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Daniel Morris, one of 160 convicts transported on the Prince Regent, 17 September 1819
Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
||31st December, 1833
life span was 58 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to 7 years
||Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/3, Page Number 235(119)
||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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Brian Wills-Johnson on 10th December, 2015 wrote:
DANIEL MORRIS & MARY COPPINGER
Daniel Morris was convicted of larceny at Middlesex (i.e. London) on 28th October, 1818, and sentenced to seven years transportation. His native place was recorded as Colechester, which presumably is the modern Colchester in Essex, about 80km north-east of London. His age when convicted was 23, his calling was an inn waiter. On arrival in Sydney his height was noted as five feet 5 inches, his complexion categorised as dark ruddy, his hair black and his eyes hazel. (The indent descriptions used hazel rather than brown to describe eye colour.)
His trial is reported thus:
1530. DANIEL MORRIS was indicted for stealing, on the 1st of November, 1817, one snuff-box, value 25s., the property of James George Hodgson.
Mr. James George Hodgson. I keep the Piazza Coffee-House, in Covent-Garden. The prisoner came into my service, as waiter, about April, 1817, and left me in November last; after he left me I missed my snuff-box, and found it at Hatton-Garden Office a short time ago.
Cross-examined by Mr. Adolphus. Q. He was the chamberlain - A. Yes; my servants sometimes find things and return them to the gentlemen. My snuff-box was occasionally in my room, or in my parlour.
Q. Your partner died while the prisoner was with you - A. Yes, and the prisoner had mourning.
Charlotte Phillips. I keep the Golden Lion, in St. John-street. The prisoner was waiter at my house. I had occasion to search his box on the 21st of September last - Read found the snuff-box in his trunk. He came to live with me from the Grotto public-house.
William Read. I am an officer of Hatton-Garden Office. I searched the prisoner’s box, and found the snuff-box in it.
(Property produced and sworn to.)
Prisoner’s Defence. I did not intend to appropriate it to my own use. I found the box, and put it into my pocket, thinking I should receive a present from the gentleman who owned it. I have had things for three or four months before they were owned. Having changed my clothes to go into mourning, I did not remember having it until after I left; it certainly would have been better if I had given it to the prosecutor, but I did not.
Transported for Seven Years.
Second Middlesex Jury,
before Mr. Recorder
Daniel’s wife-to-be, Mary Coppinger, sailed to Australia in the store ship HMS Dromedary. Being a store ship it was a Royal Navy vessel, rather than a chartered convict ship, and was commanded by Captain Richard Skinner RN as Master. The Surgeon Superintendent was George Fairfowl. Also on board was Richard Alexander Cruise, who continued on to New Zealand after the ship had called at Hobart and Sydney, and who wrote an account of his experiences. The Dromedary took 121 days to reach Hobart where it landed 347 convicts, and it then sailed on to Sydney to arrive on 28th January, 1820 (the day after Daniel Morris arrived on the Prince Regent) after a total voyage of 139 days. At Sydney it landed the remaining 22 convicts, none having died on the voyage.
Daniel’s ship was the Prince Regent I (there was also a Prince Regent II transporting convicts at the same time) on its first voyage to Sydney. This “ship” (in the rigging sense, as opposed to clipper etc.) was built at Shields in 1810. We do not know its exact sailing date or voyage time. However, the Surgeon-Superintendent’s report is headed: Medical and Surgical Journal of the ship Prince Regent between 1st September 1919 and the 28th February 1820 during which time the said ship has been employed in conveying convicts to New South Wales.
It appears that the Prince Regent was a slower ship than the Dromedary, having perhaps left England 10 days earlier and not having called at Hobart. But both Daniel and Mary seem to have had fair voyages, as Bateson comments: Several of the convict ships which arrived in 1820 made fast voyages. It was a favourable year so far as the weather and winds were concerned, as it had been also the previous year. He notes that the Eliza, which arrived 21st January 1820, set a record of 97 or 98 days for the voyage, which was a fortnight less than the previous record.
Daniel Morris and Mary Coppinger married in 1821. The Mutch Index records that they were married at St. Philip’s Church in Sydney on 12 June, 1821. (The numbers in the original church entry must have been transposed during the copying since the index actually shows “1812”.) The original register for St Phillip’s shows that Daniel was literate and signed the register, whereas Susan marked it with a cross. At the time of their marriage, he was a butler in Captain Piper’s household. Their first child, Susan, was born a few weeks later on 4 August 1821.
There is some documentary contradiction about Daniel’s status early in his married life. The 1822 Muster records: “Daniel Morris, FS, ‘Prince Regent’, 7 [years], employed by Captain Piper, Sydney”. The same Muster lists: “Mary Copenger, CF, ‘Dromedary’, servant to Captain Piper, Sydney”. Daniel, however, was either passing himself off as having been freed by servitude, or the records are in error. It appears that he served his full seven year-term, as the records show that on 3 November 1825 he was issued with a certificate of freedom. A check of the film of the 1825 Muster shows him as still being a convict, and still in servitude to Piper.
By 1828 Daniel was a shopkeeper, and about three years after the census, on 7th July 1831, he was issued with a publican’s licence for The Green Gate in Kent Street, Sydney. On 11th July 1832 the licence was renewed, and again on 15th July 1833. But the following year, on 30th June 1834, the licence for The Green Gate was issued to Mary Morris. The reason is not apparent from the NSW Registrar General’s indexes, but in fact Daniel died at the age of 34 or 35 on 31st December, 1833. His cause of death is not noted, but a the record of his death is in the NSW Probate index:
BE IT KNOWN that upon search being made in the registry of the Court it appears that on 5 July 1834 ADMINISTRATION of the estate of DANIEL MORRIS late of Sydney in the State of New South Wales VICTUALLER who died intestate on 31 December 1833 was granted to MARY MORRIS the widow of the deceased.
Mary Morris was thus left at the age of 32 with four daughters aged between 13 and six. The licence for The Green Gate was not renewed in her name the following year, and from the middle of 1834 there is no discovered record of her activities until her death. She might have been a witness at her daughter Susan’s wedding in 1841, or the Mary Morris recorded on the certificate might have been Susan’s sister.
Daniel and Mary’s memorial inscription has, however, been found in Gravestone Inscriptions NSW, and it provides a wealth of information. It states:
Mr Daniel MORRIS died 31st December 1833 aged 34 years. also Katherine NAPTHALI, wife of Joseph NAPTHALI, and 3rd daughter of the above, died 25 September 1850 at San Francisco, California, aged 24 years. also Mrs Mary MORRIS, wife of the above, died 27th January 1853 aged (52) years. also Maria Margaret FORSTER died 20th November 1853 aged (5) years & 8 months. also Mary Matilda JOHNSON died 16th December 1854 aged 14 months.
It is not known when this gravestone was erected, and the details in Mary Morris’s death notice show some variation:
At the residence of Mr. Smedley, Mrs. Mary
Morris, wife of David (sic) Morris, in the 54th year
of her age, after a long and painful illness.
Though no death certificate is available, Mary’s burial certificate confirms that she was buried on 30 January 1853, aged 54, having resided at Kent Street. The Rev. D.V.M. O’Connell performed the Roman Catholic service, in the Parish of St James.
Daniel and Mary Morris’ children
Susan Morris, also known as Susanna and Susannah, married William Johnson, a son of Frances Johnson (c.f., Lord Melville, 1817).
William was born in Sydney on 5 December 1822, and was baptised at St Phillip’s Church, Sydney, on 28 January 1823. His parents perhaps knew at the time that he was unlikely to survive, since he died three days later on 31 January, and was buried on 1 February.
Mary, also known as Mary Ann Morris, was born in Sydney on 24 June 1824, and was baptised a Roman Catholic at St. Mary’s two days later by Rev J. J. Therry. Her sponsors were William and Eleanor Walsh. Mary married John Smedley at the age of 19 on 11 September 1845. He was a much older man, having been born in Manchester in 1809. He was sentenced at Lancaster to 14 years for stealing cutlery, and arrived in Sydney in 1829. Mary and John had nine children. The oldest, a daughter also named Mary Ann, was born in 1847 when her father was the licensee of The Kentish Arms at Berrima. Mary died in 1896.
Catherine was born in Sydney in 1825. She married Joseph Napthali at St James’ Church of England in Sydney on 5 September 1849. They sailed to San Francisco during the gold rush, where she died shortly after childbirth on 25 September 1850.
Eleanor was born in Sydney in 1826.
Maria Ann Morris
Maria Ann was born in Sydney in 1830. On 9 September 1847 at Sutton Forrest in NSW she married Robert Henry Mariner Forster. He was 12 years older than she, having been born at sea near the island of Corfu, Greece. He arrived in NSW about 1836 and was a Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly from April 1862 to October 1877. They had three daughters and four sons. Robert died in February 1880, and Maria Ann is believed to have died in 1884 at St Leonards, NSW.
[The author, Brian Wills-Johnson, welcomes contact with those interested in the Morris-Coppinger family. E-mail bwillsjatoptusnetdotcomdotau.]
Convict Changes History
Brian Wills-Johnson on 10th December, 2015 made the following changes:
date of death: 31st December, 1833 (prev. 0000), gender: m, occupation, crime