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Francis Thomas

Francis Thomas, one of 297 convicts transported on the Nile, Canada and Minorca, June 1801

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Francis Thomas
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1771
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 1837
Age: 66 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 55 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Pickpocket
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Nile, Canada and Minorca
Departure date: June, 1801
Arrival date: 14th December, 1801
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 298 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 295 (147)
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

Beth Kebblewhite on 26th September, 2019 wrote:

Francis Thomas (c1771-c1837) arr Sydney in 1807 on the ship Minorca with a 7 year term for pocketpicking. He had been tried at the Old Bailey on 15/01/1800

1800 - GEORGE HOWELL, FRANCIS THOMAS, MARY WILLIS, Theft > pocketpicking, 15th January 1800.
102. GEORGE HOWELL, FRANCIS THOMAS, and MARY WILLIS were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 17th of December, a tin box, value 1d. five pounds in monies numbered, and four Bank-notes, each of the value of 5l. the property of William Peters, privately from his person.
Second Count. Laying it to be the property of Patrick Gibbons.
WILLIAM PETERS sworn. - I had been seven years in his Majesty’s service ; I belong to Lord Nelson; the very first day I came to London, I was robbed; I came from Portsmouth upon the top of the coach; there was a sailor on the coach, got up at Peterfield, and when he came to Fleet-market, I saw a coal-heaver and a sailor speak to him, and after they had had their conversation, he said to me, I have found a brother-in-law; I told him I was very happy of it, and asked him to go into a house with me, and have a drop to drink; we went into a house in Fleet-market, and had a pot of flip; then the coal-heaver went out to buy some beef-steaks, and I gave him two shillings to get them, and when he came back, the coal-heaver, and the prisoner Howell, proposed to go to the Castle, on Saffron-hill, Mr. Gibbons’s, to get them drest, and we went there; the mistress of the house took us into the kitchen, we all three sat down by a table, and Howell called for something to drink, and they brought some gin; I was very sleepy riding out-side the coach all night, and I said myself down upon the table, and slept about two hours; it was about eleven o’clock in the morning when I waked, the servant girl of the house waked me, and said, young man, come to the fire and warm yourself; I felt in my pocket, and found all my money was gone, my protection box and every thing; I had a little tin box like this, (producing one;) it contained my discharge and twenty-five pounds; there were four five pound Bank-notes.
Q. Were they of the Portsmouth Bank, or what Bank? - A. I cannot tell, and there was five pounds in money; I cannot tell how, but there was gold and silver which made up exactly five pounds; before I fell asleep, I can swear I had my tin box safe in my pocket; after I got into that house, I felt it in my pocket.
Q. These people could not know that you had money in this box? - A. The sailor came all the way with me, and I had changed several times on the journey, when he was with me.
Q. Who was that sailor? - A. The prisoner, Francis Thomas ; when I waked, I turned round, and found they had both left me.
Q. Did you see the other prisoner in the public-house? - A. No; I enquired of the girl where my companions were; and she said, she did not know; they were strangers to her the same as to me; I staid in the house all day, and walked backwards and forwards, very melancholy, till the evening, when, who should come in, but the coal-heaver, Howell; I sent for a constable, and he was taken to Hatton-garden; he was searched, but nothing found upon him, that I know; about six days after, I did not know what to do; I had a good deal of prize money due to me; I went to Somerset-house, to the Navy-office, and who should open the door but Francis Thomas , the sailor; when he saw me, he ran away; I said, ship-mate, do not be in a hurry, you are the very person I wanted to see, and then he ran to the Pay-office; then I said to him, you behaved very ill after all my good behaviour to you, and then left me in such a manner as you did, without a farthing in my pocket; he said, I do not know what you mean; I told him he knew very well how I was robbed, and he said, I am quite innocent; I said, then if you are innocent, come along with me, like a good fellow, and clear yourself; then he called out a young woman from the Pay-office, which he called his wife; I took him along with me till I saw a sailor, and I charged him in the King’s name, for assistance, for fear he should give me she slip, and I took him to where I lodged, and there we got a constable, and he was brought to Hatton Garden, and there he was examined; when I left Portsmouth, I had two discharges; the clerk was a very good friend of mine, he advised me to put one in my pocket, and the other in my protection box; I said to the sailor, shipmate, you are a stranger to me, and I to you, but here is a discharge that will keep you from being pressed, and I gave him one of them, and when I saw him at Somerset-house, I asked him for that discharge, and instead of the one that I had given him, he gave me the one that I had lost out of my protection box; there was nothing found upon him but a few shillings.
Q. How do you know the one discharge from the other? - A. The one that I kept in my pocket to shew, in case I should be overhauled on the road, was signed by the head clerk, and the other was signed by another clerk, that was on board the Sheer hulk, the Puiffant, his name was Brant.
Q. What liquor had you drank before you went into this house? - A. Only a pot of flip amongst us, in Fleet-market.
Q. What had you on the road? - A I had a glass here and there, where we stopped.
Q. You were not very sober perhaps? - A. I was a little in liquor, but not much; I know nothing of the woman, only that the coalheaver called her into the house, in Fleet-market, and gave her some of the flip; I know nothing more of her.
Prisoner Thomas. Q. Did I ever attempt to run away? - A. He did, by C -.
BRYANT MOONEY sworn. - I am a labourer, I happened to go into Mr. Gibbons’s, the Castle, upon Saffron-hill, that morning; I cannot say what morning it was; I saw the coal-heaver and two sailors sit together; both the sailors were on one side the box, and the
coal-heaver on the other; the sailor that said he was robbed, was sitting with his head upon the table; I did not see his face.
Q. How long did you stop? - A. While I was drinking a pint of beer that the coal-heaver ordered me.
Q. Did you see the sailor and the coal-heaver do any thing? - A. Not a halfpennyworth; the coal-heaver desired. I would drink a pint of
beer, and walk out, for he wanted to speak to his brother, that he had not seen these seven or eight years; I was obliged to pay for the
beer myself afterwards.
Q. Was there any body else there at the time? - A. The servant girl, but no customers.
ELIZABETH GIBBONS sworn. - My husband keeps the Castle, on Saffron-hill; Peters and the two prisoners came in together, between ten and eleven in the morning, four weeks ago last Tuesday; Howell had frequented our house for some time; the coal-heaver asked if he could have some speaks drest; I told him, yes; and he said, he wanted to have some discourse with his brother, that he had not seen for seven years; he said, the prisoner Thomas was a shipmate of his brother’s, that laid asleep in the kitchen; the prosecutor was then lying asleep in the kitchen; the coal-heaver then said, he was going to see a sister of his, that lived at the top of Saffron-hill, to carry her a parcel; he left one small parcel, and desired I would take care of it till he should return in a few minutes; the sailor, Thomas, went away with him; the coal-heaver came in again at night; a constable was sent for, and he was taken to Hatton Garden.
ANN HAWKINS sworn. - I am servant to Mr. Gibbons; I remember the two prisoners and the prosecutor coming in; my mistress desired me to take the steaks into the tap-room to dress, because the coal-heaver wanted to speak to his brother; I put the steaks in the pan, and went away; I went in again to turn the steaks, and as soon as I came in, the two prisoners, Howell and Thomas went out into the yard; Peters’s head was lying on the table, and then I went away; I waked the sailor about an hour afterwards.
WILLIAM CHAPMAN sworn. - I am an officer belonging to Hatton-garden: This bundle that was left with Mrs. Gibbons, was given into my hands.(Produces it).
Howell’s defence. I saw these two sailors get down from the top of the coach; I was standing looking at the coach, and these two sailors asked me where to get something to drink, and they swore and d-d their eyes and limbs that I should go with them, and have something to drink; then Peters took us to a hatter’s shop, and bought a hat, and gave me his old one; then he took us to a barber’s shop, and he was very drunk, and dropped some money there, under the grate; then we went to a house in Fleet-market, and he called for a pot of egg flip; then he said he wanted something to eat, and we got some steaks; then he went right up Field-lane, into the Castle, and I went away to work; when I came in the evening, Mrs. Gibbons said the man was robbed, and the constable should be sent for; and then I told her I would not stir till the constable came.
Thomas’s defence. When we got to Fleet-market, he asked me to go and drink; I told him I wanted to see my relations in the Hackney road; I was very much in liquor, and I went with him to the Castle; I thought if I staid much longer, and drank any more, I should not get home, and being in liquor I happened to leave that bundle behind me; I am very innocent of it; when I got off the stage I bid him good-by, and did not want to go with him at all.
The prisoner, Willis, was not put upon her defence.
Howell, GUILTY. (Aged 26.)
Of stealing, but not privately.
Thomas, GUILTY. (Aged 29.)
Of stealing, but not privately.
Transported for seven years.
Tried by the second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice LAWRENCE.
(Source: Old Bailey on-line http://www.oldbaileyonline.org )
1805 to 1806 Muster: Francis THOMAS, prisoner, per ship Minorca, employed by Joseph Ward, Parramatta (A4370)
1815 - Ann Lane, widow, married Francis Thomas at St Philips Sydney on 13 Feb 1815. Francis X his mark & Ann signed. Francis Thomas, aged 45, Bachelor, Abode: Sydney [NSW AUS], Baker, Signed X; & Ann Lane, aged 30, Widow, Abode: Sydney, Signed; married 13 Feb 1815, registered St Philips Church of England Sydney by Banns by William Cowper, Assistant Chaplain; Witness: John Davis, Signed; Witness: Elizabeth Berry, Signed X. (V1815-1736-3A & 148-7 & St Philip’s Church of England, Sydney NSW: Church Register - Marriages; ML ref: Reel SAG 90)
1815 – “The inhabitants are hereby cautioned against giving TRUST or CREDIT to my Wife, ANN THOMAS, formerly LANE upon my Account, as I will not hold myself responsible for any Debts she may hereafter contract. FRANCIS THOMAS” (Source: Sydney Gazette, 16/12/1815)
1816 – “WHEREAS my Wife, Ann Thomas, formerly Ann Lane, has eloped from me without any Provocation whatever; This is therefore to Caution the Public against giving her Credit on my Account, as I will not be responsible for any Debts she may contract; and any person harbouring her after this Notice will be prosecuted. FRANCIS THOMAS” (Source: Sydney Gazette, 09/11/1816, p2) [Note: The couple apparently separated permanently]
1822 Muster:
No record found for his wife Ann or Francis Thomas.
1828 Census:
Francis THOMAS, aged 63, FS, Minorca 1801, 7 years, catholic, baker, Market St., Sydney employed by baker Henry Williams (T0594)
1838 - Burial of Francis THOMAS on 01/01/1838 in Sydney “from hospital”. (V1838-2082-22) [Note: Ann’s legal spouse. No children were born to the couple]

From the book “Journey to a New Life…” the story of the ships Emu & Broxbornebury by Elizabeth Hook (3rd ed. 2014). I am the author & can be contacted on hookey5609@yahoo.com.au for further info

Convict Changes History

Beth Kebblewhite on 26th September, 2019 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1771 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1837 (prev. 0000), gender: m, crime

This record was discovered and printed on ConvictRecords.com.au