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John Grimes

John Grimes, one of 200 convicts transported on the John, 26 January 1832

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John Grimes
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1812
Occupation: Farm labourer
Date of Death: 1892
Age: 80 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 57 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Burglary
Convicted at: Lancaster Assizes
Sentence term: Life
Ship: John
Departure date: 26th January, 1832
Arrival date: 8th June, 1832
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 199 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 258
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

D Wong on 16th March, 2013 wrote:

John Grimes was 19 years old and came from Preston.

1844: TOL Yass
15/2/1849: CP

Robert MALONE on 26th October, 2019 wrote:

John GRIMES was my second great grandfather.

John’s correct date of birth is difficult to confirm.
On daughter Elizabeth’s birth certificate John states he was born in Preston, Lancashire.
On that same birth certificate John states he is 40 years of age (Elizabeth was born in 1859). This would make him born around 1919.
In 1836 on Convict Indents he is recorded as being 19 years old at that time. This would have him being born around 1817.
In the record of him being taken on board the convict hulk “Justitia” on 8 September 1831, prior to his transportation to Australia, his age is stated as 16. This would have him born around 1815.

The following are details of John’s conviction obtained from Lancaster Assizes:

Court Assizes - 1831
Date - 8 August 1831
Name - John Grimes
Age -  *
Parish -
By Whom Committed -
Crime - Burglary
Marks, Stature, etc -
Occupation -
Height -
Conviction - Death (commuted to transportation for life)
When Discharged -
How Behaved -

* From other dates given later in his life, John would have been anywhere between 14 and 18 when he was convicted of burglary.

On 8 September 1831, John was transferred to the prison hulk “Justitia”  which was moored at Woolwich. At that time he gives his age as 16 (born about 1815). He remained on the “Justitia” until transported on the “John” (see below) to Australia on 26 January 1832.

The following information was given to the State Library of Queensland by the British Home Office:

John Grimes,one of 200 convicts transported on the ship “John”, 26 January 1832.
Sentence details: Convicted at Lancaster Assizes for a term of life on 08 August 1831. 
Vessel: John. 
Date of Departure: 26 January 1832. 
Place of Arrival: New South Wales. 
Source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 258 
·     Author/Creator: 
Great Britain. Home Office. ; State Library of Queensland.
Grimes, John ; John (Ship) ; Convicts—Australia—Registers ; Australia—Genealogy
·     Publisher: 
Canberra A.C.T.: Australian Joint Copying Project 
·     Is Part Of: 
Criminal : Convict transportation registers [HO 11] 
·      Find all of the records for this voyage.

The following is from British Convict Transportation Registers 1787-1867 database:

“John Grimes departed England on the ship “John”. The ship left on 7 Feb 1832 and arrived in Sydney on 8 May 1832, a trip of 122 days. The ship was captained by Sam J Lowe with the ship’s surgeon being Jas. Lawrence.

The following information about the journey of the “John” in 1832 comes from the website - http://www.jenwilletts.com:

“Master Samuel Lowe. Surgeon Superintendent  James Lawrence
James Lawrence kept a Medical and Surgical Journal from 7 January to 30 June 1832…..
‘The John remained in England for over three weeks after embarking the convicts. According to James Lawrence, it was a miserable time. During the three weeks about thirty men were affected with diarrhoea. As well as that they were cold. Some of them had worn flannels while on board the Justitia Hulk at Woolwich. Eighty men were transferred to the John on 12 January 1832 and they were stripped of their flannels before being removed from the Justitia. The weather was then cold, and notwithstanding every exertion made to promote warmth and dryness by frequently using swing stoves in different parts of the prison, it was some time before the John could be brought to the same comfortable state as the hulks which had long been inhabited. The John finally departed the Downs on 7 February 1832.
The Guard consisted of 29 non-commissioned officers and privates, 3 women and 1 child, under the command of Lieut. George Baldwin of the 30th regiment. Passengers included Mrs. Baldwin, Master Baldwin, Lieutenant Ronald Campbell and Mr. John Campbell.
After a voyage of 122 days, the John arrived in Port Jackson on Friday 8th June 1832. If the prisoners had been allowed on deck on the following day (Saturday), they would have been greeted with a clear, cool winter’s day with winds from the south-east.

From “Grafton Family History” index to convict assignment 1830/1832.

Name: John Grimes
Ship: John
Assigned to Mr George Rogers of Sydney, farm labourer, 1/6/1832 to 30/3/1832(?)
Compiled by Nola Mackey, ISBN 1875840478 Fische 2 of 3.

George Rogers married Catherine R Windeyer in 1832. It is interesting to note that John Grimes was assigned to a Mr. Windeyer in Dungog in 1937.

NSW Register of Convicts Applications To Marry 1826 - 1841,
P 24, 5 July 1834
Mary Brown , free, of vessel “Bussorah Merchant”  . John Grimes of vessel ” John”.
Mr C. J. Rogers having agreed to keep him until he obtains a Ticket of Leave.
Rev. Hill in Sydney officiating.
(Rev Hill was attached to St James C of E in Sydney at this time).
There is no evidence that the marriage actually took place.
Convict Muster of 1836 has him as “single”. So either the marriage to Mary Browne did not go ahead in 1834 or if it did it didn’t last long.

1836 Convict Indents for John Grimes on the vessel “John”

From Indent Fische 682
Page 31 - 4/4017
Also see Fische 700 - Page 65

No - 1219 - 93
John Grimes
Aged 19
From Preston
Farm Servant, labourer
Sallow complexion
Brown hair, grey eyes
5ft 3 1/4 inches tall

Details from Convict Muster of 1837:
Name: John Grimes
Ship: John
Age: 20
Birth Place: Lancashire
Arrived in Australia: 1832
Current Assignment: with C Windeyer at Dungog (in The Hunter Valley), NSW.

The following details are from John’s “Ticket of Leave” dated 29 May 1844:

No. 40/1864(?)

Prisoner’s No - 32/1219
Name - John Grimes
Ship - John (3)
Master - Lowe
Year - 1832
Native Place -
Trade or Calling -
Offence -
Place of Trial - Lancaster Assizes
Date of Trial - 8 Aug 1831
Sentence - Life
Year of Birth -
Height -
Complexion -
Hair -
Eyes -
General Remarks -

Allowed to remain in the District of Yass.

N.B. - A note written across the Ticket of Leave says “Obtained pardon number 49/710 dated 15 Feb 1849”.

Note on the left margin (very pale). It refers to a letter from Col. Sec. no: 441 date 7 May 1844 - probably allowing the Ticket of Leave.

Yass Police Court letter Book 1847 - 1855

GRIMES, John - Reference notes C/P File format Photocopies File number 04\020917 Page number 1

First name - John
Ship - John
Trial Place - Lancs. ass.
District - Yass
TOL No - 44/1564
Year - 1832
Shelf Ref - 4/4190
Reel No - 953

From this it is not yet established WHEN John was in the Yass District. Had to be around 1844 when he is mentioned there in his Ticket of Leave and prior to 1852 when he married Eliza Rossiter in Sydney.

The copy of John’s Ticket of Leave from 1844 has written across it:

“Obtained a (not sure of wording here but it looks like Cond. - Conditional?)  Pardon. No 49/710 dated 15 Feb 1849”.

Not sure where John was living at this time.

On 13 September 1852 John married Eliza Rossiter in the parish of Petersham, County of Cumberland, Sydney.
Minister was Thos. Steele (Chaplin). Witnesses were Jeoffrey Haughton of Canterbury and Margaret Fry of Sydney.
Note that they married in the Church of England but their children were baptised as Catholics.

From 1859 to 1864 John was living in Gundagai, NSW. He was working as a carpenter.
From 1867 to 1873 he was living in Wagga Wagga, NSW.

Leanne Diessel, Research Officer with the Wagga Wagga Family History Society sent me the following information after I contacted her about the newspaper article in The Wagga Wagga Advertiser and Riverine Reporter, dated 4 December 1872.

“Newspaper report on 4 Dec 1872 states that the hospital board had heard back from the Colonial Secretary ‘authorising the admission of the patient into the Benevolent Asylum at Liverpool’. I then checked State Records & found  that a John Grimes was admitted to the asylum on the 11 February 1873 aged 60 (?). He was discharged 4 January 1877.” 
Leanne Diessel from the Wagga Wagga Family history Society added this in a follow up email to me of 23 Aug 2016.
“I have then found him as a lodger at the house of Victor Joseph (it is thought that he stole some rings belonging to Victor). This is in the NSW Police Gazette July 1877.”
I am not 100% certain that this is my relative.
I have checked all other possibilities and only the copy of the death certificate that I have (Died 2 May 1892 at the George Street Asylum, Parramatta - ref: 1892/010664) comes close to our John. Some things that make me believe it’s his death certificate are:
- We know John had spent time in the Benevolent Asylum in Liverpool from 1873 until 1877. Perhaps he was re-admitted to care in the George Street Asylum.
- The age given at the time of his death on the copy of the death certificate that I have is 71 years. This would be about right give or take a few years.
Some of the things that don’t match up are:
- Certificate says he was born in Warwickshire. He was born in Lancashire.
- Certificate says 51 years in the Colony. Should be approximately 60 years.
Despite these discrepancies (which could have been the result of John’s mental state at the time he entered the George Street asylum) I still believe, on balance, that it is him.

Convict Changes History

D Wong on 16th March, 2013 made the following changes:

date of birth 1812, gender, occupation, crime

Robert MALONE on 26th October, 2019 made the following changes:

date of death: 1892 (prev. 0000)

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