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Jemima Bowers

Jemima Bowers, one of 110 convicts transported on the Northampton, December 1814

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Jemima Bowers
Aliases: Bainbridge, Smith
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1794
Occupation: Servant
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 58 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Northampton
Departure date: December, 1814
Arrival date: 18th June, 1815
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 109 other convicts


Primary source: The evidence of the Bigge Reports: New South Wales under Governor Macquarie,v.2 Written Evidence; ed. John Douglas Ritchie (1970), p 198.
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 28th January, 2016 wrote:

Jemima Bowers aged 20 was transported for stealing 18 yards of ribbon out of a haberdasher’s shop at 51 Holborn in London, with her friend Mary Fitzgerald, also aged 20. They stole on 5th June 1814 and were found guilty a month later on 6th July. By December they were on “Northampton” heading for NSW under a 7 year sentence.

1824 description (from NSW Certificate of Freedom):
Native Place: Birmingham
Calling: Servant. Age: 29
Height: 5ft 4in. Florid complexion, Dark brown hair and hazel eyes

On her voyage out, Jemima told the ships surgeon she was married in London in 1811 (therefore aged about 17) to James Bainbridge, already transported in 1814 on “Indefatigable”.  It’s possible that her crime was committed so as to be in NSW with James. However, this does not explain why she bothered to leave the shop when detected.

Jemima and Mary used an old trick to take the ribbon - jemima putting Mary’s bonnet on the drawer where the ribbons were saying she wanted ribbon to trim it,  and with a motion of her arm got the 18 yards of ribbon out of the drawer and managed to pass it to Mary.  The haberdasher’s wife caught the movement and challenge the pair. Mary said they had paid for the ribbon and the money must have fallen down.

The haberdasher’s wife had pushed Mary away from the counter with force when she saw the ribbon fall from her hand.  The shopkeeper took hold of Mary’s arm and then Mary put the ribbon on the counter, but Jemima left the shop because she was unable to be stopped. An officer apprehended Jemima, and also Mary.
[Details are in the onlineProceedings of the old Bailey, 6th July 1814.]

Jemima claimed to the ship’s surgeon that she was married at Shoreditch Church in London to James Bainbridge who had been transported already in 1814 on the “indefatigable”. She said they were married on 28 May 1811.  The information given by nine women on ‘Northampton” about their marriages to husbands already transported were set out in letter dated July 1814 from Joseph Arnold, surgeon, to Governor Macquarie.  Most of the husbands had arrived on “indefatigable”. Jemima gave the following information in July 1814:

Jemima Bowers
What is your age?    21, transported 7 yrs
have you your marriage certificate?  lost
Where were you married?  Shoreditch Church
What was the clergyman’s name?  Barnett or Bainton
What is your maiden name?’  Jemima Bowers
When were you married?  May 28 1811
What is your husband’s name?  James Bainbridge
What trade is he?    Printer
What age is he?    21
What ship was he transported in?  Indefatigable
Where was he convicted?  Old Bailey
For how long is he transported?  Life

Whether Jemima and James were actually married needs to be verified.
However they were clearly a couple. James Bainbridge was part of a gang of thieves well known in the inner-London area policed by Hatton Garden constables. James and Henry Chambers were found not guilty on 14 July 1813 of robbing a drunk man near the White Horse Inn, Clare Market on 19th May.  Chambers was found guilty though a few months later in October 1813 when an attorney was hustled by four men and his pockets picked.  Chambers left England first on Somersetshire in may 1814, arriving in NSW in October 1814. This was when James was leaving England on “Indefatigable” and he arrived in NSW in April 1815, just 2 months before Jemima.

Activities of James’ gang of thieves were referred to at length in the “Kentish Weekly Post” dated Friday 20 November 1812, page 2. detailing the recent street robberies various groups of them had been involved in.  They were a gang of eight identified, all the persons recently robbed were required to attend Hatton Garden and identify the men.

The gang included the “well-known James Bainbridge, and James Hamilton, alias Fitzgerald, alias “Young Snuff”. It also included Henry Chambers. These men hustled others to rob their pockets and take their watch chains and seals,  They surrounded there victim in an isolated spot, roughed him up and rifled his pockets. They attended events such as a prize fight at Piccadilly and picked pockets of the spectators. Members also included George Ross.  Henry Chambers had been previously taken in Old Compton Street on 16 Nov 1812, when operating with the gang which included a woman. There were also a man named Nightingale (Josiah) and Williams. Gang Members were often taken into custody charged with being “a reputed thief”,

Mary Fitzgerald had the same surname as gang member James Hamilton alias Ftzgerald, so may have been related, and Jemima may have been part of the gang.

James Bainbridge had been twice on trial at the Old Bailey:
- in January 1813 for stealing 40 stockings from the counter of a haberdasher’s shop,
in July 1813 with Henry Chambers for robbing a drunk man just outside a public house.
The third trial, where he was convicted was not at the Old Bailey, however it was a London Gaol Delivery case.

Jemima hadn’t reunited long with James Bainbridge before Bainbridge bolted.  Six months later, he was advertised as being absent from his employment: “james bainbridge from Parramatta. Similar advertisements ran in the Sydney Gazette from January 1816 right through to September 1816. Bainbridge did not again appear in the convict records, and received no Ticket of leave or pardon.

Jemima knew James had gone.  She sought permission in 1818 to marry William Brown, free. But that marriage did not happen

In January 1820 she had permission to marry James Smith, free, at Liverpool Anglican church.  this marriage went ahead (NSWBDM marriage index 1820).
however she was also advertised on January 22, 29 and February 5th as having absented herself without permission from the Parramatta Factory.  She seems to have absented herself to get married to Smith.

August 1820
Jemima and her new husband James Smith and one John Cooke, were up before the Criminal Court. James Smith at Parramatta had violently assaulted a peace officer with a bludgeon, who’d turned up on hearing cries for help (from Jemima?)  when James Smith was disturbing the peace of the neighbourhood. Smith had beten him severely while on the ground and jemima and Cooke had stood by and done nothing. They were admonished by the court and discharged. Jemima’s new husband was sent for six months’ imprisonment.

FREE in 1821
Certificate of Freedom 190/2730 dated 28 Sept 1824 IN LIEU of earlier Certificate 55/3002. Additional information: Native Place: Birmingham
, Calling: Servant. Age: 29
Height: 5ft 4in. Flrod complexion, Dark brown hair and hazel eyes.

Jemima was charged by Magistrate Darcy Wentworth in December 1825 with being a “Rogue, vagabond and common prostitute”.  She and four others had been found in the house of Elizabeth Lilly, notorious for carrying on a house for the reception of prostitutes. Allegeldy the women “ … appeared the wretched  victims to prostitution, to drunkenness, and depravity and who were found in the house of Elisabeth Lilly, rioting and engaged in scenes of the most abandoned description …”  They were sentenced according to the degrees of guilt as follows: Elizabeth Lilly to the Factory  for 3 months, Mary Salmon, for 3 months; and Esther Condon and Jemima Bowers to the Factory for 2 months; Ann Conden, a very young girl, to the Factory for 14 days.  SEE Sydney Gazette Thursday 15 December 1825 page 1.
Sydney Gaol Entry Book - To the Factory 2 calendar Months. to 9th May. 1826.

1828 CENSUS - not found

David Morgan on 11th February, 2017 wrote:

In a letter 5/2/1821 to Commissioner Bigge, William Redfern writes about his apprentice at the hosptial, Henry Cowper (aged 19):

“...He associated with the Underlings about the Hospital contrary to My advice & instructions - and indeed had it not been for the great Mortification such a measure would have been to his father, I would have turned him out of My house before he had been with me Six Months…

“I received on another occasion information that he had given stockings and other articles of women’s apparel to Jemima Bowyers [sic] a Nurse at the Hospital, with whom I was led to understand, he had formed an improper connexion. Constables were sent to her lodgings - where in her box two pair of Cotton stockings & the other articles were found. She was punished - but as far as regard Henry Cowper, for the reason assigned the affair was kept quiet.”

Convict Changes History

Robin Sharkey on 28th January, 2016 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 192; onlineProceedings of the old Bailey, 6th July 1814; NSWState Records - Colonial Secretary's Correspondence, incoming letters; Convicts' applicati

David Morgan on 11th February, 2017 made the following changes:

source: The evidence of the Bigge Reports: New South Wales under Governor Macquarie,v.2 Written Evidence; ed. John Douglas Ritchie (1970), p 198. (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 192;

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