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Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
||19th August, 1838
life span was 54 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to 7 years
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Peter Morris on 28th October, 2012 wrote:
EDWARD MILES, (MOYLE, MYER)
b. 1761 d. August 19, 1838
With the advent of the American War of Independence, 1775 – 1783, England no longer had a place to sends its convicts. Criminals previously sent to America were often sold as slaves. Consequently they tended to remain as slaves for the rest of their lives. The convicts that were dispatched to the colonies of Australia were controlled by the ‘Master & Servant Act’ and, therefore, were generally considered to be free on completion of their sentence. Retired naval ships of the line, hulks tied up and rotting in the rivers of south and east England served as prisons for the overflow from the land based gaols. After a failed attempt to establish a prison settlement on the west coast of Africa it was decided to form a prison colony in New South Wales. This followed on from the voyage of Captain James Cook wherein he discovered the east coast of the ‘great south land’. In the interim period there were submissions by Sir Joseph Banks and, more particularly, James Matra, both having sailed with Cook, as to the suitability of the place for a settlement.
Edward Miles (alias Moyle) was born in early 1761 at Wendon in Cornwall in southwest England. Christened on April 5 in 1761 his parents were Edward Moyle and Elizabeth Uren. All early records show his name as “Moyle” and this is his listing on embarkation, however, on his arrival in Port Jackson in 1788 aboard the First Fleet he was recorded as Edward Miles and all subsequent records are in that name. 1
It was alleged that on the 19th March, 1785 at the Launceston Assizes Edward Moyle and John Rowe: “for the feloniously breaking and entering the Dw: Ho: of Benjamin Barrett about 11 in the forenoon no person being therein and stealing thereout two cloth coats val. 50s, and other goods val. 17s.8d. his property”. “Guilty of stealing the goods, not guilty of breaking and entering the house of the day. Each to be transported for 7 years.”2 It should not be assumed that Edward, or indeed, any of our convict ancestors were merely victims of an overly harsh system of sentencing in the British courts. For two years he languished in the hulk Dunkirk in London before leaving England on the 13th May 1787 with the First Fleet, under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip who was to become the governor of the colony. At the time Edward was described as “tolerably decent and orderly.” The First Fleet consisted of eleven ships with approximately 1350 men, women and children. Edward embarked on the vessel Charlotte but was transferred to the Scarborough at Portsmouth. A ship of 430 tons it was the largest of the convict transport vessels and it was aboard this ship that our Edward Miles departed Britain.
After clearing the English Channel there was an attempted uprising of the convicts on the Scarborough. The ringleaders were removed to the Sirius and placed in irons. After a stay at Teneriffe in the Canary Islands, Rio de Janeiro, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean at Brazil, was reached on the 5th August. Here ‘the convicts were held on the ships, locked below decks in the sweltering heat.’ ‘On the whole the weather had been favourable and the fleet kept company without great difficulty.’3 After calling into the Cape of Good Hope where they stayed for a month the reprovisioned fleet set sail for and arrived at Botany Bay between the 18th and the 20th of January 1788. Seeing the unsuitability of the area and following Phillip’s examination of Port Jackson the entire fleet moved to and anchored in Port Jackson on the 26th January 1788.4
Edward Miles thus became a part of the very beginning of the Australian colonization by Europeans. The first few years of the colony have been described as the “hungry years”. The colonists had generally not learnt to ‘live off the land’ and to find the foods of the aboriginals. In a bid to preserve their scarce food resources Governor Phillip had a public store established and the penalty for pilfering and theft was death. In 1789 Captain Watkin Tench reported that ‘six marines … were hanged by the public executioner, on the sentence of a criminal court, for having at various times robbed the public store of flour, meat, spirits, tobacco and many other articles.’5 In this atmosphere, it was reported, that on ‘Saturday 6th February 1790, Edward Miles was accused of stealing vegetables from Captain Johnston’s garden … [but] the prisoner was discharged “for want of proof”.’6 Capt. George Johnson, in charge of the marines, was to become a major and a leader of the infamous Rum Corps who were responsible for the overthrow of Governor Bligh in 1808. Johnston then assumed the title of Lieutenant-Governor and was the colony’s, rather ineffectual, local ruler until the arrival of Governor Macquarie in 1810.7
On the 1st May, 1797 Edward was granted 30 acres of land at Prospect Hill (now Prospect) by the then Governor of the colony, Captain John Hunter. This was adjacent to a grant of land to John Rowe, his old Cornwall accomplice. Five years later he sold half his grant.8 On the 31st October, 1803 he married Susannah Smith at St. John’s, Parramatta.9 On 24 October 1809 he was granted a further 70 acres at Prospect, however, this property was destroyed in 1825. More land was granted, this time at Minto.10
Four daughters were born to Edward and Susannah, the elder two at Prospect Hill and the younger ones at Cowpasture/Minto.11 Edward was not a successful farmer and both he and his wife were obliged to seek other employment fairly late in life. The 1828 Census shows Edward to have moved away from Susannah and was working as a carpenter for, and living with, a Mrs Ryan at Illawarra. On August 19, 1838 Edward died at Windsor and is buried, together with his wife Susannah, at St. Matthews, Windsor.12
Convict Changes History
Peter Morris on 28th October, 2012 made the following changes:
convicted at, term 7 years, voyage, source, firstname, surname, alias1, alias2, alias3, alias4, date of birth 0000, date of death 19th August, 1838, gender, occupation, crime