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George Porter, one of 1063 convicts transported on the Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize, December 1789
Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
life span was 57 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to Life
||Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 56
||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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Ron Bessell on 1st October, 2012 wrote:
George Porter was born about 1768, in Middlesex, and when 20 was sentenced to death on 25 February 1789 during the Sessions at the Justice Hall, Old Bailey. His crime was stealing six silk handkerchiefs and a single leather slipper in the burglary of a shop near the corner of The Terrace and Cross Street, Islington, just north of the City of London. At 6 pm on 21 January he was seen breaking a pane of glass in a shop window, and snatching the items from a display. It was already dark, but he was caught running through Islington Churchyard after someone cried, “Stop Thief!” William Cook was also arrested, because he had been seen acting suspiciously with Porter earlier. He was acquitted at the trial with a solemn warning from the judge: “Your life is spared. I hope the fate of your unfortunate companion will be a warning to you.” Witnesses identified both young men as Islington residents known to them by sight. Porter claimed in court to have innocently picked up the goods off the ground.
After Porter had spent seven months in the condemned cells, he was called to the bar of the Old Bailey with over a 100 other capital convicts in September 1787, and offered a pardon on condition of transportation for life. (William Rayner was also among the group.) He accepted, and on 10 November he was sent from Newgate to the transport, Scarborough. So he became a Second Fleeter, arriving at Sydney Cove on 28 June 1790. (See the chapter on the Rayners for more detail about the voyage of the Scarborough).
A year after landing, Porter was sent to Norfolk Island, where he worked quietly as a gardener, with James Warwick, and was still single when he was transferred to Van Diemen’s Land on the City of Edinburgh in September 1808. Written alongside his name in the remarks column on the list of evacuees was recommended for a grant - a good character.The impression is that Porter was a fairly quiet sort of man, who kept out of trouble, and survived through the horrors of the Second Fleet and Norfolk Island by being as invisible as possible.
On 21 November 1808, a month after arriving in Hobart Town, he married Susannah Mortimore, (who went under the name of O’Brien), who had sailed with her family from Norfolk Island on the same ship as Porter. Perhaps he proposed to her on board? She was 18, and he was by now 40. They were married by the Rev’d Robert Knopwood, with Thomas O’Brien, Susannah’s step-father, and Francis Barnes as witnesses. The couple both signed with an X. It was the 34th marriage to take place in Tasmania.
Maureen Withey on 24th July, 2019 wrote:
Burial record in Hobart Town
George Porter. abode, Black Snake; buried 3 Sept 1828, age 60, ship - Scarborough; occupation, constable.
https://stors.tas.gov.au/RGD34-1-1$init=RGD34-1-1p122 Image 75
Convict Changes History
Ron Bessell on 1st October, 2012 made the following changes:
convicted at, gender, crime
Maureen Withey on 24th July, 2019 made the following changes:
date of death: 1828 (prev. 0000)