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Caroline Gant


Caroline Gant was my Great Great Aunt, the daughter of William Gant and Lucy Waspe, and the younger sister of my Great Grandfather William Gant. Below is a transcription of the newspaper report of her trial, and a transcription of her convict records in chronological order, taken from the included documents.

Caroline was convicted of theft and sentenced on January 8th 1852. Just under 3 months previously, her younger sister Emma had died at eight years of age of a "continued fever". Caroline's father William was probably ill and unable to work at the time (he died in April 1852 of asthma and infirmity, aged 51, a month after Caroline was transported).

While in Tasmania, Caroline married John Smith (alias Samuel or Solomon Crawcour) and gave birth to two sons, Samuel Smith (1854) and William Robert Henry Smith (1856). She also had three children in Tasmania by John Stanley - John Alexander Stanley (1868), Harriett Isabell Stanley (1870) and Eliza Ann Emily Jane Stanley (1873).

Caroline Gant, born about 1832 - 1835 in Ipswich, Suffolk

The Newspaper Report of the Trial
Ipswich Journal, Saturday 10th January 1852

Caroline Gant, 17, a lost looking creature, was charged with stealing a jacket and a petticoat from the person of John, infant child of Mr John Cooper, residing in the parish of St Margaret.
Mr Rouse appeared for the prosecution.
The prosecutor lives in Soane-street. On Saturday, the 13th December last, between 2 and 3 o'clock, the child, a boy aged 5 and a half years of age, was sent by his mother to his grandfather's house, near the Arboretum. About 5 o'clock, he returned home crying, and almost naked, having been robbed of his jacket and flannel petticoat. On the same evening, the prisoner pledged the articles at the shop of Mr Christie. Inquiries were promptly instituted, and she was apprehended, when she stated that a young woman named Pizey gave her the articles to pledge. It was proved however, that Pizey was at home at the time, and entirely innocent of all participation in the transaction.
In defence, the prisoner persisted in attempting to affix the charge upon Pizey, and uttered the most audacious falsehoods.
The Recorder ordered the child to be placed at his side. He appeared to be a very intelligent little fellow, and though he stated he said his prayers, yet his general answers were such that it was not deemed advisable to receive his evidence.
The jury found the prisoner guilty.
The Recorder then ordered the child to look about the Court, and point out the person who had stolen his clothes. The child immediately pointed to the prisoner.
The Recorder expatiated upon the enormity of the offence, and upon the flagitious conduct of the prisoner in attempting so pertinaciously to fix the charge upon an innocent person. To strip a child of its clothes whilst passing through the public streets, under such circumstances, demanded the fullest measure of punishment. Since he had presided in that court, he had never seen so aggravated a case as this -- the sentence was, that the prisoner be transported for ten years!
Immediately upon the sentence being pronounced, the wretched prisoner fell back heavily upon the floor of the dock, and was carried out of court -- a striking example of the misery so inseparably associated with crime.

Convict Records

Transcriptions of Convict Indent, Convict Conduct Record, Physical Description and Convicts Seeking Permission to Marry.
Photocopies received from Archives Office of Tasmania, October 2007.

Anything in (brackets and italics) is my own note or comment and not in the original documents.
Indicates an entry in the "Services" column of the Conduct Record. I'm assuming these are where she was imprisoned, and visits by or with an official, similar to a Probation Officer.

8 Jan 1852. Ipswich, Suffolk
Sentenced to 10 years at Ipswich Quarter Sessions.
Transported for stealing from the person.
Gaol Report not known.
Stated this offence, stealing a petticoat and a jacket from a little boy.
Surgeon's report fair.

Trade: Plain laundress and cook
Height: 5ft 4ins
Age: 19
Complexion: Fair
Head: Medium
Hair: Black
Visage: Oval
Forehead: Medium
Eyebrows: Black
Eyes: Blue
Nose and Mouth: Medium
Chin: Large

18 Mar 1852. Woolwich, Kent
Transported to Tasmania aboard the Sir Robert Seppings.
Departure port: Woolwich.
(The Sir Robert Seppings made one voyage only, with 219 female convicts on board.)

Convict Indent:
Gant, Caroline
Height 5ft 4ins, age 19
Trade or Calling: Plain Laundress and Cook
Where tried: Ipswich Boro QS
When tried: 8 January 1852
Sentence: 10 (years)
Native Place: Ipswich
Married or Single: Single
Religion: C of E
Read or Write: R(ead)
Relatives: Father, William. Mother, Lucy. Brother, William. Sisters, Eliza, Louisa, Matilda
Ship Character: Fair (all the others on the page were "good")
Offence: Stealing a Petticoat and Jacket from a little boy

8 Jul 1852. Hobart, Tasmania
Arrival of the convict ship, Sir Robert Seppings

13 Jul 1852. Tasmania †

22 Jul 1852. Tasmania †
John ???? ?Mardington near Launceston

20 Aug 1852. Tasmania
Henry Graham Colonial Hospital

6 Jan 1853. Tasmania
?Graham, Insolence, 4 months hard labour. Approved 7 Jan 1853

6 Jan 1853. Launceston, Tasmania
F H of C Ln (?F House of Correction, Launceston)

25 Apr 1853. Tasmania
?J Atkinson, Pattersons Plains

22 Jun 1853. Tasmania
Fac Ln (Female Factory, Launceston?)

22 Sep 1853. Tasmania
E G Casey, Launceston

18 Nov 1853. Tasmania
Applied for permission to marry: Samuel Stock, free man

23 Nov 1853. Tasmania
Permission to marry Samuel Stock granted.

29 Nov 1853. Tasmania
Marriage with Samuel Stock approved.
(Caroline didn't marry Samuel, reason unknown)

24 Jan 1854. Tasmania
Permission sought to marry John Smith, a convict transported on the Layton (4). Recommended 25 Jan 1854
(John Smith aka Samuel or Solomon Crawcour, arrived in Hobart on 1 Sept 1841 aboard the Layton, departing from London/Sheerness 9 April 1841. He was convicted of theft on 23 November 1840 at the Central Criminal Court, and sentenced to 15 years transportation. He had already been convicted of a previous offence of theft in 1825, and transported to Bermuda for 7 years.)

20 Feb 1854. Launceston, Tasmania
Caroline married John Smith (recorded as born in 1811, so 30 - 35 years older than Caroline)

1 May 1854. Tasmania

17 May 1854. Tasmania
For absconding, sentenced to 3 months hard labour. Approved 17 May 1854

20 May 1854. Tasmania

7 Aug 1854. Tasmania
To her husband

28 Nov 1854. Tasmania
(Illegible, could possibly be "son born", as a son Samuel Smith was born in 1854)

16 Oct 1855. Tasmania
Recvd ?for a ? Pardon

1856, Tasmania
A son, William Smith was born

16 Sep 1856. Tasmania
CP (Conditional Pardon?) approved

21 Jan 1861. Hobart, Tasmania
Larceny under £5. 6 months imprisonment and hard labour.

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