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Louisa Le Sage

Louisa Le Sage, one of 131 convicts transported on the Indispensible, October 1795

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Louisa Le Sage
Aliases: none
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1772
Occupation: Housemaid
Date of Death: 1842
Age: 70 years

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
Convicted at: Old Bailey
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Indispensible
Departure date: October, 1795
Arrival date: 30th April, 1796
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 131 other convicts

References

Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 205 (103)
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 29th October, 2015 wrote:

Loiuse was a French convict sentenced to seven years’ transportation at the Old Bailey in Sep 1794. She had been tried for stealing from the London household where she was employed as a lady’s maid and needed a French interpreter at her trial.

Louise was tried for theft at the Old Bailey on 17 September 1794: [t17940917-75)
LOUISA LESAGE was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 14th of August , a silver watch, value 2l. a metal watch key, value 1d. a black mode clock, value 10s. a dimity petticoat, value 2s. 6d. and two cotton shawls, value 5s. the goods of James Brocke , in his dwelling house.
She was tried before a jury, jointly made up of English and French jururs, before Mr Recorder and was found guilty and sentenced to 7 years transportation.
She arrived in the colony aboard the ship ‘Indispensible’ in Apr 1796.

Denis Pember on 29th October, 2015 wrote:

Louisa married 7 February 1801 at Parramatta. She married Gabriel Louis Marie Huon de Kerilleau.
Gabriel Lewis Huon of the parish of Parramatta and Louisa Le Sage were married in this church by permission of his Excellency Governor King this seventh day of February in the year one thousand eight hundred and one by me Samuel Marsden.
Gabriel and Louisa signed the register as Gabriel Louis Huon and Louise lesage.
In the presence of Jacques Durinall and Ann Hotniss who both signed the register.

Gabriel was a French aristocrat: Gabriel was the youngest son of Jean Francois Huon, Seigneur de Kerilio-Lesguern en Plouvorn and his wife Anne de Kersalliou, daughter of Jacuqes de Kersaliou and Marie Gabrielle Simon de Mouster. He appears to have been a nephew of a Count, according to documents dating from the 1820s when Huon (generally known as Louis Huon) sought to recover an annuity settled on him in 1786 by his aunt, the Comtesse de Penmarch, widow of Jean Rene Huon, Comte de Kerezele Lesguern.  Gabriel moved to England around 1791 as an aristocratic refugee displaced by the French Revolution. He had arrived in the colony (as Gabriel Lewis) on “Surprize” in 1794.

Soon after Louise arrived in the colony, she was living with Gabriel.  Indeed, it does appear that they may have actually both come from Saint Pol de Leon in France so may have even known of each other before this time.

Denis Pember on 29th October, 2015 wrote:

Louisa and Gabriel had 5 children.
In the 1828 census, Louisa can be located, living with her son Paul Huon aged 28 with his wife and family at Airds. Houn, Louisa, 56, FS [H2972].
Gabriel is not recorded and actually died only a few days after the census. He was walking from his property, apparently became lost and was never seen again.

Phil Hands on 2nd April, 2017 wrote:

Tried at the Old Bailey on 17th September 1794 for theft, having been found guilty she was sentenced to 7 years transportation.
After spending 13 months in the notorious Newgate Prison she left England in October 1795.
Ship:- the ‘Indespensible’  carrying 133 female convicts of which 2 died during the voyage.
Arrived on 30th April 1796.

Old Bailey Trial Transcript.
Reference Number: t17940917-75

533. LOUISA LESAGE was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 14th of August , a silver watch, value 2l. a metal watch key, value 1d. a black mode clock, value 10s. a dimity petticoat, value 2s. 6d. and two cotton shawls, value 5s. the goods of James Brocke , in his dwelling house .
MARIA BROCKE sworn.
I am a married woman, my husband’s name is James Brocke, he is a private gentleman , he lives in Arebella-row, near Buckingham-gate ; the prisoner was a servant at the time I was robbed of my property; she lived with us about five weeks, she was an attendant on me.
Q. What was the day you first missed. these things? - On Thursday evening, on the 14th of August; the watch was missed first, I missed the other articles that night, it was the servant maid missed it, it was in her care, she is here, her name is Elizabeth Sutton ; the other articles were all missed at one time; the watch has been found; I see it the next Monday following, in the hand of the pawnbroker.
Q. Have you ever seen any of the other articles? - Yes, a few of them, they were in my room up stairs.
ELIZABETH SUTTON sworn.
I am servant in the family of Mr. Brocke, I have been a quarter of a year the 1st of October.
Q. Do you know any thing of the loss of the property, described by your mistress? - Every thing. A fortnight before my master went out of town, I asked him for a clock, and he gave me this watch, I had it in my possession a fortnight before he went out of town, I had it a month in my pocket; on Tuesday I put it out of my pocket, on the toiler table, in my mistress’s bed-room; I cannot exactly say the day of the month, it was the day she robbed us.
Q. Were the other articles in this indictment missed from the same room? - Yes.
Q. Have you seen any of them since? - Yes, at pawnbrokers.
Q. Should you know them again as well as your mistress? - Yes.
Q. Did you see any of them in possession of that young woman? - No.
Q. Was she in the situation of a servant before she came to you? - Yes, as a lady’s maid.
Q. Do you know whether your mistress had a character? - Not to my knowledge.
WILLIAM VALE sworn.
I am an officer, I produce a corded dimity petticoat, a silk cloak, a silk sash, I believe they call it; one cotton shawl, and these trinkets in this little box; the cloak and petticoat I took off her, and the petticoat, and other things I found in her lodgings, the morning I apprehended her.
Q. How do you know they were her lodgings? - I had the key of the door, she gave it to Merry.
ROBERT MERRY sworn.
I am an officer, the prisoner was brought to my house on Saturday night, and while I was taking these things off from her, there was a gentleman there that could talk french with her, and he asked her for the key, and she gave it him. and my brother officer living close by, I gave it to him; I was not present when the shawl was taken from her lodging; she was in my care from Saturday night, till Monday morning.
Vale. I took her up to the pawnbroker’s in the Borough, I was sent for by Merry, Saturday night, the 29th of August, or the 30th, I don’t know which.
JOHN BALL sworn.
I live at No. 185, in the Borough; I am a servant to the pawnbroker; I produce a metal watch, a silver gilt watch, the out side case, and a metal watch key; it was taken in, of the prisoner at the bar.
Q. Had you ever seen her before that once? - No. She pawned it on Friday, the 15th of August; I am sure of her person, I have not the least doubt in the world; I gave her a duplicate; it was pawned at nine o’clock in the morning.
Q. To Prosecutor. Had you any character with that young woman? - She told me she had been two years in London, I had a written character with her.
Q. You did not see any person about her character? - I did not. This cloak is mine; I know the lace, I have had it a year; I have no doubt about it at all; I know the petticoat is mine; I am certain to the shawl, I have no mark about it; I don’t with to swear to it, but I know it to be mine; he watch I know, it belonged to my son, it was made by Moore, of Dublin; I don’t recollect the number; it has been in the family two or three years; it was lost just as it is.
Prisoner. I never was the servant of this lady, but it was this lady’s husband that made me a present of the watch, when this lady was ill for a fortnight; after I was at her house the cloak was made a present of by the lady, and I took the other articles, I thought the lady would not want any more.
Court to Prosecutrix. Is Mr. Brocke in court? - No he is out of town, he went out of town some time since.
Q. Did he go before this young woman came to your house, or since? - About a fortnight after.
Q. Have you seen your watch in the hands of your servant, or on the toilet any were? - I was ill, I saw it on the toilet that day.
Prisoner. I knew the lady’s husband a long time before I knew this lady, and it was this lady’s husband who took me to this house.
Q. To Elizabeth Sutton . This girl has said, that a fortnight after she came, her master gave her the watch. Have you had the watch since that time? - It was not in the house a fortnight after she came; the master borrowed it of the child for me; he was at the boarding school.
Q. Do you recollect when the child brought the watch home? - I cannot rightly say when he gave it me, it was very near a fortnight before he went.
Q. How long had the girl been at your house at that time? - I dare say she had been a fortnight.
Q. After the watch was given to you by your master to take care of, had it ever been returned to him till it was missing? - No, there was a strange woman in the house, whom we had no character with, and I told the prisoner I would not put it out of my pocket, because I would not lose it, and when I put it out of my pocket, this strange woman was gone, and I had no suspicion of the prisoner.
Q. Then your master had gone out of town? - He was.
Q. To Prosecutrix. What may be the value of this cloak? - It is not worth much, a crown; the petticoat half a crown; the watch about a guinea.
Q. Did you give her that cloak? - No, I never did.
Q. How did she leave your house? - She asked me to go to her washerwoman’s, and never returned.
GUILTY . (Aged 22.)
Transported for seven years .
Tried by a Jury half English and half Foreign, before Mr. RECORDER.

Louisa’s origins remain a secret to this day. It is thought that she was born in 1772 in the Parish of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine in Paris. Her mother’s family name was Renaud. At the start of the Revolution, she was a maid in the house of the Lubbat family in Saint-Germain. She went with them when they fled to England in 1791, an exile that was to be prolonged.
Deprived of the necessary resources, the family was forced to let their servants go. In 1794, at the time of her condemnation, nothing seems to indicate that she had met Gabriel. But the hand of destiny was to intervene, and after spending 13 months in the draconian conditions of Newgate prison, then to endure the torments of a sea voyage that was to last for 6 months, and also claim the lives of two of the 133 female convicts on board, Louisa finally stepped ashore in Sydney on 30th April 1796.

Louisa’s past was not uncovered until 1916 when John Francis Huon Mitchell, a descendant of Gabriel, was searching through the catalogues of the State Archives of New South Wales when he discovered the existence of a document which mentioned the convict origins of her. This, in his view, cast a shadow over the glorious history of his family. For 120 years, that fact had remained a secret. To bring it to the attention of his family and third generation descendants was, in 1916, to fuel the prejudices of those who had prided themselves in not being of convict origin. John Francis therefore resolved not to mention the document to anyone. However, in 1963, Stuart Hume, also a descendant of Gabriel Louis Marie de Kerilleau, came upon this long-kept secret. Times had changed, Australians were fully aware of the fact that their nation owed its foundation to the convicts, and the new spirit of liberalism in modern Australia has meant that no prejudice is attached to the diverse origins of a people made up of numerous ethnic minorities.
Gabriel and Louisa’s descendents can now look upon her past with pride, and the part they played as early Pioneers in the establishment of Australia as a nation.

Phil Hands on 30th July, 2017 wrote:

Tried at the Old Bailey on 17th September 1794 for theft, having been found guilty she was sentenced to 7 years transportation.
She had to spend 13 months in the notorious Newgate Prison before she was transfered to a transportation vessel.
Left England in October 1795.
Ship:- the ‘Indespensible’  carrying 133 female convicts of which 2 died during the voyage.
Arrived on 30th April 1796.

Old Bailey Trial Transcript.
Reference Number: t17940917-75

533. LOUISA LESAGE was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 14th of August , a silver watch, value 2l. a metal watch key, value 1d. a black mode clock, value 10s. a dimity petticoat, value 2s. 6d. and two cotton shawls, value 5s. the goods of James Brocke , in his dwelling house .
MARIA BROCKE sworn.
I am a married woman, my husband’s name is James Brocke, he is a private gentleman , he lives in Arebella-row, near Buckingham-gate ; the prisoner was a servant at the time I was robbed of my property; she lived with us about five weeks, she was an attendant on me.
Q. What was the day you first missed. these things? - On Thursday evening, on the 14th of August; the watch was missed first, I missed the other articles that night, it was the servant maid missed it, it was in her care, she is here, her name is Elizabeth Sutton ; the other articles were all missed at one time; the watch has been found; I see it the next Monday following, in the hand of the pawnbroker.
Q. Have you ever seen any of the other articles? - Yes, a few of them, they were in my room up stairs.
ELIZABETH SUTTON sworn.
I am servant in the family of Mr. Brocke, I have been a quarter of a year the 1st of October.
Q. Do you know any thing of the loss of the property, described by your mistress? - Every thing. A fortnight before my master went out of town, I asked him for a clock, and he gave me this watch, I had it in my possession a fortnight before he went out of town, I had it a month in my pocket; on Tuesday I put it out of my pocket, on the toiler table, in my mistress’s bed-room; I cannot exactly say the day of the month, it was the day she robbed us.
Q. Were the other articles in this indictment missed from the same room? - Yes.
Q. Have you seen any of them since? - Yes, at pawnbrokers.
Q. Should you know them again as well as your mistress? - Yes.
Q. Did you see any of them in possession of that young woman? - No.
Q. Was she in the situation of a servant before she came to you? - Yes, as a lady’s maid.
Q. Do you know whether your mistress had a character? - Not to my knowledge.
WILLIAM VALE sworn.
I am an officer, I produce a corded dimity petticoat, a silk cloak, a silk sash, I believe they call it; one cotton shawl, and these trinkets in this little box; the cloak and petticoat I took off her, and the petticoat, and other things I found in her lodgings, the morning I apprehended her.
Q. How do you know they were her lodgings? - I had the key of the door, she gave it to Merry.
ROBERT MERRY sworn.
I am an officer, the prisoner was brought to my house on Saturday night, and while I was taking these things off from her, there was a gentleman there that could talk french with her, and he asked her for the key, and she gave it him. and my brother officer living close by, I gave it to him; I was not present when the shawl was taken from her lodging; she was in my care from Saturday night, till Monday morning.
Vale. I took her up to the pawnbroker’s in the Borough, I was sent for by Merry, Saturday night, the 29th of August, or the 30th, I don’t know which.
JOHN BALL sworn.
I live at No. 185, in the Borough; I am a servant to the pawnbroker; I produce a metal watch, a silver gilt watch, the out side case, and a metal watch key; it was taken in, of the prisoner at the bar.
Q. Had you ever seen her before that once? - No. She pawned it on Friday, the 15th of August; I am sure of her person, I have not the least doubt in the world; I gave her a duplicate; it was pawned at nine o’clock in the morning.
Q. To Prosecutor. Had you any character with that young woman? - She told me she had been two years in London, I had a written character with her.
Q. You did not see any person about her character? - I did not. This cloak is mine; I know the lace, I have had it a year; I have no doubt about it at all; I know the petticoat is mine; I am certain to the shawl, I have no mark about it; I don’t with to swear to it, but I know it to be mine; he watch I know, it belonged to my son, it was made by Moore, of Dublin; I don’t recollect the number; it has been in the family two or three years; it was lost just as it is.
Prisoner. I never was the servant of this lady, but it was this lady’s husband that made me a present of the watch, when this lady was ill for a fortnight; after I was at her house the cloak was made a present of by the lady, and I took the other articles, I thought the lady would not want any more.
Court to Prosecutrix. Is Mr. Brocke in court? - No he is out of town, he went out of town some time since.
Q. Did he go before this young woman came to your house, or since? - About a fortnight after.
Q. Have you seen your watch in the hands of your servant, or on the toilet any were? - I was ill, I saw it on the toilet that day.
Prisoner. I knew the lady’s husband a long time before I knew this lady, and it was this lady’s husband who took me to this house.
Q. To Elizabeth Sutton . This girl has said, that a fortnight after she came, her master gave her the watch. Have you had the watch since that time? - It was not in the house a fortnight after she came; the master borrowed it of the child for me; he was at the boarding school.
Q. Do you recollect when the child brought the watch home? - I cannot rightly say when he gave it me, it was very near a fortnight before he went.
Q. How long had the girl been at your house at that time? - I dare say she had been a fortnight.
Q. After the watch was given to you by your master to take care of, had it ever been returned to him till it was missing? - No, there was a strange woman in the house, whom we had no character with, and I told the prisoner I would not put it out of my pocket, because I would not lose it, and when I put it out of my pocket, this strange woman was gone, and I had no suspicion of the prisoner.
Q. Then your master had gone out of town? - He was.
Q. To Prosecutrix. What may be the value of this cloak? - It is not worth much, a crown; the petticoat half a crown; the watch about a guinea.
Q. Did you give her that cloak? - No, I never did.
Q. How did she leave your house? - She asked me to go to her washerwoman’s, and never returned.
GUILTY . (Aged 22.)
Transported for seven years .
Tried by a Jury half English and half Foreign, before Mr. RECORDER.

Phil Hands on 31st July, 2017 wrote:

Soon after her arrival she met a French aristocrat, Gabriel Huon deKerilleau, he had escaped the French revolution by fleeing to England, where he changed his name to Gabriel Lewis and enlisted in the New South Wales Corps arriving in the colony on 25th October 1794. It is likely that, in keeping with tradition at the time, he sought a domestic from among the group of female convicts. Luck was on his side. His solitude was broken when he made the acquaintance of Louisa soon after her arrival in 1796. Partly the joy of being able to converse in French and partly to protect her from the inordinate demands of soldiers and convicts alike, were responsible for his choice. As for Louisa, the prospect of lasting security and a protector’s kindness were more than she could have hoped for. It was not long before mutual love brought these two French exiles in a distant land closer together. They lived together in a ‘de facto’ relationship almost at once, and on 6th June 1797 a daughter was born, Elizabeth Broughton Huon, named Elizabeth after Captain John Macarthur’s wife and Broughton after Commissioner John Broughton, one of the couple’s acquaintances. On 12th September 1799 a son Paul was born to them. Gabriel wished to legalise their situation, especially for the sake of his two children. Indeed, in Australian law, children born outside of wedlock were not legitimate therefore unable to inherit unless named in the will of a relative. Despite the presence of a Catholic priest, Father Dixon, whose mandate in the colony was severely restricted, it was the Anglican pastor Samuel Marsden, who on 7th February 1800 conducted the marriage ceremony at St John’s Church Parramatta. The Governor had to give his consent, since Gabriel was a soldier and Louisa, as a convict, did not have the status of a ‘free woman’.
A third child, Jean-Francois, was added to the family on 12th August 1802, on 16th December 1806, a fourth child, Aime Augustas was born to the couple.

On 25th October 1807, Governor Bligh (the dubious hero of the Bounty Mutiny of 1787) received a letter from Lord Camden, the Secretary of State in London, with signed orders pertaining to Gabriel’s release from the army, this was through the efforts of the Bishop of Saint-Pol-de-Leon who was in London helping other French emigrants, and the Duke of Buckingham’s intervention:-
The letter reads:-

The commanding Officer of the New South Wales Corps will receive by the
  present opportunity, the orders of his Royal Highness the commander-in-
chief to discharge G.L.M Huon de Kerilleau, a French emigrant of a
distinguished family, serving as Private G. Lewis. I am to desire that you
        will do everything in your power to contribute to the comfortable establishment
of M. Huon de Kerilleau and afford him every assistance. He is a relation
of the venerable Bishop of Saint-Pol-de-Leon and Strongly recommended to me
by the Marquis of Buckingham.

Although Gabriel did not expect to be given preferential treatment, the couples social life was steadily improving now he was free from the rigours of army life. He was now a guest at the governor’s table. Evidence of his standing and respect in the community is shown in the Proclamation of 1820, when the colony accepted George, Prince of Wales as King George IV. The signature of Gabriel and his son Paul Huon are seen on this document.

In the same year as his discharge he became the private tutor to the Macarthur’s two young sons, James and William, they made quick progress and French soon became the second language of these two talented students.

Finally, to confirm their religious commitment, Gabriel called upon the Catholic priest, Father Dixon, to perform a new marriage ceremony in 1807.
The family grew in strength; Gabriel himself saw to the education of his children. On 24th October 1812, a fifth and final child was born; Charles. Louisa proved to be an exemplary mother under the protection and loving care of her husband, who in spite of the remoteness and the difficult living conditions, did not neglect cultural pursuits in a country where intellectuals were few and far between.

In December 1828 Gabriel left his home, it is said, with the intention of visiting his son Paul, who lived in Campbelltown. He was spotted on two occasions along the way, and it is said that a gang of workers employed by a neighbour of his, pointed him in the right direction. He was never seen again. A search was mounted, his broken spectacles were found around Shoalhaven Gorge, and on the bark of a tree it is said that the words ’ Heading North’ were inscribed. The search party failed to find his body; it was thought that he must have lost his way, stumbled and fallen down one of the many crevices along the Gorge. Human remains were later discovered, but they failed to be positively identified as Gabriel’s.

Louisa died in 1842, aged 70, and was buried at ‘Brisbane Meadows’ the property of her son-in-law, William Mitchell.

Gabriel and Louisa’s descendents can now look upon her past with pride, and the part they
played as early Pioneers in the establishment of Australia as a nation.

Convict Changes History

Denis Pember on 28th October, 2015 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1772 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1842 (prev. 0000), gender: f, crime

Phil Hands on 30th July, 2017 made the following changes:

convicted at, occupation

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