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Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown, one of 121 convicts transported on the Morley, 17 May 1820

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Sarah Brown
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1795
Occupation: Maid
Date of Death: 1st April, 1841
Age: 46 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 59 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 14 years

Crime: Uttering forged notes
Convicted at: Somerset Assizes
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: Morley
Departure date: 17th May, 1820
Arrival date: 30th September, 1820
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 123 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/3, Page Number 329 (166)
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

Heather Stevens on 17th January, 2020 wrote:

We know from her Certificate of Freedom in 1833 that Sarah came from Pontefract, Yorkshire; it also gave her trade or calling ‘lady’s maid’ and year of birth 1795.

The Certificate of Freedom has her description: five feet, four and three-quarter inches tall, fair ruddy complexion, brown hair and blue eyes.
She was tried at Somerset Assizes, Bridgwater for uttering forged notes, she pleaded guilty to possession, and was sentenced on 14 August 1819 to 14 years transportation.

A newspaper reported that: ‘Thos. Royan, Catherine Leeson, Sarah Brown and Mary Hickman’ were sentenced to 14 years transportation at Somerset Assizes, ‘for knowingly having in their possession forged £1 Bank of England notes. (they were severally charged with having uttered the notes to tradesmen in Bath, but pleaded guilty to the minor offence)’. [The Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette 19 August 1819, accessed in findmypast]

She was transported on the ‘Morley’ in 1820. and was one of the fifty women who were landed in Hobart in September 1820. 

The Tasmanian Convict Conduct Register records that on 14 April 1821 she was before the magistrates, charged with being: ‘Insolent & abusive to Mrs. Fisk’. She was reprimanded and discharged from the service of Mrs. Baker and confined in Gaol until assigned to some service by the Lieut Governor (Libraries Tasmania’s Online collection)

On 18 Jun 1821 at Hobart, Sarah Brown convict ‘Morley’ age 27 married Moses Moses convict ‘Marquis of Wellington’ age 28 by banns; witnesses were Elizabeth Mary Mack and George Northam. Both Sarah and Moses signed the register (according to the marriage registration record on Libraries Tasmania’s Online collection).

Birth dates of their children are in their baptisms in Hobart and New Norfolk: William (later known as John) 1821, Anna Maria (later known as Maria Anna) 1823, Phoebe 1825, Sarah Tabitha 1827, Joseph William 1829 and Abraham 1831. (The children’s baptisms are in Libraries Tasmania’s Online collection)

In June 1822, Moses advertised that he was selling ‘Confectionary Goods’ in a shop in Hobart [Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser, 15 June 1822]. In 1823 Moses’s brother John (Jacob) who was a baker was assigned to him and the business expanded to a bakery as well.

On 27 August 1826 Sarah absconded from her home and proceeded to New Norfolk without a pass. She was apprehended on 3 September, reprimanded and returned to her family [Conduct Register, Libraries Tasmania’s Online collection]

By November 1827 they had moved to New Norfolk where Moses was a baker (there is a newspaper report that Moses was fined for ‘driving a cart’, presumably on a Sunday, at New Norfolk. He is a ‘baker’ in the baptism record of his children at New Norfolk in 1829).

On 12 April 1831 Sarah was before the magistrates again: Very disorderly conduct & making use of obscene & violent language, and was sentenced to 36 hours solitary confinement on Bread & Water.
And again on 28 March 1832: She was ‘at large without a pass’ and reprimanded.  [Conduct Register, Libraries Tasmania’s Online collection]

In 1833 the family moved to Sydney. The passenger list of the ‘Enchantress’, arrived Sydney 24 Apr 1833 has: Mrs Sarah Moses, with children John 11, Anna Maria 10, Phoebe 7, Sarah Tabitha 6, Joseph 3, Abraham 16 months. Her husband Moses Moses was probably the “Mess.r Moses” who sailed for Sydney on the ‘Gulnare’ a month earlier.

On January 28 1836 Sarah appeared in court in ‘Elizabeth Roberts v. Sarah Moses’. Sarah, who was living in George Street, Sydney, had been summoned to answer the charge of assaulting her neighbour Elizabeth Roberts. The assault consisted of verbal insults and was reported in the Sydney Gazette, which gave readers examples of Sarah’s colourful language. [The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 2 February, p. 3]

Sarah and her husband separated. On 25 January 1837 a newspaper had the notice: ‘CAUTION. THE Undersigned hereby cautions the public against trusting his wife, Sarah Moses, as he will not be responsible for any debts she may contract after this notice. M. MOSES, KENT STREET.’ [The Sydney Monitor 25 January 1837]

Soon after, Moses Moses moved to Yass and by July 1837 he and his brother Isaac had the ‘Yass Store’  [‘Australian’, Friday 18 August 1837]

Sarah stayed in Sydney at Kent Street for a while, and apparently moved to Parramatta. It is not known whether she or her husband had the children.

The following notice was in the ‘Australian’ newspaper, 9 February 1838: ‘NOTICE. IF SARAH MOSES does not call and release her Box and Bedding she left with me as security for her Board and lodging, they will be sold within twenty-one days from this date, to defray the same, and the expenses of this Advertisement. SARAH ARMSTRONG Kent-street, Feb. 5, 1838.’

On 20 January 1840 her husband Moses Moses married Hannah Dray in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church of Scotland, Sydney. The marriage register records that Moses Moses was a ‘widower’ of the Jewish persuasion of Sydney and Yass, dealer, and Hannah Dray a spinster of Sydney.

Sarah died on 1st April 1841, at Parramatta and was buried in St Johns Cemetery, Parramatta. The burial register of St Johns has Sarah Moses, age 47, date of death 1 April 1841 at Parramatta, burial date: 2 April 1841.

It is unknown where she was living and who supported her after her marriage breakup and her husband’s blatant bigamous marriage. She did have some friends looking out for her - there was a death notice in the newspapers, and 6 years later a gravestone was erected by her ‘friends’.

Death Notice in The Sydney Herald 3 April 1841 : ‘DEATH. On Wednesday, 31st March, at Parramatta, Sarah Moses, formerly of Hobart Town.’ (note that the date of death is different from that in the burial register)

The ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ Tuesday 20 April 1847, page 1 had the following notice:

‘THE Friends of the undersigned have just caused to be erected in the Parramatta Church Yard, a Tombstone, as under, which has been neglected prior to this -
ln Memory of
Sarah, Wife of Moses Moses,
Formerly of Hobart Town, and now of Yass,
who died of a broken heart from peculiar
family trials, 1st April, 1841.
Peace to her shade, may the divine Creator
Receive her soul into everlasting rest, and
Pardon her former unnatural oppressors.
- From the Parramatta Messenger, April 17, 1847’

Research note: There is a Sarah Brown who was baptised 21 Aug 1793 at Pontefract, parents Benjamin and Jane. Is she the Sarah Brown, convict on the Morley? According to St Johns Cemetery Project’s ‘Sarah Moses: Tell the World I Died For Love’, her father Benjamin was a grocer, and there is the supposition that being a grocer’s daughter, she would have had the experience to run their confectionery shop in Hobart. There needs to be confirmation that her parents were Benjamin and Jane, especially as none of her children were named after them.

Convict Changes History

Heather Stevens on 16th January, 2020 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1795 (prev. 0000), date of death: 31st March, 1841 (prev. 0000), gender: f, occupation, crime

Heather Stevens on 16th January, 2020 made the following changes:

date of death: 1st April, 1841 (prev. 31st March, 1841)

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