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Humphrey Thorn

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Humphrey Thorn
Aliases: Thorne
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1758
Occupation: Blacksmith
Date of Death: 10th April, 1823
Age: 65 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 7 years

Crime: Stealing
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Deliviery
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize
Departure date: December, 1789
Arrival date: 26th June, 1790
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 1072 other convicts


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Community Contributions

D Wong on 28th March, 2015 wrote:

Proceedings of the Old Bailey, On 25 Jun 1788:
HUMPHREY THORNE was indicted for stealing, on the 8th of May last, an iron chest, lock, and key, value 1 s. a pair of leather half-boots, value 1 s. a mahogany watch-case, value 6 d. a rule, value 1 s. a key, called a blank, value 6 d. an iron pick-lock, value 3 d. two brass images, value 3 d. one iron screw driver, value 6 d. and four pounds weight of iron, value 4 d. the property of Jeremiah Smith.
I know the prisoner; he worked for me about six months; I found a parcel of things, as many as a man can stand under, at his lodgings, by a search warrant.
(All the things produced and deposed to.)
The prisoner was taken into custody; he fell a crying, and begged for mercy; said he would be a faithful servant to me, and never serve me so again; he said, I should have no reason to repent of overlooking it, if I would be so good to forgive him, and take him into my service again; I asked him how he could expect forgiveness from me, when I had been so very much distressed; I told him, I could not do any such thing; I had been almost ruined; I was present at the apprehending of the prisoner, and I knew the things.

No man upon earth can swear to that piece of iron; it is a piece of new bar-iron; that watch-case that lays there, the boy brought out one day to burn, and he gave it me; I took it home, and had it repaired, and kept it on the mantle-piece, and the half-boots he was going publicly to sell to the shop’s company; they were all mouldy; I bought them for six pence; the witness knows that; as to the other tools, Mr. Smith knows that he never checked me for carrying tools in my pocket; I had several articles; I was paid off from a man of war; I have a whole chest of tools; and I did my endeavour to do a little business for myself when I was out of work; I never took any thing with intent to keep it; the Monday before I was taken, I went to six a gate, and I did not return to the shop that night, there is a whole chest of tools now at the justices.
Court. Did the apprentice boy offer to sell the half-boots? - I did not hear him.
Were these half boots left about the shop, mouldy and not used? - I never saw them mouldy.
Were they left in the shop for the apprentice to do what he pleased with? - No, they were left off to be mended, and the apprentice might wear them; I cannot say he did not; I never saw him wear them; he seldom works with me; I know nothing of the watch-case.
Did you ever see it in pieces? - The prisoner put this bit on.
I apprehended the prisoner and found the property; some of the things were in a chest locked with two lock.
The prisoner called one witness to his character.
Transported for seven years .

Colonial Secretary:
THORN, Humphrey (Senior). Per “Neptune”, 1790
1804 Jul 16: On list of all grants & leases of town allotments registered in the Colonial Secretary’s Office (Fiche 3268; 9/2731 p.206)

1807 Jun 16, Nov 24: Blacksmith. On statement of capital advanced by Gregory Blaxland in his concerns from 27 Dec 1806 to 14 Sep 1808 (Reel 6043; 4/1727 pp.192, 194, 204)

1810 Jan: Of Parramatta. Memorial (Fiche 3009; 4/1822 No.310)

1810 Jun 5: Member of Parramatta Loyal Association (Reel 6042; 4/1725 p.15)

1814 Nov 26-1819 Oct 29: Juror at inquests on Mary Brown, Owen Dalton, Thomas Gorman & John Williams held at Parramatta (Reel 6021; 4/1819 pp.57, 145, 233, 717)

1820 Jul 21: Juror at inquest on Patrick Fanning held at the Field of Mars (Reel 6021; 4/1819 p.199)

1822 Jul 18: Signatory to memorial from inhabitants & stockholders of Parramatta re common land on the Sydney road known as the Dog Traps (Reel 6055; 4/1761 p.22b)

8/7/1792: Married Rebecca Richards (Mary Ann 1791) at Parramatta.

10/1/1823: Humphrey died aged 65 and is buried along with Rebecca a St Johns Cemetery, Sydney.

Jo Jennings on 27th April, 2016 wrote:

Humphrey married another second fleet convict. Rebecca Richards

Robin Sharkey on 4th November, 2016 wrote:

Thorn’s London employer, Jeremiah Smith, was not a man to be meddled with.  He was a blacksmith, and the iron and tools around his business were ripe for stealing and re-sale in the lanes and courts of the London Rookeries.  It also seems he was a mean and hard employer.

Before Thorn’s prosecution, he had in 1793 prosecuted John Jones for stealing 500 iron brads. Smith said he employed several men at the time and thought they were all honest. He found himself “robbed daily: so even before the accused Jones got to work at 5am, Smith hid himself in a room beside the shop to watch what Jones did.  The brads were hidden in his breeches.

Jones didn’t get transported because he’d been in prison 13 weeks already and was ill.

However, when Humphrey Thorn was discovered as a thief by Smith on 8th May 1788 he then employed one John Robothem.  Only four weeks after Humphrey’s thievery, Smith found Robothem also to have iron concealed on him.  Smith said that Robothem had only worked for him about three weeks; and a few days after he came Smith started to miss many pieces of new iron, and other articles. He watched Robothem and saw the man hide iron in his breeches.
Robothem said that Smith owed him 7s 7d and he had asked him for 1 s but Smith refused Robothem was “… faint with working hard, and I went home and pawned a shirt; I went there on Friday and asked Mr. Smith for a shilling, and I took this iron to get me a little dinner, thinking to pledge it till I should get some money from Mr. Smith on his return; and in the mean time he took me; if I had chose to have sold it, I passed several old iron shop; my master owes me seven shillings and seven pence”. Robothem was only whipped, a the jury found the value of the iron to be less than Smith claimed.

Robin Sharkey on 4th November, 2016 wrote:


In NSW Humphry gained respectability.
In his death, there was a short death notice in the newspaper:
Sydney gazette, 10 April 1823 page 3
“Family Notices
DIED - At Parramatta, on the 4th instant, Mr. Hum-
phrey Thorn, in the 65th year of his age. The de-
ceased had resided in Parramatta for 32 years.”

His wife Rebecca died in 1826

He had two sons and daughter.

Mary Ann Thorn, Born 1798 and married in 1820 to another 7 yr transportee from the Old Bailey, Thomas Reynolds. Her father was a marriage witness and signed his name, as did his daughter and her husband, born in Ireland. They lived in Parramatta and he was a master Shoemaker.

James Thorn Born 1804, and in 1828 described as a yeoman and holder of land at parramatta, married 1829 t Parramatta to Elizabeth Pye.

Humphrey Thorn Jnr born 1802. Received his own allotment in Parramatta in 1823, aged 21, was a butcher.  Married 1826 to 16 yr old Harriet Fairwether BC.  He had land - in 1828 had 60 acres at Argyle, and his father’s land was now with him:
* 150 acres at Prospect tenanted by John Wyatt;
* 100 acres at Parramatta shared equally with hsi brother James
* 60 acres at Argyle with 200 cattle on it.

However Humphry Junior got into trouble with debts at the time of the economic collapse df 1842, and into trouble with drinking:
THE TEETOTALLER NEWSPAPER Wed 14th September 1842, page 1:
” Parramatta Police Office. — Humphrey Thorn was brought before the bench, charged with being drunk and disorderly in St. John’s Church, on Sunday, the 21st ultimo. He was found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine of forty shillings, and five shillings cost, or to be confined in the cells 120 hours. This being the fifth offence, the Police Magistrate reproved him very severely for his conduct : he spoke to him qf the sin of entering God’s presence in a state of drunkenness, and next, on the miserable state into which he had brought himself and family, by an habituul course of intemperance. ( This man, who was a short time ago, independent in his circumstances, is now an insolvent ; he has by his conduct, reduced an excellent wife, and two fine children, to a state of destitution.  Although it was generally known that he wasted his substance, as stated
above, yet he has obtained the benefit of the Insolvent Act. ,”
In 1843 he lived at Marsden t, Parramatta

In June 1844 he finally got hsi certificate of discharge from Bankruptcy, although it was opposed by Mr Hugh Taylor: The Australian 8th June 1844:

“Humphrey Thorne [Jnr], opposed by Parry Long, on behalf of Hugh Taylor, on these grounds: — First, of concealing his property; secondly, of not making a full and fair disclosure of his effects ; thirdly, contracting debts, without reasonable prospect of paying them ; fourthly, diminishing his estate by extravagance j fifthly, disposing of his property otherwise than in a bonajide transaction ; sixthly, unjust preference to some of his creditors; and seventhly, contracting debts under false pretensions. Mr. Long examined him, at some length ; but the greater part of the depositions are similar to what were taken some time ago. It appeared, also, that he had borrowed £200 from Mr. Dunlop. of Parramatta, leaving him, whether intentionally or not, was undecided, under the impression that the farm of 100 acres, left by his
father, was wholly his, whereas fifty acres were left to his brother, James Thome, and the other fifty left to himself, with the proviso that it should not be sold out of the family. The Commissioner considered that the grounds of opposition, though formidable in number, were not

Humphrey Junior Died in 1849:
rThe Goulburn Herald 14 April 1849 page 5:

“SUDDEN DEATH,-An awfully sudden death has occurred in our neighbourhood. Mr. Humphrey Thorn, of Parramatta, left home on the 29th ultimo on a visit to his brother, Mr. James Thorn, of tlhe Fish River, at which place he arrived on the 1st of April. On the following morning he complained of great pain in his chest, but refused to have any medical assistance. Three days afterward, Mr. James Thorn had to proceed to Yass on business, but was soon followed by a messenger with the sad tidings that Mr. H. Thorn died an hour after he left home.
The mortal remains having been placed in a metal coffin, were forwarded to Parramatta. We under stand that deceased has left a wife and two children to lament their loss. An inquest was held on the body, although the deceased had been ill for four days.”
Children: John Thorn B 1833 and Elizabeth born 1827

Convict Changes History

D Wong on 28th March, 2015 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 7 years, voyage, source: http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/resources/family-history/convicts (prev. ), firstname: Humphrey, surname: Thorn, alias1: Thorne, alias2: , alias3: , alias4: , date of birth: 1758, date of death: 10th April, 1823, gen

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