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Sarah Edwards

Sarah Edwards, one of 62 convicts transported on the Indispensible, February 1809

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Sarah Edwards
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: -
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 17th December, 1819
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing from the person
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivey on 01 June 1808
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Indispensible
Departure date: February, 1809
Arrival date: 18th August, 1809
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 62 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 420
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

Denis Pember on 26th May, 2015 wrote:

Sarah Edwards was in trouble in London several times before she was finally transported.
Sarah seems to have been a bit of a ‘lass’.  She was clearly a pickpocket and an opportunist thief who associated with a mixed group of similar characters in the Soho and Covent Garden area of London, where they lived.  Sarah was stated to be aged 26 years of age in 1799

Old Bailey Proceedings: 17991204-58
On 4th December 1799 Sarah Edwards and her cousin, Mary Loftus were indicted for stealing five pounds of soap value 3/- and a linen shirt value 2/-, these the property of William Barnfield.
They were tried before the 2nd London Jury before Mr Justice Grose.
George Osborne, a neighbour, saw Loftus and Edwards go into and then come out of Mr Barnfields property.  Loftus had been employed there for some time.  Osborne then spoke to another neighbour and they fetched the constable, Thomas Sapwell.  He then apprehended the women and on searching them he found 2 cakes of soap and a linen shirt on Edwards person.
William Barnfield was able to identify the linen shirt, because it had his initials embroidered on it.  The soap was also a special type, which he has purchased, it had pepper corns in it.
Each of the women begged for mercy from the court.  (pleaded guilty?).

They were found guilty and whipped and then discharged.

Denis Pember on 26th May, 2015 wrote:

It would seem that Sarah learnt very little regarding the ownership of other peoples belongings.  However, she never again pleaded guilty to anything!  No doubt because of that whipping.

Old Bailey Proceedings: 18010916-102
On the 16th September 1801, Sarah Edwards and Owen Foy were indicted for feloniously stealing on the 23rd August, a silver watch, value 3/-.  The property of Richard Jones.
They were tried before the 2nd Middlesex Jury before Mr Common Serjeant.
Richard Jones stated that he had been going home from a bean feast, at about four or five in the morning.  Two girls asked him for something to drink.  He, however, refused because he had been very intoxicated the previous night and himself was quite thirsty.  The girls told him they would take him to get something.  They took him to a house and had some ale.  He then went out onto the yard ‘to make water’.  Edwards followed him, slipped his watch out of his pocket and ran off.
He ran after her and managed to catch up with her.  However, the man, Foy, came up.  Jones told him that the woman had his watch and asked to be directed to the watch-house.  Jones stated that Foy said he would do that but asked if Jones had a shilling.  Foy said “Give me the shilling and I will get the watch”.  Jones gave Foy the shilling, Foy pushed him away and then Foy and Edwards ran off.
The judge asked about how drunk Jones was and if he was sure he had not lost his watch before.
Foy and Edwards both pleaded Not Guilty and stated they were entirely innocent.

Found Not Guilty and discharged.

Denis Pember on 26th May, 2015 wrote:

Having had some success with pleading Not Guilty, Sarah used the same defence next time she was caught up.

Old Bailey Proceedings: 18041205-55
On the 5th December 1804, Sarah Edwards was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 15th November, a petticoat value 14/-, three shifts value 16/-, three pin-a-fores value 7/- and three napkins value 3/-.  These all, the property of James Roberts and taken from his dwelling house.
She was tried before the 1st Middlesex Jury before Mr Justice Grose
Mrs Roberts, the wife of the surgeon James Roberts stated that she had engaged Edwards as a servant on the 15th November.  She gave Sarah a half-guinea to go out and buy some bread.  Edwards left the room and went down stairs.  However, she was not heard to leave the property for some time.  The nine year old daughter of the house came upstairs and told her mother what had gone on downstairs.  The mother stated she had quickly gone downstairs and found the items as listed were missing.  Edwards returned a few minutes later, with the bread and the change.
When questioned about the missing items, Edwards stated that she had “seen nothing in the house worth taking“.  Further she stated that there was a terrible smell about the house, no doubt because the surgeon, Roberts, was cutting up dead people.
James Roberts, the surgeon then stated that he had come home and his wife had told him the girl had gone, and taken the linen items.  Further, she had taken her own box and belongings.  He said that when Edwards returned, he questioned her.  She denied taking the linen, or even seeing it.  When asked why she had taken her own box, she said that she had to go away because of the smell of his cutting up dead people.  He then told Edwards if she did not return the linen immediately he would take her to the watch-house.  She said she had not taken it, and he should do as he pleased.  The watchman was called, searched Edward’s room in the house and then went and searched her lodgings at 30 Monmouth Street.  Edwards supplied him with the key to her box, which was also searched.  No trace of the items was found.
Sarah Edward’s defence was that she had started work at the house at about half past seven in the morning.  She said there was a terrible smell and strange sounds in the place.  Thinking it was the smell of human flesh and they were chopping something up, she decided to leave.  She had taken her box and was about to go when the mistress called her and asked her to go and get some bread and cheese.  Sarah said she left, went and got the bread and cheese and took these back to the house where she was rudely abused by Roberts, stating she had taken his linen.  She told him she had not taken anything and in fact had not even opened her box.
Three witnesses gave her good character.

Found Not Guilty and discharged.

Denis Pember on 27th May, 2015 wrote:

Three years later, Sarah was again in trouble, much more serious.  Here she is stated as being aged 30 years old.

Old Bailey Proceedings: 18080601-40
On 1st June 1808, Sarah Edwards was indicted for feloniously making an assault upon Robert Johnson, on the 23rd April, putting him in fear and taking from his person a sixpence, eighteen halfpence and a bank note value £1, his property.
Tried before 2nd Middlesex Jury before Mr Justice Grose. (again!)
Robert Johnson stated: “I live at Portsea, I came to obtain some pension money at Greewich.  On the 23rd April, near eleven o’clock at night, I was coming from St Martin’s Lane towards the Haymarket, I met the prisoner, I asked the nighest way to Piccadilly; going along she asked me to give her something to drink; I gave her a pint of ale; we stood at the liquor shop while she drank it.”
Q:  Did not you go into any room with her?  A:  No; we came out of the liquor shop; then she began to board me, she came to close quarters, she felt at my pantaloons.
Q:  Did you feel her hand in your pocket?  A:  No, but I felt her very busy about my person; I took hold of her hand, I never let her go afterwards.
Q:  What was in her hand?  A:  I smelt her hand and I knew there was a one pound note in it.
Q:  Did you open her hand?  A:  No, I could not; I kept my hold; she threw my hat over my head, still I would not let go my hold; she slapped me on both sides of my head, then I called the watch.
Q:  Did she get away with any thing of your property?  A:  No; I did not let go my hold; after that I went to the watch-house to have her safe moored, there I delivered her up to Gregory the constable; he had a good deal to do to get her hand open, he unscrewed her hand, she dropped the one pound note; it is my property.
Q:  You saw the note drop did you?  A:  Yes, I knew it to be mine by the smell of it, and by the name on it; I happened to have a bottle of bergamot in my pocket; it was stained with it.
Joseph Gregory, Constable was then questioned..
Q:  Was you the constable of the night?  A:  I was; I produce the note; Johnson came in the watch-house in a strange kind of state, with his handkerchief tore off his neck, and with a thick rough coat on; he had hold of the girl, he brought her in; he says I have boarded her at last; he delivered her into my custody; I thought he was joking, the woman said nothing was the matter; he said she had a note of his; she said I will be damned if I have; Johnson said it was wrapped in a piece of brown paper, and he knew the note by the smell of it.  I desired her to open her hand; she refused it; I rubbed her hand and git it open; I took the note out of a small bit of paper, the same paper it is in now.
Q:  Has it any particular smell?  A:  It has now, of bergamot.
The property was produced and identified.
The Prisoner’s defence.  He gave me the note; he wanted to take great liberties with me, he bit me upon the breast; I called the watch, I gave charge of him, and he gave charge of me.
Prosecutor.  I did not give her the note, I gave her nothing but something to drink.

Found Guilty of simple larceny only – aged 30.  Sentenced to Transportation for 7 years.

Denis Pember on 27th May, 2015 wrote:

When Sarah arrived in Australia, 18 August 1809, aboard the ‘Indispensable’, aged 31, she initially went to work for a settler, as a housekeeper.
She must have fairy quickly gone into a relationship with Everett Smith (Convict, Royal Admiral 1800) for on July 29 1810, there was a daughter Margaret born to the couple.  However, the child only lived for about 8 weeks and died September 22 1810.  After this Sarah and Everett separated.
Sarah was clearly a well behaved convict, because she was awarded her Ticket of Leave February 22 1811.  Soon after this she moved to the Windsor area. 
At Windsor, she fairly quickly started a relationship with James Hines (Convict, Ann, 1810).
The couple had a son; Edward November 1 1812, Windsor. 
They subsequently married in Oct 10 1814 at Windsor.  The Reverend Robert Cartwright solemnized the event.  James signed and Sarah left her mark.
They had another son; William in August 4 1816, Windsor.
Their names appear in the 1814, 1816 and 1818 muster records, clearly identified.
In 1818, James Hines petitioned Governor Macquarie for further emancipation of his sentence.  In this petition, he clearly states – “That as petitioner has a wife and two children and his wife far advanced in pregnancy,…’’  No record of such a child has ever been found.  It may be that this was just a story to help the petition, or indeed that Sarah lost the baby.
On December 17 1919, tragedy struck.  Sarah had a baby, another son, James.  But she died as a result of childbirth.  The young baby did not live for long, he died aged 11 weeks, March 6 1820.

Convict Changes History

Denis Pember on 26th May, 2015 made the following changes:

date of death: 17th December, 1819 (prev. 0000), gender: f, crime

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