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James Alder

James Alder, one of 172 convicts transported on the Countess of Harcourt, 08 April 1821

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Alder
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1803
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1868
Age: 65 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 60 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 14 years

Crime: Receiving
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: Countess of Harcourt
Departure date: 8th April, 1821
Arrival date: 27th July, 1821
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 172 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/4, Page Number 19 (11) Old Bailey Proceedings Online (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 14 May 2016), January 1818, trial of MARY ALDER JAMES ALDER SARAH WILSON (t18180114-5). Close
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

Maureen Withey on 4th January, 2020 wrote:

Transported, aged 14 with his older sister, aged 18.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 04 January 2020), January 1818, trial of MARY ALDER JAMES ALDER SARAH WILSON (t18180114-5).
MARY ALDER, JAMES ALDER, SARAH WILSON, Theft > theft from a specified place, Theft > receiving, 14th January 1818.

171. MARY ALDER , JAMES ALDER , and SARAH WILSON were indicted for stealing, on the 13th of December , at the parish of St. Ann, Westminster, one writing-desk, value 10s.; five watches, value 12l.; twenty-three spoons, value 4l.; one pair of sugar tongs, value 10s.; four broaches, value 2l.; six seals, value 50s., and two rings, value 10s., the property of James Keat , in his dwelling-house .

SECOND COUNT. Against the said Mary Alder , for stealing the said goods in the same dwelling-house, on the same day, and at the same parish.

THIRD COUNT, Against the said James Alder , and Sarah Wilson , for receiving on the same day, and at the same parish, the said goods, knowing them to have been stolen .

JAMES KEAT . I live at No. 2, Crown-street, St. Ann’s, Westminster . I am the housekeeper. On the morning of the 13th of December, I got up about half-past seven, and went out, leaving my desk safe. It was a little portable desk. It was locked, and the room door was locked also. I came home about twelve or one o’clock, at dinner time, and saw Mrs. Alder, the mother of the two prisoners(Alder) - She was there, charing for us. Directly after I came in the prisoner, Mary Alder , came in with my child; she had been in the habit of being in my house, but not lately, as I rather rebuked my wife for letting her be about my place, and she was desired to go about her business. I went away, and did not go into the room where I had left the desk; I returned again about half-past five or six, went in, and found my wife crying. I am a dealer in marine stores . I missed nothing at that time. I went to Marlborough-street office, and brought down Mr. Jeffries, we then went into the room, and I missed my desk. It was entirely gone. When I left it, locked up, there were six watches in it; one gold, three silver, one tortoiseshell, and one was gilt; three of them were not mine; and the rest of the articles stated in the indictment. I suppose they were worth about 60l. I went to look for the girl, Mary Alder , to the Seven Dials, but did not find her there. About half-past seven o’clock I saw her just by my own door, and took her into the shop; she was interrogated by my wife, and her mother, in my presence, respecting the desk, and denied all knowledge of it. When I took her to the watch-house there was a seal found in her possession, but not that I saw. I took her instantly to the watchhouse.

ELIZA GILLON . I am the watch-house-keeper’s wife. I remember the girl, Mary Alder , being brought into the watch-house - I searched her, and found two seals on her, one of which Keats, the prosecutor, claimed. The other Mr. Keats said was not his property. She had them in her pockets.

ELIZA DOBSON . I live at No. 10, Belton-street, Longacre. I know all the three prisoners, but they did not live in the same house with me. I was sitting in a room at No. 10, where I live, and the three prisoners came into the room with the desk, about a quarter before six o’clock in the evening. It was a small mahogany desk with brass handles- Sarah Wilson carried it in her apron, twisted up. It was put on the table, and the prisoner, James Alder, took a chisel out of his pocket, and broke it open; the contents were then put into Sarah Wilson ‘s apron, and she took them away-they all went out together. I saw the spoons marked I.K. - I think there was half a dozen; and also a bunch of seals, and several watches, but did not take particular notice of them. I saw some rings taken out of a little drawer by the side of the desk, with some broaches and shirt pins. The desk was left to be burnt; they all three asked me if I would burn it; the next morning I burnt the inside of it. I saw the prisoners, Sarah Wilson and James Alder , in Short’s-gardens, Belton-street, about three-quarters of an hour afterwards, they asked me if I had burnt the desk, I told them I had not. They said “then go home and burn it; because,” said Sarah Wilson , “it was taken from my master’s.” She then desired James Alder to give me a shilling out of his pocket, and she gave me two shillings. Sarah Wilson also told me they had got 2l.10s. each, but they were afraid Mary Alder had been taken into custody - They then went away. In about an hour or two I saw them again, Sarah Wilson had bought herself a new bonnet and shawl, and they told me Mary Alder was at Marlborough-street. James Alder had a small watch and a broach, Sarah Wil son said, “give them to me, and I will go and plant them.” I understood by “planting them,” she meant biding them so that they could not be found; and I believe he did give them to her.

CHRISTIANA MANN . I live servant with Mrs. Brothers, in Great White Lion-street. I know the prisoner, Sarah Wilson ; she lived in the same house, on the second-floor, with her mother; I remember about five o’clock on the day in question, I saw her come into the house with something in her apron, in the shape of a small box; she went to the foot of the stairs, in the passage, and called “mother!” three times-her mother was out at the time; she went up stairs a little way, came down again in about three minutes afterwards, and went out. I do not know whether she carried what I saw her with out again; I saw her go out, but her back was towards me.

MARY BUSH . I live at No. 19, Great White Lion-street, at Mrs. Brothers’s. I saw the prisoner, Sarah Wilson , in my room, on the 13th of December; she went out, as she said, to go and look for Mary Alder , to get some money from her to buy a pair of shoes; I never saw her from that time until I saw her at the bar this day, as she absconded. I remember the prisoner, James Alder, coming to me on the Friday night; he asked me if I had seen old Mrs. Wilson, for he wanted to see Sarah Wilson, the prisoner; it was a week after the robbery, all but one day. I asked him how his sister got on; he said, if there was no more property found on her than the seal, she would he turned up. On the Monday following he came to me and said,“Bush, I have seen Sal. Wilson, and she says there is a watch and a broach buried in your cellar, and Mrs. Brothers will not let me in.” I said, “I am going down presently for some water, you shall go with me, and have a light.” He went down, I went with him, and took a small shovel with me, from my own fireside - He dug in three different places, but found nothing. I do not think he ever went there again.

WILLIAM CRAIG . I am an officer of Marlborough-street Office; I took the prisoners into custody. I did not find any thing on either of them.

(Property produced and sworn to.)

MARY ALDER ‘S Defence. I have nothing further to say, than that my brother is perfectly innocent of breaking the desk.

JAMES ALDER’S Defence. I never had any thing to do with the robbery, and know nothing about it. The prosecutor bought all the property knowing it to be stolen. I saw every bit of it bought myself. The officer that has been called and another, have come into the house to search for stolen goods, when the prosecutor has kept them in the parlour, while this girl, my sister, has thrown stolen pots down the privy.

Prisoner SARAH WILSON . James Alder is perfectly innocent of the crime that he is here for.

ELIZA DOBSON re-examined. I am sure that the prisoner, James Alder , came into the room with the other two prisoners, and I am positive he took the chisel out of his pocket, and broke the desk open; I saw him again in the evening, when he gave me a shilling. I was sitting near the fire-it is not a very large room, and the table was near the fire. I was near enough to the table to see the marks on the spoons.

M. ALDER - GUILTY . - DEATH . Aged 18.

J. ALDER - GUILTY . Aged 14.

S. WILSON - GUILTY . Aged 18.

On the 3d Count.

Transported for Fourteen Years .

First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice Park.

Maureen Withey on 4th January, 2020 wrote:

https://stors.tas.gov.au/CON45-1-1 Pages 1,2
Marriage request Feb 16 1830.; 105, James Alder, ship C. Harcourt, and 82. Eliza Morgan, Harmony,  Outcome: 9 April approved and forwarded to the Rev W. Bedford.

Convict Changes History

Marjorie Bowes on 13th May, 2016 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/4, Page Number 19 (11) Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 14 May 2016), January 1818, trial of MARY ALDER JAMES ALDER SARAH WILSON (

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