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James Wilson

James Wilson, one of 200 convicts transported on the Planter, 13 June 1832

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: James Wilson
Aliases: Thomas Kensey (alias), Anderson (alias)
Gender: -

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1796
Occupation: Coachman
Date of Death: 1861
Age: 65 years

Life Span

Life span

Median life span was 55 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 14 years

Crime: Breaking and entering and stealing
Convicted at: Old Bailey
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: Planter
Departure date: 13th June, 1832
Arrival date: 15th October, 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 343 (172). Old Bailey on line
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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Phil Hands on 21st March, 2017 wrote:

Tried and convicted at the Old Bailey on 5th April 1832 for theft, sentenced to transportation for 14 years.
Left England on 16th June 1832.
Ship:- the ‘Planter’ sailed with 200 male convicts on board, there were no reported deaths during the voyage.
Arrived on 15th October 1832.

Thomas Kensey, son of Thomas Kensey Snr and Ann Watts, was born about 1796 somewhere in Hertfordshire, England   On reaching maturity, Thomas had various jobs, one of which was a ship steward. He later became a coachman and groom at Clapton, London.
At the age of 24, Thomas married 28 year old Elizabeth Davis on the 23rd of July 1820 at Christchurch, Greyfriars, Newgate, London. Elizabeth was born about 1792 at Morvan Hills, Worcestershire, England, the daughter of Sylvester Davis and Mary Lacey. Thomas’s parents were witnesses to the marriage, but it would seem that Elizabeth’s parents did not approve of the marriage as a note left by a descendant of Elizabeth states that “Davis died before (Thomas) Kensey left England and sent the Kenseys half a farthing by Solicitors - left in will.” This lends weight to a family legend that Elizabeth had run off with a coachman of the family and had been duly disinherited by her father. Supposedly her father was Lord Lascelles although this is highly unlikely, as the title of Lord Lascelles has always been held by the eldest son’s of the Lascelles family. It is not impossible though, that Sylvester Davis may have been a peer, as a letter from Mrs Russell, who’s husband was a descendant of Elizabeth makes mention of Elizabeth as Elizabeth Mortimer, daugher of Sylvester Davis. (The Mortimer’s are an ancient noble family based in Hertfords hire.) Until more is known, this is mere speculation. However, whatever the story, Thomas was employed as a coachman and groom at Clapton, London. (Clapton is the ancestral home of the Dudley’s… another ancient noble family).
It not known how long he remain employed there, but eleven years later, Thomas Kensey, known as James Wilson alias Anderson stood trial on the 5th April, 1832, at the Old Bailey, London charged with two counts of stealing. He was found guilty and sentenced to 14 years transportation. Elizabeth was mentioned in Thomas Kensey’s trial where she identifies herself as his wife and as a result was not allowed to give evidence. However she is identified as the woman who had pawned the various items that Thomas had been accused of stealing. Her alias was Ann Mitchell of Thomas Street, Hackney Rd.
A few months later, on the 16th June, 1832 Thomas departed Portsmouth, England aboard the ‘Planter’. The master of the Planter was Robert Laurence Fraser with a Dr Osborne as the Ship’s surgeon. Thomas is recorded on the list of male convicts of the Planter as Thomas Kensie, alias James Wilson alias Anderson aged 36. He was able to read and write, and of the Protestant religion. He is also noted to be married and as having two daughters. His occupation is listed as Coachman and groom. A physical description is also given: 5’ 51/2”, dark complexion, dark brown hair and light gray eyes. He had a mark of a severe burn under his chin, and the initials ‘TK’ on the inside of the lower left arm.
The voyage took almost five months and arrived at Port Jackson, NSW on 15 Oct, 1832. A letter from his wife, Elizabeth indicates he was assigned to a Master A G Scott in Sydney after his arrival. He appears to have lived in the household for at least 6 years as he is shown on the 1837 General Muster of Convicts (under the alias of James Wilson) as living with an A G Scott in Sydney. His age is listed as 42.
Five years after Thomas was transported, his wife Elizabeth (40) and two daughters, Ann (16) and Charlotte (12) , arrived in Sydney on 31 August, 1837 aboard the “City of Edinburgh”. They were listed as ‘bounty migrants going to husband and father in colony”.
The year after her arrival in Sydney, Elizabeth petitioned unsuccessfully to the Governor to have Thomas assigned to her. On this petition, Elizabeth stated that “from the time of her arrival to the present she has been compelled to live in service and leave her children to the charge of strangers ... finding that her earnings were inadequate to meet the expenses incurred, and therefore desires of being again reunited to her husband for the relief and support of herself and two children. That such sanction Petitioner hopes your Excellency will have the humanity to bestow by allowing Petitoners husband to be assigned to her and her two helpless children for their support and protection.” Her petition was refused.
Seven months later, Thomas was granted a Ticket of Leave on the 3 Dec 1838. The ticket of leave system was commenced by Governor King on February 10th, 1801. The ticket indicated that the holder was freed from government labour, that they were off the government stores and were permitted to work for themselves within prescribed districts. Thomas is recorded on the ticket as Thomas Kenzie and gave him permission to remain in the area of Patricks Plains. Shortly after the marriage of his two daughters,  Charlotte in 1841 and Ann 1842 , Thomas was allowed to move to Scone. Later that year, in December 1842, the leave ticket was again changed to Patricks Plains.
He received his Certificate of Freedom (Nos 47-180) on 16th February 1847. His name is recorded as Thomas Kenzie alias James Wilson alias Anderson. Details recorded on this certificate repeat those shown on the ‘Planter’s records: born in Hertfordshire in 1794; occupation: Coachman and Groom. His appearance is again the same as on the Planter’s records with the exception that he is described as having blue eyes, rather than light grey and a perpendicular scar on the centre of his upper lip which was not mentioned previously. It also notes his eyebrows meeting.
Not much is known of Thomas and Elizabeth for the next 23 years until at the age of 75, Thomas died on 1st September, 1871, a Bootmaker, at 11 Carlton St, Sydney, NSW. His death certificate records Carlton Street as being off Parramatta St, Parramatta. Thomas is buried at Haslem’s Creek, now Rookwood Cemetery by C & G Shying and Co. The witnesses of his burial were Joseph Shying and John Crockett.
The year after, Elizabeth moved to New Zealand to join her daughter Ann who had moved there over 30 years previously. Elizabeth died 6 years later of ‘Dyspepsia’ on the 27th July 1878 aged 85 at Mellesley St, Auckland, NZ

Old Bailey Trial Transcription.
Reference Number: t18320405-20

813. JAMES WILSON, alias ANDERSON , was indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Robert Earrington , on the 24th of October , and stealling 3 gowns, value 30s.; 1 scarf, value 10s.; 1 cloak, value 20s.; 1 shawl, value 8s.; 1 necklace, value 2s.; 1 gold pin, value 2s., and 1 coat, value 1l., the goods of Mary Grimes .
MARY GRIMES. I am servant to Robert Earrington, who keeps the Blue Posts, Holborn . On the 24th of October the prisoner, who was a stranger, came about nine o’clock, and engaged a bed; he went to bed in the top room, about eleven o’clock, and paid 1s. 6d. for the bed that night - he went away next morning, about seven o’clock; I went up to the room about ten, and missed a frock-coat, which was tied in brown paper, and put into the cupboard of the room he slept in; a gentleman had left it in my care - I missed from my box,in the opposite room to his, three gowns and the other things; I slept in that room, and am sure I closed the door when I left, but did not lock it - the things were taken after I got up.
Cross-examined by MR. BARRY. Q. Were you the chambermaid? A. Yes - we had no other lodger that night; I never saw the prisoner before - he came to me in the morning, and asked if he could have a bed again that night; I said Yes - he said he would come back about two and let me know; I was the only female servant, and my room is on the second floor - it was fastened with a spring latch; I polled it too, but did not lock it - I have found nothing but a piece of my gown.
COURT. Q. Did he come back, as he said he would? A. No.
ROBERT EARRINGTON. I rent the house. I recollect the prisoner sleeping there on the 24th of October, and am quite certain of him; I got up at half-past seven o’clock, but did not go into the servant’s room at all; I have not a doubt of the prisoner’s person - we had no other lodger that night; I saw the prisoner at the Mansion-house about a month ago - he is the man, although he has trimmed his whiskers; he had whiskers down to his neckcloth when at my house - he has now very small ones; they were the same at the Mansion-house as when I saw him at my house.
Cross-examined. Q. Was he a stranger to you? A. Perfectly so; I know nobody had been up stairs the morning he left, as they must pass my room.
JURY. Q. Did you attend on him? A. I did - he had a pint or two of porter, and I waited on him.
JOHN ROE . I am an officer of the Mansion-house. The prisoner was brought there on this charge on the 24th of February, and on the 27th I went to his house in Blue Anchor-alley, Bunhill-row; I found a woman there who had been brought to the Mansion-house, as his wife; I followed her home - she represented herself as his cousin; I am not certain that the prisoner lived there - I found in that house this piece of a gown.
MARY GRIMES. This is part of my gown tail; I had made the tail, but not finished the body - it is my own work.
Prisoner’s Defence. There are a number of prints of the same pattern.
GUILTY of stealing only . Aged 38.
814. JAMES WILSON, alias ANDERSON, was again indicted for stealing, on the 30th of January , 2 coats, value 7l. 10s.; 1 pair of trousers, value 25s.; 1 shaving-case, value 20s.; 2 waistcoats, value 2l.; 1 cravat, value 4s.; 1 stock, value 2s., and 1 handkerchief, value 1s., the goods of Joseph Autrim Webb , in the dwelling-house of Joseph York Oliver .
JOSEPH YORK OLIVER . I keep the City hotel, King-street, Cheapside . I believe the prisoner lodged at my house on the 30th of January, but I will not swear to his person - Mr. Webb lodged at my house, and a complaint was made to me about four o’clock on the 31st, of the loss of this property; on the 24th or 25th of February, my waiter brought the prisoner to the house, in custody - he had recognized him in the street, and charged him with breaking open Mr. Webb’s trunk; he said he had never been in my house before, and did not know there was such an inn.
JOSEPH ANTRIM WEBB. I am a tanner . On the 30th of January I was lodging at Mr. Oliver’s house, in the upper part; I do not recollect seeing the prisoner there - on the morning of the 31st I packed up all my things in my trunk, as I was going to leave town at night; I saw them safe in my room between seven and eight o’clock in the morning; they were the articles stated in the indictment -I went out, returned in the afternoon, and my things were gone.
Cross-examined. Q. You do not know that you ever saw the prisoner before? A. No - I did not spend my evening at the coffee-house that night.
WILLIAM COLE . I am waiter at Mr. Oliver’s. I am quite certain of the prisoner’s person - he came into the coffee-room about half-past nine o’clock in the evening, asked for a bed, and had one; I inquired his name - he said Anderson: he had a carpet-bag in his hand, and a great coat on his arm - I asked if I should take his luggage up stairs; he said No, he would take it up himself when he went up - he slept on the same floor as Mr. Webb - he came down about nine o’clock, and asked for his hill; he said he was in a great hurry, and if I told him what he was to pay, he would not wait for the bill - he paid me, and left; he had very prominent whiskers then: about six o’clock in the evening I heard of this loss - this was Tuesday, and about the Friday week following I saw him in Finsbury-square; I thought I knew him, and upon looking at him I recollected he was the man, and from the description I had received of Mr. Webb’s things, I had every reason to think they were on his back; I followed him into a court by the Tabernacle chapel, but I could find no Policeman; he went somewhere in the court - I sent a boy to fetch my master, and watched at the end of the court till master came, but I could see nothing of him- I saw him in about a fortnight, in Coleman-street, and followed him to the end of the street; he went into two or three shops - I got the street-keeper, and we took him to the hotel; he was taken to the Mansion-house - this was about the 24th of February.
Cross-examined. Q. How many people slept in the house that night? A. Six or seven, they were all customers except the prisoner.
THOMAS GENNER . I am a porter at the City hotel. -When the prisoner came in I was called to take his luggage up to his room, but he would not let me touch it; he took it up himself in about two hours and a half - I saw him when he asked for his chamber candle; I took the boot-jack to him - he refused to have his boots cleaned, as he said he wanted to go to Aldermanbury, and should return and have them cleaned then; I saw him about twenty minutes past nine o’clock in the morning, for about five minutes; he stood at the bottom of the stairs, with his coat over his hand, and his carpet-bag in his hand - he gave me 3d., and went away; I cannot be mistaken in his person; his whiskers were much larger than they are now- when he was brought to the hotel I did not at first recognize him, but directly he took his hat off I said I could swear to him, as I had seen him without his hat.
MARY JOHNSON . I am chambermaid at the hotel. On the 30th of January the prisoner slept there - I am certain of him; he slept at No. 12, on the same floor as Mr. Webb - he went to bed between eleven and twelve o’clock; I took his candle up, and asked if I should take his carpet-bag: he would not let me - I saw him in the morning, coming out of his bed-room door, and have not a doubt of him; he had large whiskers then: I saw him again when he was brought to the house - his whiskers were not removed then; that has been done since; I was sweeping his room in the course of the day, and found a quantity of cabbage-leaves and young cabbages under the bed; they would fill his carpet-bag - if they had been there when I lighted him up, I must have seen them.
JOHN ROE . I am an officer. I apprehended the prisoner - his whiskers were taken off while he was at the Compter.
CHARLES WORLEY . I am servant to Mr. Castles, a pawnbroker, of Old-street. I have two coats, a shaving-case, and waistcoat, which I took in pawn from a female, in the name of Ann Mitchell, Thomas-street, Hackney-road, for two guineas, on the 24th of February - I would sell them for 3l.
ELIZABETH KENSEY . I am the prisoner’s wife.
COURT. Then you cannot be examined.
CHARLES WORLEY . That is the person who pawned them, I am certain.
MR. WEBB. These articles are mine, I am certain; I left my portmanteau locked, and when I returned the lock appeared to have been hampered - the end of it was ripped up, and the things dragged out; it appeared prized open; this shaving-case is worth 1l.
Cross-examined. Q. You have had the great coat some time, perhaps? A. Yes, but not worn it much.
Prisoner’s Defence. I bought the things at a public-sale in Rosemary-lane.
MR. OLIVER. The goods being lost in my house I paid the prosecutor 10l. for them.
GUILTY of stealing only . Aged 38

Convict Changes History

Phil Hands on 21st March, 2017 made the following changes:

convicted at, source: Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 343 (172). Old Bailey on line (prev. Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 89, Class and Piece Number HO11/8, Page Number 343

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