John Pendergast, convict.

Discussion in 'Dublin' started by Philippa, May 10, 2013.

  1. Philippa

    Philippa Always a lady.

    Likes Received:
    Canberra, Australia
    For background see my previous thread on newspaper reports of trials and transportation, Dublin.

    My first “problem child” is John Pendergast. He and Jane Williams (English, convict, “Nile”, 1801) formed a “liaison” after Jane was assigned to him as housekeeper. Their relationship cannot be proven as legalised, but they remained together until death did them part and produced an impressive number of children. The number of descendants researching this couple is incredible and volumes have been written about them. Some of these volumes include a lot of documented facts but also hold statements which have not been verified to anyone’s knowledge and I think a lot of the unsupported stuff is pure assumption, a number of leaps of faith and perhaps some wishful thinking.

    I’m not terribly fussed at the moment about chasing up most of that unverfied information, but John’s offence would be a big boost for me.

    What follows is what I have been able to discover from documents in the Irish Transportation Database and the diary of the ship’s surgeon which has been published in book form.

    John Pendergast was born in Ireland in ~1760. He was tried and convicted of some crime in Dublin on 7 February 1798 and sentenced to 7 years’ transportation to NSW. After sentencing he was “accommodated” on board the hulk “Lively” and from there transferred to the convict ship “Minerva” on 13 February 1799. The “Minerva” sailed from Cobh on 6 Aug 1799, eventually departing for Sydney on 24 August 1799, arriving in Sydney Cove on 11 January 1800.

    All the delays in the voyage are fully explained in the book “Minerva Journal of John Washington Price”, the full diary kept by the ship’s surgeon, and way too complicated to try to reproduce here.

    From that book I also discovered that John P was not a political prisoner, something which is almost violently disputed by other researchers, but it’s clear in the forms reproduced in this book that such was the case. As far as I’m concerned each side has a 50% chance of being right (or wrong) so why get upset about it – we need the proof either way. His doings in Australia are not part of the current equation as they are covered so well by other researchers.

    I’ve never been drawn to John. I’ve always thought he was a bit of a baddy who only managed to elude the law in NSW by a bit of luck and cunning. Some family stories re-enforce that opinion, but that’s for another day.

    However, he is who is is/was, he is an ancestor and nothing will change that, but knowing exactly why he was transported would fill a hole in my research.

    It would be lovely if someone could now discover what I, along with so many other descendants, have been unable to find for quite a number of years,


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