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Sarah Thorn

Sarah Thorn, one of 122 convicts transported on the Broxbournebury, January 1814

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Sarah Thorn
Aliases: Thornton (alias)
Gender: f

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1790
Occupation: Housewife
Date of Death: 23rd November, 1827
Age: 37 years

Life Span

Life span

Female median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to Life

Crime: Theft of linen
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Broxbournebury
Departure date: January, 1814
Arrival date: 28th July, 1814
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 123 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 88, Class and Piece Number HO11/2, Page Number 149 (76)
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

D Wong on 26th June, 2015 wrote:

Old Bailey:
MARY SMITH, SARAH THORN, ANN WILLIAMS, Theft > shoplifting, 27th October 1813.

Reference Number: t18131027-76
Offence: Theft > shoplifting
Verdict: Guilty; Guilty; Guilty
Punishment: Death; Death; Death

MARY SMITH, alias CRAWFORD, alias MADDEN , SARAH THORN, alias THORNTON, and ANN WILLIAMS, alias HARKETT, were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 6th of October, three cards of lace, value 3 l. 7 s. 6 d. the property of William Scrivener, privately in his shop.

Smith’s Defence. I am the only the person that is guilty, the others knew nothing of it.
SMITH, GUILTY - DEATH , aged 23.
THORN, GUILTY - DEATH , aged 22.

Samuel Thornton (c1782-1842) and Sarah Thornton (nee Madden; c.1790-1827). Samuel and Sarah were married in London in about 1810. In 1813 Sarah was arrested and tried (as Sarah Thorn), along with two other women, for stealing cards of lace from a shop in London.  She was found guilty, and transported to New South Wales for life.  Sarah travelled on the Broxbornebury, arriving in Sydney on 28 July 1814.  Samuel followed her a few months later as a free passenger on the Somersetshire. Sarah, who had travelled with their young daughter and gave birth to another son on board the ship, was placed in the Female Factory at Parramatta until Samuel arrived.

Initially working as a tailor, Samuel later set up a business as a publican in George Street, Sydney. In 1839 he received a grant of 100 acres at Bankstown, where he raised about 20 head of cattle and sold salt pork. 

Colonial Secretary Papers:
THORNTON, Samuel. Came free per “Somersetshire”, 1814
1819 Feb 15: On list of applicants for renewal of spirit licences in Sydney (Reel 6006; 4/3499 p.318)
1820 Dec 11 Re inquest on James Wilson (Reel 6021; 4/1819 p.729)

1820 Dec 24: Store receipts for salt pork (Reel 6049; 4/1745 p.354)

1821 Feb 20, Sep 17: Juror at inquests on Edward Douch & William Wall held at Sydney (Reel 6021; 4/1819 pp.179-80, 703-4)

1822: Memorial (Fiche 3054; 4/1832 No.386)

1822 Jun-1824 Oct 22: Of Macquarie Street. On list of persons receiving an assigned convict (Fiche 3291; 4/4570D pp.110, 132, 133, 134)

1825 Oct: Testifying to character of William Smith for a ticket of leave (Fiche 3252; 4/1875 p.214a)

1825 Oct 20,Nov 24: Of George Street. Memorial, including list of convicts mustered in his employ during 1823 to 1825 (Fiche 3158; 4/1844B No.795 pp.921-30)

1825 Nov 1: Of George Street; publican. On list of persons liable to serve as jurors in the district of Sydney (Reel 6062; 4/1782 p.110a)

1825 Nov 12,14 On list of persons who have received orders for grants of land (Fiche 3266; 9/2652 p.102); on list of lands granted & reserved by Sir Thomas Brisbane (Fiche 3269; 9/2740 p.29)

THORNTON, Sarah. Per “Broxbornebury”, 1814; husband a free settler
1819: Petition for mitigation of sentence to return to England (Fiche 3201; 4/1860 pp.63-63b)

1825 Nov 10: Of George Street. Re application for an absolute pardon (Reel 6015; 4/3515 p.573)

1825 Nov 26: To be granted an absolute pardon (Fiche 3292; 4/6974.1 p.46)

31/1/1820: Conditional Pardon
13/6/1827: Absolute Pardon.

Samuel Thornton was the Licensee of the ‘Sign of the Union’, George street, Sydney.

23/11/1827: Sarah died aged 36 in Sydney.

26/11/1827 Sydney Gazette:
DEATH, On Friday night last, at Parramatta, Mrs. SARAH THORNTON, Wife of SAMUEL THORNTON, publican, Sydney.  She leaves a husband and 6 young children to deplore her irreparable loss.

D Wong on 24th November, 2015 wrote:

Janine DW (0) at 6:37am, 24th November 2015 wrote of Sarah Thornton:

Husband, Samuel Thornton, followed her out to Australia as a free settler. He fought for her unconditional pardon which she received in 1825, 2 years before her death. She & Samuel had 6 children, 1 before her transportation & one born en route to Australia. Her 4th child, George Augustus, became Mayor of Sydney

Convict Changes History

donald thornton on 26th June, 2015 made the following changes:

alias1: Thornton (alias) (prev. Thornton (Alias)), date of birth: 1782 (prev. 0000), date of death: 1842 (prev. 0000), gender: f, crime

D Wong on 26th June, 2015 made the following changes:

date of birth: 1790 (prev. 1782), date of death: 23rd November, 1827 (prev. 1842), occupation

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