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Alaska.
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This story, would be fairly typical of what transpired, to a good many of our ancesters, who found themselves facing punishment for Criminal behaviour. The people in it, did exist, and the facts are in the records, such as they are.



James Footman, was christened in the Church at Llanyblodwell, about four and a half miles southwest of Oswestry, Shropshire, in 1789. The family had been in the area since at least 1604, and were mostly tenant Farmers. A relative, William Footman, farmed land owned by Lord Bradford, which must have been conciderable, as in the Land Tax roll of 1798, he had to pay £4. 9s.4d. Just how James father Edward Footman earned a living, wasn't recorded. The young James, when he reached 14, in 1803, was indented, (Apprenticed ) to a man in Oswestry, an Ironmonger in the town, William Jones. For a fee, he was to be taught the trade over a period of 7 years. This was sometimes a form of legalised slavery, and no matter how awful the conditions, there were severe penalties for absconding. The young man surfaces again, in January,1817, this time at Shrewsbury Assizies, where he has been  charged with Larceny. He gets lucky on this occasion, and is aquitted. Apparently, this doesn't put him off a bit of thieving, and in the summer of the same year, he's back again, this time for Horse Stealing. Persistant theft is dealt with harshly in this period of history, and he's not so lucky this time. He and two others, on 30th July,1817, find themselves facing a Death Sentence. Not everyone given this fate however is hanged, and three days later, they all get a reprieve, with the sentence now amended to 14 years Transportation. A week later, and they all get sent to Portsmouth, and the comforts of a prison hulk, the old three decked warship, Leviathan. Christmas comes and goes, although I don't suppose they noticed much cheer about, being chained up 24 hours a day. At the end of March,1818, he was, with another 247 men, transfered to Spithead, where, on 3rd April, they all boarded the good ship Isabella, for a nice cruise to Bringelly, New South Wales. The ship arrived, 5 months later, on 14th September, and James Footman began his 14 year stretch. He worked as a labourer, and didn't apparently get into any further bother, for he got his Certificate of Freedom on 29th August, 1831. A short time afterwards, he also got his Ticket of Leave, which entitled him to move freely about the colony, and to go back home if he wanted. He doesn't seemed to have settled down very well, and in 1852, applied for an assisted passage to Sydney/Newcastle, and thence back home to England. He was now 63 years old, his relatives had long died, and he had no friends back in Shropshire, so when he arrived in 1853, he stayed put in London, with a relative who had also been apprenticed, ( in 1798 ) and was a Glove Maker. What bit of money he bought with him soon went and unable to find suitable work, he resorted to crime again. In 1857, he was found guilty of Embezzlement, and the sentence, because by now he was 68, was deferred to the next sessions, for a sort of early social services report, which resulted with him  being sent to prison, for just 10 days. James Footman died in London, either in 1860 or 1862.


As I said, just one of many hundreds of similar stories from all around the midlands region. It's amazing sometimes, what a bit of obscure dedicated research can dig up. There are still people with the same name, living in, or near Oswestry, so I believe.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

June 15, 2012 at 4:21 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

A great many people think that criminals were Transported, for really trivial first offences, not so. Obviously, for Murder, Manslaughter, Rape, Violent crimes, and persistant offending, there was almost certainly Death, or following a reprieve, Transportation awaiting. John Wilkes, 30, a Halesowen labourer, was alleged to have been sent to Australia. in 1842, for stealing 4 pints of Milk. His record makes interesting reading. In 1837, he was charged with Arson, setting fire to a Storehouse. He was aquitted after witness'es failed to show up. Twice, in 1839, he was back in court, and sentenced to 6 weeks for theft in February, and aquitted again of larceny in October. He had escaped prosecution, on at least four other occassions, but in 1842, his luck ran out when he was sentenced to be transported for 15 years. Another supposedly unlucky soul, was John Oakley, a young 17 year old Miner from Woodside, Dudley. A prolific thief since he learned to walk, he was sentenced in late 1840, to 14 days and to be whipped. It made no difference, he continued to steal his workmates tools, and anything else he could lay his hands on, at which ever mine he was working at. Caught stealing an expensive length of rope, the Judge decided enough was enough, and gave him 14 years transportation. Thomas Hughes, 20, a part time farm and ironworks labourer from Dudley, ( he spent the rest of the time drinking and nicking stuff ) was several times before a court, getting put away for 3 months in 1841. In 1842, he stole a rather expensive brand new Frock Coat, and when found guilty on 3rd January 1842, was given 7 years transportation. By the 20th January, both Wilkes and Hughes were on board the Prison Hulk " York, " moored at Gosport, Hampshire.



Wilkes was put aboard the " Eden 1 " at Woolwich, in July of that year, and which was bound for Tasmania. Hughes was shipped out in April,1843, aboard the " Gilmore ", which left Sheerness, also bound for Tasmania, with 254 convicts on board. ( 5 died on the voyage ). John Oakley however, was first sent to the Hulk " Captivity ", moored at Portsmouth, and then to " Eurylus ", moored at Chatham, Kent. He was described as a very bad, and violent character, which may explain why he was kept on the Hulks, until late1844. They were not very nice places the Hulks. Eventually he was also sent to Tasmania, and after a long search, the date has emerged, 26th February,1845, and the ship, " Mount Stuart Elphinstone ".


Two Women were also sentenced at this same Worcester Assizes of 1842, and both were persistant thieves. Elizabeth Mason, 27, was a familar face in the courtroom, having been aquitted twice before due to lack of evidence, imprisoned for a week in 1841, and finally getting 7 years transportation. Her speciality was stealing metal, Brass to be exact, but she was a clumsy thief. Elizabeth White, 40, who had convictions going back many years, was also a familar face, and it was no surprise when she got a similar 7 years tranportation sentence. It's likely that both women knew each other, the thefts were both of metal, and they came from around the same area of Netherton. Taken from Worcester, they finished up on a Hulk at Chatham, and in May of 1842, taken to Woolwich, where the " Royal Admiral " awaited their company. 204 women were loaded, but when it docked in Tasmania, 4 months later, only 202 got off. Harsh it may have seemed, but every one in this topic, had been given a chance, earlier on, to mend and change their ways. A great pity they didn't take it.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

June 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Now here are a couple more reprobates, this time from the north of the county, beleived to be either Burslem, or Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Both of them had a trade at the time they were put on trial, in 1839, Joseph Newburry, ( or Newberry ) born in 1818, was a glazier, and Joseph Taylor, born in 1821, a house painter. They also had a lucrative side-line, house breaking, for who better would have known which houses were empty or not. They made a grave mistake though in the May of that year, for having burgled a house, they then, to cover their tracks I suppose, set fire to it. It was in fact occupied, and although injured, the inhabitants escaped with their lives. There was only one sentence that fitted this perticular crime, and that was death, which the hapless pair were given. Contrary to what is commonly believed, the Courts of the time did take many things into concideration when passing a death sentence. This is one of those times. The Judge reduced the sentence to transportation for life, taking into account the age of the two young men, that seems to be a fair decision. Early in June, they were sent for transportation, to a prison hulk, Ganymede, moored at Sheerness.



They were not there long, being loaded aboard the " Barossa ", along with 336 other men and which  sailed for New South Wales on 3rd August,1839. The ship finally arrived at Sidney, 127 days later on 8th December, 1839, minus two convicts who had died enroute. Joseph Newburry was one of them. The records show that Joseph Taylor obtained his Ticket of leave in February 1847, and his passport some months later. He was living in Singleton at the time. Now having a passport did not have the same force as today, and although, providing he had the money, he could go anywhere, he could not return to England.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 31, 2012 at 12:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Sometimes, what turns up can have a bearing on how a certain subject is researched. The question asked, as it happens, was how old did you have to be for Transportation. Prior to 1830, it's not always clear, as there have been suggestions, that ages were not recorded correctly. It was the general rule, after say 1838, that no one under the age of 17, was transported to Australia or Tasmania. So what happened say, to someone about 15, who had been proved to be a habitual criminal, and ordered to be sent to the colony for between 7 years and life. Here is a little story, from a friend " down under ", who has supplied the answer.



William Leedham was born in Audley, near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, in 1796. His future wife, Ellen Hangel, was born in Newcastle around 1799, and they were married at Saint Giles Church, on 16th September,1817. All of their children, (5) were born here, between 1820, and 1836. By 1841, they had moved some way south, to Clifton Campville, just north of Tamworth. A hatter by trade, times must have been hard, and maybe to make ends meet, his two oldest sons, Robert and David, were tempted into stealing. Caught, and bought up at Stafford Assizes on the 18th October,1842, the hapless pair were each given 1 Months imprisonment, and ordered to be whipped. Not the cane you understand, but a proper whipping, as mentioned in the " Prison Conditions Page ". Robert was 15, and David was 13. Robert, a young shoemaker, seems to have learned the lesson, for thats what the whipping was supposed to do, turn youngsters away from crime. David on the other hand, failed to heed the warning, and just 6 months later, for stealing a side of Bacon, value about 8 shillings, he was again at Stafford Assizes. Dispite him being only 14, he was a convicted felon, and he was therefore sentenced to be Transported for 7 years. Having said that, no one under 17 would normally be sent to Australia, so what then did the authorities do. Simple really, a place was established, at Parkhurst, on the Isle of Wight, where those under the age, could be held until they reached the required target. So young David Leedham spent almost 4 years in confinement, on the spot where today stands a maximum security unit. In 1847, a ship, the " Thomas Arbuthnot ", called in at the Isle of Wight, and picked up the rest of its convict prisoners, 89 in all, who came to be called " The Parkhurst Boys ". The ship sailed on the 11th January,1847, and arrived in Melbourne on 4th May. I don't know as yet when he got his Ticket of Leave, but I do know he was married, in Melbourne, on 22nd April,1850. His brides name was Bridget McQuade, who had been transported from Ireland, about the same time. The couple went on to have 11 children, although 4 of them died while young. He wasn't destined to have a long and happy life was David, for he sadly died, at Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, Victoria, on 7th August,1891. He was 62 years old. A sad tale, but it answers the question posed at the beginning of this post.


I was asked also, to check on two others who were transported, and who bear the same surname. John Leedham, who appears twice in the records, 1827, and then the last time in 1849, when he was transported for 7 years for receiving stolen goods. He was born around 1808 in Tutbury, Staffordshire, and is unlikely to be closely related to David Leedham. The other one was Catherine Leedham, who was transported for 7 years on 14th October,1850, for Larceny from the person ( possibly a pickpocket ) Again, along with 3 others, she had been given a full 12 months imprisonment on 3rd July,1849, for the same offence. Her place of birth is almost certainly Leicester, and the year around 1803. Again, she is unlikely to be related to David Leedham. Unless of course, someone out there knows better.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 3, 2012 at 3:51 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Transportation and Settlement.


Have you ever wondered how an ancester, Transported for 14 years managed when he,or she, arrived in a far away land. Do you have the perception, that they spent all that time in prison, got whats called a " Ticket of Leave " at the end of the sentence, and then settled down to life in the Colony. Well thats far removed from what actually happened. To start with, perticulary in the early years, the Convicts were grouped according to their skills, if they had one, and sent off to work on say a Farm, a Bakery, Tailors Shop, Builder, or Wood Yard. For along side the Penal Settlements, small towns grew up, which contained a large proportion of free immigrants, all in search of not only a better life, but free land. The older convicts, realising that they would never go home, settled down much quicker than the younger ones, and in turn, contributed greatly to the young Australia. Thats not say they were all well behaved, they weren't, as the early Court records from each state will testify too.



There were floggings, imprisonment, Chain gangs, ( who built roads ) and even, from the mainland, for the more persistant of the younger law-breakers,  re-transportaion to Van Diemans Land. ( Tasmania ) English Law ruled here as well, and from almost the start of the many Penal settlements, there was Capital Punishment. Mostly for murder, although rape, theft and other offences were recorded, about 80 executions were carried out each year, up to the 1890s. Concidering the sheer size of the place, and the vast difference in the make-up of the population, I wonder there weren't many more. The first man executed in Van Diemans Land, in 1806, was Thomas England, a member of the New South Wales Corps, presumably for a murder, and it wasn't until 1830, that the first woman was hanged. Mary McLauchlan, sent as out as a servant, was seduced, or worse, by a member of the family, and when her child died, she was deemed to have killed it. In England, this would not have merited such harsh punishment, but its possible she was an embarrasment to this land owning family. Back on the mainland, in New South Wales, the Melbourne Gaol started executions in 1842, with the controversial hanging of two Aborigine's, followed by three desperado's of the Plenty River Gang of Bushrangers. ( one had already been killed in a desperate hour long gun battle.) This prison was also the site of the hanging of one Ned Kelly, the first Australian born european to be executed in the new land. The Old Melbourne Prison was closed down in 1924, and during some works on the site, some of the 51 bodies intered within the walls came to light. The authorities had believed there would be nothing there, as they had been buried in Quick lime, but as in now known, this actually preserves stuff. Consequently, a great many of the unearthed bones were stolen, including it was said, those of Ned Kelly. It took the threat of legal action to return the bones. The last of these 51 were removed from the site in 2002. The experts are not in agreement, as to how much of the Countries success is down to the Convict labour, and in some cases, they may be right. There's no doubt though, that a great many had very productive and successful lives, even if they did start off on the wrong foot.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 8, 2012 at 2:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

There are of course, exceptions to the rule, and Robert Thomas Palin, was just such a person. Born in Burstow, Surrey, in 1833, his parents later moved to London, where his father, also named Robert, became a Policeman. Deffinately not taking a lesson from his father, the young man, an idle, feckless youth, resorted to making his fortune by robbing others. He became a Housebreaker, although, as the records show, not a very clever one. By the time he appeared in Court in 1851, he already had several convictions for this offence, and as he was now 18, he was sentenced to 10 years Penal Servitude. It may have been because of his fathers good reputation, that he only served 2 years before being released, It didn't take long for him to destroy this trust, for in 1854, he was again in Court, this time on a charge of Murder. Reading between the lines, it would seem that a vital witness failed to identify the undoubtedly guilty party, and Robert Thomas Palin was aquitted and walked free. He didn't however get very far, for the authorties, knowing he was a dangerous individual, had him arrested for a Housebreaking in Bristol, and he was packed off to face justice at the  Gloucester Assizes. This time they made no mistakes, and sentenced him to Transportation for Life, and transfered him to a hulk to await a ship to Western Australia.



He was put aboard the " Nile ", prior to the ship sailing from Plymouth, Devon, on 23rd September,1857. His conduct was described as good, both while awaitng transportation, and during the voyage. The ship docked in Fremantle, on 1st January, 1858, and as his listed trade was a shoemaker, he was soon put to work. He continued to behave, and in 1860, as his father had been a Policeman, he applied to become a Probationary Constable. Its not clear if he actually ever joined the Police Force, but when he was granted a Ticket of Leave, on 22nd January,1860, he was listed as being a Shoemaker, living in Fremantle itself. Dispite taking in lodgers as well, he seems to have been short of money, for it wasn't long, after being given permission to roam the area with his ticket of leave, that he was soon up to his old tricks. Choosing the house of Samuel Hardy, who he must have known was away on business, he broke in, and forced Hardy's terrified wife, Susan, to hand over money and valuables. During the course of this burglary, Palin used violence against Mrs Hardy, by grabbing her arm and manhandling her. This action was to be his downfall. Arrested shortly afterwards, ( the police had only to follow a clear trail of footprints back to his house ) and finding most of the stolen items hidden in his house, he was quickly charged. Burglary was not a hanging offence, and as they needed to show at least an example to the rest of the Convicts, a special section of the criminal code was inacted. He was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death, on 6th July,1861, and then hanged at Fremantle Prison, on 9th July,1861. How does that old saying go, " Once a thief, always a thief ".

November 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

One of the sites members, Mike Leedham, thanks Mike, has sent me a photograph of the ship his relatives left this country on, in November, 1873. No, not as convicts, all that finished in 1857, but as emmigrants. The Ship was called the " Southern Belle ", and is pictured in Port Adelaide, looking a very sorry sight indeed. She is carrying no sail, and all her running rigging has been taken down.



She was not however, the only ship of this period, to carry the name. The first one was built in Plymouth, Devon, at the Cattedown Yard of Richard Hill and Sons, in 1858. She was chartered by Baines and Mackay of Liverpool, in 1862, ( Owners of the famous Black Ball Line ) and commenced work on the firms Mail contracts. In 1868, the company purchased the ship, and put her on the Australian Mail Route, operating from the East India Docks, London. She was getting on a bit as wooden ships go, so in 1870, she was sold to a company called H.C.Keen, who used her for passengers one way, and mainly cargo, ( believed to be meat ) on the return trip. She was sold in Port Adelaide in 1871, and the picture, which was taken around the 1890s, is likely to be this ship. The second Southern Belle, was launched in Nova Scotia, Canada, the same year, 1871, and was purchased once again, by the Black Ball Line. This second ship was bigger than the first, ( 800 tons ) having a gross tonnage of 1,128 tons, which is the identical tonnage given for the ship Mikes relative's sailed on, in 1873.  His relatives were very lucky to survive the trip, for almost within sight of Rockingham, Queensland, after 88 days at sea, they encountered a storm in Frazers Bay, ( now Harvey Bay ) where the ship lost its sails, and the mainmast was sheered off to deck level. No sooner had the crew hacked away the damage, than the storm increased to Typhoon strength, bringing down all the topsails, and carried away a greater part of all the rigging. The pumps failed to cope, and the Captain was forced, under a hastily assembled jury rig, to seek shelter further up the coast. Help was sent for, via a lifeboat, and a few days later the Steam Tug " Mary " appeared alongside, and towed the ship into Rockingham. She was later towed to Sydney, where major repairs had to be undertaken. She was in Adelaide in 1874, loading passengers and cargo for Sydney, but there do not appear to be any records of other activities in Australia. In 1917, the ship was part of the famous Gustav Erikson Fleet, but was broken up in 1919. Perhaps someone down under can help me with identifying the correct ship. There's really nice photograph in the " Images from the forums " in the Gallery.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

January 9, 2013 at 3:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Michael Leedham
Member
Posts: 14

My GGrandfather William Leedham went to Canada to the Gold Fields with 3 brothers the ship they went on was the "Hibernian" William died there of Typhus the brothers stayed there and one later, John Leedham went to Aroyo Grand,California an early settler.

William never saw his son (my Grandfather), his wife and kids were here.

William's eldest sister Ann Leedham was the only one that went to Broken Hill Australia.

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January 11, 2013 at 9:00 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Parkes, is a familar name around Halesowen, and has been for a few hundred years. The one in this story is named John Parkes, and he was born in the town in 1768, the son of Isaac and Esther Parkes. He carried on the families line of work, nailing, until the bitter winter of 1796, when he fell to temptation, and stole a coat. After time spent in Worcester Gaol, he was put up for trial on 11th March,1797, and duly sentenced to 7 years transportation.



A bit earlier in time and he could have ended up with a Medal, commemorating the very first Fleet. More time was spent in the Hulks of Portsmouth, before he was sent aboard the London built Barque, " Barwell ", bound for Sidney Cove, Australia. On arrival, and because he had a trade, he was put tp work in the dockyard at Sidney, where he became known as " Parkes the Nailer ". He did well did John, although there were not that many opportunies in the new world, he accumulated enough money to get married in 1806, she being Margaret Southern. She had been transported aboard  " The Experimental " , in 1803, for stealing  a pettycoat and apron, valued at 2d. In 1811, he applied for his freedom certificate, and they moved to the 50 acre plot of land he had been granted, just outside Sidney. By now, they had 8 children, but it would be a long time before the land was confirmed as his, in fact it was in 1831. The place had to have a name though, and the first one that came to mind was simply " Parkes Camp ", later called " Parkestown, " and now-a-days known as " Earlswood ", a suberb of Sidney.  In the Meantime, they had 4 more children, including a future bare knuckle boxing champion, William Parkes, born in 1818. ( More about his career, and the rest of the fighting clan, at a later date in Bare Knuckle Boxing ) John Parkes died in 1839, aged 71, Margaret outlasting him by 20 years, dying in 1859 when she was 84. In many respects, stealing that coat was really good career move, as he certainly faired better in Sidney, than he would ever have done in Halesowen.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 16, 2013 at 4:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

The good folk of Worcestershire, may have been reluctant at times, to actually hang a few, but they weren't averse to Transportation. Two horse thieves suffered this fate in 1847, having stolen a couple from their employer near Halesowen. The slightly older of the two, William Carter, aged 22, would have known only to well, the sentence he was courting. In 1843, he had been convicted of being a Rogue and a Vagabond, given 14 days and soundly whipped. The escapade in 1847, cost him a whole lot more. The other man, Henry Sheppard, aged 21, was the ' insider' so to speak, as his employment was as a Groom, and he knew his way around the Stables. They were each sentenced to 15 years Transportation, and also ordered to do a months hard labour prior to being sent off to the Hulk " Captivity ", in Portsmouth. William Carter left these shores aboard the Barque " Scindian ", which arrived in Freemantle, Western Australia, in June,1850. Henry Sheppard was not on the ship, nor is he listed on any that I have found, but there is a recorded death of someone with that name in late 1849. William seems to have taken to life in Freemantle, for in 1853, he married a Lucy Nash, and they settled down and had 4 children. He died in 1870, a lucky man really, some who stole horses, never got another chance of a further 23 years of life. On board the ship with William Carter, were 5 other men from Worcestershire, all of whom were persistant thieves and House Breakers. Francis Best, aged 32, and transported for 15 years in 1847, James Osborne, aged 23, William Smith aged 25, and his brother, James Smith aged 26, all sentenced to 15 years in 1848. George Postins, ( various spellings ) aged 17, for the same offence's, was given a term of 20 years by the Judge. Perhaps he had started earlier than the rest, and had broken into more houses than they had, or did he smack some poor old man around the head. If you know the answer, do let me know.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 25, 2013 at 3:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Times were hard in Cradley, Halesowen, in the 1840s. The price of both Nails and Chains had fallen, and the cost of putting food on the table hadn't followed suit. Chain and Tracemaker Thomas Mansell, like his friend Richard Bennett, was finding things a bit tough, and the two set off for a walk, discussing the prospects of finding some way to supply food for their families. Both were married, and both had two children. Bennett had been in trouble with the law two years before, but had been lucky, and escaped punishment. Mansell, at 28, was the elder of the two, and should by rights have had more sense. The walk took them from their homes at Overend, up the hill to the main Stourbridge and Halesowen Road, and on towards Two Gates, and then into the farming area of Foxcote. One of the large farms was owned by Elizabeth Pargeter, and it was from here that the two snatched a Sheep, and slaughtered it. They didn't have time to enjoy any of it, for within hours they were both arrested and confined. Sent to Worcester to await trial, they could be reasonably certain, that they wouldn't, as in some years past, face the death penalty for Sheepstealing. It must have come as a shock then, when they both heard the words, " To be Transported for 10 years ". Millbanks Prison, on the Thames Foreshore in London, was not a nice place to be, and the Hulks, to which they were later transferred were even worse.



Bennett went to the " Warrior ", and when there was a riot, returned to the prison, finally being assigned a place aboard the " Lady Montagu ", which reached Van Diemens Land in 1852. Thomas Mansell had an even longer wait, finally put aboard the " Sea Park ", the ship bound for The Swan River Colony, Freemantle, Western Australia in 1854. Neither man ever came back, although Richard Bennett did re-marry, and had four more children. He died in 1895, from old age I should add, and not from eating too much mutton.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 27, 2013 at 3:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Assize Court records prior to 1800 are rare to find, a great many having been destroyed or lost to fire. A look through other records though, will tell you the name of someone who was transported, and the date, ship, and the term of the Transportation order. Between 1793, and 1795, 7 women, all from Staffordshire, were ordered to be Transported. Some of them at times were want to demonstrate their dis-approval.



Ann Chapman, alias Chaplain, convicted on the 14th March,1793, offence unknown but because the term was just seven years, Larceny will surfice. Possibly born in Burton on Trent, 1759.

Sarah Rogers, convicted on the 26th March,1794, term, 7 years. Possible place of birth, Eccleshall.

Hannah Wright, convicted on the 1st May, 1794, term, 7 years. Possible birth place, Wolverhampton or Bilston.

Sarah Berry, convicted on the 25th March,1795, term 7 years. Possible birth place, Stafford.

Hester Lunn, convicted on the 5th August,1795, term 7 years. She may have been born in Kinver, and had two children.

Elizabeth Clarke, convicted on the 5th August 1795, term, 7 years. Possible birth place Stoke on Trent.


All these women were Transported on the same Vessel, "The Indispensible",  which sailed in October,1795, for Botany Bay, New South Wales. It arrived on 30th May, 1796, by which time Ann Chapman has already served three years of a sentence that wouldn't start, untill she stepped ashore on 31st May,1796. Now I did say there were seven women ordered for Transportation, and the story of the other one isn't quite as straight forward.


Susannah Perks, who date of birth is likely to be 1754, and the place, Stafford. ?? ( There is another one of the same name, from Gnosall, Staffordshire, born in 1760 ) Unlike the other 6, she was ordered to be transported for life, so her crime would have been far worse than just nicking a few clothes, or a loaf of bread. She was convicted on the 31st June,1793, but was not put aboard a ship until February,1797. It was to be an ill-fated voyage. " The Ladyshore ", of just over 300 tons appears to have loaded at Falmouth, taking onboard, I male convict, 66 females, ( other records say 69 ) 68 Soldiers to strengthen the Garrison of The New South Wales Corps, and a supply of much need stores. The crew numbered 26 when she sailed, although the full number should have been 34. It was customery to take on fresh supplies in South America, and the ship was headed for Rio de Janeiro. From letters about the voyage, the Soldiers on board were descrbed as a surly lot, two Sergeants were already in the brig. There were amongst them, and the Crew, several foriegn nationals, who had it appears, already decided to mount a Mutiny. 4 days out from the South American Port, at 4am on the 1st August, they struck, the Captain and one of his Offices being killed in the fracas. About 28  people were put into a longboat, and dispite a violent storm, made it to Rio. The rest, including the women prisoners, landed at Montiveo, a few days later. The mutineers went their various ways, but the women, at least the pretty ones, were put to work with local Spanish families, or engaged, ( sold ) as Protitutes. There is no mention of what happened to the older ones, and as Susannah Perks was pushing 40, and with a serious criminal record, her fate doesn't look good. One things for sure, she never reached Australia, so lets hope she had a happier end than most of the period. The ship was later recovered by the Royal Navy, and one of the Mutineers caught and hanged.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 6, 2013 at 3:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

For those with missing relatives from Staffordshire, here are a few names that well be in your Family tree's.


From the Delph, Brierley Hill, in 1835, Matthew Davenport, and his mate John Bill, were transported for a period of 7 years. The crime they had committed, well at least the one they were tried for, was to steal Two Hen Fowls, the property of one Thomas Carey. Two years later in 1837, Matthew Edwards, a not very bright lad from the parish of Kinver, stole no less than 5 Hen Fowls, the valuable property of one Richard Wilson. He was awarded a holiday of the same length as the previous hapless pair. Now in 1838, there were no less than 12 women, all from Staffordshire transported, to New South Wales aboard the good ship, John Berry. They were accompanied by four men from the region as well, so they all spoke the same language it seems. Richard Perry, Joseph Earp, Edward Turner, and John Watkins, had all been sentenced to serve 7 years transportation. I don't know if they all committed chicken thefts, but if any of them are in your tree, at least you have something to crow about.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 28, 2013 at 3:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

The use of certain parts of Australia, switched as the years rolled by, and the colonies created grew bigger. In the early part of the 18th century, it was Van Diemens Land, ( Tasmania ) and New South Wales. Out of 28 sentenced to death at Stafford Assizes in Lent, 1821, only four were actually hanged, the rest had the sentence recinded, but faced a Transportation order for Life. Joseph Nock, convicted of Burglary in his home town of Walsall, found himself in company with fellow burglars and housebreakers, John Whitehouse, from Wednesbury, young Andrew Bate from Tipton, and George Hodgetts, from West Bromwich/Handsworth. They were all loaded aboard the good ship Phoenix in Portsmouth, and set sail on the 20th December,1821. The voyage took 151 days, and when the convicts went ashore at Hobart, on 20th May, 1822, they were two short of the 184 men who had set out. Joseph Furnival, from Wednesbury, had been convicted with John Whitehouse and John Garmstone, ( he was hanged ) of ransacking a Church, but had proceeded them by some months, having been loaded aboard the " Claudine " at Woolwich, on 23rd August, 1821. She was due to call at Teneriffe on the way out, and sailed the next day, completing the trip in 113 days. ( a very respectable time, and well under the average ) John Cotterill, the man who had assisted George Hodgetts in a nasty robbery was onboard as well, together with a total of 160 men. Only 159 went ashore in Hobert on 15th December, 1821, and the record s don't show which man died. There was one woman among those sentenced who had also got a reprive, Jane Buckingham, who hailed from Wednesfield. She had been convicted, together with her 24 year old son, of robbing those who had very little to steal in the first place. He had escaped both the death sentence, and transportation, by the simple method of hanging himself in his cell. Loaded aboard the Mary Anne at Portsmouth, she would have found out that the ship, which sailed on 25th December,1821, was actually bound for New South Wales. They hadn't made a mistake though, for she was among 45 females who dis-embarked at Hobart, the remaining 62 completing the voyage on 20th May,1822. If you add up the two numbers, you will see that they don't match, yes, another unlucky convict died during the trip. There were 12 more from the assizes who were also transported around the same time, but as they come from other parts of Staffordshire, I have not included them.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

January 19, 2014 at 3:16 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Not even a bit of Bribery could prevent some from the full force of the Law, even when it took two years to bring them to Court to answer the charge.


Phoebe Lees, a perfectly respectable married woman, the mother of 4 children, had been visiting her relatives in Rowley Regis. ( Old Hill ) The date was 15th May, 1836, and it was between 9 and 10pm when she entered the last stage of her journey home to Northfield, turning into what today is called Clapgate Lane. She had just passed the small group of dwellings called " The Tunnel Mouth Cottages " at Lapel, when she became aware she was being followed. She quickened her pace and after passing Broadhidley Farm, a man put his hands on her shoulders. Struggling free, she lost her shawl, and ran a short distance before she was again caught by the man. He forced her off the track, on to the bank of Wilk's Brook, where she was indecently assaulted, and injured. From the direction of the old Mill, in Mill Lane, now came one George Woodward, who hearing her cries for help, went to her assistance. The attacker ran off, back down Clapgate Lane, and George, who had spent a little time in the nearby Mill Inn, was a bit to unsteady to chase him. Phoebe though had got a good look at him during the struggle, and George later gave a pretty good discription, neither of which helped in the short term, to apprehend the culprit. Thomas Robinson, one of the constables based at Halesowen however, had a good idea who the man was. He just couldn't at the time, find him, for the culprit had made himself scarce.


Residing, in one of the Cottages at the mouth of the Lapel Canal Tunnel, was a family called Fletcher, and it was one of the sons, Richard Fletcher, whom the astute Policeman had his eye on. Phoebe Lees had passed by the dwelling, just prior to the attack. With no proof in the offing, the constable had to let the matter rest, and a year passed before a stroke of luck enabled him to complete the task. The Lees family were respectable folks, and one weekend, having a few bob spare, they held a little celebration in the Mill Inn. Among the customers that night was a man she was unlikely to forget in a hurry, Richard Fletcher. Thomas Robinson was soon informed, and picking a time when he would be home, decended on the cottage. Fletcher, who had by now realised he been recognised, arranged for his friends to try and "settle the matter "with Phoebe Lees, but she was having non of it. No amount of intimidation would do it, and Fletcher found himself arrested, taken in front of the Magistrates, and then sent to Worcester County Gaol, to await trial. Here he languished for several months, until in June, 1838 he finally ended up in the dock at the Assizes. An effort to bribe George Woodward to " forget to attend " the hearing also failed, and with her missing shawl discovered in an outhouse at the cottage, his fate was well and truely sealed. Richard Fletcher, aged 19, was sentenced to Transportation for Ten years, and I doubt many in the district, shed any tears at his departure.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 18, 2014 at 4:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

I don't normally post details of folk who ask for help tracing relatives, but every now and then, a search throws up information that would be useful to others. A couple of readers were puzzled that although they had both a relative who had ben born in the early 1800s, they couldn't be found in the 1841 Census. Assuming that they had died, they then discovered there were no details of the deaths either: cue a bit of research, and I found them among this lot.


Fourteen people were sentenced at Stafford in the summer of 1827, most of them to 7 years Transportation. Five of them came from Wolverhampton, two from Tipton, and one each from Kingswinford, West Bromwich, and Rowley Regis.


William Wright, stole from John Underhill & Co. several brass cocks. ( taps ) Not content with that, he then stole a Vice, from one John Millington. He had sinned before, so got 7 years, leaving thses shores on 31st October, 1827, bound for the sunny climes of New South Wales aboard the good ship " Hoogley ".

Frederick Edwards, a well know Wolverhampton thief, was caught after stealing a pair of boots off a stall in the towns Market. He got  seven years as well, and found himself in company with Wright on the Hoogley.

John Palin was a bit of a pirate it seems, for he stole some clothes and Blankets from a boat, on it's way through the town by Canal. I suppose the Judge thought, as he was so fond of sailing, he would give him a long cruise. He left on board the Bussorah Marchant, on 24th March,1828, bound for New South Wales.

Elizabeth Lewis, the only woman in the bunch, sneaked into an Engine house and stole the Engineers prized watch. She had been  in court several times, but on this occasion, got seven years to learn a lesson in Van Diemans Land. She left aboard The Mermaid, on 15th February,1828.

Allen Fosbrook, the last one from Wolverhampton, was, so he thought, a bit cleverer than the rest. He removed some brass fitting from a couple of boilers, and stashed them in the yard to collect later. He was seen of course, and arrested when he climbed the wall to pick them up. Seven years in Van Diemans Land was the prize, which he collected on 15th March,1828, aboard the William Miles, as it set sail.


John Hadley, reputed to come from Tipton, but more likely to be Oldbury, also had a fancy for a bit of Brass. Samuel Walkers gun works in Tipton was the target, where he stole a quantity of mill brass, He shared the same journey as Wright and Edwards aboard the Hoogley.

Samuel Morris, was one of the lucky ones, he had his seven year sentence remitted, after stealing £10 from the person of Mr William Hutchins, in broad daylight in Owen Street, Tipton.


Joseph Davies, another one with an eye on stealing brass, this time from the firm of W. Bancks, Kingswinford, was the fourth of the mottley crew to set sail on the Hoogley, to New South Wales.

Thomas Cartwright was the second man at Stafford to get a bit of luck. He had been caught red-handed, on the estate of Mr E. D, Scott, the owner of Great Barr Hall, armed with a loaded gun. After a plea from his family, the sentence was reduced to 2 years hard labour.

Thomas Ward, a reprobate from Rowley Regis, stole some valuable Harnesses from his employer, Mr T. J. Fereday, having stolen the week before, some Fowl from farmer Samuel Round. He was transported for his alloted seven years on 25th June,1828, aboard the " Eliza ", another ship bound for the sunshine state of New South Wales. Lets hope they all had a good holiday.



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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

April 27, 2014 at 3:10 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Just in case you may think I have missed out the Ladies again, no I haven't, here are a few more.


Mary AnnSavage, about 18 in January 1842, when she was convicted at Worcester, of stealing money from her employer, a Mr William Crisp. The courts took a rather dim view of this type of breach of trust, and sentenced accordingly. 7 years Transportation.

Stealing a Brass weight isn't the worst of crimes, but when it was discovered that Elizabeth Mason, aged 27, also had an alias, ( Elizabeth Woodin ) it changed the picture. She had committed other offences under that name, a fact that ahe had not mentioned to John Mole, the owner of the said weight. 7 years Transportation.

Martha Thorn, aged 19, was a member of a gang that Burgled a nice house, stole a deal of money, some clothes, and several other valuable items. 7 years Transportation.

If you are beginning to see a trend here in the sentence dished out, you are correct, for the next one up was Caroline Randle. Together with another, she had Burgled a shop, and stole some readily sallable items, Clothes. Her brother was sentenced to be transported later, and another brother was awaiting trial for stealing livestock. Nice family this. 7 years Transportation.

Biddy Sherlock, aged 21, a fair haired girl from Dudley, had been staying the night with her " husband ", in a rather seedy little lodging house in the Town. A drunken traveller arrived, didn't notice there were other people in the bedroom, fell asleep, and woke up minus his money, watch, and chain. He also now noticed, that in the next bed to him, was a stone cold, and very stiff corpse. Biddy was soon found to be the culprit, having failed to hide the booty where it couldn't be found. 7 years Transportation. ( The corpse wasn't identified )

Ann McKenzie, another prolific thief with a string of convictions, also failed to impress the Judge about her honesty. 7 years Transportation.


They all ended up in Worcester City Goal, well at least until 2nd May,1842, when they were all loaded on a Train, and sent to join the good ship Royal Admiral, berthed at Woolwich. It was bound for the sunnier climes of Van Diemans Land, and it sailed on the 5th May,1842, arriving 142 days later, on the 24th September. It carried 204 women, and two died on the way, although I suspect all the above, being young, survived the trip. Mind you, I don't suppose the good folk of Worcester cared one way or the other.



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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 28, 2014 at 3:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

jeanffrench
Member
Posts: 2

Alaska. at November 3, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Sometimes, what turns up can have a bearing on how a certain subject is researched. The question asked, as it happens, was how old did you have to be for Transportation. Prior to 1830, it's not always clear, as there have been suggestions, that ages were not recorded correctly. It was the general rule, after say 1838, that no one under the age of 17, was transported to Australia or Tasmania. So what happened say, to someone about 15, who had been proved to be a habitual criminal, and ordered to be sent to the colony for between 7 years and life. Here is a little story, from a friend " down under ", who has supplied the answer.



William Leedham was born in Audley, near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, in 1796. His future wife, Ellen Hangel, was born in Newcastle around 1799, and they were married at Saint Giles Church, on 16th September,1817. All of their children, (5) were born here, between 1820, and 1836. By 1841, they had moved some way south, to Clifton Campville, just north of Tamworth. A hatter by trade, times must have been hard, and maybe to make ends meet, his two oldest sons, Robert and David, were tempted into stealing. Caught, and bought up at Stafford Assizes on the 18th October,1842, the hapless pair were each given 1 Months imprisonment, and ordered to be whipped. Not the cane you understand, but a proper whipping, as mentioned in the " Prison Conditions Page ". Robert was 15, and David was 13. Robert, a young shoemaker, seems to have learned the lesson, for thats what the whipping was supposed to do, turn youngsters away from crime. David on the other hand, failed to heed the warning, and just 6 months later, for stealing a side of Bacon, value about 8 shillings, he was again at Stafford Assizes. Dispite him being only 14, he was a convicted felon, and he was therefore sentenced to be Transported for 7 years. Having said that, no one under 17 would normally be sent to Australia, so what then did the authorities do. Simple really, a place was established, at Parkhurst, on the Isle of Wight, where those under the age, could be held until they reached the required target. So young David Leedham spent almost 4 years in confinement, on the spot where today stands a maximum security unit. In 1847, a ship, the " Thomas Arbuthnot ", called in at the Isle of Wight, and picked up the rest of its convict prisoners, 89 in all, who came to be called " The Parkhurst Boys ". The ship sailed on the 11th January,1847, and arrived in Melbourne on 4th May. I don't know as yet when he got his Ticket of Leave, but I do know he was married, in Melbourne, on 22nd April,1850. His brides name was Bridget McQuade, who had been transported from Ireland, about the same time. The couple went on to have 11 children, although 4 of them died while young. He wasn't destined to have a long and happy life was David, for he sadly died, at Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, Victoria, on 7th August,1891. He was 62 years old. A sad tale, but it answers the question posed at the beginning of this post.


I was asked also, to check on two others who were transported, and who bear the same surname. John Leedham, who appears twice in the records, 1827, and then the last time in 1849, when he was transported for 7 years for receiving stolen goods. He was born around 1808 in Tutbury, Staffordshire, and is unlikely to be closely related to David Leedham. The other one was Catherine Leedham, who was transported for 7 years on 14th October,1850, for Larceny from the person ( possibly a pickpocket ) Again, along with 3 others, she had been given a full 12 months imprisonment on 3rd July,1849, for the same offence. Her place of birth is almost certainly Leicester, and the year around 1803. Again, she is unlikely to be related to David Leedham. Unless of course, someone out there knows better.

According to http://members.iinet.net.au/~perthdps/convicts/park.html, Parkhurst boys were NOT officially classed as convicts.This might explain why you could not find a Ticket of Leave for David Leedham.

Just a comment on William and Ellen Leedham. I have found ten children born to them between 1819 and 1842, the last being Joseph. The family was at Newcastle Under Lyme at least from 1841 to 1861. Joseph married in 1865, and was at Alsager, Cheshire in 1871.

In 1841 at Audley, Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffs:

Wm Leedham 45 hatter, born Staffs

Ellen Leedham 40, born Staffs

Robert Leedham 15 shoem, born Staffs

David Leedham 12, born Staffs

Sarah Leedham 5, born Staffs

Henry Leedham 7, born Staffs.

 

In 1851 at 42 Holbom, Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffs:

John Vernon 34 head, unmar, shoemaker journeyman, Newcastle Under Lyme

William Leedham 58 lodger, wid, hatter journeyman, Newcastle Under Lyme

Joseph Leedham 9 lodger, Newcastle Under Lyme

James Hanson 60 lodger, wid, hatter journeyman, Newcastle Under Lyme.

In 1861 at the Union Workhouse, Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffs: William Leedham 68, inmate, widow, hatter, born Burton Upon Trent (sic), Staffordshire.



September 19, 2015 at 9:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

jeanffrench
Member
Posts: 2

There is no record of David Leedham's baptism at Newcastle under Lyme, Staffs. His older brother Robert was baptised in March 1827. On 7 June 1841, Robert was 15 (ie born 1826) and David was 12 (ie born 1829). At their trial one year later on 18 Oct 1842 they were the same age, ie Robert was 15 and David 12. At David’s second trial on 16 May 1843, he was still aged 12 (ie born 1831). David was 17 when he arrived in Victoria Australia on 4 May 1847 (ie born 1830). He was 23 when daughter Mary Ann born in 1855 (ie born 1832); and 27 when daughter Bridget born in 1857 (ie born 1830). According to his death certificate, David died in Aug 1891 aged 60 (ie born 1831), which was officially amended to age 66 (ie born 1825). He was 66 according to his headstone and death notice. All records until his death agree with a birth year of circa 1830.

September 20, 2015 at 7:27 AM Flag Quote & Reply

GladysD
Member
Posts: 2

Alaska. at November 3, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Sometimes, what turns up can have a bearing on how a certain subject is researched. The question asked, as it happens, was how old did you have to be for Transportation. Prior to 1830, it's not always clear, as there have been suggestions, that ages were not recorded correctly. It was the general rule, after say 1838, that no one under the age of 17, was transported to Australia or Tasmania. So what happened say, to someone about 15, who had been proved to be a habitual criminal, and ordered to be sent to the colony for between 7 years and life. Here is a little story, from a friend " down under ", who has supplied the answer.



William Leedham was born in Audley, near Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, in 1796. His future wife, Ellen Hangel, was born in Newcastle around 1799, and they were married at Saint Giles Church, on 16th September,1817. All of their children, (5) were born here, between 1820, and 1836. By 1841, they had moved some way south, to Clifton Campville, just north of Tamworth. A hatter by trade, times must have been hard, and maybe to make ends meet, his two oldest sons, Robert and David, were tempted into stealing. Caught, and bought up at Stafford Assizes on the 18th October,1842, the hapless pair were each given 1 Months imprisonment, and ordered to be whipped. Not the cane you understand, but a proper whipping, as mentioned in the " Prison Conditions Page ". Robert was 15, and David was 13. Robert, a young shoemaker, seems to have learned the lesson, for thats what the whipping was supposed to do, turn youngsters away from crime. David on the other hand, failed to heed the warning, and just 6 months later, for stealing a side of Bacon, value about 8 shillings, he was again at Stafford Assizes. Dispite him being only 14, he was a convicted felon, and he was therefore sentenced to be Transported for 7 years. Having said that, no one under 17 would normally be sent to Australia, so what then did the authorities do. Simple really, a place was established, at Parkhurst, on the Isle of Wight, where those under the age, could be held until they reached the required target. So young David Leedham spent almost 4 years in confinement, on the spot where today stands a maximum security unit. In 1847, a ship, the " Thomas Arbuthnot ", called in at the Isle of Wight, and picked up the rest of its convict prisoners, 89 in all, who came to be called " The Parkhurst Boys ". The ship sailed on the 11th January,1847, and arrived in Melbourne on 4th May. I don't know as yet when he got his Ticket of Leave, but I do know he was married, in Melbourne, on 22nd April,1850. His brides name was Bridget McQuade, who had been transported from Ireland, about the same time. The couple went on to have 11 children, although 4 of them died while young. He wasn't destined to have a long and happy life was David, for he sadly died, at Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, Victoria, on 7th August,1891. He was 62 years old. A sad tale, but it answers the question posed at the beginning of this post.


I was asked also, to check on two others who were transported, and who bear the same surname. John Leedham, who appears twice in the records, 1827, and then the last time in 1849, when he was transported for 7 years for receiving stolen goods. He was born around 1808 in Tutbury, Staffordshire, and is unlikely to be closely related to David Leedham. The other one was Catherine Leedham, who was transported for 7 years on 14th October,1850, for Larceny from the person ( possibly a pickpocket ) Again, along with 3 others, she had been given a full 12 months imprisonment on 3rd July,1849, for the same offence. Her place of birth is almost certainly Leicester, and the year around 1803. Again, she is unlikely to be related to David Leedham. Unless of course, someone out there knows better.

I thought I had commented on this but it is not showing. Catherine Leedham was married to John Leedham. They married on 13 October 1846 at St. Giles, Newcastle. John was christened on 27 Aug 1820 at St. Giles, Newcastle, father William Leedham and mother Ellen Hangel. I have written a blog post about this family lookingbackintothepast.wordpress.com


January 19, 2017 at 9:51 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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