JOHN LEWIS

John was the younger brother of my grandfather x 4 DAVID LEWIS. Like his brother he was transported for sheep-stealing but I am fortunate to be able to document the case from the original documents

The first is the statement from the arresting constable James Powell

THE STATEMENT OF JAMES POWELL The information of James Powell the younger of the parish of Llanafan fawr in the said County taken 19th day of December 1787, who upon oath saith that as an assistant to the Constable of the parish of Llanafan fawr in this County to search suspected places for sheep supposed to have been stolen, a warrant for that purpose having been obtained from a magistrate - he entered the house of John Lewis of Llanafan vawr aforesaid where he saw a great quantity of mutton, some of which dept. thought had but a few days before been killed, from thence he went to the said John Lewis' barn and there concealed. he found a flayed sheep skin. Deponent saith further that William Jones aforesaid was present when this sheep skin was founcl and inft. saith that the said skin was his (William Jones) property.

James Powell. Taken and signed before me Jn. Lloyd.

The second is by the Petty Constable of The Parish of Lllanafan Fawr Thomas Jones

THE STATEMENT OF THOMAS JONES The information of Thomas Jones, Petty Constable of the parish of llanafan Fawr in the said county taken 18th day of March 1788 who saith upon oath that having received a warrant from a magistrate to search some places there in mentioned for sheep suspected to have been stolen he went to the house of John Lewis in the parish of Llanafan vawr aforesaid who whilst in the house submitted readily to the searching of it; but when informant and his assistantswent to the said John L ewis barn he showed much unwillingnesss to their entering therein and during the search the informant observed an alteration in his countenance.

Thos. Jones Taken and signed by me. Jn Lloyd.

The third is a depostion by the owner of the sheep William Jones

THE STATEMENT OF WILLIAM JONES Information of William Jones of the Parish of Llanafan Fawr in the said County taken the l9th day of December 1787 Who saith upon oath that he happened to be present when John Lewis of Llanafan Fawr barn was this day searched by the Constable. of that parish and his assistant for sheep suspected to have been stolen and that the sheep skin there found in it by James Powell the younger of Llanafan vawr aforesaid is the property of him the said William Jones and believes it was feloniously taken by the said John Lewis. \par William Jones.Taken and signed by me Jn. Lloyd

 

In the face of this evidence the Jury in April 1788 brought the following verdict

GUILTY BY THE JURY. BRECONSHIRE. The Jurors for our Lord the King upon their Oath present that John Lewis otherwise called John Simon late of the parish of Llanafan Fawr in the County of Brecon,, yeoman,, on the 7th. day of November, in the twenty seventh year of the Reign of our Sovereign lord George the Third now King of Great Britain and so forth with Force and Arms in the. parish aforesaid in the County aforesaid one ewe sheep of the price of two shillings and six pence of the Goods and Chattels of one William Jones then and there being found feloniously did steal take and drive away against the Peace of our said Lord- King, his Crown and Dignity. Wiliam Jones.

John was sentenced to death by hanging for stealing the ewe but the sentence was later transmuted to transportation for 14 years

PARDON Whereas Phillip Bevan and John Lewis were at the last Great Sessions holden for our County of Brecon tried. and convicted of sheepstealing and received sentence of Death for the same And whereas, some favourable. circumstances have been humbly repre sented unto Us in their behalf inducing Us to extend Our grace and Mercy unto them, and. to grant, them Our pardon for their said Crimes, on condition that he the said Phillip Bevan be transported for the term of seven years and the said John Lewis for th e term of fourteen years to the Eastern Coast of New South Iiiales or some one or other adjacent islands. Our will and pleasure therefore is that you give the. necessary directions accordingly and that they be inserted for their said crimes on the said co nditions in Our first and next general Pardon that shall come out for the Brecon Circuit And for so doing this shall be your warrant. Given at Our Court of St. James the thirtieth day of April 1788, in the twenty eighth year of Our Reign.

By His Majesty's Command. Lydney

To Our trusty and well beloved Our Justices of Assize for the Brecon Circuit, the High Sheriff of our County of Brecon and all others whom it may concern.

From the time of his trial to his eventual transportation John was first held in the Brecon Gaol and then in a Prison Hulk in Plymouth called the Dunkirk. A letter from W.W.Grenville in Whitehall dated 14th December 1789 instructs the High Sherif of Brecknock to

His Majesty having been pleased to give directions that all the male Convicts under sentence of Transportation in the Gaol for the County of Breck nock, should be removed,. from thence on board the Dunkirk Hulk.at Plymouth and committed to the Charge of the overseer of theConvicts on board the said hulk. I am commanded to signify to you the King's Pleasure that you do forthwith cause the said convicts (if upon being examined by an experienced surgeon they be foud free from any putrid or infectious distemper) to be removed on board the said Hulk,where they are to remain until their sentence can be carried into execution or be otherwise disposed of according to law. I am Sir, Your most obedient humble servant: W.W.Grenville. P.s. You will send with the prisoners an account of their ages and Term of their Sentence.

By the end of the month John and six other men had arrived at the prison hulk in Plymouth. The following is a receipt for their arrival

Received of Walter Watkins, Keeper of the Gaol of Brecon the underwritten male convicts

John Jones alias John Williams

John Morgan

Morgan Morgans.

John Lewis alias John Simon.

Phillip Bevan.

John Price.

Dunkirk this 29th day of Decenber, 1789.R. Basden? for Jas. Bradley esq.

Unfortunately I do not have a plate for the prison hulk "Dunkirk". Hulks were old ships which had been stripped down and anchored. Conditions on board these vessels were very harsh and primitive, disease was quick to spread in the crowded rat-infested communities on board, and many did not survive to see the new penal colonies. Epidemics of cholera, dysentery and smallpox swept through the packed hulks resulting in wholesale death. John did survive the hulk in Plymouth because fifteenth months later he was on-board the transport ship Atlantic (a 422 ton ship that was captained by a Archibald Armstrong) to begin his sentence in the recently established colony of New South Wales. I have added further information on the conditions etc, John would have experienced whilst serving his sentence

He sailed in the same convoy as his elder brother David who was on the Salamander. Unlike David I did not know what happened to John but in February 2002 we had information from a researcher in Australia who kindly offered me the following details

"John alias Simon Lewis arrived on the "Atlantic" convict ship 20.8.1791 a day before the "Salamander" carrying his brother David.The ship left Plymouth in 27.3.1791 carrying 220 male convicts, John was transported for 14 yrs. In 1814 Mary Bull was assigned to John at the convict barracks after being transported for life. She arrived in 1814 on the ship Wanstead from Spithead carrying 120 females. She was from Middlesex. She was technically married to John.He would have chosen her to "marry" when the ship arrived but she was bound to stay with him for life and work.She would have been a well behaved woman. They seem to have had at least three children Charles 1827,Elizabeth 1824, Charlotte 1831 at Wilberforce,12 June I think that they were at Wilberforce on the Parramatta River near Parramatta, an early settlement"

Note: the voyage from Plymouth to Port Jackson took 146 days. Out of the 220 who were transported, 202 arrived

All the information seemed to tie in with what is already known although I was rather cautious with regard to the children. By 1814 John would be 67 years old and I think that it would be unlikely for him to start a second family at the age of 77. A more likely possibility was that John died in the period 1814 - 1823 and Mary was re-assigned to someone else with whom she had children. At the moment though this is merely conjecture but is more plausible.

As for Mary the information does tie in with other references. In Lloyds Register of Shipping the following details are given

Green Book - Underwriters
Master:  Captain H. Moore
Rigging:  Ship; 2 decks; sheached in copper in 1813; fastened with copper bolts
Tonnage:  253 tons
Construction:  in America; vessel 3 years old
Owners:  H. Moore
Draught under load:  14 feet
Port of survey:  London
Voyage:  sailed for Botany Bay

(Red Book - Shipowners)
Master:  Captain H. Moore
Rigging:  Ship; 2 decks; sheathed in copper in 1813; mostly copper bolts
Tonnage:  253 tons
Construction:  1811 in Newbury Point
Owners:  Captain
Draught under load:  15 feet
Port of survey:  London
Voyage:  sailed for Botany Bay

An Australian site confirms Mary's voyage and sentence and the Colonial Secretary Index 1788 - 1825 states

"BULL, Mary. Per "Wanstead", 1814 -
1814 Jan 13 On list of women prisoners from the "Wanstead" sent to Parramatta (Reel 6004; 4/3493 p.12)"

There is also an indication that the voyage may not have been that eventful for of the 120 women who were transported, 117 arrived in New South Wales. The only other thing I can add at the moment is again supplied by the aforementioned researcher about life in Wilberforce

"They held the first (church) services under a large gum tree which is still there over the track from the church and cemetery. Many convicts who had served their terms lived in the area farming land. Many are buried there"

At the moment that is all the details I've got but I hope to post some more in the near future. Thankfully due solely to the endevours of Ray Hobbs we have obtained details of the 1814 marriage from a researcher in Australia

Held at NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
Transcription requested by RAY HOBBS HOBB.RA 24 12-Mar-02 Number 653 V147B
Date of Marriage 28 JUN 1814 Place
With Consent of Religion CHURCH OF ENGLAND
Groom JOHN LEWIS, F., Conjugal Status Age 50
Parish ST JOHN'S, PARRAMATTA
Bride MARY BULL, DO, WANSTED Conjugal Status Age 40
Parish ST JOHN'S, PARRAMATTA
Minister SAMUEL MARSDEN
Witnesses THOMAS CLORVER, MARY BLACKET
Parish ST JOHN'S CHURCH, PARRAMATTA County
Comments MARRIED IN THIS CHURCH BY BANNS.
GROOM SIGNED WITH HIS MARK.
This is a transcription and NOT a certified copy from the Registers of Births, Deaths and
Marriages and cannot be used in any legal proceedings whatsoever.
JOY MURRIN - Transcription Agent
NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages
ABN 17 948 055 643
PO Box 278, Oatley, NSW   2223
Phone (02) 9585-1187 Fax (02) 9585-1486
Email - joy@joymurrin.com.au   WEBSITE -
www.joymurrin.com

As you can see, our early hopes did not come to fruition and so the search still goes on.

In February 2006 there was more information forthcoming concerning JOHN LEWIS from the Parramatta & District Historical Society
 P. O. Box 1384  Parramatta  NSW  2124.

"There were 9 John Lewis before 1815 -  "Barwell" 1798, 2 on the "Neptune" 1790 2nd Fleet, "Admiral Barrington" 1791, "Brittania" 1791, & "Atlantic" 1791, 3rd Fleet, "Duke of Portland" 1807, "Marquis of Wellington" 1815 and "Canada" 1815.
 
An unidentified John Lewis was murdered, buried 11 October 1799, sailor, Sydney. A John Lewis gave evidence to Rev. Samuel Marsden - Sept 1800 (uprising),
 in the books Desperate Set of Villians and Unfinished Business. A John Lewis married Sophia Jones in 1792, St. John's Church Parramatta.
 
 I have no answer why there appears to be no records of Tickets of Leave
for
the "Atlantic"
 
 Regards - (Mrs) Elizabeth Matthews for (Mrs) Audrey Meisenhelter - Research convener

 

 

I have left the information on the site in order that it may assist other researchers on the subject

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This page was last updated on 21/02/07 09:50