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Fergus Cunningham

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Fergus Cunningham
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1791
Occupation: Labourer
Date of Death: 22nd March, 1834
Age: 43 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 59 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Unknown
Convicted at: Ireland, Galway
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Lord Sidmouth
Departure date: 9th November, 1820
Arrival date: 19th February, 1821
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 87 other convicts


Primary source: http://members.pcug.org.au/~ppmay/convicts.htm
Source description:

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Community Contributions

D Wong on 6th July, 2016 wrote:

Fergus Cunningham was 30 years old on arrival – no crime stated.

Colonial Secretary Papers:
CUNNINGHAM, Fergus. Per “Lord Sidmouth”, 1821
1821 Apr 16: On list of prisoners transported to Newcastle per “Elizabeth Henrietta” (Reel 6007; 4/3503 p.221)

1824 Jul 12: Servant to W Evans, Bellevue, Hunters River (Reel 6068; 4/1811 p.134)

1825 Feb 23: On list of convicts transported to Port Macquarie per “Amity” (Reel 6019; 4/3864 pp.506-7)

17/8/1831 Court House, Penrith:
Before T. Wright, Superintendent of Police.
Fergus Cunningham, life, Lord Sidmouth, assigned to Sir J. Jamison.
The Superintendent of Police swears that he found the prisoner shrieking with drunkenness, and fighting and stripped in the most outrageous manner, opposite Matthewman’s inn, in the daytime, at four o’clock in the afternoon.
(Signed) T. WRIGHT, J.P’
Edward Fenton, Gaoler, sworn, corroborates the above statement, but did not observe the fighting.
Fifty lashes.

25/3/1834 Sydney Gazette:
Accounts have been in town since Saturday evening of a murder committed that day at Parramatta by a constable.
The only particulars we have as yet been able to learn are, that the constable who belonged to
Liverpool, and had just delivered some females at the factory, fell in company with a bullock-driver, in the employ of Sir John Jamison. The latter was in a state of intoxication, and giving some offence to the constable, that guardian of the peace, coolly leveled his pistol at his head and fired, The poor fellow instantly fell weltering in his blood, and shortly afterwards expired.

Since writing the above, we have received the following additional particulars as elicited upon the inquest, which was held on Saturday evening,1 at the Irish Arms Inn, kept by Mr. Fitterton.
The name of the deceased was Fergus Cunningham, on old hand in the colony, formerly a government overseer, and for some time-past in the assigned service of Sir John.
He came to Parramatta on SatUrday morning, when, he was in the company of the constable, during which some words took place between them. The bullock driver went into the Irish Arms, where he became partially intoxicated, and the constable after taking the women he had in charge to the factory, returned to the same house. The former dispute was revived, and the constable then discharged his piece at the unfortunate Cunningham. The contents entered by “the right eye, and drove the skull and brains in all directions.

The jury returned a verdict of “Wilful murder” against the constable, who was accordingly committed to take his trial on the Coroner’s warrant. 

8/5/1834 Sydney Herald:  **These are extracts of the lengthy trial:
Thomas Clarke stood indicted for the wilful murder of Fergus Cunningham, by shooting him with a pistol, loaded with powder and ball, on the 22d March, at Paramatta.

MaryHough.-I reside near the old turn-pike road ; I was ironing at my window when I saw the prisoner pass by and go into the public house ; he afterwards came out and stood with his back against the front of the house; Cunningham came out also and went towards his bullocks; he had a small piece of batten in his hand, and laid hold of his bullocks’ horns in a playful manner ; he then turned round and went towards the house ; he met the prisoner, and they stood face to face for the space of a minute ; Cunningham flourished the batten, but not in a striking position ; the length of the batten is from my elbow to the tip of my finger ; prisoner hold up his arm with the pistol and let it off in a moment ; Cunningham dropped on the ground, and the prisoner stepped forward towards the corps, and put his hand up to
the back of his head ; I swear the deceased never struck him in my sight; I saw the whole transaction-I swear the deceased did not strike the prisoner.

Catherine Cavenagh.-I am an assigned servant to Mr. Titterton ; I saw deceased at my master’s house on the morning he met his death; he came between 9 and 10 o’c'ock, and was in the house about two hours and a half; I first saw him after cleaning the parlor and dusting the furniture; I was placing some chairs near the parlor window when I saw deceased coming from his bullocks towards the house.; the prisoner walked hastily towards him, and as deceased was turning round the prisoner held up his pistol and shot him.
I did not see deceased offer to strike the prisoner

Sir John Jamison, Knt.-The deceased had been my assigned servant from April 1831 : he was highly recommended by Major Innes, of Port Macquarie ; I always found him to be a remarkably good man, so much so, that I allowed him indulgences enjoyed by no other man on my estate ; during the time he was in my service, he maintained the character of a peaceable, quiet, sober man.

The prisoner stated in his defence, that being a constable of the Liverpool District,  -
He had to return for the bonnet of one of the women, and when near the house he saw the prisoner coming towards him, he had a stick in his hand, and appeared to be intoxicated ; he tried to avoid him, but he pushed up against him, called him an old scoundrel, and gave him a kick, striking him at the same time a blow with the stick ; seeing him so violent and not wishing to have any further quarrel, he tried to appease him, and begged him to go away, but received a blow on the head with the stick, when he (the prisoner) put up the arm in which he held his pistol, to save himself, when deceased made a blow at him again, and the pistol went off; he could not say whether it went off by being struck with the stick, or whether in
his agitation his finger had come in contact with the trigger ; he most solemnly averred
it was accidental ; the deceased was a powerful man, nearly six feet high, and upwards of fifteen stone weight : and he appealed to the Jury whether it was reasonable that he should so deliberately as had been stated by the female witness, go and destroy a fellow creature, who was quite a stranger to him ; he had used his utmost endeavours to pacify him, but without effect.

The Jury after an absence of half an hour, returned a verdict of Not Guilty.

Convict Changes History

D Wong on 6th July, 2016 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 99 years, voyage, source: http://members.pcug.org.au/~ppmay/convicts.htm (prev. ), firstname: Fergus, surname: Cunningham, alias1: , alias2: , alias3: , alias4: , date of birth: 1791, date of death: 22nd March, 1834, gender: m, occupat

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