), though only two appear in NSW BDM indexes. Her husband James Taylor died in 1817 according to a much later court dispute over land (Sydney Gazette, Saturday 2 December 1837, page 4).

There was quite a difference between the ages of John and Mar Ann, as based on their aproximate ages John was 22 and Mary Ann was 36 when they married. Following their marriage, John was assigned to his wife 'Ann Green of Sydney' (Fiche 3290; 4/4570D p.44).

The convict muster of 1822 lists: "Green John, Convict, Hebe, life, By whom or where employed: Gov Bricklayer, Sydney." His wife is listed as Ann Drake and was free by servitude. The 1823, 4, and 5 musters likewise show John assigned to his wife (as a general servant). In 1822 Edward EWER (John's partner in crime) arrived in the colonies and in August 1823 was also assigned to Ann Green of Pitt Street Sydney - so Edward and John at least were reunited in Australia.

The 1828 census of NSW shows that John Green was 28 (setting his birth year as abt 1800) and reveals that he was Protestant, a bricklayer, and living on Kent St Sydney. Mary A Green was 42, free by servitude and also Protestant. A son, John Green born in the colony and aged 13 and also William aged 10 lived there (being the sons by Mary Ann's first marriage). It appears that John and Mary Ann did not have children.

Gaol Description and Entrance Books for Sydney show that John Green, arrived on the 'Hebe', with a Ticket of Leave, originally from Berkshire, occupation bricklayer, was admitted to Sydney Gaol on 6 Feb 1833 for trial (offence not stated) and released on bail.

John and Mary Ann were still living on Kent Street in Sydney in 1837 when Mary Ann died. While no burial exists in the NSW BDM indexes, her death was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 12 January 1837
"INTEMPERANCE – We have every week to animadvert on the fearful effects of intemperance. This week a  more than usually painful catastrophe occurred, arising from the excessive indulgence in this loathsome vice. A woman, named Mary Anne Green, residing in Kent Street, an inveterate drunkard, having retired to bed in a state of intoxication, was found by one of her sons laying in her bed a blackened corpse. An inquest has been held, and a verdict of death by suffocation returned."

A second article on the inquest elaborates a little:
The Sydney Gazette, Thursday 12 January 1837
"CORONER'S INQUEST - On Tuesday an inquest was holden at the sign of St. Andrew , Kent-street, before Augustus Hayward, Esq. Mr. Brennan's leave of absence not having expired, upon the body of a female aged 50 years, named Mary Ann Green, who was found dead upon her bed the previous day. The son of the deceased stated, that for the last three years his mother had been given to habits of intoxication; the morning previous his mother rose early, and went out, and about 9 o'clock was brought home in a state of intoxication by a man named Toby, when she was laid upon her bed ; witness went out, and upon his return about 11 o'clock, finding her still lying in the same position, he lifted her up, when observing she was black in the face, he alarmed the naighbours, and it was discovered that she was quite dead. Dr. Hosking was upon the spot in a short time, but medical aid was of no avail. Dr. H. gave a certificate that deceased had come to her death from suffocation occassioned by the use of ardent spirits, and a verdict was returned accordingly."

Also in 1837, John Green, age 30, living in the district of Sydney, received a ticket of leave. Shortly afterwards (1838) followed a conditional pardon, the original revealing the physical details of John Green:

John Green, Arrived on Hebe, Master Wetherall, Year 1820
Native place: Windsor, Berkshire
Trade: Bricklayer
Born: 1799
5 feet 5 inches tall
Complexion fair/ruddy
Hair Sandy brown
Eyes Hazel
Scar on upper lip, another on right jaw, wart on left cheek
While no definitive bural entry has been found, John died between 1838 (when he received a conditional pardon) and 1840 when court disputes over the property on Kent St reported he wasn't alive. The Sydney Gazette of Saturday 2 December 1837 reported the case was already underway, with James Taylor, Mary Ann's eldest son by her first marriage challenging John Green's right to the title of the lands. The defendant was John Green, confirming he was alive at this stage.

A second article in 1840 also confirms John Green was by then deceased (Wednesday 18 March 1840). The article relates to James Taylor (now owner of the property) evicting a tenant, and gives a summary of ownership, which had been in dispute between John Green and his step-son:

The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser, Wednesday 18 March 1840, page 2
"Certain premises on Kent Street.... a person named John Green, who from 1824 till the time of sale (1837) had received the rents and been generally regarded as the owner of the said premises. From the evidence of the plaintiff (James Taylor, jnr), it appears that his mother Mary Ann Green (second husand's name) had been married to his father James (Taylor) who died in 1837. And that she bore him five children of whom plaintiff was the eldest. That in 1820 a person named John Green arrived in the colony under a sentence of transportation for life, who in 1822 married the plaintiff's mother, and afterwards died."

No direct reference to John Green's death can be found in the Sydney papers, however the following article may relate his death:

The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser, Monday 6 May 1839
"INQUESTS - An inquest was hold on Thursday, on the body of a man named John Green, at the "Star" in Hunter street. The deceased was a steady drunkard. Verdict accordingly."

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