A missing Convict in Australia.

Discussion in 'Empire & Commonwealth' started by The Artful Dodger, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    One of my 'infamous' 1st cousins - Thomas Nixon - was a very naughty boy even after arrival 26 June 1819, for a sentence of 7 years transportation.

    Like his slightly older brother - Samuel - young Thomas learned the trade of a Tailor during his time in custody. This career path he followed with some indiscretions along the way until his death and burial in St. Matthew's Anglican Cemetery, Windsor on 20 January 1875. He was aged 74.

    He received his Cerificate of Freedom 31 March 1825 - exactly 7 years after his conviction in England. He commenced a relationship with a married woman - wife of another convict - and their 1st child was was born late 1825 early 1826.
    His Certificate of Freedom was revoked for Criminal Activities [sic] - source State Records NSW Quarter Sessions Case 4/8476. At this time - presumably 4th q. 1826 - his partner was expecting twins? which were born in 1827 and 1 of these - a daughter - died in 1827.
    There is nothing so far found as to what those criminal activities were and I would appreciate information on this if possible.

    His next 'appearance' is on 7 April 1829 when he is again granted a Certificate of Freedom. He resumes his relationship and works as a Tailor and in 1830 a son is born.
    2 more children follow - 1835 and 1838 - and by 1840-1841 his partner may have died.

    He then marries Elizabeth Downing in 1842. 3 children are born - 1843, 1846 & 1848 - and then there is a gap of 4 years brfotr their 4th is born. Given 'later activities' I suspect that he may have been incarcerated but cannot find anything.
    Child #4 & 5 - twins? - arrive in 1852 and a 6th in 1854.

    His next 'appearance' is in the Sydney Morning Herald 6 June 1856 where he was sentence to 2 years hard labour at Parramatta Gaol for Horse Stealing. He seves his sentence and his release is noted in the Police Gazette of June 1858. He returns to Richmond is reunited with Elizabeth and his family and finds his business in tatters. From NSW State Records - File #04232 - Thomas Nixon - Tailor - of Windsor Street, Richmond is deemed Insolvent.

    His last child is born 1860. Thomas is aged 60.

    If the item that follows is my Thomas then he must have done something REALLY BAD.
    1871 - H.M. Gaol, Darlinghurst NSW Thomas Nixon age 71 incarcerated since 1860 - source New South Wales, Australia Gaol Description and Entrance Books - seems to match his description from earlier records.
    I have not been able to find a reaon for him being there.

    He is released from Darlinghurst - source Police Gazette March 1872.

    My Thomas is found in the 1872 Grevilles Post Office Directory as a Tailot, Living on Fitzgerald Street.

    Then he dies 1875.

    Thank you for reading this and if possible I would like to just complete the book on him before I tackle his 5 surviving children from his 1st relationship.
     
  2. spison

    spison Well-Known Member

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    Colin,
    Have you looked at Trove? Knowing what you know of your man, Thomas, only you will have a chance of uncovering which articles actually refer to him so really only you can do it.

    http://trove.nla.gov.au

    I have done a search for "Thomas Nixon" and set the dates between 1859 and 1875 and can be fairly confident that there are two funeral notices for him but they give no further details of any family members. If you search past 1875 you may locate an In Memoriam from a family member. You may also find details of why he was imprisoned. Darlinghurst Gaol records for the 1870s are particularly poor but I doubt that he would have been imprisoned for 11 years. It is more likely that he was imprisoned on more than one occasion. Just because you can't find a release doesn't mean he wasn't released at all. You may be able to find the reason for his imprisonment through Trove. It is hard to tell whether there was one man or two men named Thomas Nixon who were about 72 years of age in the early 1870s but there are some corrected court appearances in 1871 that MAY refer to him. Nothing is turning up for the 1860s but I know that most articles between 1867 and 1872 for the Sydney courts have been corrected (I did them) so it may be that the OCR scan of the 1860s papers is still very poor so you could try some searches for that period along the lines of
    "Nixon court"~20 or
    "Thomas constable"~19 or
    "Nixon Windsor"~100
    Be creative. These are the near searches and help to find things that have a poor OCR scan. Set the number of words to search within after the tilda (~). It is very useful. A search for "Thomas NIXON"~1 will give results for 'Thomas Nixon', 'NIXON, Thomas' or Thomas John Nixon (or any middle name).

    Trove will give you some wonderful background information on the people you are after (remember 'my girls'?) so you can get some really good reports if you're lucky. They make great reading in a book.

    Also remember that Windsor is NOT an inner Sydney suburb and it would quite a while to get from Windsor to Sydney in the 1870s. Even now with the motorways it takes at least an hour in good traffic.

    All the best,
    Let us know how you go

    Jane
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
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  3. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Well Jane, I spent a lot of time yesterday and today on Trove but only found one funeral notice for Thomas - a Tailor - aged 72 and dated 26 January 1872. He died on 25 January. He lived on East Street off Lower Campbell St. Surry Hills. The funeral procession/entourage was headed for the Necropolis. The funeral director was a firm that I believe was located in Woolloomooloo.

    Source of the above was from the Sydney Morning Herald - Friday 26 January 1872.

    I have yet to find the 2nd one you found.

    As for his activities - involving misdemeanours and other offences - from the same publication, there were numeous Thomas Nixon's mentioned for the period and I noticed several corrections from yourself. Sadly though, none of these gave an address, age or occupation, but in my opinion, none appear significant to warrant him being in H.M. Gaol at Darlinghurst on and off since 1860 until 1871.

    I appreciate my knowledge on Trove and how to fine-tune my search parameters is lacking but I did enjoy the experience.
     
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  4. Ma-dotcom

    Ma-dotcom A Bonza Little Digger!

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    Colin, try N.S.W. Police Gazettes. He or one of such name features in a few. i.e.
    Return of prisoners discharged from H.M Goal Parramatta during week ennding 6th June 1858.= Thomas Nixon. etc.
    Discharged free in 1872. several other entries.

    Perhaps not your chap if he died in January of that year.

    Yay, I have search filters:)
     
  5. spison

    spison Well-Known Member

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    Colin the second funeral notice was just a repeat of the first. The Necropolis is now more commonly known now as Rookwood. The search feature on their website is now unavailable which is a pain but here is the site.

    http://
    rookwoodcemetery.com.au/

    Darlinghurst gaol was the busiest in NSW at this time so records were rushed and it was very easy to go to prison at this stage but you might have been there for only a few days - fourteen days was quite a popular term.

    There was a Quarter Sessions case in 1826 for your man. Do you have this information from someone? (from State Records) There is at least one newspaper report on Trove. The paper probably has more detail than what you would get from the cases listed below. You can save the newspaper report to your computer as a .pdf There may be further reports that have yet to be scanned. You could try a search on trove for "Thomas NIXON" AND Windsor and see what you find or do a near search for his ship of arrival and name. He was Baring (2) wasn't he?

    NIXON Thomas (no.:9; p.109; Item: [4/8476]; Reel:2753; Date:1826; Place:Windsor &
    no.:10; p.:117; Item: [4/8476]; Reel: 2753; Date: 1826; Place: Windsor)

    Keep hunting
    Jane
     
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  6. spison

    spison Well-Known Member

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    Colin,
    What a pity the man appearing in the Sydney courts alias Nichols wasn't yours. There is an image of him! If you know the 1872 death is correct why was he not in Windsor? Why was your man in Sydney and not in Windsor at all? Why was he buried in Rookwood and not in Windsor? Do you know?

    Jane
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
  7. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Hi Spison,
    He is buried at Windsor St Matthews CofE. I took the photo of the headstone for Colin and he died in 1875 at Windsor. Buried with or memorialised with his son. Aged 19 at the time of his death if my memory is correct!
     
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  8. spison

    spison Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Archie's Mum. I thought the date was 1872 - silly me!
    Jane
     
  9. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Just a question, Spison. There is Thomas Nixon done for horse stealing in Maitland at the same time. Would this be the same one sentenced at Paramatta.
    Maitland seems a way to go from the inner city to Windsor and then Maitland to steal a couple of horses???
    6/6/1856 2 years hard labour in Parramatta Gaol
    23/4/1856 Horse stealing in Maitland
     
  10. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    The one in 1872 isn't mine. meant to add more - our daughter was in distress and dropped by - I had made mention earlier of a 'family crisis' and it involves her.

    Sorry
     
  11. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Am I still in favour? The situation here can be somewhat difficult.

    Archie's Mum has the right man in 1875. I have the death registration which names his father as William.

    I am satisfied that the chap that did 2 years for horse stealing and released in 1858 from Parramatta was the same man who was declared insovent in August 1858.

    I have the details of the revocation of Certificate of Freedom - 1826 - but not he reason for it - see post#1 & post #5.

    Must dash off again.
     
  12. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Between my last post here and my last posting on another thread, one uniform left - now 3 more are here.
     
  13. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    All gone. Now to find one Australian convict.
     
  14. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Hello Jane.
    After the confusion of yesterday - mentioned earlier - the items that I did find on Trove between 1859 and 1875 - January 1875 being his date of death and burial [as confirmed by Archie's Mum] - mostly involved drunkeness and resisting an officer in the execution of his duties which either resulted in fines or sentence for between 14 days and 3 months.

    There was one item I found that was somewhat more serious and reported in the Sydney Morning Herald. This I found on Saturday evening. I have not been able to find it again so I will note what I can recall from memory.
    "In 1866 Thomas Nixon was charged with Fraud by Deception in an attempt to obtain money by deception by the use of a fake Certificate".
    If this is my Thomas, he would be past age 65, and could have resulted in a longer sentence at Darlinghurst.

    There were other convictions for drunkeness adter this event.

    I do have the reference to the Revocation of his Certificate of Freedom late 1826 and his release from custody with a 'new' Certificate of Freedom dated 7 April 1829, but despite my efforts [inadequate at best] I have not been able to find anything about this on Trove and the NSW Police Gazette transcription available on Ancestry only start in 1854.

    His life after release in 1829 was resumed with his partner - Elizabeth - and they had 3 more children. I have heard from a 'family tree member' that Elizabeth died in a fire in 1840 and that his 5 surviving children with her were sent away - but this I have yet to confirm.

    In 1842 he was aged 41 and he married Elizabeth Downing. She was - from what I have discovered - a convict - and was convicted in April 1834 in Cornwall, England and sentenced to reanspotation for 7 years and left for Van Diemen's Land on board "New Grove" on 30 October 1834. Sfter completing her sentence, she became "Free by Servitude" and married Thomas in Sydney.
    They had 7 children between 1844 and 1860 [dates as follows: 1844, 1846 & 1848 - then a 4 year gap - 1852 - 2 births -, 1854 - then a 6 year gap - and 1860]
    I feel strongly that between 1856 and 1858 we have Thomas - a resident of Richmond - being in Parramatta for 2 years for horse stealing. Archie's Mum raised a query in Post #9 about distances between Windsor and Maitland but I have no idea if he actually stole the horse or contrived with someone from Maitland to steal it. All I have found is a brief notice from Dydney Morning Herald - 6 June 1856 - about a conviction for such an act and 2 years later - 6 June 1858 released - NSW Police Gazette.

    I have the details from Sydney Morning Herald about his insolvency in 1858.

    There are still gaps that I cannot fill particularly with the births of his children. I am starting to think that after 1848 he was in trouble of some kind unril 1852 and that after 1858 he turned to drink and and financed his life-style by criminal activity until his death.
     
  15. spison

    spison Well-Known Member

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    Hi Colin,
    I don't know about the fraud and need to think more but the Thomas Nixon alias Nichols might easily be responsible. Because the men were roughly the same age, the only way you will know for sure is to make a match with something known - like ships of arrival in the gaol records. Unfortunately Darlinghurst records for this time are very sketchy. The man of this name who arrived on the John might also be responsible although I think this man was about ten years younger.

    As to the Maitland conviction - Windsor to Maitland would almost certainly have been completed in far less than a day - down the Hawkesbury (or directly from Sydney), north up the coast to Newcastle, into the Hunter and up to Morpeth and Maitland so is quite realistic - especially if he was planning to leave the area with a horse and come home overland. Tracking a brand of a stolen horse would have been far more difficult out of the area. Ships ran at least daily ten years later and Newcastle was exporting coal by this time so there is a good chance that there was a daily ship in the 1850s. Not that it needed to be daily if he didn't plan on escaping that way. It may not have been a plan either - just opportunistic.

    Need to think some more. (Not thinking well at the moment either.)
    Jane
     
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  16. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    and to a certain extent - neither am I - but I am trying!!

    More on the post #14 if I am able.
     
  17. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Sorry Colin, I think I have arrived to confuse the issue.
    7/6/1856 Bells Life in Sydney via Trove
    Horse Stealing.Thomas Nixon a young man of respectable appearance pleaded guilty to a charge of having at Bungwarra in the Maitland district, on the 16 April last sole a horse the property of one Mr Clark he also pleaded guilty to second count which charged him with having on the 16th April stole a mare, the property of John Landrigan. Remanded.
    Maitland Mercury 10/6/1856
    Thomas Nixon, whose real name appeared to be NEW, pleaded guilty to the charge of stealing a horse the property of Mr Clark at Bolwarra? and a mare belonging to Mr Landrigan.
    Bell's Life in Sydney 7/6/1856
    Before Mr Justice Therry
    Thomas Nixon who had pleaded guilty to two charges of horse stealing was brought up under special order to receive judgement. Messrs Pye and Byrnes of Parramatta were called by Mr Holroyd and gave the prisoner an excellent reference..........His honour sentenced the prisoner to two years of hard labour in Parramatta gaol
     
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  18. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    Don't apologise, Sue, it's my family and they are enough to confuse anyone.

    So the name 'Thomas Nixon' - a Horse thief - was an alias, eh? Wish he'd picked a different name - like John Smith!!

    I'm back to square 2 & 2/3ds - as opposed to square one.
     
  19. spison

    spison Well-Known Member

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    Hi Colin,
    Was one of Thomas or Samuel's children Harriett? If so here's something
    JUVENILE DEPRAVITY.—On Saturday last,four females, apparently between fourteen and sixteen years of age named, Mary Ann Martin,Sarah Lindsay, Harriet Nixon and Bridget Byrne, were placed at the bar of the police court,before Mr. Windeyer and Captain Brown, underthe following circumstances : It appeared that during the preceding week, Colonel Wilson had informed a constable of the Sydney Police named Jeremiah Crone, that the four individuals were most disorderly and worthless characters,and having left their respective hired services,he would be fully justified in apprehending them wherever he should find them. On Friday,Crone found Martin and Lindsay prowling aboutin Pitt-street, and took them into charge; Nixonwas apprehended at her aunt's in Castlereagh-street, and Byrne was taken near the domain. From what transpired before the bench, it appeared that the girl Martin's parents reside on the Rocks, and had done every thing to reclaim her, but without effect, as she had but lately undergone a sentence of one month's imprisonment as a rogue and a vagabond : she had been sent to service on the North shore,but had absconded from it. Sarah Lindsay, a mulatto, and the tallest of the four, it appeared, was the daughter of a tin-man residing in Windsor,and had been hired as a servant to a lodging housekeeper residing in Castlereagh-street from whom she had absconded some time since. Bridget Byrne is the daughter of the person in charge of the water pipes, and had left her service without any notice; while the fourth prisoner, Harriet Nixon,is the daughter of a tailor of that name, and had been enticed by the other three prisoners from her aunts house where she was residing. Her aunt appeared and informed the court that she would have no difficulty in keeping the prisoner,providing means were taken to prevent the other three prisoners from enticing her away ; she had been a good girl until they had fallen in with her ; she was accordingly admonished and discharged. It appearing that for some-time past the other three prisoners have been living in the vicinity of the bathing ground and gaining a subsistence by prostitution and pilfering, they were remanded till to-day, in order that the whole witnesses in the case might appear against them. The prisoner Lindsay behaved in the most unbecoming manner while in Court. The Chief Constable also stated that since she had been taken into custody, it had been found necessary to confine her in a cell. Mr. Windeyerinformed her that however lightly she mighttreat the matter, it was highly probable that she and her two worthless associates would be sent to the house of correction for a very long period, and ordered them to be confined in separate cells apart from the other prisoners till this day.

    From The Sydney Herald 30 Nov 1840.

    Jane

    PS. The address was as long as the article!
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  20. The Artful Dodger

    The Artful Dodger Dodging, ducking and diving

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    What a tale, Jane.

    Both Thomas and Samuel had a daughter named Harriet[t] and the reason for the naming was that they had a sister named Harriet - who never married and died a Pauper in England in 1850.

    This girl is/was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth and born abt. 1825.
     
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