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Janet Angus

Janet Angus, one of 109 convicts transported on the Midas, 22 July 1825

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Janet Angus
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 19th September, 1802
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 30th November, 1848
Age: 46 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Theft
Convicted at: Perth Court of Justiciary
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Midas
Departure date: 22nd July, 1825
Arrival date: 17th December, 1825
Place of arrival New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 108 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/5, Page Number 283 (143)
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

Roma Keown on 30th March, 2012 wrote:

Janet Angus married James Schofield in 1829. He was then, "free by servitude" and Janet had a ticket of leave.They had a son William in 1829. William (?Hunter) Schofield, see also Scoffield. William married Margaret Spencer in1850. They had a daughter Elizabeth in 1869 and in 1889 Elizabeth married George Robinson and they had 9 children, one of whom, Robert Mathias Robinson married Violet Frances Moorhouse in 1928, they were my parents.My sister, Barbara Nees and I would love to know of the lives of Janet and James prior to their transportation.

Linda Scofield on 18th August, 2012 wrote:

Janet Angus was born the 19 September 1802 in Perthshire Scotland to Andrew and Catherine Angus. Jannet married James Schofield(Scofield) on the 20 Nov 1828 @ Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle.They had 8chn Louisa 1828, William 1829, Mary Ann 1831, James1833, George 1835, Robert 1837, Jennett 1839, Charlotte 1845. Jannet is buried @ the Glebe Cemetery Maitland.

Sue Scarcella on 4th October, 2013 wrote:

Janet Angus (1802-1848)
1. Susan Margaret Scarcella
2. Barbara Florence Trenerry
3. Rita Irene Florence Alterator
4. Margaret Schofield (3) b 1876 Scone NSW Aust d 1965 Sydney Aust m John William Alterator 1895 Scone NSW Aust.
5. James Glendenning Schofield 1875 Scone NSW Aust. m Euphemia Tole(4) b 1854 Wollombi NSW Aust d 1903 Scone NSW Aust.
6. William Schofield b 1829 Gammon Plains NSW d 5th September 1901 Quirindi NSW m Margaret Spencer(3.3) 1850 Maitland NSW d 21st May 1904 Quirindi
7. James Schofield b 1796 Ipswich SFK UK arr 1821 “Earl St Vincent” CONVICT m Janet Angus(3.4) b Perth SCT b 09 Sep 1802 bapt 28 Nov 1802 arr 1825 “Midas 3” CONVICT d November 30th 1848 East Maitland NSW AUS
8. Andrew Angus bap 19 Dec 1773 Forgandenny PER SCT (son of David/Angus Angus m Isabel Ruthven ) m Catherine Menzies b 23Jan 1771 Perth SCT bap 24 Jan 1771 Perth, PERTH SCT d aft 1825)
9. James Menzies m Janet McGregor 04 Dec 1767 Perth,Perth,Scotland
Janet Angus was the daughter of Andrew Angus and Catherine Menzies who married on 18th December 1793 in Kinnoul Parish, Perth SCT. The baptisms of two children have been located but there many have been others. They are:
1. James born 17th January 1800 Forgandenny Parish Co Perth to Andrew Angus Labourer at Prossie’s North-Gate and Catherine Menzies, his wife. Baptised 19th January 1800 by Rev. Mr Dunbar.
2. Janet, born 19th September 1802 Perth Parish Co. Perth to Andrew Angus, late servant to William Sandeman and Company of Lunkarty and Katharine Menzies his wife. Baptised 28th November 1802 by Rev. Duncan McFarlane of the Gaelic Chapel of Perth.
This entry may indicate that Janet’s father had died. Certainly, there is no mention of him throughout her trial and he seems to have been absent during her childhood.
Janet, known as Jess, attracted the attention of Judge Forbes at the age of seven. Judge Forbes, in a letter to her last trial judge, described her as a habitual criminal, “Training up for the gallows”. Janet, had, at first, engaged in petty theft, then risen (?) to prostitution. “Poor Jess”, as he writes, was in and out of Perth gaol, spending time in New Lanark and Millbank Penitentiaries (the latter being the newest of the British gaols, and a “model” for those to come. It proved, however, to be a dismal failure.) In 1818, Janet was sentenced to fourteen years transportation, but this was commuted because of her age. She spent two years in Millbank before being released “thoroughly reformed.”
In 1824, however, she was again in court, for the theft of “an imitation cotton shawl, a red figured poplin skirt and body of a gown, a printed cotton gown and a pair of white cotton stockings.” For this, she received a life sentence, to be served in New South Wales.
Janet was one of the small number of Scots transported to the colonies. Generally, the Scottish courts did not do so, unless the criminal was hardened or habitual. Rarely was a first offender transported, as was the case in England, for the Scottish courts were much more understanding. A thief usually received light sentences for the first three offences. Only after that would the courts become harsh. Moreover, Scottish criminals could plead mitigating circumstances and have their sentences reduced as a result.
The treatment of our ancestress, Janet Angus, shows clearly this enlightened spirit. In his letter, Judge Forbes explains the many attempts to reform “Poor Jess” who, in his words was “one of those unhappy beings who seem never to have acquired a distinct notion of the difference between mine and thine.”
On her shipping documents, much personal information is given: she was a native of Perth, where she was brought to trial in April 1824, and sentenced in July. She was said to be a housemaid aged 21 in 1825, 4’11 ¾”, tall with brown, freckled skin, blue eyes and dark brown hair. She was disposed of to J.Blaxland, but appears to have later gone to work for Bell too.
Bell had many properties, including Windsor, Bathurst and St Aubins, Scone. It appears that the two were at the St Aubins property in 1828. A child, Louisa Angus was born to Janet at Hunter River (probably Scone or environs). Later in that year James Schofield obtained permission to marry and the banns were read at Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle. The marriage took place at St Aubins. Louisa was re-registered as a Schofield.
One interesting point is that Janet was formerly engaged to James Waters in 1826. There is even a record of them having married, but, if so, what happened to Waters? Did they really marry? We know they were due to marry at St John’s Parramatta. I could not find a record of Waters death, but the possibility is that he might have died.
Janet is wrongly registered as Mary Agnes in the 1828 census. Moreover, several children are later registered to James and Louisa Schofield. It may be, as is strongly suggested, that Louisa was her middle name, but the answer to this question may be simpler. On the day that these children were all registered, Louisa, the eldest, was married at the age of twelve.
The children of James and Janet Schofield were
1. Louisa b 14th August 1828 St Aubins (also registered as Angis, Louisa) m 1) William Fennell 12/10/1841, Maitland and 2) Thomas Chilton 14/08/1854.
2. William b 20th October 1829 Gammon Plains m Margaret Spencer 31st December 1850 d 05/09/1901, Quirindi
3. Mary Ann b 5th September 1831 Halls Ck m John Thomas Whyben 24th May 1847 West Maitland d 10/03/1891 Maitland.
4. James b 1833 m Mary Warren S.A. 1859 d 31/01/1878 Quirindi

James and Janet obtained a licence to open an inn at Hall’s Creek, Gungal. It was named “The Highland Laddie”. The land cost twelve pounds, ten shillings and had a rent of one peppercorn a year. The request for permission to open the inn was signed by Bell and Lt Ogilvie, the founder of Merton, precursor to the village of Denman. The Schofields sold the inn to Mr Peberdy (after whom Peberdy’s Creek is named). What happened to it is unclear, but the remains lie in a field just out of Gungal.
Several children were born along the Clarence River, indicating that this was where they went after Gungal, but finally the family returned to Maitland.
The judge was correct that transporting Janet would transform her, but she was a creature of habit. Stealing was something she just couldn’t entirely stop. We see this in the records of the Parramatta Female Factory contain the following entry in
relation to Janet Angus:-
Angus, Janet 2nd Class, July 9, 1827 - 20 hrs. punishment for concealing shingles.
And it wasn’t the last time in her life the old devil would rear its ugly head.
Newspaper Maitland & Hunter River gen Adv. Jan 1845
Janet Schofield was indicted for stealing 5 dozen buttons and one pair of scissors, the property of Letitia Harding, at Maitland, on the 28th September, 1844.
(found not guilty, brief of case).
It appears that she was smart enough to shake the buttons she stole down her dress to the ground, so that she could not be charged with actually possessing them….but it also appears she and her husband celebrated a bit too hard the night of the acquittal for their own good.
Newspaper Maitland & Hunter River gen Adv. Jan 1845
James Schofield and Janet Schofield were brought before the bench, charged wti being drunk in the streets the previous evening. Both pleaded guilty, and were fined 5s. each and costs, or 4 hours each in the stocks.
Janet died aged forty-nine on 1st December 1848. Her grave is in the ruined cemetery of St Peter’s Maitland, its inscription almost entirely worn away, leaving only her name. Fortunately, it was copied before it became illegible. It reads:
“Sacred to the memory of
Genet Schofield
Who departed this life November 30th 1848, aged 43 years.
She was a (sic) affectionate wife,
a good mother,
a good Christly
and a sincere friend.
She died in the firm hope
of a joyful resurrection. She as (sic) left a husband and
eight children to lament their loss.”

(Photo of gravestone)
(Photo courtesy of Darrel Woodhouse, descendant of Mary Ann Schofield m Whybin)

Convict Changes History

Linda Scofield on 18th August, 2012 made the following changes:

date of birth 1802-09-19, date of death 1848-11-30, gender f

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