Robert Warren, Plasterer of Campbell Town
In the spirit of my new found deliberate method of tracing the associates of my ancestors, in the hope of finding out more about them, I decided to track down Robert Warren, Plasterer of Cambpell Town (Tasmania) who testified at the trial of James Hammond (who may or may not be my ggg-grandfather), when he was charged and convicted for stealing a handkerchief, in Tasmania. You can read more of the back story here.
I was looking for the magic link – my ggg-grandfather, James Hammond, was a plasterer, who lived in Brighton, Victoria. His death certificate referred to 14 years spent in Tasmania, prior to arriving in Victoria. I found two likely candidates for my James Hammond. I narrowed this down to one – James Hammond who arrived per “Neptune”. But making the definite link between “James Hammond, Neptune” and James Hammond, Plasterer of Brighton, Victoria was proving tricky. It was guess work at best. When James Hammond (Neptune) came to Tasmania as a convict, he was a dairy worker. However, I found a news item, a court report, that reported that Robert Warren, Plasterer of Campbell Town had testified that he was James Hammond (Neptune)’s employer (among other things handkerchief-related).
So I decided that finding out more about Robert Warren, Plasterer of Campbell Town, might be a good idea. My first stop was Trove, where I found a lot of references to Robert Warren/s. There were several listings of a Robert Warren (arr. per “Mary”), convict no. 1047, who variously received ticket of leave/conditional pardon/pardon etc. There were court reports too where a Robert Warren variously came to the attention of the law.
So I went on a hunt for Robert Warren “Mary”. Thats when I came across the National Archives in Kew, which holds HO 17/58 – petitions on behalf of convicts. And in particular, HO 17/58/121:
1 individual petition (Ann Warren, prisoner’s mother) on behalf of Robert Warren, plasterer’s apprentice, convicted at Sussex Quarter Sessions Lewes in October 1829 for stealing bread property of Josiah Beeching, shop keeper, on 14 September 1829. There are also character references from [illegible] and Allen Anscombe. Grounds for clemency: one of 11 children, mother a widow, young age of 15, both previous employers give him a good character and would re-employ him. Initial sentence: transportation for life. Gaoler’s report: character bad – before convicted: nil.
So Robert Warren (Mary) was a plasterer’s apprentice with two previous employers.
A subsequent Ancestry.co.uk search located various convict musters that showed Robert Warren sentenced to “4 days and whipped” for larceny in January 1829; 1 month and whipped for larceny before convicted of felony in April 1829; convicted on 22 October 1829 and sentenced to Life; transported to Tasmania in December 1829 aboard “Mary” and arriving in Tasmania in 1830 and assigned to “Public Works” in 1830, 1832, 1833 and 1835; receiving a Ticket of leave in 1841 and conditional pardon in 1846. He testified at James Hammond’s hearing in 1844. I wonder how many old Tasmanian public buildings were plastered by Robert Warren, convict no. 1047?
A Robert Warren later leaves Tasmania for England, and a Robert Warren signs a petition of thanks to the captain of his ship when he arrives with wife and family in Tasmania shortly after. Robert and Eliza Warren and three children later leave Tasmania for Sydney (1850). Not necessarily Robert Warren, Plasterer of Campbell Town, it must be remembered.
I have ordered a copy of the petition from Robert’s poor mother, Ann, widow and mother of 11 children, who must have been hungry, for Robert to keep going back to steal bread, in spite of imprisonment and whipping. I will post more details when that arrives. If you are a descendant of Robert Warren, convict no. 1047 (Mary), Plasterer of Campbell Town, I would very much like to hear from you.