A Mother and a Thief

Another notice from the Staffordshire Advertiser of March 1853:

SARAH BROWN, 30, indicted for stealing one hen fowl, the property of William Durbin at Westbromwich, on the 25th February, was found guilty, and sentenced to 3 months’ imprisonment, with hard labour. The prisoner whose husband was transported 4 years ago, had an infant in her arms, and said she had 3 small children besides.

So, whose were the kids? Who ended up with them?


2 thoughts on “A Mother and a Thief

  1. Do you think they would have gone with her? I think people did get transported with children, who often died on the way – not sure where I’ve read that. It’s very sad – probably she was just trying to make ends meet.


    • I did a blog ages ago about a couple who met on board the hulks and she had a baby who was allowed to accompany her, but the captain refused to take the child, so a vicar took the baby from Portsmouth to the admiralty in London, got permission for the baby to sail and returned in time.
      I also did some research on a family of fraudsters – the father was transported, then the woman also got herself convicted enough to be sent out and went with her 5 kids. There’s a letter in the Bristol archives from a vicar in Tasmania asking for their marriage certificate, presumably so the family could be reunited. NO sign of the father, so no idea what happened.
      I think the answer is therefore – it seems to have been very variable, probably depended on how those convicted were seen, also on the justices and captains. Authorities here were certainly keen to be rid of the poor so they would have preferred to keep families together – not out of any compassion, but just to get them off the poor system.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s