Saturday, February 16, 2008

My criminal past

I have just received a copy of part of the transcript of The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1834 which contains the earliest record I have of a member of my family on my mother’s side, a Richard Vickers. My great, great, grandfather Richard (I'll call him Richard1) was convicted, at age 18, for theft at the Old Bailey on 28th November 1833 and transported to Australia for 7 years.

Richard 1 was convicted of stealing, from a ‘beer-house’, a table cloth, 3 pillow cases, 3 towels, 4 aprons and 1 pinafore with total value 11 shillings.

After his nefarious crime he was apparently spotted by the 'beer house' owner as he ran off apparently dropping the goods. He was then captured by a 'baker' and arrested by a Constable Burton. His defence? He claimed he was innocent of the crime and had gone to the public house with a colleague to play skittles. While he went to have a pee his companion had stolen the goods and told him to run off lest he too be arrested. As they ran off his colleague dumped the goods and poor Richard was, he claimed, wrongly arrested. On the basis of this plausible story an obviously unjust conviction!

Richard1 was transported to Australia in a square rigged ship, The Surrey, in 1834. In Australia he was ‘assigned’ to a George Rankin in Bathurst NSW. He married another convict woman Mary W. in 1846 who was guilty of ‘man robbery’ (pick pocketing?). Mary received her 'ticket-of-leave' in 1842. They had 5 children (Catherine, Thomas, Sarah, Richard2 and John). The children eventually scattered around the eastern states of Australia with a concentration in northern NSW.

Richard2, who was born in 1847, married Elizabeth in 1880 (who died in childbirth) and then Jane (‘Nan’) in 1891.

During his life Richard 2 became a stock and station agent, a racehorse-owner (his horses won three events at the Uralla Jockey Club in 1877!) and most of all a wealthy grazier in Uralla NSW establishing a large property in 1879 and building a beautiful homestead there, Goldsworth, in 1908. Richard2 died in 1911. He had 8 children (Richard3, Reginald, Rupert, Leslie, Myee, Sylvia, Victor and Adrian) of whom his Richard3 married Verlie C in 1917.

The union beween Richard3 and Verlie produced 6 children (Shirley, Joyce, Alison, Richard, Stuart and Brian). Alison was my mother – I remember Richard3, Rupert, Leslie, Myee, Victor and Adrian all of whom are now decreased.

Myee, my great aunt, married Archie Baker in 1922 and honeymooned in the United States. They had three children (George, Robert and Jane) and established one of the great properties on the Gwydir River area, Laura. I stayed at Laura as a kid and liked Myee a lot.

My mother is alive (aged 90) and I have one uncle alive on my mother’s side Brian, aged 83 who I see quite a bit. I occasionally see Jane Baker.

I have an intermittent interest in genealogy and have done some work tracking my father’s side of the family. These were a much more dour Irish lot and there were no convicts on that side!

The current documents fill in some interesting gaps on my mother’s side of the family. Unfortunately the records in this respect seem to stop at the date of Richard1’s birth in 1814. I am happy to fill in a few gaps and will now look harder at those that remain.


Adrian Vickers said...

Dear cousin Harry

In one of the accounts of history of the Uralla district, a book called 'Old Stations on the Gwydir', the wife of the first Richard Vickers is called 'Maria' rather than Mary.

Adrian Vickers

Anonymous said...

Hello Cousins,
I am the great, grand-daughter of Catherine Vickers, the eldest daughter of Richard and Maria Vickers.
Maria White was born in Belfast, Ireland, and was also a convict. She arrived here aboard the "Mary" in 1835 and got her Certificate of Freedom in 1842. She married Richard shortly after in Kelso N.S.W. She remarried after Richard died (don't have these details as yet). She married William Purnell and moved from Bathurst to Uralla N.S.W.
I have more family history should you be interested. I am happy to share my findings.

hc said...

That's interesting Gloria - where do you live and what is your email address? I know a lot of Vickers went to Queensland. You could forward this offline to my address if you like.

I'd be very interested in finding out more history. The first Richard seemed to be an interesting man. I'd like to find out something about him.

All the best,


hc said...

Dear Cousin Adrian

I only found out too about the response from Adian - I was on holidays when he sent it.

I'll make contact Adrian - you have obviously along with me picked up a blogging gene from the Vickers.

All the best