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John Williams

John Williams, one of 262 convicts transported on the Clara, 19 March 1857

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: John Williams
Aliases: Goodenough, John (alias)
Gender: -

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: -
Occupation: -
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Median life span was 61 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 15 years

Crime: Burglary
Convicted at: Hertford. Assizes Hertford
Sentence term: 15 years
Ship: Clara
Departure date: 19th March, 1857
Arrival date: 3rd July, 1857
Place of arrival Western Australia
Passenger manifest Travelled with 261 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 93, Class and Piece Number HO11/18, Page Number 211 (107)
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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Nicola on 19th December, 2011 wrote:

Morning Post - Wednesday 5 December 1855
(Before Mr Justice Crompton)

Sarah Baker, alias White, 47, Anne Williams, alias White, 26 (her daughter), John Williams, alias Goodenough, 23, described as a hawker, and Thomas King, 25, labourer, were charged with a burglary in the dwelling-house of Edward Webb, and stealing some money, several articles of jewellery, and a quantity of wearing apparel, his property. The two women were also indicted for feloniously receiving the property.
Mr. T. Chamber and Mr O’Brien conducted the prosecution’ Mr Charnock defended Goodenough; the other prisoners were undefended.
The prisoners are believed to be connected with a gang of London thieves, who are in the habit of travelling about the country committing offences of this description in all directions. Another woman, named Catherine Hawkins, was included in the indictment, but she was admitted as witness for the Corwn.
The prisoner King pleaded guilty.
It appeared that the prosecutor of the indictment was the landlord of the Red Lion Inn, at Hatfield, and that on the night of the 18th August last the premises were broken open, and the till was emptied of its contents, and a quantity of jewellery belong to a lady named Silvester, and also several dresses and a good deal of wearing apparel, stolen.
Catherine Hawkins was then examined. She said – I was indicted with the prisoners, and charged with being concerned in this robbery. I am 19 years of age, and prior to the 18th of August I was living with my mother in Evangelist-court, Broadway, Blackfriars. I know the prisoners Sarah Baker, Anne Williams, and Goodenough. I also know the man King who has pleaded guilty. King and Goodenough came to London about the 15th of August, and I remember Baker asking me if I could read the country papers. I told them I could read, and Mrs. Baker then pressed me to accompany her daughter, and King and Goodenough, into the country for a day or two. I did not know what they wanted me for, but I agreed to go, and we all started together on the morning of the 17th of August. We walked to Barnet, and stopped there that night, and the next day we proceeded to a place called Walham-green, on the road to Hatfield, where a sister of the prisoner Anne Williams resided. After Anne Williams had seen her sister, she and Goodenough told me and King to go to the Two Brewers public house, at Hatfield, and engage a bed. We accordingly went on to Hatfield, and between eight and nine o’clock at night I saw Anne Williams and Goodenough again. We could not get a lodging at the Two Brewers, but we obtained one in the town, and King and Goodenough said they were going away, but before they went, the former prisoner asked Anne Williams to give him his basket, as he said he was of no use without his “things.” She gave him the basket and the things that were in it, and Goodenough and King went away, saying that they were going to London. I and Anne Williams remained in Hatfield all that night, and the next morning when we got up, Williams asked me if I would go with her and meet them, and I agreed to do so. When we had got a short distance along the road, I saw King standing outside a park-gate, and Goodenough, who was inside, opened the gate, and we all went into the park. A man was coming along in a cart, and we all stooped down and concealed ourselves till he had passed. We then went on into the park and King produced two large bundles, and Anne Williams opened them. King and Goodenough then gave me and Anne Williams some money, and told us to go to Hatfield and fetch some food for them, and we did so, an I returned to the par; and after they had eaten the food, the bundles were brought out again and opened. They contained black silk and satin dresses, a quantity of wearing apparel, some silver forks, a leather dressing case, a quantity of brooches and rings, and a pair of bracelets. We remained in the park the whole of the day picking the marks out of the lien, and as soon as it got dark the bundles were packed up again, and Anne Williams went behind a tree and put on a clean pair of stays and a petticoat that were among the articles that were in the bundles. Goodenough and King then told us they were going to London with some portion of the things, and the remainder was packed up and left in the charge of Anne Williams, and she afterwards gave me a black silk dress and a shawl. Goodenough and King then went up to London by the train, and I and Anne Williams proceeded to Barnet, where we remained till the Wednesday following, when Goodenough and King rejoined us. We all went from Barnet to Watford, and from thence to Colnbrook, where I first heard that the police had been making inquiries respecting our proceedings. I told Anne Williams that I did not like to hear inquiries made about us by the police, and she told me not to be frightened; and she also said that if I told the truth she would be the death of me. After this she took the basket in which King kept his things into a field and hid them, and she told me that she and her husband, meaning Goodenenough, were in the habit of buying goods, and if they should turn out to be stolen the police would say that they had stolen them; and she said that she knew the Colnbrook police very well, and that they would swear to anything. (A laugh.)
Cross-examined – I am a single woman. I am quite innocent of knowing that I was in such bad company. King and I slept together on the Friday night, the 17th. The night before that I did not sleep with him because I was at home with my mother. I only know king from his coming backwards and forwards to Mrs. Baker’s. I told all I knew about the moment I was taken into custody, and my evidence was taken down by a gentleman after I was committed to Hertford gaol. I was not told that I should be let off if I gave evidence, and I do not now expect to be let off. If I had known there had been anything wrong at the time I should not have assisted to pick the marks out of the linen.
A great many witnesses were examined with a view to confirm the evidence of the witness Hawkins, and it also appeared that when the prisoners, King and Williams, were apprehended by Thomas and Adams, two superintendents of the Bucks police, a considerable quantity of stolen property was found in the possession of Williams. Upon King there was likewise found a chisel, which corresponded in size to some marks upon a door that had been forced open in the Red Lion. The prisoner Goodenough, it appeared, was taken into custody for another burglary in Surrey and committed to take his trial, and he appeared on the present occasion under a writ of habeas. It was proved that a considerable portion of the stolen property was sent up to London, and that it was pledged by the prisoner Baker, and in her house other portions of the stolen property were also discovered.
Mr. Charnock addressed the jury at some length on behalf of the prisoner Goodenough, and he contended that there was not sufficient confirmation of the evidence of the accomplice to justify them in finding a verdict of guilty against him.
Mr Justice Crompton having summed up, the jury, after a short deliberation, found all the prisoners guilty – the man Goodenough of the offence of burglary, and the women of receiving the property, knowing it to have been stolen. Two previous convictions for felony were proved against Goodenough.
The prisoners were then called for judgment, and Goodenough was sentenced to be transported for 15 years, and the others to six years’ penal servitude.
When the sentence was pronounced the prisoner Goodenough, who had conducted himself with great effrontery during the proceedings, exclaimed that he was innocent and that the case had been got up by Beddelcomb, the inspector of the Surrey police, because he had told him that he should like to have his neck stretched for him. As he was leaving the dock he shook his fist at that officer, and in a most threatening tone said, “I only wish I may live to come back for your sake.”
They were then all removed.

John Williams appears to have returned to England but was captured for another crime in 1864 and retransported back to WA, where he escaped and drowned. http://www.fremantleprison.com.au/Pages/Convict.aspx

Richard King was my Gt Gt Grandfather and he was also transported to WA on the Hougoumont for commiting another crime in 1855 - http://www.convictrecords.com.au/convicts/king/richard/68542

Nicola on 9th April, 2013 wrote:

1862 – Wednesday 29 October – John Williams escaped from the Convict Establishment at Fremantle. Before getting away he committed a robbery at the residence of the Superintendent of the Prison and stole the horse of the Surgeon of the Establishment, the more easily to elude his pursuers .
1863 – December - John Goodenough (Williams) on the rampage in England.
12 December - Robbed the shop of Joseph Bryant at Warblington of jewellery, watches etc to the value of £112.
Robbed the house of Samuel Wheeler at Alverstoke of furniture, the house of Thomas Cooke at Alverstoke of watch, moneys, stamps and other articles, the house of Walter Peat at Fareham of silver plate and other articles, the house of William Joyce of Winchester of diverse articles.
1864 – 31 January – Harriet Goodenough brought up at Gosport and charged with receiving stolen goods from John Goodenough that were stolen from Joseph Bryant. They were staying at 32 Staunton Street, Landport near Portsmouth.
1864 – 9 April – jewellery found in Windsor Forest, believed to be stolen from houses in Windsor and St Mary’s Butts, by John Goodenough.
1864 – 11 April – Charles Stewart, companion of John Goodenough apprehended at Thorpe, Surrey, John Goodenough escaped.
1864 – 21 or 22nd April – John Goodenough captured in Bristol. He had travelled via Bracknell and Reading.
1864 – 23 April – John Goodenough ‘examined’ in court at Gosport and committed to trial at the next assizes. Sent to Winchester gaol. see Hampshire Telegraph Saturday 30 April 1864.
1864 – 13 July – trial of John Goodenough at Winchester, sentenced to 14 years penal servitude.

Convict Changes History

Nicola on 9th April, 2013 made the following changes:

alias1 Goodenough, John (alias) (prev. Goodenough, John (Alias))

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