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Israel Chapman

Israel Chapman, one of 170 convicts transported on the Glory, May 1818

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Israel Chapman
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1792
Occupation: Coachman/groom
Date of Death: 4th July, 1868
Age: 76 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: Highway robbery
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Glory
Departure date: May, 1818
Arrival date: 14th September, 1818
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 169 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/3, Page Number 37 (20) James McClelland's Research John S Levi & G F J Bergman 'Australian Genesis-Jewish Convicts & Settlers 1788-1860' John S Levi 'These Are The Names-Jewish Lives In Australia 1788-1850' Ruth Paley & Simon Fowler 'Family Skeletons-Exploring The Lives of Our Disreputable Ancestors' Shirley Doolan 'Index to Bench of Magistrates Returns New South Wales 1822-1828-Court Record' Keith A Johnson & Malco
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

iain Frazier on 19th August, 2019 wrote:

Israel/Izzy was born in 1792 at Chelsea London & was brother of Noel who came on SPEKE as convict in 1825.
In 1817 he was coachman & grazier and was charged with robbery with George (Scott) of James (Palmer) a sea captain on King’s Highway
Parish of St Botolph Aldgatein-stole 14shillings-seen running away-sentenced to death remitted to Life at Old Bailey Middlesex.  He came to NSW on GLORY in 1818.
Dark ruddy complexion black hair dark eyes stout 5’3.25”
In 1818 he received a Conditional Pardon.  By 1819 he was overseer & chief wardsman Hyde Park prisoner’s barracks; also Principal Overseer
Government Lumber Yard with wages.
He was Jewish.
In the 1820’s Israel (known as Izzy C) was the subject of rumours of bodysnatching-noted, an Israel (Easy) was a resurrection man (body snatcher) in London in 1811.
In 1820 Israel married Catherine (Martin) convict from MORLEY at St Philips Sydney.  Catherine was born about 1800; she was sentenced to 14years
and transported to NSW in 1820.
Israel received his Conditional Pardon in 1822 for good conduct & work.
Israel & Catherine are recorded at muster in 1822-1828.
In 1822 he was dismissed from the Police force for quarrelling with a superior-dismissed by Colonial Secretary, & became a dealer.  He advertised for work
as general overseer.  He commenced as Sydney’s first detective with help from Government contact.
He was awarded (first of many) 1lb for helping capture and arrest a bushranger.
In 1823 he was reinstated to the Police force & acquired reputation for catching offenders by dreams & visions.
In 1825 he is recorded as an employer.
In 1826 he went to Parramatta Rd to search for bushrangers-wounded Roberts severely in groin with cutlass, also Morison & Mackay. He later shattered his hand
when fowling piece exploded.
In 1827 he requested brother Noel be assigned to his care and also resigned from Police force.
              ‘CHAPMAN the flower of Colonial Constables, has resigned the Staff of Office.
              Hard work and little pay do not suit an active policeman, and he properly resolves
              to show his employers the void that is created by his resignation.  He is perfectly right’
Israel was then reemployed in Police force with salary 100lb, receiving Absolute Pardon ‘for indefatigable exertions’.  Convicts asked to be assigned to him. 
He became known as ‘Izzy the Hebrew Dreamer’ for his night visions of criminal activity.
He went on strike for wages & was appointed Police Runner with increase in salary.
In 1828, still Police constable, he was owner 3horses & 8acres land cleared & cultivated; he provided lodging, still an employer.  In this year he appeared
at Magistrates Court Sydney.
Catherine Martin died in 1829, buried at Devonshire St Jewish cemetery or St James Sydney or Bunnerong (references conflict as she was apparantly CofE). 
She was also exhumed for reburial at Bundaberg.  Israel was at Bundaberg.
In 1831 Israel married for the second time to Mary Ann (???).  They travelled to Sydney on free passage.  He then went to West Indies, only to return to
give evidence.  He was reemployed in Police force in 1833.
In 1835 he was demoted to conductor; he moved to Berrima in 1839; he retired in 1840, without pension.  In 1843 he moved to Campbelltown.  Also recorded as
retiring from Police force in 1846 due wounds and injuries-shot in head & right hand crippled.
He requested grant of land & pension in writing from Berrima citing 16yrs employment & capture of 11bushrangers-refused.
In 1848 he went to Sydney, employed as baillif.
In 1852 he was convicted of theft overenthusiastically helping 2friends collect rent debt (robbed an aged shoemaker of 7x1lb notes & 2pr boots) & was sent
to Darlinghurst Prison 6months hard labour by Sydney Quarter Sessions.
In 1868 Israel died Lunatic Asylum Liverpool buried at Jewish section Rookwood cemetery by Sydney Synagogue’s congregation as act of charity.
He was the model for George Flower the thief taker in John George Lang’s novels.
              ‘He next beheld that noted trap man
              And police runner, Israel Chapman
              Steeped was he standing to his head
              In couldron hot of boiling lead.
              ‘Alas!’ he cried. ‘Behold me, stranger,
              I’ve captured many a bold bushranger
              But Lo! now yonder snakes appear
              The Frank beheld some loathly wax worms
              And snakes of various shapes and forms
              All entering at the mouth and ears
              To know his guts for years and years.
                    ‘The Convict’s Tour of Hell’

He apparantly had no children, so there’s probably little genealogical interest in this record.

Rosalie Pollett on 4th November, 2019 wrote:

Born at Chelsea, England. 1st Detective in the NSW Police Force, Buried in Jewish Section, Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney NSW
Brother of Noel Chapman.

D Wong on 4th November, 2019 wrote:

Israel was listed as 26 years old on arrival.  He was 5’3¾” tall, dark ruddy complexion, black hair, dark eyes.

iain Frazier on 19th December, 2019 wrote:

Israel apparantly had no children, so there’s probably little genealogical interest in this record.
But-It is possible? that Catherine (Martin) had 3ch w/J in colony 1817-20.
An examination of the 1822 muster reveals a J (Chapman), a Catherine (Martin) & a ??? (???)-& 3ch born to J & ??? (???) which shows 3children born in 1817, 1819 & 1822.

In 1831 Israel left Australia. The reason is unsure as there were legal matters involving his job happening in England, but these were denied as the reason for his trip, or he travelled to West Indies - or perhaps both places.
He returned in 1833. He is variously reported as having sought the assistance of exGovernor (Darling) for free passage from England; and also that he returned from West Indies.  Versions show him travelling West Indies to UK on HENRY WOLSELEY & that he arrived in Australia on HENRY WOLSELEY.
On his return he returned to the Police Force.  The publication ‘Currency Lad’ included this statement;-
‘Izzi Chapman the celebrated thief catcher formally designated ‘the Hebrew dreamer’ has been sworn again into office.  The villains who infest this town paractising their delinquencies had better mind their P’s & Q’s.  They will not be able to evade this vigiland, this very active officer for a very long period.  They had better take the hint and betake themselves to honest industry.’

He is also said to have married Mary (???) in West Indies & brought her to Sydney on HENRY WOLSELEY.  In 1833 he is recorded as having married Mary Ann (Slater) at Scots Church.  This lady was hard to handle-sued by neighbours for quarreling violently with them.  Given beating by husband-traditional fate of a brawling wife-& charged husband with having thrashed her most unmercifully.  Israel was bound over to keep the peace.

Convict Changes History

iain Frazier on 19th August, 2019 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/3, Page Number 37 (20) James McClelland's Research John S Levi & G F J Bergman 'Australian Genesis-Jewish Convicts & Settlers 1788-1860' John S Levi 'These Are The Na

Rosalie Pollett on 4th November, 2019 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1794 (prev. 0000), date of death: 4th July, 1868 (prev. 0000), gender: m, occupation, crime

D Wong on 4th November, 2019 made the following changes:


D Wong on 4th November, 2019 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1792 (prev. 1794), occupation, crime

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