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Solomon Bockerah

Solomon Bockerah, one of 1063 convicts transported on the Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize, December 1789

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Solomon Bockerah
Aliases: Bockarah, Bockery, Bockrow, Buckerer
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1760
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 16th July, 1791
Age: 31 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 Life

Crime: Breaking and entering and stealing
Convicted at: London Gaol Delivey
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize
Departure date: December, 1789
Arrival date: 26th June, 1790
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 1071 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 43 (23); Old Bailey Proceedings Online (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 17 June 2015), Sydney City - Old Sydney Burial Ground Inventory fo Burials
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

Robin Sharkey on 2nd December, 2015 wrote:

Solomon Bockerah was a convict on “Scarborough” arriving NSW 1791 with transportation for Life.  He was found guilty at the Old bailey on 10th December 1788 and given the death sentence. However it wasn’t until ten months later on 9th Sept 1789 that he appeared back in the Old Bailey to accept the King’s pardon of the death sentence on condition of being transported for life.

While he was still under sentence of death in gaol (probably in Newgate] his young wife, Ann, gave birth to a son on 21 January 1789 named Solomon after him. The child was christened at six weeks,  on 9th March 1789 at Saint Leonards Shoreditch in London. [English christening records accessed through Family Search on line] No further record of this child has yet been found, he likely died as an infant.

OLD BAILEY REPORTS - Solomon’s crime & trial:

10th December 1788, trial of SOLOMON BOCKERAH, ROBERT HOBBS (t17881210-82).
Theft > burglary, 10th December 1788.
” 82. SOLOMON BOCKERAH and ROBERT HOBBS were indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling house of James Pinkinton, about the hour of seven in the night, on the 1st of November last, and burglariously stealing one piece of velveteen, containing thirty-nine yards, value 8 l. 4 s. his property

On the 1st of November, about seven o’clock in the evening, I and my man were in the shop, the door was then shut, and upon the latch; the prisoner, Bockerah, came, and he then put his hand in at the door, after having unlatched it, he and two or more persons rushed in and took away a piece of velveteen; there were, I believe, two more of them; I only saw their hats; I am sure Bockerah was one; he held the door quite open with his hand, and seemed to stand between me and the velveteen, so as to keep me from seeing him; he asked for a halfpenny worth of thread; he put his hand in his pocket and rattled some halfpence, and said he did not know whether he had enough to pay for what he wanted; then they took the velveteen and ran away; I did not see which way; Bockerah shut the door, and I could not get round the counter fast enough, before they went out; we took Bockerah into custody; Bockerah stood between the other men and me.
Mr. Peat, prisoner’s counsel. How far was you from the door at the time? -
About four yards.
Are you sure the door was latched? - Yes, I am sure, because it goes with a spring.
Did you look particularly at the door yourself? - No.
Court. When Bockerah came in, did you perceive him open the door? - Yes.
Mr. Peat. What did he say he wanted when he came in? - He said a halfpenny worth of brown thread.
Did he say any thing to the other two? - No.
Then for ought you know he might have been a stranger to them? - Yes, he might.
Then after the other two went out, he staid to get his thread? - I believe he staid to keep me in.
You told me this moment he shut himself in; how long did he take to shut the door? -  - Not long, he could not get out himself, I followed him so close.

On the 1st of November, I was sent for to Mr. Pinkinton’s; and when I went into the room, I saw Bockerah; I went out to get assistance; and I sent for a coach and put him in, and going along the coach door was opened on the other side, and they pelted us with large stones; and going up Houndsditch, they cut the traces, and the coachman could not drive us any further; we took Bockerah out and another; the constable assisted, he was cut across the face; then I got the assistance of another, and we took him into custody; I found this velveteen at Mr. Clarke’s, a pawnbroker, and have had it ever since.

I was concerned in this; me, Hobbs, Bockerah, and Bell, went out at night, the 21st of November, with intent to get some money as well as we could; we were out between seven and eight, but we met with no success; then we went towards home; coming along Leadenhall-street, I met with an acquaintance of mine, near the Five Lamps; and coming home afterwards, they shewed us a roll of velveteen; I went to my own room, and then I went to Hobbs’s, and found them there; Bockerah was in custody; I knew nothing of him but what they told me.

I was servant to Mr. Pinkinton: between seven and eight, the first of November, the prisoner came in with the view of the purchase of a small commodity; the door was upon the latch; he opened the latch.
Are you sure of that? - Positive of that.
Did you see any body else so as to know them again? - No, I could not; I stopped Bockerah immediately.
Do you know any thing of the other prisoner, to your own knowledge? - No, I do not.
Mr. Peatt. Did you observe whether the person that went out last, shut the door? - Yes, I am positive it was shut; I was behind the counter, and took particular notice of it.
Was your eye upon the door the moment the latch was lifted, if opened at all? - Certainly; the door was upon the latch when he opened it.
Was your eye upon the latch when the latch rose, if it rose at all? - It was upon the door.
Was it upon the latch? - Certainly it was, at the closure of the door.
Did you hear the latch lift? - I heard the door open; it was opened as soon as possible.
Did you hear the latch lift? - I did not positively hear it, because he opened it softly.
Are you sure that the door was latched at the time he came? - I am positive of it, upon my oath.

I am a glass-cutter; I had been at the Turk’s Head, at Aldgate, taking a pint of beer, and seeing Mr. Johnson there; a man came and wanted a coach, and called me to take up in Hanover-court, Houndsditch.
Court: This is the story of the rescue; that has nothing to do with the indictment.
Did you see Hobbs there? - Yes, I am sure he was there; I saw Hobbs and Isaac Bell there, when the constables was in the coach with the prisoner; they were striking the coach with sticks; I cannot tell what it was upon.
Court: Is there any body here from the pawn broker’s? - No.
Mr. Peatt to Abrahams. How often have you been admitted evidence? - Never before.
How often have you been tried? - Never.
Mr. Peatt. My Lord, I submit, there is no evidence against Hobbs.
Court. I am of the same opinion.

I was coming by, and my coat was torn; I went in for a half-penny worth of thread; there were three men in the shop; his master asked him, says he, John, did not you see a little roll of velvet that stood there: he asked me, no, says I, I have it not; he kept me in custody.

“The prisoner, Bockerah, called two witnesses to his character.

“Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.
Court:- “Let Hobbs be detained till the call over, and let the accomplice be detained to give evidence.
Mr. Newman: He is detained for rescuing this man.”

Derby Mercury -Thursday 11 December 1788 page 2:
“On Saturday one prisoner was capitally convicted at the old Bailey, viz, Solomon Bookero; for burglariously entering the Dwelling House of Mr James Pilkington and stealing one Piece of Velveteen, value 8l. Eleven were convicted of felonies, and eleven acquitted.”

Solomon was put on board “Scarborough” for its second voyage to NSW, It left England with the Second Fleet in mid January 1790 and arrived on 29 June 1790. This second one was a hellish voyage, with 73 convicts dying on the voyage and an attempted seizure of the ship en route.

Solomon’s wife, Ann, was only young, probably only about 18 years old in 1789. She managed to get a passage to NSW arriving as a free person on board “Neptune” which was part of the Second Fleet, leaving on the same day as Solomon on the “Scarborough”. Although Ann was not a convict, there were 178 men and 11 women dying on board - the Neptune was the worst vessel of the Second Fleet -and it would have been a dreadful voyage for her too.

* June 1790, Solomon was in NSW. So was Ann.  Solomon was probably assigned to Ann. Their child Sarah was born the following year, a native of NSW.

* 1791 Birth of daughter Sarah in Sydney.
* 1791 DEATH of Solomon BOCKERAH, the year their daughter was born. BURIED 16 July 1791. Jew. Registered St Phillip’s Cof E, Sydney.

ANN from July 1791 - Feb 1793:

Ann his wife was now left alone in Sydney with a young baby, her future would not have looked good. However, luckily for her Richard Atkins arrived in NSW in February 1792.

Atkins was of the British upper classes but led a dissolute life, and to evade his creditors came to NSW, where Gov Phillip immediately gave him the position of a magistrate at Parramatta and in March the registrar of the Vice-Admiralty Court. His various brothers were a British Lt-general, a Vice Admiral,  a well known peer and he lived off these connections but he did not meet his debts and after a few years he was widely considered an inebriate, a cheater and living “in the most boundless dissipation” [Australian Dictionary ofBiography.

Atkins’ reputation for dissipation started with his shacking-up with Solomon’s young widow, Ann.  She was probably called his housekeeper. They must have conceived their daughter, named Penelope Atkins, soon after his arrival, in about April 1792, given her birth date of February 1793.  In his diary, Atkins recorded that he suffered “a great domestic loss”.
[Refer - “Richard Atkins. the women’s judge”
Journal of Australian Colonial History; Volume 1 Issue 1 (Apr 1999) pp115-142. ]

* Sadly, ANN Died at around the same time, so it can be assumed she died in childbirth with Penelope.

Atkins buried her in Parramatta and erected a monument over her grave (which Solomon could never have afforded).  It reads:
to the memory of
who died Feb 21st 1793
Aged 22 years
This Monument
is erected
by Richd Atkins Esqr
As a testimonial of the regard
he bore
her when living.
Requiescat in Pace”

The burial register records her name as “Sarah Buckerah” died 21 Feb 2793.


There was now a 2 yr old Sarah Bockerah orphaned completely and a new illegitimate baby girl. Atkinson (op cit) suggests that the children were raised by the next “housekeeper” an irish convict girl called Catherine Haggerty, known as Kitty.  She left Atkins with another illegitimate daughter, Therese.  Atkins’ lawful English wife had arrived in nSW however, and it is also claimed that she looked after the children.  Penelope was at least Atkins’ daughter, but Sarah Buckerah was not.

From her own 1810 petition soon after she married aged 19 years, Sarah gave us the bare facts of her life:

* she had been given 50 acres of land by Lt Governor Patterson “in consideration of her having been left an orphan during her infancy”. Patterson held this role for nine months from December 1794 until September 1795 when Governor John Hunter arrived, thereby dating the grant of land to Sarah.

* She was admitted into “the Institution”. This was the Girls Orphan school not established until 1801 by Gov King, located on on the corner of George and Bridge Streets. She may have gone into the Orphanage early in its set up, having possibly been maintained by Richard Atkins until then.  In 1801 she was ten years old.

* from the Female Orphan School, Sarah was taken in (as a housemaid probably) by “the late Mrs Wilkins in whose employ she continued these three (?) years.” This would mean she worked from the age of 16 until her marriage.

* 1810 -24th April -Sarah “BOCKERER” (aged abt 19) married convict John Lawrie/Lawry [per “Fortune” in 1806].  She had a lot of children, the eldest who was either Amelia born 29 Dec 1810 or Astly whose christening was not registered (perhaps born before the marriage, or otherwise quite a go ahead young man).

Astly strongly appears to be their child since John Lawrie was transported internally for 3 years for a colonial crime in early 1826 so Sarah would have been in difficult financial circumstances and in December 1826 Astly Lawrie had assaulted his mother’s landlord for removing property when his mother did not pay her debt.{Sydney Gazette, 9/12 1826]

Solomon Bokerah’s daughter, Sarah, died in 1833:

Sydney Herald Thu 8 Aug 1833 p. 4
“DIED.—On Tuesday the 6th instant, at her residence, Sydney, Sarah, the wife of Mr. John Laurie, after a brief illness of one month, aged 42 years.

Robin Sharkey on 19th December, 2015 wrote:

Daughter Sarah Bokerah:

Sarah Bokerah was one of the first girls taken in to the Female Orphan School when it opened in 1801.  Straight from the Orphan school she went to employment with Mrs Elizabeth ATKINS, wife of the Judge Advocate, Richard Atkins.
[ Taken from “The Europeans in Australia:  A History. Volume One” by Alan Atkinson, page 271]

Therefore it is “the late Mrs Atkins”, who died in mid October 1809 (and not any “Mrs Wilkins”) who Sarah’s petition referred to as being employed with.  This means that Richard Atkins continued to overview Sarah’s well-being, long after her mother’s death.  It is also likely that it was Richard Atkins who recommended to the Governor that Sarah, as an orphan in the Colony, be given a land grant.  Her marriage to John Lawrie occurred during the year after Mrs Atkins’ death.

Convict Changes History

Melissa Call on 20th January, 2013 made the following changes:

convicted at, date of birth 1760, date of death 16th July, 1791, gender, crime

Robin Sharkey on 2nd December, 2015 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 43 (23); Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 17 June 2015), Sydney City - Old Sydney Burial Ground Inventory fo Burial

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