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Edward French

Edward French, one of 200 convicts transported on the Earl Spencer, May 1813

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Edward French
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 10th July, 1786
Occupation: Labourer
Date of Death: 8th February, 1834
Age: 47 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 14 years

Crime: Stealing a sheep
Convicted at: Cornwall Assizes
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: Earl Spencer
Departure date: May, 1813
Arrival date: 9th October, 1813
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 199 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 94
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

Rowena Anne Curtin on 30th November, 2019 wrote:

Edward French was born in 10th July, 1786 at St Winnow, Cornwall one of 15 children born to William French and Ann Reynolds of St Breward.
On 12th Nov, 1809 Edward married Elizabeth Johns at Talland, Cornwell. They had two children: Grace Mary French christened 1st July, 1810 and Richard Johns French christened 21st June, 1812 both at St Winnow.
Prior Convictions
UK Archives – Cornwall Quarter Sessions, held at Bodmin – QS/1/7/700 – 15 January 1811 Edward French of St. Winnow to appear, and his surety John Colman of St. Winnow, butcher. QS/1/7/717 – 23 April 1811 Edward French of St. Winnow to appear: recognizance held over. QS/1/7/733 – 16 July 1811 Edward French of St. Winnow, lab. indicted for assault on Mary Stephens: fined 6d. and one month in House of Correction at Bodmin.
Convicted & Sentenced to Transportation
Edward French, aged 25, and his younger brother Thomas, aged 22, were convicted of sheep stealing on 1st August, 1812 at the Cornwall Assizes. They had stolen mutton from Mark Foster of Lostwithiel. They were condemned to be ‘hung by the neck till he was dead’ with the touching addition of the ‘Lord have mercy upon your soul’. Edward responded to the verdict with all the appearance of hardened indifference, while Thomas French, who had been drawn into his wretched situation by the persuasions of his brother, and who appeared to be of milder character, melted into tears as he heard pronounced the sentence, Death.
ROYAL CORNWALL GAZETTE, 1 AUGUST 1812 - (Note: words lost in the margin of the page, difficult to read) Cornwall Assizes, Edward French (25) and Thomas French (22), for sheep-stealing. Mark Foster of Lostwithiel has a farm called ? in Lanlivery with 30 sheep, he and his servant traced prisoner to his house a mile and a half from Lostwithiel, mutton found with Foster’s mark on it. Edward French was condemned to be ‘hung by the neck till he was dead’ with the touching addition of the ‘Lord have mercy upon your soul’; but heard it with all the appearance of hardened indifference. Thomas French, who had been drawn into his wretched situation by the persuasions of his brother, and who appeared to be of milder character, melted into tears as he heard pronounced the sentence, Death. The venerable and humane Sir Alan Chambre, however, in the true spirit of British Justice, which delights to lose itself in mercy, could not sleep till he had reprieved them all – for transportation – and did so, before he left town. 
Edward French was transported on the Earl Spencer leaving England on the 2nd June, 1813. There were 200 convicts onboard, along with an officer and 38 men of the 73rd Regiment of Foot as guards for the prisoners. The ship also brought out some 20 free settlers as passengers and the first steam engine brought out to Australia.
SHIP:  Earl Spencer – departed England 2 June 1813, arrived New South Wales 9 October 1813, a voyage of 129 days, carrying 200 male convicts (196 landed).  Master William Mitchell, Surgeon D. Mackenzie.  Arrival of Earl Spencer from Portsmouth. Master William Mitchell. Carrying 200 male convicts among whom were Capt. Davidson, Mr. Lindsay Crawford, several bankers’ clerks, the men called Luddites and the smugglers of Christchurch who were convicted of aiding French prisoners to escape for France
The Earl Spencer arrived in Sydney on the 9th October, 1813 and the Sydney Gazette reported:
Ship News.
“This day arrived from England, which she left the 2nd of June last, the ship Earl Spencer, Captain MITCHELL, with 197 male prisoners, having taken on board 200, three of whom died on the pas-sage; during which she made a stay of ten days at Madeira, but touched nowhere else .”
“The prisoners brought by the Earl Spencer were landed on Thursday, and mustered in presence of His EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR and COMMANDER in CHIEF, previous to their distribution. They are a healthy set of men; and appear thoroughly sensible of the kind treatment they experienced from Captain Mitchell and his Officers during the passage. ”
Earl Spencer was an East Indiaman, launched in 1795 for the British East India Company (EIC). She made seven voyages for the EIC until in 1811-12 the government took her up to transport convicts to Australia in 1813. On her return voyage from Australia she sailed via China, where she carried a cargo back to England for the EIC.
Edward French Transferred to Van Diemen’s Land 1816
Edward French was transferred from NSW to Van Dieman’s Land onboard the “Kangaroo”, arriving Hobart 28th April, 1816. 7th August, 1821 he was granted his convict pardon.
24th July, 1824 Edward French married Alice Linnell in the Parish of St David’s, Hobart by Chaplain William Bedford. They had five sons: William, Isaac, Edward, John and James.
After serving 6.5 years, he was granted a ticket-of-leave in 1819 and settled in Launceston.
Offences and Sentences in Van Dieman’s Land:
6 Dec 1822 – CE - Riding in a cart without reins - fined 10/-
5 July 1823 – CE – Stealing a bag of wheat, the property of Dr Montgomery – Committed for Criminal Court (in margin, TC Aug 1824, not guilty)
16 April 1825 – Riding in his cart drawn by bullocks without reins to guide them – fined 20/- 13 Aug 1825 – Free by Servitude – Leaving his cart and bullocks in the streets without any person to take charge of them – fined 10/-
18 March 1827 – Free by Servitude – Assaulting Mr Arch Russell – Bound over to keep the peace for 6 months
1 Sept 1827 – Free by Servitude - Assaulting John Bonfoot on the 28th inst – Charges dismissed
6 March 1830 – Free by Servitude – Riding in a cart without reins to guide the beasts – Fined 10/-
25 May 1830 – Free by Servitude – Violently assaulting and beating Mary Bird - To find sureties for his good behaviour and to keep the peace for 6 months 13 Sept 1830 – Free by Servitude – Using indecent and obscene language having reference to the Police Magistrate – To find sureties for good behaviour for 6 months
2 Dec 1830 – Free by Servitude – Improperly driving away 6 bullocks, the property of Mr R H___ (crease of page) and conveying them to the Pound – Dismissed.
17 March 1831 – Free by Servitude – Committing a breach of the peace by assisting in the rescue of a Prisoner from the Constables – fined ?3 and ordered to find sureties to keep the peace for 3 months

Lived in Launceston
Nov.20, 1833
NOTICE is hereby giventhat the undermenti-
oned claims for grants will be forwarded for
approval or investigation to the Commissioners
appointed to examine into applications for titles
to land, on the 29th day of December next,
before which day any caveat, which must be in
writing, will be received in this office.
Joseph Heazlewood.
Area 0 1, 6 Launceston.
Bounded on the northeast by 149 links along
St. John-street, southeast by 179 links along
York-street, southwest by an allotment occupied
by Edward French 154 links, and northwest by
an allotment occupied by John Cameron 190
Fix this textlinks to St. John-street,
The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 - 1839) Friday 6 December 1833 p 4 Advertising
Children of Edward French and Alice Linnell
1. William French -  Born:  1825 Died:  1905, Gawler-SA Married: 1847, Launceston-Tas Spouse:  ?? Baker (Frances or Louisa Fanny) Children:  William (1848), John Henry (1850),  Edward (1853), Alice (1857), Isaac Linnell (1859), Arthur Linnell F. (1861), Alexander Thomas (1865), Alma Adeline (1868), Alfred Ernest (1871), Louisa Frances (1874)
2. Isaac Linnell French - Born: 1827, Launceston-Tas Died:  1911, Victoria-Australia Married: 1849, Oatlands-Tas Spouse: Caroline Charlotte Richardson, born 1833, Green Ponds-Tas
3. Edward French - Born:  1829, Launceston-Tas Died:  1864, Launceston-Tas Married: 1863, Launceston-Tas Spouse:  Maryann Nolan Children:  Alice Grace (1862), Edward Linnel (1864)
4. John French - Born: 1831, Launceston-Tas Died:  1898, Bairnsdale-Vic Married:  1855, Launceston-Tas Spouse:  Mary Gould, born 1837
5. James French - Born:  1833, Launceston-Tas Died:  1928, Launceston-Tas Married:  1856, Launceston Sarah Bushby, born 1835 Launceston-Tas;  died 1902 Launceston-Tas Children:  George James (1857), Alpha (1859), Sarah Alice (1861), Mary (1863), Frank Baker (1865), Grace (1867), Fred (1869), James (1871), Henry (1874), Theodora Clyne (1876), Thomas (1878), Claude (1881)
Edward died 8th February, 1834 in Launceston. Alice died June 23, 1883 (78) at Scottsdale,
Tasmania Australia.

Some of this material has been sourced from https://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/emigrant_pdfs/french_edward_1813.pdf

Convict Changes History

Rowena Anne Curtin on 30th November, 2019 made the following changes:

date of birth: 10th July, 1786 (prev. 0000), date of death: 8th February, 1834 (prev. 0000), gender: m, occupation, crime

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