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James Wilson

James Wilson, one of 200 convicts transported on the John, 26 January 1832

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Wilson
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1815
Occupation: Butcher
Date of Death: -
Age: -

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 51 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Stealing rabbits
Convicted at: Westmorland, Kirkby Quarter Sessions
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: John
Departure date: 26th January, 1832
Arrival date: 8th June, 1832
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 199 other convicts


Primary source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 262. Westmorland Gazette, 11 Jun 1831 NSW Gaol Description and Entrance Books Certificate of Freedom, Prisoner No. 32/1293 arriv. John 3, 1832. Marriage Certificate Baptism Certificate for daughter.
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 5th May, 2013 wrote:

James Wilson was 17 years old and came from Westmoreland.

1837: Assigned to the AA Company at Port Stephens.

9/9/1839: COF
27/7/1843: COF Renewed.

Patricia McGufficke on 26th September, 2018 wrote:

Westmorland Gazette, Sat. 11 Jun 1831 reported that James Wilson and James McElving, charged with stealing Egyptian rabbits the property of Mr Benjamin Atkinson of Green Bank near this town, were committed to the House of Correction for trial at the sessions.

Westmorland Gazette, Sat. 2 July 1831:  Kendal Burgh Sessions, June 30, 1831.  James Wilson, 19, and James McKelvin, only 15 years of age, were put to the bar, charged with stealing, on Monday the 7th of June, one tame Egyptian rabbit, from Greenbank, the property of Benjamin Atkinson.  When called on to plead, these two youthful delinquents wept bitterly, and amid stifled sobs and tears said they were guilty.
  Mr Wardle, who conducted the prosecution, shortly went over the facts of the case before the Court.  On the day mentioned in the indictment, the two prisoners were seen upon a wall bounding a plantation at Greenbank, in which the rabbit was feeding.  Wilson threw a stone at it but missed; in a second attempt he was more successful, as he hit the rabbit and stunned it.  He then got into the plantation, caught the rabbit and carried it off.  The prisoners killed the animal, wrapped it in a handkerchief, and hid it in a field well, to the northward of the town.  When the officers were in search of the delinquents, McKelvin showed some contrition, as he repented of the crime which he had committed, and pointed out the place to Mr James Fawcett where the rabbit was concealed.  When pulled out of the wall, McKelvin said “that’s it”, and as he had shown remorse and repentance, he trusted the Court would visit him with less severe punishment than the prisoner, Wilson, who was an older and more hardened offender, and against whom a former conviction was recorded in that Court.
  The prisoners being called upon for their defense, and asked if they had any thing to say why sentence of the Court should not pass against them, declined saying anything, nor had they any friends who offered a word of mitigation.
  In sentencing Wilson, the Recorder said, the prisoner had pleaded guilty to the offence with which he stood charged, and it was melancholy to reflect that this was the second time he had stood before that Court in about nine months, although on his former conviction he had been warned what the consequences would be if by a profligate course of life he again brought himself into a similar situation.  The Court could not hope that by a further imprisonment in this country he would amend his life, because out of the last twelve months, he had been in prison nearly six months, therefore he must leave it for a season.  However painful the duty, the Court had no alternative.  The sentence was, that the prisoner should be transported beyond the seas for the term of seven years.
  In sentencing McKelvin, the Recorder warned him, by the fate of his companion, to avoid bad company, and refrain from a wicked course of life, lest by a repetition he shared the same punishment, which he must do, if ever he came before the Court under like circumstances.  Sentence - three months imprisonment in the House of Correction, and to be kept to hard labour.  (IF HE WAS AGED 19 IN 1831, BIRTH DATE WOULD BE 1812.  His Convict Indent shows that James could read, was aged 17, Protestant, S, born Westmoreland (in Kendal), a butcher, offence was stealing a rabbit, sentenced to 7 years, had a former conviction with 3 months gaol, was 5’2” tall, sallow and freckled complexion, brown hair, grey eyes and had a large scar on his forehead, scar on left eyebrow and scars on the back of his left thumb.
  On arrival in Sydney, James was allocated to Mr William Merritt of Sydney (a butcher).  In August 1833, William Merritt was indicted for shooting at his servant, with intent to kill and murder him. He was found Not Guilty.  (I wonder if this was our James??)
  James was admitted to Newcastle Gaol 26 Apr 1837 and returned to the Government from Port Stephens for re-assignment. On 8 May he was temporarily assigned to the Pilot Service in Newcastle and the following month assigned to Mr Charles Hughes at Maitland, Licensee of the Woolpack Inn, Maitland from 1838-1841. Previously he had been the assistant pilot at Newcastle.
  I believe the James Wilson arrested Maitland for receiving stolen goods who appeared in Newcastle Gaol on 9 Oct 1838 was James from Westmorland.
  9 Sep 1839 received his Certificate of Freedom which described him as born 1815, ‘3” tall, sallow complexion, brown hair, grey eyes with 3 scars on right hand side of forehead, another under left eyebrow, 3 scars back of left thumb.
  13 Jun 1840 - he married Ann Leden/Leyden in the Scots Presbyterian Church, York Street, Sydney - he still classified a convict, she on bond.
  Daughter Mary Ann Wilson born 24 Apr 1844 in Sydney - living Druitt Street.
  Mary Ann Wilson was my Great Grandmother.
  He and Ann ha

Convict Changes History

D Wong on 5th May, 2013 made the following changes:

date of birth 1815, gender, occupation, crime

Patricia McGufficke on 26th September, 2018 made the following changes:

source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 262. Westmorland Gazette, 11 Jun 1831 NSW Gaol Description and Entrance Books Certificate of Freedom, Prisoner No. 32/1293 arriv. John 3, 1832. Marr

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