CONVICT : Mary JONES maiden name unknown (my 4th great grandmother)
Tried at the Old Bailey, London on 3 November 1810 for feloniously stealing twelve pairs of silk stockings, valued at £4 10s.
It was on the evening of 30 October 1810 when my 4th great-grandmother Mary JONES along with her friend Elizabeth Payne entered the shop of Robert Kenyon, a hosier of 54 Holborn Hill, in the parish of St. Andrews, Holborn, London.
Evidence was given that when Mary and Elizabeth entered the shop, Mr Kenyon had gone upstairs for tea. His young assistant was serving another woman when Elizabeth Payne said to him that she wanted some flannels, so he rang the bell for his master to come down. Before going up for tea, Mr Kenyon had placed on a chair a parcel of twelve pairs of silk stockings with an invoice tucked in the parcel. He had planned on delivering them to a lady after he had taken tea. He heard one of the prisoners offering threepence less for the flannel than the price asked. He said he was not in the habit of doing that but could show them articles of a lower description. Mary and Elizabeth then looked at some mitts, went to the door and said they would call again to look at the flannel.
After they had left the shop Mr Kenyon noticed the stockings were missing and jumped over the counter to find the invoice covered in dirt. He went after the prisoners and overtook them about 10 or 12 doors away from his house. One of them was in a mercer's shop, which was well lighted, and he could see her tearing up the writing on the paper. He said to Elizabeth Payne, you have a dozen pairs of my stockings and you must come back. But Payne denied having them and said they would not come back. A passerby touched Mr Kenyon, then stooped down and picked up the parcel which Payne had dropped. With difficulty Mr Kenyon pushed them back to his shop. Payne said to Mary, how come you do such a thing, I suppose you must have taken the parcel up with your child. "Oh! said Mary, I don't care, they can't hurt us for they have not found the parcel upon us."
Mary gave as her defence "I know nothing about it no more than the baby in my arms".
She called two witnesses who gave her a good character. One of these witnesses said that Mary had lodged in his house, and she was, he believed, a soldier's wife, who had gone abroad. He believed her to be very honest and had often trusted her.
Mary aged 21 was found guilty of stealing and sentenced to transportation for 7 years. On the sentence being passed, Mary with an infant in her arms, and described as being an interesting young woman, dropped down in a swoon.
In a book entitled "The New Newgate Calendar: Being Interesting Memoirs of Notorious Characters, Who have been Convicted of Outrages on The Laws of England, during the 17th century, Volume 5, p.233" by Andrew Knapp and William Baldwin, Attornies at Law and published in London, Mary and Elizabeth's trial is featured and the preface reads:
"The treacherous species of theft, commonly called, "shoplifting" has of late years expanded into provincial places of trade. In London it has long been a favourite mode of plunder among abandoned females. In order to carry on their depredations, a conspiracy is formed of two or more abandoned women, who, well dressed, go together into shops, and while one bargains and pays for some small articles, the others are secreting whatever they can lay their hands upon. Sometimes one of the gang will pretend to be with child, having stuffed cambrics, calicoes and linen, next to the lower part of her body, then she pretends sudden throes of labour, and of course, is tenderly handed to a hackney-coach hired for the purpose by the duped shop-keeper, or given to the care of her pretended distressed associates. In general they are provided with long cloaks, large pockets and wide petticoats, wherein they conceal their plunder."
See the Trial Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London
The trial was reported in two London newspapers, The London Courier & Evening Gazette and The Evening Mail, London, under the heading "Old Bailey" on 7 November 1810.
Mary departed England in April 1811 on board the convict ship 'Friends'. Her two children, John age 3 and Charles age 1 travelled on the ship with her. They arrived in Sydney, New South Wales on 10 October 1811.
In the 1814 Muster, Mary was living at the Female Factory, Parramatta with her 2 children on stores. This meant that her sons, John and Charles were being supported by the government.
In the 1818 Muster she was said to be married.
On 1 Jan 1819, John aged 11 and Charles aged 9, were admitted into the Male Orphan School. Mary was working as a seamstress in Parramatta.
On 4 September 1820, Mary, who gave her marital status as spinster, married ex-convict Joseph DAY (c.1790 -1837), bachelor and labourer, at St Phillips Church of England, Sydney, NSW. Mary's age was recorded as 35 and Joseph 40. Joseph made his mark and Mary signed her name.
Divorce was not available to the common person until the late 1800's and was expensive and scandalous. Previously married convicts were permitted to remarry after 7 years separation as long as their spouse was abroad, even if they were still living.
In the 1822 Muster, Mary was free by servitude and the wife of J. Day of Sydney.
On 13 December 1826, Mary wrote the following letter to the authorities at the Male Orphan School requesting that her son Charles be apprenticed to his employer.
In the 1828 Census, Mary and Joseph were living in Windsor, NSW. Joseph was a shopkeeper with 2 horses and 3 horned cattle. Mary's son John Jones was living with them, but his name was recorded as John Day.
Joseph died, aged 46, on 9 August 1837 in Parramatta. His death was reported in "The Sydney Gazette & NSW Advertiser on Saturday 12 August, 1837, page 2 "On Tuesday a shopkeeper, residing at Parramatta, named Joseph Day, having eaten several dozen of oysters, laid himself upon his bed and immediately expired." He was buried at St John's Church of England, Parramatta.
On 6 July 1840, Mary aged 50, a widow, married for a third time to Joseph SUTER (c.1804-1860), aged 36, an ex-convict and bachelor in the Chapel of St. Lawrence, Church of England, Sydney. The witnesses were John Davis (his X mark) of Parramatta Street and William Jones of George Street Sth. (William Jones was no relation but probably an employee of the church, as he appears to have been a witness to many marriages).
Joseph SUTER (who also went under the name of Joseph Brown) died of 5 Nov 1860 of "injuries received by falling over steps at the side of the Pyrmont Bridge when in liquor". The Sydney Morning Herald published a story of his fall on 5 Nov 1860, page 4 "Accidents from Drink". It was again mentioned in The Sydney Morning Herald on 10 Nov 1860, page 5 under "Notes of the Week".
Mary died, aged about 75, of Asthenia on 4 Sep 1866 at the Hyde Park Asylum, Sydney. The informant was an employee at the Asylum and no other personal details were recorded. She was buried in the Camperdown Cemetery, Camperdown, NSW.
More information about Mary and her life in Sydney can be found on her family page John JONES and Mary (JONES)
Last updated 11 Feb 2017