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Pierce Condon

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Pierce Condon
Aliases: Peery Condon
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1762
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 27th March, 1813
Age: 51 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 56 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Stealing a pig
Convicted at: Tipperary Ireland
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Tellicherry
Departure date: 31st August, 1805
Arrival date: 15th February, 1806
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 155 other convicts


Primary source: State Records of NSW, "Tellicherry" Indent, Bound manuscript indents, 1788–1842. NRS 12188, microfiche 614–619,626–657, 660–695. Finns Leinster Journal, 27 November 1802, Col 3, p. 2; 5 March 1803, Col. 3, p.2; NSW Colonial Secretary's Papers, State Records, NRS 898; Reel or Fiche Numbers: Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312. Trial Details - vol 5/1120, p. 328 Reel 2390 NSW AAO.
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Robin Sharkey on 18th September, 2018 wrote:

Pierce Condon was transported on “Tellicherry” aged 44 (per later indent) for LIFE. Crime not recorded.

This turn out NOT to be Pierce Condon, but another Condon of the same area:
Finns Leinster Journal, 27 November 1802, Col 3, p. 2; 
“A man of the name of Condon was on Friday committed to Clonmel Jail, charged with having attempted to negociate [sic] (at Messrs Watson’s Bank) a bill for 17l alledged [sic] to have been drawn by Mr Farrell of Springmount, on Cherry and Sieks of Waterford.”

Then Condon broke out of Clonmel Jail:

Finns Leinster Journal, 5 March 1803, Col 3, p. 2; 
[Committed] to the City Jail by Robert Edmonds Esq, Pierce Condon charged with pig stealing, and feloniously breaking out of the Gaol of Cashel in the County Tipperary.

Belfast Newsletter 22 April 1803, p.4:
“At Clonmell [sic] Assizes ... John Condon for forgery were sentenced to death on the 7th November. ... ... Pierce Condon for cow-stealing - to be transported ...

Robin Sharkey on 19th September, 2018 wrote:

So, it is unclear whether Pierce was guilty of “pig stealing” or of “Cow stealing”.  He arrive din Sydney on Tellicherry in April 1806.

NSW Colonial Secretary’s papers “List of Criminals Convicted of Murder, 1810- 1822, p.150-152”
“1812 and 1813 - Thomas Mahony, Pierce Condin [sic], Matthew Kearns, John Kearns Sen’r, John Kearns jun’r”

Pierce Condon was executed by hanging on 24 March 1813 with all the above men.
Convict Records Executions 1821-1824, Vol 4/1265 (Reel 696 NSWAO.

[NOTE -Muster Lists (e.g. 1819 muster) wrongly record him as having suffered a colonial sentence for murder (correct) in Van Diemens Land (Wrong) and being executed in 1808 - Wrong: it was 1813).]

Trial Details -  vol 5/1120, p. 328 Reel 2390 NSW AAO.

Condon, together with one Thomas Mahony, was charged with the murder of Joseph Sutton. Three Kearns men were charged with aiding and abetting the murder. Matthew Kearns had a son called John and a brother called John. All five were found guilty of their charges, and hanged at Sydney on 27 March 1813.

  Evidence was given (by Eliza Plumb) that Condon was frequently called by the name “Peery”.  Conden was a government servant to Matthew Kearns, who, since about February, had been in Sydney Gaol waiting trial for cattle theft.
  Matthew Kearns had a 160 acre farm called “Kearns’ Retreat” at Nepean Point, and another farm at the Race Ground, three miles from Windsor. Kearns was up on charges of cattle stealing and, while he had been acquitted at one trial in January (reported in Sydney Gazette dated 16 January 1813, p.2), together with another of his government servants called Timothy Hector, he faced further charges.
  Joseph Sutton was to be a witness giving evidence at the next cattle theft trial. Sutton told Mrs Grimshaw — with whom he boarded — that he was expecting Mrs Eliza Plumb to visit him between 8pm and 9pm on the night he was murdered. He went out after 8pm. Eliza Plumb appeared to be on intimate terms with Pierce Condon, who she had been visiting frequently at the Wright’s house where he “put up”, and where she had been known to stay the night in Condon’s skillet with him at least once.
  The Rev. Samuel Marsden (a witness at Condon’s murder trial) said that other people could also be incriminated by the evidence Sutton would give, but Matthew Kearns would fare the worst because “more cattle had been found in his possession than in the proportion of three to one in any other accused person’s.” The cattle theft charges related to thefts from the government herds.

  Evidence at Condon’s murder trial gave quite a bit of detail about Pierce Condon’s life. Conden had been staying for two or three months in a skillet at the back of Edmund and Martha Wright’s house, and Eliza Plumb would frequently visit him at this house. To observers, this gave the appearance of intimacy.
  Eliza’s husband, Thomas Plumb, had been in the jail at Sydney since February 1813 on cattle-stealing charges. However, Eliza seems to have been involved with Condon just for th purpose of achieving the Sutton murder. Her own husband would benefit as well from Sutton being dead since his cattle theft trial related to the same overall theft of cattle from government herds.  Eliza also appeared, from her own evidence, to have a special friendship with Joseph Sutton, and stayed with him overnight on at least one occasion.
Condon owned a pistol which was unusual looking.  Edmund Wright, found a pistol in his privy after the murder, observed by another boarder at the house, a young fellow named William Brazil. Brazil described Condon’s pistol as being unusual looking -  it was “very long, brass mounted, and had a clasp or brace to fasten in a belt.” The pistol retrieved from the privy looked exactly the same.

Eliza Plumb appears to be a Crown witness. She gave direct evidence incriminating Pierce Condon. She said when she’d first taken food to her husband in gaol, Matthew Kearns had approached her and told her that there were a great many lives depending and it would be a pity if Joseph Sutton could not be put out of the way. Kearns had said to her he understood she had a great influence over Sutton, that his man Condon, who he trusted absolutely, was driving Kearns’ cart back to Parramatta next day and that she could get a lift with Condon who would give her directions about how to get Sutton into the bush. It appears this is how she met Condon
  She gave various details of going back and forth between Parramatta and the Sydney Gaol, and of staying at Wright’s where Condon lived. On one Friday at Parramatta, Condon asked her to accompany him to see Joseph Sutton, as Condon had two men waiting at the gate of the lumber yard for him, to kill Sutton. She declined to go that night.
She gave various details of going back and forth between Parramatta and the Sydney Gaol, and of staying at Wright’s where Condon lived. On one Friday at Parramatta, Condon asked her to accompany him to see Joseph Sutton, as Condon had two men waiting at the gate of the lumber yard for him, to kill Sutton. She declined to go that night.
  Later when she was at Sydney Gaol with her husband’s breakfast again, Kearns saw her and admonished her for taking a long time “over this business” and instructed her to get Condon to buy a bottle of rum for Sutton who was very fond of it, for Eliza to entice him away, and for them to do the job near a body of water where he could be killed and the body weighed down with stones. Another time at the jail, Kearns told her he was getting nervous because Condon had not “been down” i.e to Sydney, to see him. Kearns had sent his son John Kearns Junior to Parramatta to see Condon, and had given him the bottle of rum. Condon told Kearns jun he had been waiting for Eliza for two days at the Parramatta turnpike.
  On a very rainy day (Thursday 20 February) she’d been at the gaol, and Kearns had given her some money to make her way up to Parramatta by some convenient method. She didn’t go that night because rain prevented her proceeding beyond the Parramatta turnpike. Next day, 21 Feb, she went up to Parramatta in a cart and the Sydney turnpike keeper first told her that “Peery” (i.e. Condon) had been waiting for her there for two days. She found him at Wright’s at Parramatta. She claimed she passed no message to Condon from his master, Matthew Kearns, and that Condon was “very desirous of putting Sutton out of the way” because the cattle theft trial date was fast approaching.
  Over the next week, she visited Sutton and even stayed a whole night with him. Condon was called to Sydney by Matthew Kearns. Condon told Eliza that Kearns and his son were very angry with him at the delay and had said they didn’t want to see him until he had done the job on Sutton.

On the day of the murder (5th March) Eliza had gone to Sutton’s lodging and stayed with him some time. That evening, Condon arrived at Wright’s. About 7, in the skillet, they had some spirits and he took out an old blue coat in which he wrapped his firearms. He primed and charged the pistol, he saw two small balls in his hand. She called him into the yard to try to dissuade him, and he agreed but said he had promised to meet two men that night at 8pm. Right on 8pm, e asked her to get the old coat and pistol from the skilling, which she did. He left for about 2/4 of an hour and on return asked Eliza if she had seen Sutton. She said no. bt hesiad he thought he had seen Sutton, and as a stone came into the passage then, he pushed her against the wall telling her to stay there.

“A few minutes after he re-entered the back way, much confused, saying he had done his job, and requesting her to go out and secure the pistol, which was in the cart, but she refused, He then hastily ran out again at the back door, and deponent [i.e. Eliza] ran out at the front with Mrs. Wright and others. After the alarm she saw Pearce Conden come out of the skilling, where he had gone to bed unperceived, by going in the back way while every one else was out at the front of the house. When he came out he asked deponent who was shot? she answered she did not know.”


  Lewis gave evidence as an Approver for the Crown. He lived on Matthew Kearns’ Nepean farm in the labourers’ hut there. The two John Kearnses spoke to him about forswearing himself on the forthcoming trial, and he said he would refuse. The other were “very affected” by the thought of Matthew Kearns hanging.
Later they gave him a letter from Matthew Kearns, and held flattering promises out to him (eg the gift of a small farm) if he would help Pierce Condon and Thomas Mahony kill Sutton.
“He went into  the labourers’ hut to get rid of them, but was followed in by Conden and the two John Kearns’s. He stopped to  light his pipe, and in rising was prevented by Conden, who collared him; presented a pistol, and said if he did  not consent to assist himself and Mahoney, and two Kearns’s in killing Sutton he should be that instant a dead man. The witness promised compliance, Conden then asked the younger Kearns for a book, which he brought, and by which he, deponent, was sworn to keep the whole affair secret, and to aid and assist in killing Joseph Sutton, whenever called upon. “
He gave evidence about pistols being brought by the two John Kearnses for Condon, Elia Plumb having drawn Sutton on to the Prospect Rd but two stockmen had come along thereby preventing Condon shooting Sutton.
On the day of the murder John Kearns senior told him it had to be done that day because Sutton was going to Sydney the next day. Lewis went to the race ground farm, and was told that Condone and Kearns junior had gone to Parramatta. Lewis was given a fowling piece and wo pocket pistols, and was told to meet Tom Mahony at the 90-acre bridge (mile and half from Parramatta). There he met Mahony who had them both go to the appointed meeting place under the old bridge near Edward Wright’s house. They concealed themselves there but Condon from up on the bridge told them there was no time to spare. The others placed him at Wright’s fence corner, to shoot Sutton if he chanced that way.  They went forward where he couldn’t see them but 2 or3 minutes later heard the shot.
Lewis claimed that “It had been previously agreed that Conden should go into Wright’s by the back window, and that Mahony should return to [Lewis], 
and go with him homewards. Deponent returned to his station beneath the bridge and heard the Rev. Mr. Marsden, as he believed, say, “keep all in.” He remained 
there till all was quiet, and then went back to the 90- acre bridge where Mahony soon after joined him, and telling him he had “done the trick,” went off and left
him. Deponent got to the Race-ground farm between 2 and 3 the next morning, and gave the two pistols and, fowling piece to John Kearns the elder, telling him at the same time “the trick was done!” well knowing that he knew the meaning of the phrase to be, that Sutton had been killed. Deponent was that morning (Saturday the
6th), subpoena’d on Matthew Kearns’s trial for the cattle, and came to Sydney that day.”


“The voluntary confession Pearce Conden, one of the prisoners at the bar, taken before two Magistrates at Parramatta after he was taken into custody on suspicion of the crime, was now exhibited and read by order of the Court, in substance it went to state, that:

“ about three weeks before the perpetration of the murder he went into the gaol at Sydney to speak to Matthew Kearns, and was called aside by several persons who were also in confinement on the charge of cattle-stealing, one of whom remarked that the death of Sutton would save many lives. Eliza Plumb being present, said she could get him to accompany her wherever she pleased, but he (Conden) refused to take any part in such a transaction.
    “One of the parties observed that he (Conden), had fire-arms in his cart, and people could be got to kill him; Eliza Plumb went with him to Parramatta, and remained with him two nights; He met her in Pitt-street, where she mentioned the killing of Sutton, and said she would provide two men for the purpose; if he (Conden), would give up his fire-arms: He did not see her for 8 or 9 days afterwards, and was not permitted to visit M. Kearns.
“When he again saw Eliza Plumb he told him she had the two men in readiness. He was the person who went for the prisoner Thomas Mahony and the witness Lewis, which he did by the direction of John Kearns the elder. When he communicated the business to Thomas Mahony, the latter remarked that it was bad to have a woman concerned in it. Lewis was to have a cow as his reward.
    “Nine or ten days before the murder was effected they went to a place whither Eliza Plumb was to have conducted Sutton for the intended purpose, but neither he nor her appeared, though she afterwards told him they had been there. He, Conden, twice went to Prospect to meet her, and he also made an appointment for Lewis and Mahony to meet him at the stock-yard at Parramatta. On the night of Friday the 5th instant, he, Conden, loaded the pistol at Wright’s with two large slugs, and a little after bell-ringing met Mahony and Lewis near the place. He asked if they would know Sutton if they met him, and Mahony replied .“Yes; I know him very
well, and will do him if I come up to him,” and further declared that he would have no hand in it unless they should also kill the woman.
“He returned to Wright’s and while speaking to Eliza Plumb a stone struck a wall of the house; and she said she was sure it was Sutton. He went out and seeing Sutton asked if it was him? and  was answered that it was. He, Conden, ran immediately and informed Mahony that he had seen him (meaning Sutton), near to Wright’s paling. He instantly returned  and tapped at the skilling window. Eliza Plumb handed the coat and pistol out to him, and he gave the pistol to Mahony, who left him, and proceeding towards the place where Sutton was, in 2 0r 3 minutes the pistol was fired. He (Conden), then threw the coat into his cart in Wright’s yard, and went in to bed; but Mahony acquainting him at the window that the pistol was in the cart, he got up again, went out, found the pistol, and threw it into the place where it was afterwards found. John Kearns the elder and the female servant at the farm were acquainted with the whole of the business, but he had never conversed on the subject with M. Kearns or his son.”

Sydney Gazette Saturday 27 March 1813 page 1
Here are the first few paragraphs of the long report of:

“On Monday morning, between 9 and 10 o’clock, the Court of Criminal Jurisdiction re-assembled, and proceeded to the trial of Thomas Mahony, and Pearce Conden for the wilful murder of Joseph Sutton, on the night of the 5th of March instant; and Matthew Kearns, John Kearns the elder, and John Kearns the younger, for inciting, moving, aiding, abetting, counselling, hiring, and commanding the said Thomas Mahony and Pearce Conden to commit the said murder.”

“After 8pm on the night of 5th March, neighbours heard a gunshot.  Joseph Sutton was killed with a gunshot wound in a Parramatta street at the corner of the house of Mr Edmund Wright and his wife Martha Wright, opposite the house of John Hodges. Next door to the Wright’s house was a narrow lane which separated it from the house of Mr Larra. Pierce Conden had been at Wright’s house earlier that night, as had one Eliza Pumb.  The neighbour, John Hodges, was visiting from over the road when the gun went off.

Martha Wright said that Pierce Conde had “Put up” at her house for the last three months.  Eliza Plumb came there “frequently” to see Conden “in the last month or two”.

Mrs Wright’s evidence was this:
“ Conden came to her house between 5 and 6 in the evening with the horse and cart he usually drove; he unloaded the cart, and deposited some tea and sugar in a small skilling behind the house, in which he slept whenever he stopped at night, and to which there was a small window that opened to the avenue that separates the house from Mr. Larra’s: he soon afterwards got tea, at which herself and husband, and Eliza Plumb were present. Conden went into the skilling after tea, and remained there till between 7 and 8 o’clock. At 8 the witness saw him in the back yard, but did not see him afterwards until the fatal act had been perpetrated. A short time after 8 o’clock, the witness accompanied Mrs. Plumb over to the house of Hodges, who, as well as herself, perceived a man standing at the corner of Wright’s paling, and whom Hodges said he believed to be the prisoner Conden. The witness returned home, and Eliza Plumb was in her house before her. Witness prepared to iron some linen, and when about to begin her work, heard the report, and saw the flash of the pistol, which was very loud. “

“ Pearce Conden was always in the habit of having fire-arms with him, such as a gun or huge pistol; she had seen none with him this time, but he had never before come to her house without such, and might have had them now without her knowledge. Here a long pistol, which after the murder had been found in Wright’s privy, was shewn to the witness; who declared it to be like the one she had before seen with Conden; and when she told him a man had been murdered on her premises he did not appear to evince any marks of surprise, nor did she recollect his making any reply.”

Convict Changes History

Robin Sharkey on 18th September, 2018 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 99 years, voyage, source: State Records of NSW, "Tellicherry" Indent, Bound manuscript indents, 1788–1842. NRS 12188, microfiche 614–619,626–657, 660–695. Finns Leinster Journal, 27 November 1802, Col 3, p. 2; 5 March 1803, Col. 3, p

Robin Sharkey on 19th September, 2018 made the following changes:

source: State Records of NSW, "Tellicherry" Indent, Bound manuscript indents, 1788–1842. NRS 12188, microfiche 614–619,626–657, 660–695. Finns Leinster Journal, 27 November 1802, Col 3, p. 2; 5 March 1803, Col. 3, p.2; NSW Colonial Secretary's Papers, S

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