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Joseph Davis

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Joseph Davis
Aliases: Jos
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1760
Occupation: Cutler
Date of Death: 25th September, 1823
Age: 63 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 54 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Political prisoner
Convicted at: Ireland, Dublin
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Minerva
Departure date: 24th August, 1799
Arrival date: 11th January, 1800
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 235 other convicts


Primary source: http://srwww.records.nsw.gov.au Mitchel Library NSW - United Irishmen NSW 1800 - 1806.
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Dennis Nightingale on 13th May, 2015 wrote:

Born - Wicklow, Ireland. Listed as a Rebel Soldier. Died - Sydney 1823.

Joseph Davis was affiliated with the United Irishmen.  He was arrested in Wicklow possibly early in March 1798 and was tried in that month with many others including John Austin, Brien Byrne, Richard Byrne, Benjamin Carrol, Christopher Coleman, Thomas Brady, Robert Doogan, Partrick Duffy, Thomas Ennis, Roger Gavin, John Hewitt, Robert Keane, John Kinkaid, John McDonald, Joseph McKinly, Charles McClean Ferdinand Maurant, Joseph Murray, Michael Mulhall, William Noble, Owen Nugent, John Reddington, William Russell and Robert Wilson

Following his trial in March 1798, Joseph Davis was named in the Banishment Act and would become a voluntary exile (2). The Banishment Act (38 George III, c.78) pardoned named individuals concerned in a rebellion. Return to British dominions or passage to a country at war with Britain were prohibited (5).  There were approximately 100 Wicklow men transported after the rebellion of 1798. Another 500 from other counties would also join them in Australia

Joseph Davis (c1760-1823) was a convict found guilty of high treason on Dublin in 1798 and sentenced to transportation for seven years. He was given time to put his affairs in order before leaving the country. While on board the Minerva in Cork harbour awaiting transportation to Sydney, Davis penned an emotional love letter to his wife. The letter survives to this day.

My dear Mary,
This day I received your letter and it gives me great satisfaction to find in the post circumstances that you, my mother and the four children are well. I hope little young John will get over the cough. I am myself tolerable well in health.… I often think of our mutual attachment to each other and my children but them times are over. I am very sure we will soon sail. Every preparation denotes it. However let me be in my part of the world, you, your mother and the children will be my chief concern. I wish I could in some measure think my health be better. I am exactly nine months on board this day and 18 months in confinement. …I hope you have fortitude to withstand this great trouble and distress for tho we may be separated in this life, we should get happiness. Pray keep up your spirits we may meet again. I am extremely sorry to hear a complaint of [my daughter] Sally, I thought she promised to have better times and I strictly desire for her to mind her schooling and every other thing you or her grandmother desire for her to do. She must know how such things put me in my present situation. Not being with her, therefore inform her if she has any respect for her father, that she will mind his direction or she will repent when it’s too late.I have not a sufficiency of words to acknowledge the kindness of your mother to you and the children, she has my prayers. I don’t know what might have been the consequences only for her, and I request she will continue her kindness and to pay a strict attention to the morals of the children.…The complaint of that lump in my belly is much the old way, no tenderness here will do any service. The reality I can’t say I got my health very bad but is entirely unable to bear hardship, sometimes weakness bordering on fainting attacks but wear off again.When you have an opportunity, give my best respects to Mr and Mrs Spencer, your sister Anne… Give my respects to the two Goodmans and Mr Donney with them, let them know Brady and Mulhall [also on board the Minerva] and the remainder of us seven are well. It gives me great pleasure to hear from you and often wonder at your neglect (I forgive you) and your mother has me affection with you the same as ever…Show this letter to my friend and cousin, [he] is next to your mother and the children… grant him peace in this life and happiness in the next. Give my duty to your mother, my love and blessings to the children and I hope Sally will be an ornament not a discredit to me. Many times I think of them, therefore I desire that they will take your advice on every particular and mind their education, particularly if in any way able to give it them and the blessing of God almighty be with you and mother is the wish of your ever loving husband. Jos. Davis.

N.B. If anything comes relative to my pardon or any attention in the family send me and if we go away too suddenly I am afraid you or your mother will not survive to see the children provided for but I pray God you both may… I would be contented if you write, don’t forget the directions, Capt Cox, Minerva, love from me.

Bastiaan Kleijnendorst on 10th June, 2017 wrote:

Joseph was born about 1760, He was baptised 08/10/1760 at St Lukes parish, Dublin, Ireland
Father: John Davis, Mother Jane NN

Bastiaan Kleijnendorst on 10th June, 2017 wrote:

Transcribed article about the Joseph Davis Court case in the Belfast News Letter, Monday 18/12/1797. page 1, column 4. Transcribed by BK
Belfast News Letter
Number 62 98   Monday December 18   1797       Price twopence-halfpenny

Tuesday Dec 11 1797
Of twelve persons indicted for administering unlawful oaths,  on the 24th of September, at Temple bar,  the five following,  viz i-
Joseph Davis                     James Gordon
John Tuoby         and
Patrick McManus   John Mc Manus

Were put on their trial be fore the jury whose names are adueced
  Thomas Palmer   William Leet
  William Allen   Robert Turbot
  William French   Thomas Cannon
  John Keen   Charles Smith
  J. Talbot Sinnett   Hugh Craig
  William Bunn   Thomas Read

The Clerk of the Crown read the indictment consisting of three counts—1st.  That Joseph Davis the prisoner at the bar,  had,  in an assembly of persons, calling them selves United Irishmen, on the 24th of September last , at Temple bar, administered an unlawful oath to persons unknown not to inform against any of his associates.  2nd , To swear to form a brotherhood of affection among Irishmen of all religious persuasions, and that no hope of reward,  fear of punishment ;  should ever induce him to give evidence against any of his Associates. 3rd, An oath to the same effect, respecting a brotherhood of affection and resolution against giving evidence, added to a solemn purpose effecting complete and equal representation in Parliament of all descriptions of people in Ireland – He, the said Davis, not being legally qualified to administer an oath, and the four other prisoners at the bar being present and feloniously aiding and abetting him in this design.
Mr Townshend opened the case, by saying that this offence was made a transportable felony by an act of 27th of the King. He recited the different counts in the indictment,  with brief comments on each,  in explanation of law. He was followed by the Solicitor General, who apologized for not stating a case at large – the nature of the fact, and the observations of his learned friend, rendering it unnecessary.
!st witness John Collier, sworn- examined by the Solicitor General
Deposit, after identifying said prisoner, that he lived at Robinson’s the cutler, in Capel street, in May last- that he knew, and had frequent intercourse with the prisoner Davis, in the early part of last summer; that he met him at Lincoln’s lane, at Lacy’s foundery, and saw him also at his master’s (Robinson’s) shop, were he him self was an apprentice, and where Davis was a workman; that in different conversations which the prisoner had with him, he used to talk to him about becoming an United Irishman, for which the prisoner, working in the same shop with him, gave many opportunities, believes these conversations occurred about May last- in one of which the prisoner told him, if he did not become an United Irishman, he would be a marked man; and murdered when the French landed in this kingdom. Conferences of the same nature, he believed, occurred about twenty times, at some of which, Michael Cusack , a fellow-apprentice of his, was present. On being asked if he ever met the prisoner Davis at Fishamble street, he replied he did not, but met him three times at Lacy’s foundery, and twice at Lennan’s in Arran-street, where nothing remarkable happened, except constant swearing in of United Irishmen, making splits, and reading the Union Star- The last meeting there was in the month of September, at about seven o’clock in the morning, where about ten or a dozen persons were present, among whom were Davis and the other prisoners at the bar. Davis acted as secretary to the meeting;  he read the Union Star and gave an account of all the informers named therein;  At this meeting Davis swore two or three men. Tenor of the oath- to form a brotherhood of affection between Irishmen of all religious persuasions; and that neither hopes, fears, rewards, of punishments, should ever induce them to give evidence against each other. They also swore to aid and assist the French at their landing. Did not recollect any more of the oath. The cross-examination by Mr. Curran was extremely tedious, owing to one or two apparent deviations from the direct examinations; one of which was that he did meet Davis at Fishamble street, though he did not recollect it in the direct, another, having sworn that the oath tendered was an printed oath, and that all which was sworn was contained therein; wereas it appeared, on reading the printed oath, which he identified, no mention was made of aiding the French- this, he said, he then recollected, Davis to have added; it appears he was taken by Major Siri, and lodged in the Round Tower in the Castle yard, and kept there somewhat at his liberty; that he was influenced to give this testimony to escape being hanged, being told that informations of a criminal nature were lodged against him, also from a wish to do his duty, was not promised any reward for so doing. Michael Cusack; examined by the Privie Sargeant, corroborated the testimony of Collier as to the different conversations with the prisoner Davis, on becoming United Irishmen who told them both, that if they did not,  they would be marked as black sheep;  and, moreover, if they did not enter within a forthnight, they would not be admitted after;  he recited as much as he could recollect of the oath, partly in the same manner as Collier did; was present when Collier was made; Davis swore Collier as Feris did himself, in the presence of many more- Here Mr. Curran remonstrated with the Court on permission to address the Jury, drawing a parallel between tales of High Treason, where by nature the prisoners were entitled to the benefit of Council on that particular; the privileges of that nature were not, he said, new- they were only a wide recognition of those always attached, in similar instances , to common law and the most ancient usage. Judge Downes would not take upon him to deviate from the ordinary practice of the court and could not comply in this instance. Two witnesses were adduced to the characters of two of the prisoners, Davis and Tuoby, who gave them favourable ones.
The Judge addressed the Jury in a speech of considerable length, recapitulating the evidence, and recollecting, as he read, the cross examination of the witness Collier with the seeming inconsistencies in the testimony. The Jury retired, and, in the course of two hours, returned a verdict- Joseph Davis’ Guilty, the others not Guilty.

Convict Changes History

Eric Harry Daly on 29th December, 2012 made the following changes:

convicted at, term 7 years, voyage, source, firstname, surname, alias1, alias2, alias3, alias4, date of birth 1762, date of death 0000, gender, occupation, crime

Dennis Nightingale on 13th May, 2015 made the following changes:

source: http://srwww.records.nsw.gov.au Mitchel Library NSW - United Irishmen NSW 1800 - 1806. (prev. http://srwww.records.nsw.gov.au), date of death: 1823 (prev. 0000)

Bastiaan Kleijnendorst on 9th June, 2017 made the following changes:

alias1: Jos, date of birth: 0000 (prev. 1762), date of death: 25th September, 1823 (prev. 1823)

Iris Dunne on 11th June, 2017 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1760 (prev. 0000)

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