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James Legg, one of 200 convicts transported on the China, 03 January 1846
Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
life span was 61 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to 10 years
3rd January, 1846
16th May, 1846
|Place of arrival
||Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island
Travelled with 199 other convicts
||Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 92, Class and Piece Number HO11/15, Page Number 10
||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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Steph Richards on 29th November, 2013 wrote:
This was James Legg’s second sentence to transportation. He had been transported for seven years in January 1837, arriving in Sydney on 9 February 1838 on the Emma Eugenia, returning to England in 1844.
Having returned to England, probably in mid-1944, he would have found that his family (wife Rachel and five children) had dispersed to different locations in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
On 15 October 1844, a James Hewer was acquitted of the theft of a hamper in Highworth, Wiltshire. This is likely to be James Legg as he also used the alias Hewer.
9 August 1845 saw James in court again at Warminster Quarter Sessions (Wiltshire), this time as James Legg and this time he was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years transportation for breaking into a house at Highworth and stealing ‘wearing apparel’. In fact, he stole ‘one Black Silk Gown, one Night Gown, two Knives and two Forks, and one Apron’.
At around this time his eldest daughter Ann must have died as she disappears from the records and is not included in his convict indent, so he must have been aware of it before he left England.
James left Woolwich on the China on 4 January 1846 and arrived at Norfolk Island on 16 May 1846. In late 1846, his wife Rachel died in England. She is included on his indent, so he probably was not aware of this fact.
He spent a year on Norfolk Island and arrived in Van Dieman’s Land on 20 May 1847 on the Pestongee Bomangee arriving at Cascades Probation Station (Koonya) on Norfolk Bay on the Tasman Peninsula. His indent records his occupation as ‘shepherd’. His conduct record (convict no. 42159) shows him to be relatively well-behaved, with just two offences: having tobacco in his possession on Norfolk Island (6 days solitary), and having tea in his possession on VDL (6 months and hard labour).
On VDL he is recorded as working for W. Morrisby at Clarence Plains, Edward Busby at Muddy Plains, R. Lucas at NW Bay.
In 1851 he received his Ticket of Leave, and in 1853 his Conditional Pardon was approved.
A note on his conduct record suggests that in April 1864 he was at Woodbourne, Cressy (then owned by the Gatenby family[?] who bred sheep so maybe he worked as a shepherd?).
A James Legg, labourer, died at Longford, Tasmania in 1874, which is quite likely to be him.
One intriguing question is whether James may have remarried while in Tasmania. Records exist of several applications to marry relating to a James Legg, at least one of which ended in marriage (in 1854 to Anne Faltes or Feltis or Fetter from Cascades Female Factory, arrived 25 October 1847 on the Waverley; her conduct record contains numerous charges for drunkenness and improper behaviour and refers to her latterly as Legg and living in Longford and Launceston. An Ann Legg died in Launceston in 1890, which may be her. I also came across a newspaper report of her inquest but the link [digital.statelibrary.tas.gov.au] to this no longer works so I have so far been unable to verify it).
James Legg left behind a family in England who struggled to survive and who turned to petty crime to do so. His wife appeared in court once, his sons Francis and John twice, and his daughters Emma and Elizabeth several times. In the 1851 census, Emma and Elizabeth were described as ‘nymphs of the pavé’ (prostitutes) though whether this was a fact or just the opinion of the enumerator is unclear.
Convict Changes History
Steph Richards on 29th November, 2013 made the following changes: