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Thomas Pearson

Thomas Pearson, one of 206 convicts transported on the Ganges, August 1796

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Thomas Pearson
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1765
Occupation: Shoemaker
Date of Death: 1823
Age: 58 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Highway robbery
Convicted at: Old Bailey
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Ganges
Departure date: August, 1796
Arrival date: 2nd June, 1797
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 208 other convicts

References

Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 214
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

Anonymous on 19th June, 2011 wrote:

Crime date August 20, 1795, trial date September 16, 1795, trial held at the Old Bailey, aged 30 years at the time.

Charged with assaulting Mary Butler and stealing a silk cloak valued at 5s and 5 shillings in monies. Sentenced to death commuted to life.

Denis Pember on 23rd August, 2015 wrote:

Thomas appears to have been married in England, prior to his conviction, to Sarah Eggleton, Saint Leonards, Shoreditch, London, 13 April 1793.

Denis Pember on 23rd August, 2015 wrote:

On 20 August 1793, at the back of Camden Town, Thomas approached Mary Butler and demanded ‘money’, she passed over some coins. He was not pleased and threatened her with a stick and again demanded ‘money’. He then indicated that he would take the silk cloak she was wearing. She gave him the cloak, but as he ran away, she raised the alarm. Two men took up the chase and ten minutes later, Thomas was apprehended in Chalk Lane.
Mary Butler told the court that he did the robbery ‘as mildly as the thing could be done’. Thomas said he had nothing to say, he had never been in trouble in his life, had a job as a shoemaker and had a wife and family, and did not know how to proceed. He said he had 1 child twenty months old and his wife was ‘big’ with another. He was found guilty of highway robbery and sentenced to death.
]The Jury recommended mercy, because he had used no violence. Mary Butler also recommended mercy. He was transported for life.

Denis Pember on 23rd August, 2015 wrote:

His wife, Sarah and two children (Thomas and Sarah) accompanied him on Ganges after she had made a plea to the Government.
They had two more children in the colony.

Phil Hands on 13th June, 2017 wrote:

On 20th August 1793, at the back of Camden Town, Thomas approached Mary Butler and demanded ‘money’, she passed over some coins. He was not pleased and threatened her with a stick and again demanded ‘money’. He then indicated that he would take the silk cloak she was wearing. She gave him the cloak, but as he ran away, she raised the alarm. Two men took up the chase and ten minutes later, Thomas was apprehended in Chalk Lane, he was tried and convicted at the Old Bailey on 16th September 1795 of highway robbery. Mary Butler told the court that he did the robbery ‘as mildly as the thing could be done’. Thomas said he had nothing to say, he had never been in trouble in his life, had a job as a shoemaker and had a wife and family, and did not know how to proceed. He said he had 1 child twenty months old and his wife was ‘big’ with another. He was found guilty of highway robbery and sentenced to death. The Jury recommended mercy, because he had used no violence. Mary Butler also recommended mercy. His sentenced was commuted to transportation for life.
Left England early 1797.
Ship:- the ‘Ganges’ sailed with 203 male convicts on board of which 13 died during the voyage.
Arrived on 2nd June 1797.
His wife, Sarah and two children (Thomas and Sarah) accompanied him on Ganges after she had made a plea to the Government.
They had two more children in the colony, Rosetta in 1798 and Elizabeth in 1805.
In the General Muster of NSW for 1806, Thomas is listed as a shoemaker with a Ticket of Leave
The 1822 General Muster shows Thomas to be in poor health as he is listed as being a resident in the Benevolent Asylum

Thomas died on 26th January 1823 in Sydney.
On following Musters Sarah is shown as living with John Solomon at Richmond.

Sarah late rmoved to live with her daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law James Hill at Kurrajong, NSW, where, on 19th May 1842 she died there aged 70 years

Old Bailey Trial Transcription.
Reference Number: t17950916-40

411. THOMAS PEARSON was indicted for feloniously making an assault, on the 20th of August , on Mary Butler, in a certain field, near the King’s highway, putting her in fear, and feloniously taking from her person, and against her will, a silk cloak, value 5s. and five shillings in monies numbered, the goods and monies of the said Mary Butler .(The case opened by Mr. Knowlys.)
MARY BUTLER sworn.
Q. I believe you are a widow lady? - I am a widow; I live near Hampstead.
Q. Were you going to town on the 20th of August, and at what time? - Yes, at six o’clock in the evening.
Q. Whereabouts was it that you met with any interruption? - In the middle field between Chalk Farm and the Britannia.
Q. At the back of Gamden Town, or some where thereabouts? - Yes. The prisoner came up to me and said, money.
Q. Were you alone? - Yes.
Q. When you say the prisoner, are you certain to the person of the man? - Yes.
Q. When he said, your money, what did you do? - I put my hand into my pocket, and gave him some silver and some halfpence.
Q. In what way was it he addressed you with money? - He came up to me and said, money.
Q. After you had given him this silver and halfpence, what past then? -He wanted some more, and I gave him some more.
Q. Were you at this time collected or alarmed? - Very much alarmed indeed.
Q. Had the prisoner any thing with him at that time? - I moved a little out of the road that I was in, and then I saw a stick in his hand and held over my shoulder.
Q. Do you know how much money you gave him the first time? - I cannot say. He then laid his hand on my cloak and laid hold of it, and said he wanted it; I said I would take it off; I took it off and gave it him; I untied it directly.
Q. He pulled it off, I think? - He did.
Q. After that had passed what became of him? - He went from me then.
Q. Had you any opportunity of giving information of this? - I immediately as he left me turned round and see two gentlemen, and I screamed out to them.
Q. Had you lost sight of him before you screamed out? - No.
Q. On your screaming, did they come up? - They did; they came up directly.
Q. Did you see him taken? - No, I did not; he was not taken in my sight.
Q. Did you tell the gentlemen what had happened to you? - I screamed out and said something, but they ran strait on after the man.
Q. How long after this was it that you see the prisoner again? - In a very little while, it might be ten minutes. I ran after him across the field, as fast as I could, into Chalk-lane, and there he was taken when I came up to him, when I came up a young woman had the cloak in her hand.
Q. How she came by it you cannot tell? - No.
Q. Where is the cloak now? - It is here.
Q. In whose custody has it been ever since? - Mine.
(Produced.)
Q. Is that the cloak that you lost on that occasion? - It is.
Q. Have you any doubt of that being your cloak? - None at all.
Q. How long had you had it? - About two or three years.
Q. In justice to the prisoner, I would ask you, did he behave with any uncommon violence or severity to you? - No.
Q. He did the thing as mildly as the thing could be done. I don’t know whether you was ever robbed before? - No, I was not.
Court. He did not use any particular violence, nor did not swear at you? - No, he did not
Q. You see the prisoner run off, and you see the gentlemen run after him, but you did not see them lay hold of him? - No, I did not.
SAMUEL COLLINGBRIDGE sworn.
Q. Will you be so good as to tell my lord and jury what you know of this business? - I was walking in company with Mr. Bufford, on the 20th of August, across the field leading to Chalk Farm; when I got about the middle of the field, I heard Mrs. Butler cry out stop thief! the men has robbed me; and I and Mr. Bufford immediately pursued the man.
Q. Could you see the man? - He was at some short distance, within sight; we pursued the man as far as Chalk-lane, where he got over the stile, I suppose about a minute before me; when I got over the stile I found the prisoner at the bar in custody of Mr. Bufford.
Q. Was the prisoner the same man as you see in custody? - I cannot say that, because I am rather short sighted.
Q. You did not see the cloak taken from the prisoner? - I did not. When I came up the prisoner had a stick in his hand, rather a large one.
Prisoner. I never was in a trouble before, and I don’t know how to proceed; I always worked very hard for my bread.
- BUFFORD sworn.
I was walking across the field to Chalk Farm, and I observed the prosecutrix throw up her arms, and immediately I see the prisoner run off, and Mr. Colling-bridge and me ran, and at the end of the field he got over the stile, and I got over after him first, before Mr. Collingbridge, and I found him on the other side of the ditch, and I got up to him and took hold of his leg, and he slid down, and there was this stick and this cloak, which I took from him. Mr. Collingbridge then came up.
Q. Where was the cloak when you came up? - He had it in his hand when I came up.
Q. Are you sure he is the person that you see running from Mrs. Butler? - That I can fastely say.
Q. Did you see that cloak delivered to Mrs. Butler? - Yes, I did; I gave it to her myself.
THOMAS ARMS sworn.
I am headborough of Hampstead.
Q. Have you any thing more to prove, than that this man was delivered into your custody? - No, nothing more than I searched him, and found about him this gimblet and this knife.
Q. Any money? - He had returned all the money to Mrs. Butler.
Prisoner. I have nothing to say, I never was in any trouble before in my life; I am a shoe-maker; I have got a wife and family, and never was in trouble before in my life, and know not how to proceed.
Q. What number of children have you? - I have one child twenty months old, and my wife is big with another.

GUILTY. Death . (Aged 30.)
Recommended to mercy by the Jury, because he used no violence; and also recommended by the prosecutrix .

Convict Changes History

Denis Pember on 23rd August, 2015 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1765 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1823 (prev. 0000), gender: m, crime

Denis Pember on 23rd August, 2015 made the following changes:

occupation

Phil Hands on 13th June, 2017 made the following changes:

convicted at

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