HAA007: BREAKOUT 2 Bridget's husband, John Gibson

John Gibson was 20 years of age when he was convicted for stealing books.  His trial was held at the Tyrone Assizes in Omagh, Ireland on 9 March 1832, where Baron Pennefather sentenced John and several of his countrymen and women each to seven years’ transportation.[1]

Along with three other men sentenced at the Tyrone Assizes that day, John Donnelly a 41-year-old father of four transported for cow stealing; Robert Bailey a 20-year-old carpenter transported for stealing linen; and Daniel or James McShane a 17-year-old stable boy who stole a coat; John Gibson was to transported to Australia on the Royal Admiral. [2]

On the 16th May 1833, 220 convicts embarked the Royal Admiral from the hulk Essex. Departure was delayed until 4 June and 144 days later, the Royal Admiral arrived in Port Jackson, New South Wales on the 20th October 1833. [3]

On arrival, John was described as being 21 years of age, able to read and write, Protestant, single, laborer (sic), 5 ft 6 with a dark pale and pockpitted complexion, dark brown hair, dark grey eyes. John also had several tattoos including initials presumably of loved ones, the Harp of Erin, crossed compasses and a sun and moon with a dove carrying an olive branch.[4]

At the time of John Gibson’s arrival, a system was in place whereby convicts were ‘assigned’ to members of the private sector.  The 1833 muster shows that John Gibson was assigned to Geo. Gray of Cobbitty, Airds. [5]  One can assume that the two struck up a good working relationship or perhaps a friendship, as four years later the 1837 muster shows that John is still assigned to George Gray now at Monaroo. [6]

John Gibson received his Certificate of Freedom on the 19th August, 1840.[7] However, only two years later he was in trouble with the law again.  Accused of horse stealing, he appeared in the Berrima Court on 27 April 1842, where he was found not guilty. [8] However, he was convicted of forgery as he had forged the cheque to purchase the horse and was sentenced to transportation to Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) for life commuted to 10 years.  At the trial the judge called John a hardened criminal and a consummate villain. [9] So, it was back into the system again for John Gibson.  John departed on the Louisa on 17 February 1844 to arrive in Hobart 1 March 1844.[10]

"A hardened criminal and consummate villain". The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 September 1842.

"A hardened criminal and consummate villain". The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 September 1842.

On arrival, John Gibson was required to spend 12 months in a probation gang before being assigned.  On 17 June 1845 he became a 2nd class passholder and in December 1845 he was upgraded to a 3rd class passholder. His conduct records shows that at one time he was ordered to serve two months’ probation in the Town Surveyor’s Gang (1845), one month hard labour (1849) and 14 days on the tread wheel for insolence (1850).  In, 1849 John was at the “House of Correction’ in Launceston, where he applied for conditional pardon, but was refused.[11]  He received his Ticket of Freedom on 22 February 1850.

As discussed in Bridget's story, the family may have settled around the Goulburn area. In 1885, two John Gibsons show as residing in the Police District of Goulburn, one at Cherry Tree Hill (near Gullen) on 40 acres with just one horse and one cow, another at Primrose (near Crookwell) with 8 horses, 18 cattle and 4 pigs. [12] It has not been yet confirmed as to whether either of these are ‘our’ John Gibson.

At time of writing, departure records from VDL have not been found and, as John Gibson appears to be a very common name, his death records have not yet been found either, however the search continues.

An extract from John Gibson's conduct record. TAHO.

An extract from John Gibson's conduct record. TAHO.

 

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[1] COUNTY OF TYRONE ASSIZES. (1832, March 23). Belfast Newsletter (1738-1890), p.4. Retrieved June 2, 2016, from https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/ ; Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1790-1849 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: New South Wales Government. Musters and other papers relating to convict ships. Series CGS 1155, Reels 2417-2428. State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[2] Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788-1842 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12189; Item: [X635]; Microfiche: 705

[3] Free Settler or Felon?, ‘Convict Ship Royal Admiral 1833’, accessed June 6, 2016 from http://www.jenwilletts.com/convict_ship_royal_admiral_1833.htm

[4] Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1790-1849 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: New South Wales Government. Musters and other papers relating to convict ships. Series CGS 1155, Reels 2417-2428. State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia. Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Source: State Archives NSW; Roll: 857

[5] Ancestry.com. New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Home Office: Settlers and Convicts, New South Wales and Tasmania; (The National Archives Microfilm Publication HO10, Pieces 5, 19-20, 32-51); The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England.

[6] N.G. Butlin, C.W. Cromwell, and K.L. Suthern, eds, General Returns of Convicts in New South Wales 1837, (Sydney: ABGR in association with the Society of Australian Genealogists, 1987).

[7] State Records of NSW, [4/4360; Reel 1006} Certificate of Freedom 40/1347 John Gibson

[8] Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Criminal Court Records, 1830-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.Original data: Selected Court Records. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[9] TROVE, FORGERY. (1842, September 20). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved May 26, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12410496

[10] TAHO, CON35/1/2 page 92, Conduct Record John Gibson

[11] TAHO, CON35/1/2 page 92, Conduct Record John Gibson

[12] Residents of NSW 1885 compiled from the Survey of the occupiers of land and owners of stock as published in the Journal of the Legislative Council of NSW 1885. Electronic version viewed at Toowoomba and Darling Downs Family History Society.

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