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Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams, one of 136 convicts transported on the Prince of Orange, 22 July 1822

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Samuel Adams
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1802
Occupation: Farmer
Date of Death: 1861
Age: 59 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 56 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Larceny
Convicted at: Gloucester Quarter Sessions
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Prince of Orange
Departure date: 1st April, 1822
Arrival date: 23rd July, 1822
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 135 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/4, Page Number 138
Source description: This record is one of the entries in the British convict transportation registers 1787-1867 database compiled by State Library of Queensland from British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project.

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Community Contributions

Alice Norton on 19th November, 2011 wrote:

Samuel ADAMS was a convict who absconded from Maria Island,Tasmania 12 may 1826 with 5 others who were hung for their part in the escape bur Samuel absconded again so that he was not hung with the others….
Had a family of 8 children and died in Daylsford,Victoria,Australia

Deborah Merlo on 3rd December, 2018 wrote:

Trial Oct 1820 - Wiltshire England Imprisonment.
28 Sept 1821 - Committal The County Goal Gloucester Gloucestershire England resided Melksham Wiltshire England Weaver Discharge 17 Oct 1821.Gloucester record office assizes 1822 holding records prior to court appearance-when brought in 28 Sept 1821 number 22. age 19 parish Melksham, by whom committed - Henry Burgh Esq. crime-charged upon the oath of George Barber of the parish of Stroud, gentleman, and others, with feloniously stealing at the parish of Stroud aforesaid on the 22nd day of Sept now instant, from the press shop of the saide George Barber (Barker), 7 yds of cloth, the property of the said Geo. Barber (Barker). Samuel worked for John Bone a farmer in Stroud. 

Marks - stature etc brown hair, rather inclining to dark sandy, dark eyes, very fresh complexion, round face, 2 large moles on his right shoulder, stout made, read a little, weaver, height 5’ 4”

When tried, event of trail - Michaelmas sessions 16th Oct 1821 transported 7 yrs, when discharged removed 17th Oct 1821. how behaved-very bad. Convict record bk con 31, descp list con 23, muster roll CS01/403/9099 other records 13/2 p 323 didn’t appear in surgeon’s journal for Prince of Orange so must have kept good health on trip to Aust. Convict ship left England 1/4/1822 (tas archives database no. 192. Before being transported Samuel spent time in the prison Hulks on the Thames River

Before marriage both Samuel & Mary Ann were of the parish of Campbelltown - married by banns by R.R. Davies Parish of Longford St Johns Church Tas witnesses George (Giles) Oiles & Elizabeth Miller Marriage was witnessed by George Giles and Elizabeth Mills , both were convicts signed X Elizabeth and Samuel put a X instead of signature. Elizabeth had been transp for 14 years for stealing two womens hats. George and Elizabeth later married
Hobart Town Gazette Saturday 10/6/1826 - Public Office Hobart June 9 1826
The undermentioned convicts having absconded from Maria Island all constables and others are hereby required to use there utmost exertions to apprehend & lodge them in safe custody. AWH Humphrey Supt of Police 133 Samuel Adams - 5 feet 6 ins high brown hair, dark hazel eyes, 21 yrs of age, a weaver tried at Gloucester 16th Oct 1821 sentence 7 yrs a native of Melclacombe? Wilts arrived in this colony per Prince of Orange 1822, little finger right hand crippled at top, a number of blotches on face, scar on forhead Reward

Hobart Town Gazette Sat 1/7/1826
Samuel Adams one of the runaways from Maria Island immediately after the robbery at Mr. Gatenby’s betook himself to Mr. Butcher, at the Coal River, whose servant he had formerly been, and surrendered himself.

Maria Island 1825-1834 was a less severe place of secondary punishment than Macquarie Harbour. Convicts made shoes, spun cloth and cut timber. This beautiful island off the east coast was established as Tasmania’s second penal settlement in 1825. The convict settlement was in the north, at Darlington, and buildings inclued a penitentiary, a commissariat store and a jetty. It was closed in 1832 in favour of Port Arhur but re-opened 10 years later as a probation settlement. Further buildings were added, until the penal settlements were finally abandoned in 1850-51. In 1884 the island was leased to AGD Bernacchi to set up silk and windemaking industries. Buildings from this period include a Coffee Palace and the remains of cement works Bernacchi established in 1887. The island is now a national park.Lived at Campbelltown, Evandale, Snake Banks, Tamar, Muddy Plains, Rocky Hills & Cameron St Launceston. (some thought that the family or part moved to Ballarat. Census In the 3/1/1848 census returns, Samuel Adams was the householder and lived at Rocky Hills (No 57) the proprietor of the property was Mr. Jennings. It was made of wood & unfinished. There were usually 8 people living there and all were free persons. On the night of the census there were 2 married people (probably Samuel & Mary) who were aged between 21 & 45yrs. there were 2 single males of between the ages of 21 & 45 yrs. could have been workmen living in the house, a male child and a female child between the ages of 7 & 14 yrs were also listed a total of 6 people for the night. All were Church of England, 2 were born in the colony (the children) 3 were other free people and 1 was in private service (under bond). The occupations were given as 1. farmer married, gardeners, stock men & farm servants (2 single)
1851 Census the parish was given as No 2 Launceston Samuel Adams was the householder and was named as the person in charge. There was no employer or servant. the address was Cameron St L’ston the house was brick & completed. 10 people usually resided at the dwelling and all were present on 1st March 1851. the married male was listed as between 45yrs & under 60, the married female was between 21 & 45yrs there was a boy and a girl between 2yrs & 7yrs (Hannah & Samuel) there were 2 boys & a girl between 7yrs & 14yrs (Charles, James & Emma) there were 2 boys & a girl between 14 & 21yrs George, one other & a girl Elizabeth) all were Church of England 8 were born in the colony, the female arrived free and the male was “other free person” there may be an error with Mary Ann’s entry as on the other census she was listed as “other free person” at this stage Samuel was obviously not a farmer as his occupation didn’t fit into any of the categories listed on the form. census
.Prince of Orange ship - took 113 days 136 male convicts 132 arrived Master John Moncrief Surgeon John Crocket
4/9/2006-Samuel Adams left L’ston 15/2/1851 on board the Peri for Adelaide in steerage free by servitude POL220/1 P326B
Notes on the Prince of Orange ship - Tonnage 359 Built Sunderland Route Direct
Taken from Glasgow to Daylesford a history of William Kerr Bell & His family by Shirley Carter Grace (a descendant) - 1993

They whipped us they lashed us, they drove us thro the strand, they harnessed us like horses, to plough Van Diemen’s Land (Traditional)

see above for crime details. Samuel was tried at the Gloucestershire Quarter Sessions on the 16 Oct 1821 (Michaelmas Session) by Henry Burgh Esq He was found guilty and sentenced to 7 yrs transportation. The incredible savagery of the English criminal law was shown in these harsh sentences handed out Samuel who was a first time offender must have really felt the burnt of this sentence serving the first stage on the notorious hulks lying in the Thames These rotting relics of the Napoleonic wars were used to hold prisoners until a ship was available for tansportation to Australia Most convicts were chained together in the filthy rat infested holes for seveal months before being transported Samuel was taken from the hulks some 5 mths later and put on board the Prince of Orange for the journey to Van Diemen’s Land The convict ship left Deal on the 1 April 1822 carrying 132 male prisoners, crew, soldiers & their families under Capt John Moncrief. Moncrief was a veteran of the convict run and had several trips to Aust before this voyage was incident free with only 4 lives lost On these early trips as many as 1 in 3 convicts lost their lives before reaching our shores so this voyage was deemed good The Prince of Orange had taken 113 days & arrived safely in Hobart Town on the 23 July that same yr In Van Diemen’s Land convicts were clothed in murky grey or yellow garments made of cheap Indian cotton for ease of identification They each had their name & station no. stencilled on their coat backs & caps Samuel was housed in the Hobart Town barracks 3 yrs later Samuel must have been getting restless with prison life at Hobart Town as on the night of the 10 June 1825 he absconded from the barracks only to be recaptured 2 days later For his trouble he was given 50 lashes & sent to Maria Island. Maria Island had been chosen as a penal settlement in 1825 to accommodate the more incorrigible convicts It was isolated had a milder climate good natural water supply & ample timber 2 settlements opened one at Darlington in the north & one in the south to work on the lumber. At Darlington the convicts were kept busy spinning wool weaving cloth making shoes and turning wood products The first group of convicts to arrive in 1825 were all suffering from scurvy, boils & ulcers provisions were low & they were housed in rough bark & log huts They were described by the commander at the time as a ‘‘miserable looking set of vagabonds’’ Samuel was one of these Maria Island as a penal settlement closed in 1832 after Port Arthur had opened to house the more incorrigible convict Samuels’s rebellious ways were only just starting as on the 15 Aug 1825 he received a further 50 lashes and was put in irons on the suspicion of stealing a sheep Then just over 1 mth later another 25 lashes for stealing half a bushel of wheat no doubt needed to supplement the diet. This time he also served a period of solitary confinement locked in a small dark cell You can imagine his back would have hardly had time to heal after each flogging The next entry in his conduct record shows that he repeatedly absented himselt from muster and had to serve 17 days in a chain gang as punishment in April 1826 On May 3rd the same yr he was again charged as an accessory to stealing wheat and received a further 25 lashes By this time Samuel must have been getting to a desperate stage and thinking no fate could be worse On the 18th May 1826 Samuel in company with Alexander McGilvray Michael Brown William Ellis & Edward Cove made their escape from Maria Island There are no details on how they escaped but once they reached the mainland of Tasmania they roamed the interior bushranging and robbing huts & homes around the Coal & Macquarie River settlements The Colonial Times reported on their escape & each edition had an update on where the bushrangers had last been & the booty taken On about the 16th June Alex McGilvray who appeared to be the leader of the gang was shot dead while they attempted a hold up on a home at Macquarie River & William Ellis was captured After this the superintendent of police Mr Humphry offered a £60 reward for the recapture of the remanding bushrangers including Samuel Adams Although the group had robbed & pillaged their way through the interior they did not use violence and this had been stated in the press After just one month of freedom Samuel Adams gave himself up on the 19 June at Coal River Back in custody Samuel was now to be sent to Macquaire Harbour known as “Hells Gates” for the remainder of his sentence While being held in Hobart Town goal awaiting a boat for the trip to Macquarie Harbour again Samuel tried another escape bid this one was unsuccessful and he was put on a 7 day bread & water diet to dampen his spirits It appears for some reason Samuel never got to Macquarie Harbour as on the 2 Aug 1827 he was again found absenting himself from the prison barracks at Hobart Town and got a further 25 lashes and was returned once again to Maria Island On Nov 6 1828 Samuel was released from servitude having served his 7 yrs transportation. He had served it hard unlike many who had got free pardons and tickets of leave before their time was up Samuel had had a total of 225 lashes We can only imagine what his back must have been like He had survived the harshest of conditions of solitary confinement bread & water diets working in irons and on chain gangs His escapes & bushranging with a £60 reword on his head had made him a marked man but he had survived it all and now with freedom he had the opportunity to make a life for himself With no option of returning home to England Samuel moved up into the Launceston district of Tasmania & worked as a farm labourer Some 4 yrs after being released Samuel Adams married Mary Ann Miller on the 14 Jan 1833 Ther were married by banns in the Parish of Longford George Oils a convict still under servitude & Elizabeth Mills were their witnesses Mary Ann signed her name & Samuel’s was marked with a X. Samuel & Mary Ann continued to live in the Launceston district although with the baptism of each of their children they had a different address, but Samuel’s occupation was always either farmer or labourer In 1848 the census of Tasmania shows Mary Ann & Samuel living in an unfinished wooden dwelling at Rocky Hills near Launceston where Samuel was farming At this stage they had 7 children Thomas born 3 Oct 1833 Elizabeth born 2 Aug 1835 George born 17 Aug 1837 our Emma born 21 April 1839 Samuel born 18 April 1841 James born 29 Mar 1843 & William born 19 Jan 1846 Their youngest child Hannah was born on 9 June 1848 after the census had been taken On 15 Feb 1851 Samuel still carrying the stigma of convict boarded the brig Peri at Hobart Town for South Australia Besided each passenger’s name was a place to enter the name of the ship to the colony by this they could keep track of ex-convicts and beside Samuel’s name is Prince of Orange He appeared to travel alone no Mary Ann or children. 12 mths later with the first wave of the gold rush Samuel Adams boards the Margaret Brock coming to Port Phillip still travelling alone this time he has lost his convict tag. Samuel Adams left Launceston on board the ship Yarra Yarra for Melbourne 2/3/1853 (status free by servitude) in steerage ref pol 220/3 P85 (Tas archives)  C. Adams & G Adams left L’ston on board Yarra Yarra 2/3/1853 (born in colonies) ref pol 220/3 p85 possibly sons Charles & George Samuel & his children settled in the Daylesford area to start a new life I doubt that Mary Ann ever came to the mainland she may have died in Tasmania as there is no record of her death in Victoria & a Mary Ann Adams died in Launceston in 1851 but as there is no family information I can not prove she is ours (Shirley Grace) After Samuel settled in Daylesford he took up farming while he & his eldest sons also had a mining lease at Spring Creek in the Mt Franklin area Another family of Adams also settled in the Daylesford area at this time & as they had come from Melksham Wiltshire I wonder if they were related but I have been unable to prove it at this stage Samuel Adams died at the age of 6`1 on the 28 April 1861 and is buried in the Daylesford Cemetery By this stage Emma had married William Kerr Bell and her older sister had married another Scot James Murray Emma’s youngest sister Hannah was only 12 & William Kerr Bell became her guardian on the death of her father. About 140,000 males & 25,000 females were transported to Australia nearly half of these to Van Diemen’s Land Almost 80% were transported for petty larceny pick pocketing & burglary against property and so with Samuel Adams 7 yrs transportation for stealing cloth many to clothe his family It has been calculated that half a million Australians descend from a convict & I am one who regards this with wry pride - Shirley Carter Grace
I am he who paved the way, That you might walk at your ease today, I was the conscript sent to hell, to make in the desert the living well, I bore the heat I blazed the track, Furrowed and bloody upon my back, I split the rock I felled the tree, The nation was because of me - from Mary Gilmore’s Old Botany Bay

Convict Changes History

Alice Norton on 19th November, 2011 made the following changes:

date of birth 1802-00-00, gender m

Annette Taylor on 26th November, 2016 made the following changes:

date of death: 1861 (prev. 0000)

This record was discovered and printed on ConvictRecords.com.au