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Charles Williams

Charles Williams, one of 262 convicts transported on the Lady Penrhyn, Scarborough and Alexander, January 1787

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Charles Williams
Aliases: Magee
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: -
Occupation: -
Date of Death: 13th March, 1815
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 60 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing clothes
Convicted at: Old Bailey
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Lady Penrhyn, Scarborough and Alexander
Departure date: January, 1787
Arrival date: 22nd January, 1788
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 293 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 2. Old Bailey on line. Convict ships to NSW.
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

Phil Hands on 10th April, 2017 wrote:

Tried and convicted at the Old Bailey on 7th July 1784 for stealing 2 great coats, 2 flannel waistcoats, 1 silk skirt, 3 silk gowns, , 3 white dimity waistcoats, 1 striped waistcoat, 1 cloth coat and waistcoat, 1 napkin, 1 cloth, the contents of a bag from a wagon outside the ‘Three Cups’, Broad Street, Fleet Market, sentenced to transportataion for 7 years.
left England on 13th may 1787.
Ship:- the ‘Scarborough’ sailed with 208 male convicts on board, there were no reported deaths during the voyage.
Arrived on 26th January 1788.

Married convict Eleanor McCabe (‘Lady Penrhyn’ 1788) on 31st August 1788 and had 2 children.

He had some knowledge of farming and indeed had earlier been a convict in America. In March 1791 Charles was granted 30 acres of land on the south side of the Parramatta River. Initially he worked hard on his grant and within six months had eight acres cleared and under crop. Watkin Tench wrote highly of his endeavours. This high opinion was not, however, maintained - especially after a burglary case in 1792 when Collins records that he left the court “much degraded in the opinion of every man who heard him.”
James, their first child, only lived for two months. A year later their second child, Mary, was born. Shortly after her birth the couple moved to Rose Hill to settle on Williams’s land grant.
Their life style did not improve and the events of 18th January 1793 and their sequel are best related by Judge-Advocate David Collins: “On Friday the 18th, Eleanor McCabe, the wife of Charles Williams, the settler, was drowned, together with an infant child, and a woman of the name of Green. These unfortunate people had been drinking and revelling with Williams the husband and others at Sydney, and were proceeding to Parramatta in a small boat, in which was a bag of rice belonging to Green. The boat heeling considerably, and some water getting at the bag, by a movement of Green’s to save her rice the boat overset near Breakfast Point, and the two women and the child were drowned. If assistance could have been obtained upon the spot, the child might have been saved; for it was forced from the wretched mother’s grasp just before she finally sunk, and brought on shore by the father; but for want of medical aid it expired.
The parents of this child were noted in the Colony for the general immorality of their conduct; they had been rioting and fighting with each other the moment before they got into the boat; and it was said, that the woman had imprecated every evil to befall her, and the infant she carried about her (for she was six months gone with child) if she accompanied her husband to Parramatta. The bodies of these two unfortunate women were found a few days afterwards, when the wretched and rascally Williams buried his wife and child within a very few feet of his own door. The profligacy of this man indeed manifested itself in a strange manner: a short time after he had thus buried his wife, he was seen sitting at his door, with a bottle of rum in his hand, and actually drinking one glass and pouring another on her grave until it was emptied, prefacing every libation by declaring how well she had loved it during her life. He appeared to be in a state not far from insanity, as this anecdote certainly testifies; but the melancholy event had not had any other effect upon his mind.”
The woman Green, who drowned with McCabe in 1793 has not yet been identified. She was not the Ann Green who travelled to the Colony aboard Lady Penrhyn with McCabe, for that Ann Green lies buried at St Matthew’s, Windsor, but beyond this nothing in known. In October of that year Williams proceeded to sell his farm for less than 100 pounds. Although he expressed the intention of returning to England he in fact remained on the farm which he had just sold, as a labourer. In 1794 he moved to live at Mulgrave Place, and died 10 years later on 13th March 1815, having done manual jobs in the meantime

Old Bailey Trial Transcription.
Reference Number: t17840707-7

667. CHARLES WILLIAMS was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 3rd of July two great coats, value 5 s. two flannel waistcoats, value 1 s. one silk skirt, value 10 s. three silk gowns, value 20 s. three white dimity waistcoats, value 15 s. one striped waistcoat, value 1 s. one cloth coat and waistcoat, value 5 s. one napkin, value 6 d. one cloth, value 6 d. the property of Joseph Whalley .
The witnesses examined apart at the request of the prisoner.
I keep the three cups in Bread-street ; all the things mentioned in the indictment were in a portmanteau, which came by the waggon to my inn, it arrived at the inn the 3d of July in the forenoon about nine, it was directed for the Hon. Miss Boscawen St. James’s Palace, I saw the contents after the prisoner was committed, and all the things in the indictment were in it; it was put into a cart and first missed about seven in the evening, I did not see it in the cart at first; I examined the contents of it on Tuesday after it was brought to my house; I know nothing of the prisoner.
I was standing at my shop door, and the prisoner came across the market from the West to the East side towards me, I never saw him before, but I took particular notice of him, he came within a yard of me, I am sure of his person, I took more notice of him than I should have done, for he had like to have run over a child of mine, it was about six in the evening, he had the portmanteau on his shoulders, I followed him down the arch, and saw him cross the way and go into the Artichoke alehouse; I suspected him, and I returned back to look for the owner, and I saw a carman looking about as if he had lost something; I asked him what he had lost, he said a cloak bag, and I went with the carman to the Artichoke, the prisoner was there and the bag; I said to the carman this is the man I saw with the cloak bag, and there is the bag; the prisoner said, can any body swear I stole it out of the cart. I know nothing further.
Prisoner. Did you see me take it out of the cart? - No.
Last Saturday was a week, standing at my mistress’s shop in Fleet-market, on the East side, I saw the people running across the market, and I went to look, and the carman came up, and the prisoner was coming out of the door, and some person cried, that is the man, and the carman gave me the portmanteau to take to his cart, which I did.
Had that portmanteau any direction on it? - Yes, the Honourable Miss Boscawen, St. James’s Palace.
Court to Hayes. Did you observe any direction on the portmanteau? - Yes, it was as has been mentioned.
ANN BAKER sworn.
I live in Fleet-market, I saw the prisoner take up a portmanteau out of a cart, I was looking at him some time, he followed it at some distance, and he often caught at it; I am sure it was the prisoner, he went up the market very fast, he put it under his arm; I did not see which way he went; I did not see any direction, it was a large leather portmanteau.
Prisoner. Did not you say at the Alderman’s that you could not swear to me? - I said there was a man took it out, and I thought it to be him, I was not positive.
Court. Have you any room to doubt about it now? - Not in the least.
I am a carman, I was employed by Mr. Joseph Whalley on Saturday the 3d of July, to drive his cart, and to take care to deliver the goods; there was a direction to the Honourable Miss Burgowen, at St. James’s Palace, it was delivered to me between two and three, at the Three Cups in Bread-street; I went to several places, and at last I came to Fleet-market, it was rather past six, I placed it forwards in the cart, and I missed it as I was going along forward with the horses, I ran to enquire about it, and Mr. Hayes subscribed the man, and carried me to the Artichoke, there I found the prisoner and the portmanteau; I am sure of the man. The portmanteau was under a soat in the publick house; it was the same portmanteau, and the same direction; I delivered it to Dawson, and conveyed it home: my master saw it opened, it contained all the things in the indictment.
Prisoner. Was it under the seat in the tap-room? - Yes.
Prisoner. I put it there, I do not deny, but I was standing at the door.
I am a constable, this portmanteau has been in my custody ever since, I saw the things put into the indictment.
Prisoner. A gentleman asked me to carry this portmanteau for him into Smithfield, to the Ram, and he would give me sixpence.
Transported for seven years .
Tried by the London Jury before Mr. ROSE.

Convict Changes History

Phil Hands on 10th April, 2017 made the following changes:

convicted at, source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 2. Old Bailey on line. Convict ships to NSW. (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, P

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