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William Bell

William Bell, one of 176 convicts transported on the America, 04 April 1829

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: William Bell
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 31st December, 1814
Occupation: Farmer
Date of Death: 7th October, 1885
Age: 70 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 14 years

Crime: Stealing
Convicted at: Chester (City) Session of Pleas
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: America
Departure date: 4th April, 1829
Arrival date: 18th August, 1829
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 175 other convicts

References

Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/7, Page Number 29 (17)
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

Lenard James Fitton on 11th February, 2014 wrote:

William Bell

William Bell, one of 176 convicts transported on the America, 04 April 1829

Known aliases:
none

Convicted at:
Convicted at Chester Session of Pleas for a term of 14 years on 28 August 1828

Sentence term:
14 years

Ship name:
America

Departure date:
4th April, 1829

Place of arrival:
New South Wales

Source:
Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/7, Page Number 29 (17)

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.
‘B7 ..............................................
William Bell was born c: 1814 in Bury Lancashire, England. He had no education as he was unable to read or write and it is possible his family were far from wealthy. William was working as a foundry boy at the age of 14 years when in company with a man by the name of John Jones, they broke into a shop owned by Mr Thomas Caine and stole a pair of Wellington Boots valued at I0//-. The charge against William is as follows :

CHESHIRE: to wit the jurors for our Lord the King upon their oath present that John Jones, late of the Parish of Stockport in the county of Chester, labourer , and William Bell, late of the same place, labourer, on the 19th day of August in the ninth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the 4th by the grace of God, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the faith with force and arms at the Parish aforesaid’ the shop of Thomas Caine, there feloniously did break and enter and remove one pair of Wellington Boots of the value of I0//- of the goods and chattels of the said Thomas Caine in the said shop then and there being found, then and there in the said shop did steal and take and carry away against the form of the statute in such case made and provided and against the peace of our said Lord the King his crown and dignity..
William was found guilty and received the extremely harsh sentence of 14 years transportation to the Australian colony,for
one of such tender years, still just a mere lad. The same crime if committed today would barely rate a raised eyebrow, at the most a very small slap on the wrist. Back in those days in good Old England with the cities running rampant with overcrowding work almost impossible to find, any crime no matter how minor was treated as serious, and by transporting these unfortunate people whose only true crime was being poor and starving, it did help to ease the overcrowding problem.

William must have held grave fears for his future, not sure what was in store for him, in the harsh new world and not knowing if he would ever see his family again. The journey often took many months and was far from pleasant as most convicts were kept below deck in irons and were never allowed to go in the fresh air.

They were only fed just enough to sustain them, for some it was far from adequate as many died on the trip and their bodies were cast overboard. It is no wonder many poor souls met with this fate, but it is obvious our William was a survivor and being so young and used to hard times would have been in his favour.

As William’s sentence was handed down on the 28.8.1828 and he didn’t arrive til 18.8.1829 on the ship “America” it is very obvious that he must have spent a few months on one of the hulks in England until a ship was available.

Nothing is known of William’s first 9 years in the colony

or when he met Ellen Sneed or when they decided to marry, but we do know that William made an application to marry Ellen and that permission was granted 26.10.1838 and 2 months later they were married on the 31.12.1838. On the 18.2.1839 William received his Ticket of leave and 3 years later on the 7.2.1842, he received his Certificate of Freedom. William’s prisoner number was 29/1474, and was described as being 5’ 6’c2’bd” tall with a sallow complexion, brown hair and dark hazel eyes. He had several scars, one being under his right eyebrow,one on his chin and another on the inside of his right thumb.

William tried several different jobs such as Fishing, Lime Burning, Brickmaking and an Inn Keeper. In 1838 William was a market gardener and sold his vegetable to other settlers. The Botany Market Gardens were one of the mainstays of the early settlers and Sydney for many years. The land was very swampy and extremely fertile and the Botany gardeners could ask a fair price for their produce and some became quite wealthy as a result.

In the 1850’s the sub-division of Veteran’s swamp began in earnest. Years earlier, the section near Booralee Street,was acquired by the fishing families “- Bells, Smiths and Puckeridges just to name a few. Most of the buildings were small weatherboard cottages in which generation after generation made their entry into this world.

For a century, the fishing village of Sternley resisted the encroachment of outsiders on it’s domain, it is certain that: the families living at one end of Booralee Street were related to families at the other end of the street. This also applied to Luland Street, Botany Bay.

William and Eleanor left Sydney 2 years after their marriage and went to Narellan for a time and then moved to Oram Park for 3 years Then in 1863, they were on the move again, this time to Jillengroe,a little town between Adelong and Gundagai, and eventually to their final home, Gundagai. Ellen’s mother, Ann, passed away 20.8.1850, aged 50 and was buried at Newtown, Sydney. William passed away 7.10.1885 and was laid to rest in the North Gundagai Cemetery. Eleanor followed just 4 short years later and lies beside her husband.

An interesting fact emerged with the birth of Mary Ann Bell who made her appearance into this world 10.12.1838. William was
but no mention of noted on her birth certificate as the father, her mother. This also applied to her death certificate. We assume this was William and Eleanor’s first child and thus began the Bell empire.

Convict Changes History

Lenard James Fitton on 11th February, 2014 made the following changes:

convicted at, date of birth: 31st December, 1814 (prev. 0000), date of death: 7th October, 1885 (prev. 0000), gender: m, occupation, crime

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