How Many Convicts? The Sullivan, Dwyer, Connolly, Starkey, Manning, Crumpton, Harris, Cross, Davison and families.

There has been a silence here for too long, I’ve been working on too many projects and not thinking I have done enough research or got to a certain point to publish.  While fighting off this winter’s Melbourne flu/cold I took the opportunity to sort through some research I had been given by my aunt on her husband’s family.  Sorting it out, verifying the data and taking it further has kept me entertained for the past few weeks.  I don’t think they realized what an interesting family he had, right back to the beginnings of the colony!

Barry (born Raymond) Sullivan was the great great grandson of Michael Patrick Sullivan who left London on the Dick on November 4, 1820.   The Dick arrived at Port Jackson, New South Wales on March 12, 1821.  There was a surgeon’s report that survives for the journey and thus we know Michael Sullivan was one of the convicts treated on the voyage out.  He was convicted at the Middlesex sessions (London) in February 1820 and sentenced to seven years transportation.  It was possible he was on one of the prison hulks before he embarked on the Dick.  As he was a convict there is a description of him.  He was twenty three, five feet, three inches tall, had a ruddy complexion, was freckled with brown hair and blue eyes with a slightly hooked appearance.  He obtained his certificate of freedom on February 22, 1827 and applied to marry Ellen Dwyer who had arrived on the Sovereign.  She said she was twenty-one and he was thirty-eight when they married at St Thomas, Port Macquarie on September 5, 1833.

Ellen Dwyer was convicted at the Old Bailey on December 4, 1829;  she was sixteen years old.  Her crime was stealing seven shillings and she was sentenced to seven years transportation.  Her occupation was a nurse girl.  She had worked for those she stole from for the three years previously.  The Sovereign left Downs, England on April 15, 1829 and arrived at Port Jackson on August 3, 1829.  Ellen was in and out of the Parramatta female factory where the women were divided into three classes.  Ellen was in the third class where the women were ‘kept at hard labour breaking stones’ and may have been placarded or had their heads shaved and been deprived of sugar and tea.  Her offences were being absent without leave (multiple times), being a ‘common prostitute’, neglect of duty and ‘abusing her mistress’.  She was incarcerated there multiple times during 1830 and 1831.  There was a riot at the Parramatta female factory in February 1831 and Ellen was admitted for one of her stays on 2 March 1831, just after.  Women from the riot were sent to Newcastle to the jail there on March 5, 1831 and I wonder if Ellen was also sent to Newcastle to jail at some stage and that was how she met Michael Sullivan and married him at Port Macquarie.  This is purely speculation at the moment.

Again as she was a convict we have a description of Ellen.  She was four feet eleven inches tall, had a ruddy complexion, freckles, black hair and hazel eyes.  I think she must have been a feisty character.  She had thirteen children with Michael Sullivan.  Michael died at Wingham on January 18, 1874 and Ellen at Coopernook on June 27, 1889 and she was buried at Cundletown.

Michael and Ellen’s son, John Furniss Sullivan married Sarah Connolly at St John’s Cathedral, West Maitland on August 16, 1869.  She was the daughter of Patrick Connolly and Sarah O’Neil.  Patrick was convicted at Monoghan, Ulster, Ireland on February 29, 1836 for abduction.  He was sentenced to seven years.  The story in the family was that he helped a mate who wanted to marry the girl they abducted from her parents in her own home.  Again there is a description of him.  He was about twenty four, five feet five inches tall, had brown hair, blue eyes, a ruddy complexion, carroty whiskers and a hairy breast.  He arrived at Port Stephens on November 13, 1836.  He obtained his ticket of leave on January 9, 1841.  He died on September 19, 1901 and was buried at Khatumbul, aged eighty-nine.  He had three daughters with Sarah and was well respected in the community.

Patrick Connolly
Patrick Connolly

Barry’s mother’s family also features convicts. Jessie’s great great great grandfather was James Starkey (Starkie).  He was convicted at the Northampton court of sessions on July 10, 1804 and was sentenced to seven years transportation.  He arrived in Sydney on board the Duke of Portland on November 10, 1807.  He was five feet seven and 3/4 inches tall, had a fair and pale complexion, light sandy hair and grey eyes.  He was originally from Gloucestershire and was a carpenter.

Mary Manning was also tried at the Northampton court of sessions.  For the first time in 1806 when she sentenced to two years for theft.  Then she was tried and convicted on March 6,1809 and transported for seven years.  She arrived in Sydney on board the Canada on September 10, 1810.  James Starkie and Mary Manning were married on December 5, 1810 at Windsor, New South Wales.  Had they known each other back in England?

Jessie’s great great great grandfather was Thomas Crumpton (Crump) born about 1771 in Staffordshire, England.  He was convicted at the Old Bailey on September 12, 1792 of robbery.  He had broken into the house of Sarah Thompson about 5 in the afternoon when no one was home and stolen 28 guineas, two silver table spoons, three silver tea spoons, one silver milk pot, two gowns and a pair of silver tea tongs.  He was sentenced to death and received His Majesty’s Pardon and was transported for life.  He was said to be 20 years old.  He left England on the Surprise on May 2, 1794 and arrived in Sydney Cove on October 25.

Thomas married Mary Harris on March 12, 1797.  He had children with her and two other women (at least), Mary Johnson and Mary Webb.  He was a boat builder, carpenter and blacksmith.  He petitioned to have his sentence mitigated and was eventually pardoned.  Mary Harris was also tried at the Old Bailey in London.  Firstly for theft in May, 1792 for which her sentence was to be whipped, then again on September 12,1792, the same day as Thomas.  She was convicted of stealing and sentenced to seven years transportation.  Mary Harris was also on board the Surprise.  Did Thomas and Mary know each other in London?  Or did they meet on board the ship?

Jessie’s great great great grand parents John Cross and Mary Davison were first and second fleeters respectively.  John was convicted in Salisbury on March 5, 1785 and arrived on board the Alexander, part of the first fleet.  He had stolen one ‘wether sheep’ and was convicted to death.  His sentence was reduced to seven years transportation.

Mary Davison was convicted in Northumberland of stealing 16 yards of silk and 10 muslin handkerchiefs.  She was sentenced to seven years transportation.  She was transported on the Juliana.  The Juliana is infamously known as the ‘floating brothel’.  From a diary it was recorded that ‘every man took a wife from among the convicts’ and when they were in ports men from other ships were freely entertained.  The Juliana was the first ship to arrive in Sydney since the arrival of the first fleet.  John Cross and Mary Davison had nine children together.  By June 1804 John was on a list of people to be granted 100 acres of land.  John died on December 25, 1824 and Mary three years later on December 13, 1827.

There are probably many more convicts on this tree with children marrying children of other convicts and convicts themselves.  There is a soldier who is reputed to have married one of the convicts and a few free settlers.

A huge thank you must go to Dot Sullivan for her amazing research over many years (and any others who assisted her).  Her research was done the old fashioned way.  Sorting through the research she had passed on to my aunt and uncle, verifying it and taking it further has been wonderful.  There are always more stories to be told but at least my cousins will have an idea of their father’s heritage.


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