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Mary Smith, one of 297 convicts transported on the Nile, Canada and Minorca, June 1801
Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
life span was 55 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to Life
||Old Bailey online, Mary Smith, 9 July 1800, t18000709-52
NSW Australia Settler and Convict List 1787–1834: 1816.
||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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Phil Hands on 25th September, 2017 wrote:
Tried and convicted at the Old Bailey on 29th October 1800 for two seperate crimes, the first for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of John Alwey, about the hour of five in the afternoon of the 7th of September, the said John Alwey, Henry Goodwin, and Lydia Stamford, being therein, and stealing 1 cloak, 1 gown, and 1 sheet, the property of Stephen Gale, the second for feloniously stealing, on the 14th of October, 4 gowns, 1 pair of stays, 1 petticoat, 1 shirt, 1 shirt, 4 pillow-cases,1 bed-gown, 1 waistcoat, 3 table-cloths, 1 napkin, 1 apron, 2 window-curtains, 1 apron, 4 neck-handkerchiefs, 1 silk handkerchief, 2 caps, 1 pocket-handkerchief, and 1 crape hatband, the property of James Ansell, in his dwelling-house, she was sentenced to transportation for 7 years.
Left England on 21st June 1801.
Ship:- the ‘Nile’ sailed with 96 female convicts on board, there were no reported deaths during the voyage.
Arrived on 14th December 1801.
Mary was in a defacto relationship with convict Edward Mellon (‘Active’ 1791), they had 3 children, Edward b1802, Elizabeth & Jane b1809, Jane died shortly after birth.
About 1810 Edward Mellon left his family and the colony with the NSW Corps, 73rd regiment, to go back to England. By 1811 he was in Guernsey, and by 1812 he was designated as a corporal from private. He eventually became a sergeant and then back to private in 1814. The regiment disbanded after 1818 and Edward was never heard of again.
Whilst in the colony he was a private in the NSW Corps (he was involved in the Rum Rebellion). He is listed in a book titled “A Colonial Regiment” by Pamela Statham. His entry states that he was an ex convict who joined the NSW Corps on 2nd September 1799 in Sydney.
Phil Hands on 25th September, 2017 wrote:
Old Baily Trial Transcription.
Reference Number: t18001029-70
806. MARY SMITH was indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of John Alwey , about the hour of five in the afternoon of the 7th of September , the said John Alwey , Henry Goodwin, and Lydia Stamford , being therein, and stealing a cloak, value 10s. a gown, value 10s and a sheet, value 2s. the property of Stephen Gale .
MARY GALE sworn. I am the wife of Stephen Gale ; we lodge at No. 40, Union-street, Middlesex-hospital; John Alwey keeps the house; he lives in the house; I live in the one pair of stairs frontroom; I went out between two and three in the afternoon; my husband was at work; I left nobody in the room; I turned the key in the lock, and put the key in my pocket; I returned between five and six in the evening, and found the door safe, as I left it; I met a woman on the stairs, with a bundle in her lap; she passed me, and asked me for a strange name; my landlord stood at the door, and had some suspicion; I missed a sheet from off a large bible, on a table, in my room, a white gown, and my long red cloak; I heard no more of my things till five weeks afterwards; I heard that a woman was taken up.
Q. Do you know if the woman that you passed was the prisoner? - A. I cannot say, for I took no notice of her; I had no suspicion; I went to Pancras watch- house, and there I owned my sheet, that was on Wednesday the 15th of October; and, the same evening, my landlord went with me to Marlborough-street, where I saw the prisoner with my red cloak on; I said, it was my cloak, and a young man took it from her; she said, she brought the cloak from Bristol with her; I told her it was my cloak, I could swear to it; the said, if it was my cloak, they must have changed it where she had been the night before; I attended the Monday following, and swore to my cloak; the sheet was delivered to me at the same time, (produces it); Lovett has got the cloak.
Q. Did you ever see the prisoner at all about your premises? - A. No.
Q. Was there no violence done to the door? -
Q. Then the door could only have been opened by a key? - A. I do not know how she got them.
Q. Are you perfectly sure these things were in the room when you went out? - A. I am certain of that.
Q. Who was in the house when you went out?
- A. John Alwey , Henry Goodwin , and his family, and Lydia Stamford, were all at home, and so they were when I came back.
JOHN ALWEY sworn. - I keep a house, No. 40, Union-street, Middlesex Hospital: On the 11th of September, I was standing against the street-door for half an hour, or better, about five o’clock; the prisoner at the bar was coming out of the passage with some things wrapped up in her gown tail; I am sure it was the prisoner at the bar, I had seen her very often before, and knew her well by sight; I saw a red cloak hanging down, which made me suspicious that she had been robbing some of my lodgers, she had got her gown-tail over it; I followed her to the corner of Suffolk-street, and saw her go down into a milk-cellar; I then went back, and made inquiries whether any thing had been lost or not; and I saw no more of her till she was taken.
Q. Are you sure she is the same woman? - A. I am.
EDWARD LOVETT sworn. - I am an officer belonging to Marlborough-street, (produces a red cloak); I took it off the prisoner’s back on the 15th of October, about six o’clock in the evening; the prisoner was delivered into my custody at the office.
WILLIAM POSTLETHWAYTE sworn. - In consequence of an information, I went to the apartment of the prisoner: On the 14th of October, -
Q. How did you know it was her apartment? -
A. From the information of a person who is here; I found a great quantity of wearing apparel of different sorts, and I carried the whole to St. Pancras watch-house; Mrs. Gale came there and claimed a sheet, which I got from her lodging, it was delivered to her at Marlborough-street; in the table-drawer I found these keys, (producing eight door keys); they are none of them skeleton keys.
ANN NEVILLE sworn. - I went with the last witness to the prisoner’s apartments, my husband is a locksmith: The prisoner came to me, and wanted my husband to pick a lock for her, for she had lost the key; I told her she lived too far off, and my husband was not at home; I saw no more of her till Tuesday the 14th; she said, she wished my husband would pick the lock of her door; I asked her if she had not been in her room since Monday; and she said, no, she had been at a friend’s house; she seemed very much intoxicated, she had a bundle, and I begged her to put down her bundle, and try and have a bit of sleep; she sent my husband to pick the lock at No. 2, in John-street; she asked him to sit a key to it, which he did; she asked me to let her sit till she was a little recovered; she asked me to go home with her, which I did, and carried the things for her to her lodgings; I had not returned above a quarter of an hour when Mr. Ansell came to ask my husband whether he had been sitting a key any where, and I told where she lived.
Q.(To Postlethwayte.) You did not find the prisoner at her lodgings? - A. Yes, I found her in bed.
Mrs. Gale. This sheet and cloak are my property, they are worth ten shillings.
Prisoner’s defence. I bought the ticket of the cloak, it was in pledge for four shillings; and the sheet for one shilling; I bought it of a woman that was at the Justice’s with me, and the Justice discharged her and committed me.
GUILTY (Aged 28.)
Of stealing the goods, but not of breaking and entering the dwelling-house .
Transported for seven years .
Tried by the second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. RECORDER.
Reference Number: t18001029-71
807. MARY SMITH was again indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 14th of October , four gowns, value 30s. a pair of stays, value 5s. a petticoat, value 1s. a shirt, value 4s.a shirt, value 2s.four pillow-cases, value 4s. a bed-gown, value 1s. a waistcoat, value 5s. three table-cloths, value 28s. a napkin, value 2s. an apron, value 2s. two window-curtains, value 2s. an apron, value 1s. four neck-handkerchiefs, value 4s. a silk handkerchief, value 2s. two caps, value 1s. a pocket-handkerchief, value 6d. and a crape hatband, value 1d. the property of James Ansell , in his dwelling-house .
JAMES ANSELL sworn. - I am a dealer in potatoes ; I keep a house, No. 55, Tottenham-court-road : On Tuesday the 14th of October, I lost the articles mentioned in the indictment, between five and six o’clock in the evening; I went up to the bed-room, and found a false key in the door, which I have in my hand, (produces it); it is not a skeleton key, I observed that it had been filed; I went to a locksmith’s shop, and in consequence of information, I went with a constable to the prisoner’s apartment the same evening, and we found her in bed; in searching the room we found the property mentioned in the indictment, the constable has it; I had not been up stairs from eight o’clock in the morning till that time.
Mrs. ANSELL sworn. - I got up in the morning about eight o’clock, and when I came down I left the door locked; I did not go up stairs again till my husband gave me an alarm; I went up stairs, opened two drawers, and saw my clothes gone, the drawers were not locked; I saw my things again the next day in St. Pancras watch-house, I knew them to be mine; the prisoner was a stranger to me; the things were delivered to Postlethwayte.
(Ann Neville gave the same testimony as in the former trial).
WILLIAM POSTLETHWAYTE sworn. - I am a constable, (produces the property); I took them to the watch-house, and from there to my house; I found the prisoner in the lodgings where I found the property. (The property was deposed to by Mrs. Ansell).
Q. Do you think these articles, if they were sold, would bring the sum you have put down? -
A. They would; I am certain they are all mine, they have my name upon them.
Prisoner’s defence. Last Tuesday was a week I had these things from a woman that I had lent ten shillings and sixpence to, and when I took them home I had lost my key, and I went to that woman’s to get the lock picked, that is the way I came by the things; she was to call for them the next morning; I had the woman taken, and she was before the Justice, and the Justice acquitted her and committed me.
Q.(To Ansell.) How far distant is your house from the prisoner’s? - A. Three or four doors.
GUILTY. (Aged 28.)
Of stealing goods, value 39s.
Transported for seven years .
Tried by the second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. RECORDER.
Pip Gale on 13th June, 2020 wrote:
I think Mary Smith convicted at the Old Bailey on 9 July 1800 (t18000709-52) who was sentenced to transportation to NSW for life and sailed on the Nile arriving on 14 December 1801 married David Knowland (Second Fleet convict, Neptune, 1790). She did not marry Mellon. My evidence is in “NSW Australia Settler and Convict List 1787–1834: 1816” that lists Mary Smith, convicted in July 1800 in London to transportation for life, as “wife to David Nowland” - his name is usually spelt “Knowland” She is the only Mary Smith that arrived on the Nile in 1801 that had a life sentence, all the others had a 7 year sentence.
Carol Vickery on 25th January, 2021 wrote:
Depending upon what source you are using there were three, four or five Mary Smiths onboard the Nile which arrived in Port Jackson on 14th Dec. 1801. However there only seems to be information about three of them after they arrived in the colony. The Proceedings of the Old Bailey lists trial information for 4 Mary Smiths that would have been transported on the Nile.they are-
1) 28th May, 1800, No 360, Mary Smith ref t18000528-21, Aged 27 was convicted of stealing and sentenced to transportation for 7yrs.
2) 9th July, 1800, No. 526 Mary Smith, ref t18000709-50,
Aged 26 was convicted of stealing and sentenced to transportation for 7 yrs.
3) 9th July, 18000, No 528 Mary Smith alias Hall, ref t18000709-52, aged 23 was convicted of Theft- grand larcency and sentenced to death which was commuted to transportation for life.
4) 29th Oct, 1800, No 806 Mary Smith ref t18001029-70 Aged 28 was convicted of stealing and sentenced to transportation for 7 yrs
5) 29th Oct, 1800 No 807 the same Mary Smith as above ref t18001029-72 was convicted of theft and sentenced to transportation for 7yrs..
As has been said by other researchers I agree that the Mary Smith, alias Hall, who was sentenced to life is the one who married David Knowland. One other was in a de facto relationship with Edward Mellon and another, my ancestor, married Daniel Deasy, at St Philip’s, Sydney in 1807.
Apart from the Mary Smith sentenced to life I have no way of proving which of the other Mary Smiths’ on the Nile is my direct ancestor, but as they were all about the same age and convicted of similar crimes I think that unless other information comes to light i will just have to accept that my Mary Smith was sentenced to 7yrs transportation for stealing and arrived on the Nile in 1801, without being able to say exactly which one of the Mary Smiths’ she was. I think this is probably also the case with all the other researchers trying to connect with a Mary Smith on the Nile.
Convict Changes History
Phil Hands on 25th September, 2017 made the following changes:
convicted at, alias1: Hall (alias) (prev. Hall (Alias)), date of birth: 1773 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1824 (prev. 0000), crime
Pip Gale on 13th June, 2020 made the following changes:
source: Old Bailey online, Mary Smith, 9 July 1800, t18000709-52
NSW Australia Settler and Convict List 1787–1834: 1816. (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 295 (147))