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John (the Younger) Mills

John Mills (The younger), one of 300 convicts transported on the General Hewett, August 1813

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John (the Younger) Mills
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1799
Occupation: Farm labourer
Date of Death: 22nd August, 1821
Age: 22 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 54 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing a pig
Convicted at: Kent Assizes
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: General Hewett
Departure date: August, 1813
Arrival date: 7th February, 1814
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 300 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 117 (60); Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 23 March 1813, p.4; Hulk records HO9/piece 7.
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

Robin Sharkey on 2nd October, 2018 wrote:

John Mills was aged only 14 years at trial in March 1813, when he was sentenced to 7 years transportation at the Maidstone, Kent Assizes for stealing several pigs. With him in committing the crime were his father, recorded as John Mills Senior, who was acquitted.
Also present and found guilty was 27 year old James Wells, also transported on ‘General Hewett’.

Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 23 March 1813,
col 4, page 4., 1813
‘KENT LENT ASSIZES [ from page 2, held at Maidstone]
The Assizes for this county terminated at a late hour on Saturday evening, when twenty-four prisoners received sentence of death, seven only of whom were left for execution. Below we have given the calendar of the whole, and in the preceding page, a detail of the most important trials.

“John Mills jun, aged 14, and James Wells, 27, (in company with John Mills senior, acquitted) a sow and six pigs, the property of Robert Fauchon, of Allington — to be transported seven years.”

One of 19 convicts received on ‘Retribution’ Hulk on 19th April 1813, from the Kent Assizes of March 1813. Of these 19, the bulk were transported four months later on ‘General Hewett’ on 13th August 1813. However Joseph Fielder was pardoned on 10 May 1813, John Wright was pardoned in March 1817 (?) and Richard Welch escaped in October 1813.

Robin Sharkey on 2nd October, 2018 wrote:

John Mills was assigned to emancipee farmer, George Best who was also a native of Kent, and in 1814 was mustered at Parramatta to Best, and was off stores. George Best was transported for life in 1791 for burglary at East Peckham in Kent, where he was a laborer. Best was freed with an absolute pardon in 1804, married, obtained a land grant and farmed at Toongabie where, by 1828 he had over 800 acres.  George Best was looking after a fellow Kent native by taking John Mills on government assignment.

December 1817 petition for mitigation of sentence (Ticket of Leave).
“ that your petitioner during the whole of the time he has lived in this Colony has lived in the service of Mr George Best, Toongabbee, and has maintained an honest and industrious character.
Petitioner therefore trusts Yr Excellency will be pleased to take into consideration the above and grant him the indulgence of a Ticket of Leave, and Petitioner will as duty bound ever pray.

“This Petitioner has lived with one Martin since his arrival and has behaved well. I I beg to recommend him for a Ticket of Leave. Samuel Marsden, Senior Chaplain,  JP.”

“T.L” Scrawled on the side in Macquarie’s handwriting.
Born: Kent [KEN ENG]; Farmers Boy, Height in feet/inches & fraction of inch: 5/3 1/4; Complexion: Fair Pale; Hair: Light Brown; Eyes: Hazel; 

MARRIAGE 22 June 1818 to the boss’s daughter, Mary BEST. John Mills, “F”, Married at St John’s Parramatta to Mary BEST “F”, both of the parish of Parramatta, both made their mark on the page. Witnesses were Edward Tulle (signed not free-flowing) and Elizabeth Fuller, who made her makr.

1. George Mills born 9th September 1819, and baptised 10 October 1819 1819 at St John’s Parramatta, son of John and Mary Mills of Toongabbe [sic]. Evidently died as a baby - does not appear in 1828 Census or thereafter)

2. William Mills born 8th July 1821, and baptised 25 November 1821by Sauel Marsden at St John’s Parramatta, son of John and Mary Mills of Toongabbe [sic]. William lived to the age of 69, married Elizabeth Tuckwell at the age of 21 and had fifteen children together.  They moved to the Yass area where William worked as a labourer on a property called ‘Bendenine’. William subsequently acquired his own land at Wargeila, also near Yass, and became a farmer/grazier. (per website “Australian Royalty”.

Grant of 50 acres:
This petition is badly damaged on the right-hand side, part being torn off.

“the ship General Hewett a free man [ torn]
“a free born subject of this colony begs [torn off]
“resides at Dural following agricultural [torn off]
“honest, industrious Character.
  “That Memorialist [torn off]
“Indulgence from the Crown, and being [torn off]
“humbly implores Your Excellency to take h[incomplete] [torn off]
“Consideration and grant him ushc portion [torn off]
“as to your Excellency’s wisdom and Goodness shall [illegible]
“for such mark of favour.”
“Memorialist in duty bound will ever pray.”

Written underneath in a different hand is the following:

“This petitioner married the eldest daughter of George Best, Toongabbie in [xx] & is very industrious.”
3 signatures:
J[ohn] Harris, JP
One other signature unknown.

Scrawled at the side in Macquarie’s handwriting is “50 acres”.“

DEATH of JOHN MILLS in 1822at Castle Hill.  He would be aged approximately 23 or perhaps 25 years based on other records.

his widow Mary Best Mills married again the following year, on 21 March 1823, to James Beckett, born in NSW in 1793 to convict parents, at St John’s Church Parramatta, where the witnesses were her brother Thomas Best and his wife Mary, nee Becket (Mrrd 1818) who was the sister of James Beckett. Mary and James went on to have eleven children together.

Robin Sharkey on 2nd October, 2018 wrote:



JOHN MILLS died by being executed as part of a gang in NSW who were robbing people bushranging.  They were executed on Friday 24 August 1821, a week and a day after the verdict of “guilty” at their trial on Thursday, 16 July 1821. The episodes on which Mills was positively identified as being involved had been o 3rd or 4th February 1821.

Why he did this when he was free, his life was going so well with a land grant, a good wife and surviving child is hard to comprehend. One of the men involved was Samuel Becket whose sister Mary Becket had married Thomas Best, brother -in-law of John Mills.  It may have been the influence of local friends who got him caught up.

Sydney Gazette, 18 August 1821, page 3
THURSDAY.—William Geary, Thomas Smith, Charles Young, William Whiteman, John Cochrane alias Cockling, Samuel Becket, Peter Hilson, Wm. Baker, John Mills, and John Lloyd, were conjointly and severally indicted for having perpetrated various highway robberies, and felonious entries of dwelling-houses ; and Charles Franklin and Robert Allan, were also indicted for receiving the proceeds of the said felonies, knowing them to be stolen ; and also, upon a second count, these latter prisoners were charged with harbouring, secreting, and countenancing the above-named prisoners. The information being read, the prisoners were severally called on to plead, and they pleaded Not Guilty, with the exception of William Geary, who declared himself Guilty of the charges exhibited to the Court.”

Page 3, Sydney Gazette, 18 August 1821: Many witnesses were called giving account of having been robbed by a gang all on different occasions, including Thomas Best, John Mills’ brother-in-law.

Column 2, p.3 - The only case of Mills being positively identified was in the robbery of Mrs Mary Young in her cart on the Windsor Rd in the Baulkham Hills area on 3rd or 4th February, and of William Clayton in a cart behind her. She was detained near two hours when another cart approached; the porter from her cart was drunk by the gang. She identified the leader, Geary, and John Mills.  William Clayton in the other cart identified those two as well.
Column 3, p. 3 - “Mills attempted to prove an alibi which failed in its concerted design.”
‘Against BECKET, Hilson Baker, Lloyd and Franklin, nothing sufficiently transpired to evince any actual guilt on their part ...” So Becket & co were found not guilty.

Part of the judges’ comment was that “the numbers of the party were sufficient to intimidate the most fearless and courageous into awe and obedience; for it must be recollected in distant wilds, or solitary dwellings, how could a poor man guard his wife, children and little property from the well-armed and determined ruffian, much less a gang of 4, 6, 8, 9 and even 12 if not more.

EXECUTIONS - Sydney Gazette, Sat, 25 August 1821, p.4
” ... Also, yesterday morning, the following started the awful sentence: William Geary, Thomas Smith, John Whiteman, John Cochrane, Charles Young, John Mills, and William Kennedy.”
“On the verge of eternity, Geary solemnly exculpated George Bowerman (one of the three brothers that were executed some months since for a robbery on the Windsor-road) from all knowledge of the transaction for which he had innocently paid the forfeit of his life. He (Geary) declared himself to have been the man, in company with the other Bowermans that had perpetrated the robbery; and that George Bowerman was the unhappy man identified in the place of Geary. We must leave the Public to judgement, at so awful a period; but, it may be remembered, that the deceased George Bowerman positively asserted his innocence to the last moment of existence. During his trial, Geary alleged, and in fact it was proved, that he had committed no violence, no act of inhumanity; but at the place of execution, he declared that he had committed an innocent man (the father of a family) to become a sacrifice to his wanton rapacity!”

Convict Changes History

Robin Sharkey on 2nd October, 2018 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 117 (60); Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 23 March 1813, p.4; Hulk records HO9/piece 7. (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and

Robin Sharkey on 2nd October, 2018 made the following changes:

date of death: 22nd August, 1821 (prev. 0000), occupation

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