James Wright: The Highwayman

By Michaela Ann Cameron

supported by a Royal Australian Historical Society Heritage Grant – St. John’s First Fleeters
The Highwayman - uncropped

Stealing Time

No honest man was safe on any of the great roads running out of London. The young gent Sir George William Farmer and his travelling companions would have known as well as anyone that every ‘lonely waste,’[1] ‘common,’ ‘hill,’ and all the wayside trees along those highways were ‘lurking-places of ferocious footpads, cutpurses, highwaymen, cut-throats, and gentry of allied professions who rushed out from these leafy coverts…with terrifying cries…and took liberal toll from wayfarers.’[2] One could try to conceal cherished valuables in one’s boots, but it was to no avail, for masked highwaymen knew all about such attempts to outwit them and, with their ‘pistol butts a-twinkle,’[3] persuaded their victims to remove their footwear and relinquish all; a practice these romanticised but not in the least bit chivalrous ‘knights of the road’ humorously called ‘shelling the peas.’[4]

Highwaymen Shelling the Peas

“Shelling the Peas,” Charles G. Harper, Half-Hours with the Highwaymen: Picturesque Biographies and Traditions of the “Knights of the Road,” (London: Chapman & Hall, 1908) p.259

Still, honest men needed to travel — and travel they did. Besides, Sir George was no common man. He was, after all, the son of Captain George Farmer; the celebrated naval hero who only three years earlier had perished with his ‘stubborn gallantry’[5] on full display in the burning wreck of HMS Quebec while battling the French during the American Revolutionary War.[6]

NPG D36652; George Farmer by John Murphy, published by  John Boydell, after  Charles Grignion

George Farmer by John Murphy, published by John Boydell, after Charles Grignion, mezzotint, published 1780 (1778) NPG D36652 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Thus, in July 1783 the captain’s son—now 21 years old, looking every inch the baronet and with, perhaps, a dash of his father’s sense of invincibility—courageously took to the highway stretched before him like a ‘ribbon of moonlight.’[7] Sir George and his companions John and Joseph Maddocks would not have gotten far in their journey, (most likely from Greenwich, London to Kent via ‘the Dover Road’), when the sound came…


Tlot-tlot! Tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear,

Screen shot 2016-05-02 at 3.41.38 PMTlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf they did not hear?

Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,

The highwaym[e]n came riding,

Riding, riding!

The highwaym[e]n came riding, up to [their coach] door…[8]


‘Stand and deliver, your money or your life!’ was the next thing the poor wayfarers likely heard from the two highwaymen, William Steel (alias Smith) and 26-year-old James Wright. If Sir George and company had tried to conceal their belongings in their boots for the journey ‘the peas’ were soon ‘shelled.’ All in all, the crime duo Steel and Wright successfully took possession of the travellers’ money and other items including Joseph Maddocks’s gold watch and key and Sir George’s watch and gold chain.[9]

It is unknown how the two watch stealers were tracked down but, upon their arrest, they were held in Newgate Prison’s notoriously appalling conditions until the following month when they appeared before the Earl of Mansfield and Sir Henry Gould during the Summer Assizes at Maidstone, Kent. On 13 August 1783, both were found guilty and condemned to the ‘miserable Fate which…was but their deserved Due’ as ‘case-harden’d Villains’ who took ‘an Unaccountable Pride and Ambition in breaking the…Laws of God and Man…’ — death by hanging.

Screen shot 2016-05-02 at 3.17.27 PM

[Left] William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield by Francesco Bartolozzi, published by Thomas Macklin, after Sir Joshua Reynolds stipple engraving, published 19 October 1786 (1785) NPG D32121 © National Portrait Gallery, London; [Right] Sir Henry Gould by Thomas Hardy, published by Hugh Richards mezzotint, published 1 March 1794 NPG D34650 © National Portrait Gallery, London

The ‘Hang-man’s Meritorious Act’ did indeed send Steel ‘out of the Land of the Living.’[10] Following his execution, Steel may very well have become a feast for carrion birds flying o’er the Dover Road, for the mortal remains of highway robbers were often gibbetted; left to hang in chains along the highways they had formerly terrorised in order ‘to preach an eloquent sermon to some classes of passers-by’[11] that they, too, would soon be a ‘filthy sight’[12] with their stinking, rotting flesh shrinking to their bones should they choose this profession for themselves.

Screen shot 2016-04-27 at 6.07.21 PM

Charles G. Harper, The Portsmouth Road and its Tributaries: To-day and in Days of Old, (London: Chapman & Hall Limited, 1895) p.53

Wright, however, was given a reprieve. Steel had probably been offered mercy, too, but like many criminals in this period considered mercy in the form of transportation to Africa to be a fate worse than death on the public gallows.[13] Wright, by contrast, must have been willing to take his chances and accepted the reprieve he was offered. It was a gamble that paid off. Though Wright was sentenced to seven years transportation to Africa he never set foot on that continent so dreaded by convicts.

Doing Time

Roughly one year into his sentence, on 20 October 1784, Wright was transferred to the Censor prison hulk moored on the River Thames, off Woolwich.[14] The hulk system operated on what was then a new notion that hard labour would have a positive effect on criminals,[15] so prisoners on board the hulks were forced to raise sand and gravel from the riverbed each day. Wright and his fellow prisoners on Censor, including Richard PartridgeDavid Killpack and Hugh Hughes, performed this hard labour despite existing on a very poor diet and whilst living in the hulk’s damp, crowded, and disease-ridden environment.

H.M.S. Bellerophon a hulk at Portsmouth Harbour, PW8038

An example of a prison hulk. HMS ‘Bellerophon‘ (1824) a hulk at Portsmouth Harbour  © National Maritime Museum Collections

Occasionally individuals incarcerated on hulks on the Thames took advantage of their close proximity to London and escaped into the highly populated city. To the horror of Londoners, other things frequently escaped the hulks and infiltrated the free population, namely the infamously uncontainable ‘gaol fever,’ better known as typhus.[16] This and other diseases like dysentery were leading contributors to the prison hulks’ high mortality rate, which at times could be as high as 30 per cent.[17] Yet, somehow, Wright endured.

After a total of two years and four months of hulk life, Wright was sent by wagon to Portsmouth[18] where, on 24 February 1787, he embarked on a journey that would take him to a location more remote and unfamiliar than Africa: New South Wales. Wright would spend the next eleven months of his sentence aboard Scarborough; one of six convict transport ships that sailed out of Portsmouth with the First Fleet in the early hours of Sunday 13 May 1787.

Loreena McKennitt - The Book of Secrets

Click here to listen to a musical adaptation of Alfred Noyes’s poem The Highwayman by Loreena McKennitt (1997)

On Scarborough the highwayman was among convicts transported for softer crimes including pickpocketing a handkerchief, stealing material, and purloining ladies’ laundry off a clothesline. While these seem like minor offences, numerous men on board were also mutineers from two recent mutinies on the convict transport ships Swift (August 1783) and Mercury (April 1784). Scarboroughs exclusively male convict population, therefore, was a rather potent cluster of criminality with a particularly high risk of mutinous activity. It is hardly surprising, then, that under the leadership of the handkerchief stealer Philip Farrell and the material thief Thomas Griffiths, some of Scarborough’s convict passengers plotted another uprising, albeit one that was swiftly uncovered and thwarted. Whether James Wright and fellow ‘Scarborocons Richard Partridge and David Killpack were implicated in this botched mutiny in any capacity is unknown, but it is certainly within the realms of possibility that a highwayman like Wright as well as Partridge and Killpack—both of whom had been involved in the previous mutiny on the Swift—would have been willing participants had the Scarborough mutiny gone ahead as planned.

Wright still had over two years on his sentence when Scarborough arrived at Botany Bay on 19 January 1788. On arrival, therefore, he ‘was placed as Baker, to His Excellency Governor Phillip and held the same Situation for Three years under the Eye and Protection of that Gentleman.’[19] The colony’s first baker[20] might have been in genuine need of the Governor’s protection at a time when people were starving due to reduced rations. Indeed, with no new ships containing provisions arriving from England until June 1790, the First Fleeters were so desperately hungry that Judge Advocate David Collins could blame the sudden death of female convict Elizabeth Scott on 2 April 1790 on ‘the evil effects of the reduced ration.’[21] Scott had died from ‘overloading her stomach with flour and greens’[22] in an attempt to satiate her hunger.

Even being the Governor’s baker did not protect Wright from extreme hunger, although it certainly would have given him increased opportunities to swipe a bit of bread on the sly. In late December 1790, Wright was deprived of two pounds of flour from his weekly ration as punishment for ‘being up late and creating a disturbance’ with Edward Bayles, Edward Jones, and William Whiting.[23] The men were charged with the offence on 29 December, so perhaps they had just been making what little merriment they could over the festive season. Wright was already a free man by then, but the papers to confirm the expiration of his sentence only arrived with the Third Fleet in July 1791.

Free Time

Despite Wright’s transgression in late 1790, ‘His Excellency’ Governor Phillip still considered the reformed highwayman the suitable man to ‘place…in the Situation as Government Baker at Parramatta.’[24] As a free man, Wright carried out his role ‘with honesty…Sobriety,…Satisfaction and Pun[c]tuality.’[25] It seems, then, that his time as a convict had wrought a change in him for the better.

Screen shot 2016-05-02 at 1.47.26 PM

“The World was not their Friend nor the World’s Law” by Charles G. Harper, The Portsmouth Road and its Tributaries: To-day and in Days of Old, (London: Chapman & Hall Limited, 1895) p.53

Meanwhile in old England, some things had not changed with time.

The public hangings and gibbetting of highwaymen and footpads continued to do little to prevent others from treading ‘in the same steps, which [led] so directly to the Gallows.’[26]

At eleven o’clock at night on 18 November 1789, on Widegate Street, Bishopsgate, London, for example, three women and an unidentified man ‘feloniously assault[ed]’ a man named John Fogg, ‘put him in fear,’ and ‘feloniously [took]…from his person, and against his will, a metal watch, value 20 s. a silk watch ribband, value 1 d. a steel seal, value 6 d. a metal watch key, value 1 d., a half crown and one shilling, his property.’[27] The male assailant was not caught, but his female accomplices were. A lengthy trial at the Old Bailey saw the women sentenced to hang but, after a year on death row, their death sentences were commuted to transportation ‘for the Term of their natural Lives.’[28] One of the women in this gang of footpads was 25 year old Letitia Holland, who was then using the alias ‘Ann Guest.’ Soon after Letitia’s arrival in Port Jackson on board the Third Fleet prison ship Mary Ann on 9 July 1791, the watch-stealing footpad met her match in the former watch-stealing highwayman turned Government baker: James Wright.

In the middle of 1792, the time-stealers James and Letitia welcomed the birth of a son, James Wright II. Their baby son’s own time, however, was soon cut short. Exactly one year and one day since Letitia’s arrival in the colony, the new parents watched and heard the clods as they fell on the mortal remains of their infant son in the general cemetery in the parish of St. John’s, Parramatta. He could only have been three months old at most.

But, in time, there would be other children, all of whom ‘arrived to the Age of Maturity’; a son, George, born c.1794 and two daughters, Jane, born c.1797 and Shepherdess, born c.1799.[29] In fact, the Wright children had all practically ‘arrived to the Age of Maturity’ by the time their parents married each other; they were 16, 13, and 11 years old respectively at the wedding of James and Letitia conducted by William Cowper, Assistant Chaplain of New South Wales, at St. John’s Church, Parramatta on 10 April 1810.[30]

Also in this period, Wright became a member of the Parramatta Loyal Association. Any lingering doubts there might have been that James Wright had left the highwayman behind and fully committed to living life on the straight and narrow path would have been extinguished by his membership in this militia group formed to protect and uphold British rule in the face of revolt and other martial threats. In 1805 Wright was definitely a member,[31] so it is possible he was one of the fully armed members of this group who, along with a number of civilians, helped to defend Parramatta and quash the Castle Hill convict uprising of 1804.

Finding Time

Almost twenty-two years since Wright and his long-dead partner in crime Steel had robbed Sir George and Joseph Maddocks of their gold watches, ‘Fate’ appears to have amused herself at the ex-highwayman’s expense.

On Sunday 13 October 1805, a notice appeared in the Sydney Gazette for a ‘missing’ timepiece; the property of the great watch-stealer himself, ‘Jas. Wright, Parramatta.’[32] He offered ‘a gratuity of Two Guineas’[33] to anyone who safely returned the ‘Metal Watch’ to its rightful owner. At the same time, Wright threatened to take legal action against anyone caught attempting to sell the watch, which was illegally obtained along with other articles during a recent burglary of his dwelling house. The advertisement did not induce anyone to return the watch and claim the reward. Fate, the infamously fickle-fingered one, however, ultimately favoured Wright; for, after seven long months of timelessness, the Sydney Gazette reported Wright’s ‘Extraordinary Detection.’

Extraordinary Detection

‘On Friday morning a man of the name of McLowry went into [Wright’s] shop for a loaf; and complaining of delay, Wright seeing he had a watch, inadvertently asked him what it was o’clock? The watch was produced in answer to the question, and Wright in perfect astonishment recognised his property.’[34]

McLowry swore his innocence, claiming to have purchased the watch blissfully ignorant of its true provenance. Though Wright had been reunited with his timepiece on this occasion, the now hard-working, honest baker repeatedly fell victim to villainous housebreakers who, in separate incidents, carried off ‘sundry articles’[35] including sugar and soap from Wright’s storeroom and a pair of silver spoons.[36] The former robber of gentry, who was himself now considerably more well off than the convict class to which he had once belonged and risen above, could not have failed to recognise that given enough time what goes around comes around.

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Old Man Time

Wright had held the position of Government Baker for a total of 17 Years until, in his late forties, around 1805 or 1806, ‘Government thought fit to dispense with [his] services.’[37] With his baking services thus dispensed, at approximately 50 years of age Wright embarked on a new career as a licensed victualler of ‘wine and spirituous liquors’[38] on Phillip Street, Parramatta.

In 1820, now in his sixties, Wright petitioned the Governor to provide him with a grant of land for a farm. Previously, Wright had only ever leased a town allotment of 42 rods in Parramatta where he had been known to keep ‘a quarter acre of garden,…three horses, three goats and seven hogs.’[39] In his 1820 petition, he cited his long service as the Government baker, the fact that he had raised a family, that he had lived as a free man in the colony for over 30 years ‘supporting an honest industrious Character’ and was then the owner of ‘six head of Cattle.’[40] Wright even obtained support for his application from surgeon and magistrate John Harris. Despite ‘never having received any Indulgence of Land from the Crown,’ ‘humbly solicit[ing]’ the Governor ‘to take his long servitude into…favourable Consideration,’ and appealing to ‘His Excellency’s Wisdom and Goodness,’ Wright’s ‘Respectful memorial’ was rebuffed.[41]

In July 1824, Wright, now the owner of ‘Fourteen head of horned Cattle and Three Horses,’ again appealed to Governor Brisbane’s ‘humane and favourable Consideration,’[42] but it appears Brisbane decided ‘the Wright farm’ was not to be.

Wright had dodged death at the age of 26 and won himself another 42 years of life, but Old Man Time finally caught up with the time-stealer and came to collect his due on the Ides of March 1825.[43]

Death Notice James Wright

“Family Notices,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Thursday 17 March 1825 p.3

The First Fleeter was laid to rest on 18 March 1825 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta and on 1 July 1827 his widow Letitia came to join him.[44] The watch stealers were together again for all time.

IMG_7921

The roots of a shady tree lift the stone of the time-stealers’ grave at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. Shepherdess Agland, the daughter of James and his wife Letitia is also buried in this vault. Section 1, Row I, No. 21. Photo: Michaela Ann Cameron (18 July 2016)

CITE THIS

Michaela Ann Cameron, “James Wright: The Highwayman,” St. John’s Cemetery Project, (2016) https://stjohnscemeteryparramatta.org/bio/james-wright/, accessed [insert current date]

References

Michaela Ann Cameron, “Scarborough,” Dictionary of Sydney, (2015) http://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/scarborough, accessed 02 May 2016

Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, New South Wales: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991)

Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989)

Charles G. Harper, Half-Hours with the Highwaymen: Picturesque Biographies and Traditions of the “Knights of the Road,” Vol. I, (London, Chapman & Hall, 1908),  accessed 28 April 2016

Charles G. Harper, Histories of the Road: The Dover Road: Annals of an Ancient Turnpike, (Hartford, Connecticut: Edwin Valentine Mitchell, 1895),  accessed 28 April 2016

Charles G. Harper, The Portsmouth Road and its Tributaries: To-day and in Days of Old, (London: Chapman & Hall Limited, 1895)

National Portrait Gallery

Alfred Noyes, “The Highwayman,” Blackwood’s Magazine, Vol. CLXXX (July-December 1906), (London: William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh, 1906),  accessed 28 April 2016

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2)

Royal Museums Greenwich

Trove

NOTES

[1] Charles G. Harper, Half-Hours with the Highwaymen: Picturesque Biographies and Traditions of the “Knights of the Road,” Vol. I, (London, Chapman & Hall, 1908), pp.213-4, accessed 28 April 2016

[2] footpad: robber specialising in pedestrian victims; cutpurse: another name for pickpocket; highwayman: a robber, usually riding a horse, who held up travellers at gunpoint on highways; cut-throat: a murderer or other violent criminal. ‘Gad’s Hill’ and ‘Shooter’s Hill’ were two hills that were quite notorious. Charles G. Harper, Histories of the Road: The Dover Road: Annals of an Ancient Turnpike, (Hartford, Connecticut: Edwin Valentine Mitchell, 1895), p.36, accessed 28 April 2016; Charles G. Harper, Half-Hours with the Highwaymen: Picturesque Biographies and Traditions of the “Knights of the Road,” Vol. I, (London, Chapman & Hall, 1908), p.214

[3] Alfred Noyes, “The Highwayman,” Blackwood’s Magazine, Vol. CLXXX (July-December 1906), (London: William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh, 1906), p.244, accessed 28 April 2016

[4] Charles G. Harper, Half-Hours with the Highwaymen: Picturesque Biographies and Traditions of the “Knights of the Road,” Vol. I, (London, Chapman & Hall, 1908), p.259, accessed 28 April 2016

[5] John Knox Laughton, “Farmer, George,” Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 18, pp.210-1, accessed 30 April 2016

[6] Indeed, it was the captain’s ‘stubborn gallantry’ in the naval battle known as the Action of 6 October 1779, off Ushant, that earnt his 17 year old son the title of the first baronet of Mount Pleasant in the County of Sussex. The baronetcy was created specifically to honour the Captain’s heroic sacrifice and ‘to excite an emulation in other officers to distinguish themselves in the same manner.’ The Farmer baronets of Mount Pleasant (1780) include Sir George Farmer, 1st Baronet (c. 1762–1814); Sir George Richard Farmer, 2nd Baronet (1788–1855); Sir George Farmer, 3rd Baronet (1829–1883); Sir George Richard Hugh Farmer, 4th Baronet (1873–1891); Sir Richard Henry Kenrick Farmer, 5th Baronet (1841–1913). “Farmer had been previously wounded, and his conduct both in the action and during the fire was so highly spoken of that, at the special request of the board of admiralty, a baronetcy was conferred on his eldest son, then a lad of seventeen years of age; a pension of 200l. a year to his widow, Rebecca, the daughter of Captain William Fleming of the royal navy; and of 25l. per annum to each of eight children, and a ninth not yet born (Admiralty Minute, 15 Oct. 1779), in order, as the board wrote, to ‘excite an emulation in other officers to distinguish themselves in the same manner, and render Captain Farmer’s fate rather to be envied than pitied, as it would give them reason to hope that if they should lose their lives with the same degree of stubborn gallantry, it would appear to posterity that their services had met with the approbation of their sovereign.” John Knox Laughton, “Farmer, George,” Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 18, pp.210-1, accessed 30 April 2016

[7] Alfred Noyes, “The Highwayman,” Blackwood’s Magazine, Vol. CLXXX (July-December 1906), (London: William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh, 1906), p.244, accessed 28 April 2016

[8] Alfred Noyes, “The Highwayman,” Blackwood’s Magazine, Vol. CLXXX (July-December 1906), (London: William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh, 1906), p.246, accessed 28 April 2016

[9] Details of the original crime have been obtained via the transcript of a speech by Marion Batchelor to the Canberra chapter of the Fellowship of First Fleeters in 1995; Lesley Uebel & Hawkesbury on the Net, Claim a Convict, “James Wright, Scarborough (1788),” accessed 13 March 2016.

[10] Alexander Smith, History of the Most Noted Highway-Men, Foot-Pads, House-Breakers, Shop-lifts and Cheats, 2nd Edition, (London, 1714) ii. pp.286-8 cited in Herbert G. Wright, “Boccaccio and English Highwaymen,” Review of English Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan., 1950): 2

[11] Charles G. Harper, Half-Hours with the Highwaymen: Picturesque Biographies and Traditions of the “Knights of the Road,” Vol. I, (London, Chapman & Hall, 1908), pp.199-212, accessed 28 April 2016

[12] Samuel Pepys [1661] cited in Charles G. Harper, Half-Hours with the Highwaymen: Picturesque Biographies and Traditions of the “Knights of the Road,” Vol. I, (London: Chapman & Hall, 1908), p.214, accessed 28 April 2016

[13] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The Unknown Story of Australia’s First Black Settlers, (Sydney, NSW: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.62

[14] It is not clear where he had spent the intervening period of more than a year between his trial and this transfer to the hulk Censor. Perhaps he was returned to Newgate after his trial in Maidstone, Kent or he might have been incarcerated in the Maidstone County Gaol on King Street; a gaol noted to be extremely overcrowded, with small courtyards and a lack of air and light. The year of Wright’s trial in Maidstone, numerous prisoners in Maidstone County Gaol succumbed to ‘a dreadful contagious disorder,’ that is, an outbreak of gaol fever (typhus).

[15] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The Unknown Story of Australia’s First Black Settlers, (Sydney, NSW: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.57

[16] Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders: The Unknown Story of Australia’s First Black Settlers, (Sydney, NSW: University of New South Wales Press, 2006), p.57

[17] Tanya Evans, Fractured Families: Life on the Margins in Colonial New South Wales, (Sydney, NSW: NewSouth Publishing, 2015), p.22

[18] Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p.395

[19] New South Wales Government, Memorials to the Governor, 1810-25, Series 899, Fiche 3001-3162, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[20]Family Notices,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Thursday 17 March 1825 p.3, accessed 30 April 2016

[21] David Collins, Chapter IX, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, 1798), accessed 29 April 2016; Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p.323.

[22] David Collins, Chapter IX, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales, Vol. I, (London: T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, 1798), accessed 29 April 2016; Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p.323. Shortly after Elizabeth Scott’s death, Collins reported that, ‘an elderly man dropped down at the store, whither he had repaired with others to receive his day’s subsistence. Fainting with hunger, and unable through age to hold up any longer, he was carried to the hospital, where he died the next morning. On being opened, his stomach was found quite empty. It appeared, that not having any utensil of his own wherein to cook his provisions, nor share in any, he was frequently compelled, short as his allowance for the day was, to give a part of it to any one who would supply him with a vessel to dress his victuals; and at those times when he did not choose to afford this deduction, he was accustomed to eat his rice and other provisions undressed, which brought on indigestion, and at length killed him.’

[23] Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p.395

[24] New South Wales Government, Memorials to the Governor, 1810-25, Series 899, Fiche 3001-3162, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[25] New South Wales Government, Memorials to the Governor, 1810-25, Series 899, Fiche 3001-3162, State Records Authority of New South Wales. Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia, dated 1 June 1820 and 7 July 1824.

[26] Alexander Smith, History of the Most Noted Highway-Men, Foot-Pads, House-Breakers, Shop-lifts and Cheats, 2nd Edition, (London, 1714) ii. pp.286-8 cited in Herbert G. Wright, “Boccaccio and English Highwaymen,” Review of English Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan., 1950): 2

[27] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 1 May 2016), December 1789, trial of ANN GUEST, ANN YARDLEY, SUSANNAH BROWN (t17891209-13) accessed 1 May 2016

[28] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 01 May 2016), ANN GUEST, December 1790 (s17901208-1), accessed 1 May 2016

[29] New South Wales Government, Memorials to the Governor, 1810-25, Series 899, Fiche 3001-3162, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[30] Parish Marriage Registers, Textual records, St. John’s Anglican Church Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. The witnesses were James and Mary Gardner.

[31] Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p.395

[32] The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Sunday 13 Oct 1805 p.1, accessed 30 April 2016

[33] The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Sunday 13 Oct 1805 p.1, accessed 30 April 2016

[34]Extraordinary Detection,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Sunday 25 May 1806 p.4, accessed 30 April 2016

[35]SYDNEY,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Sunday 5 January 1806 p.2, accessed 30 April 2016

[36]Offences,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Sunday 27 January 1805 p.3, accessed 30 April 2016; “Court of Criminal Jurisdiction. Friday, Feb. 22,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Sunday 24 February 1805 p.3, accessed 30 April 2016; “Sydney,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Sunday 5 January 1806 p.2, accessed 30 April 2016; “Court of Criminal Jurisdiction,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Saturday 3 February 1816 p.2, accessed 30 April 2016

[37] New South Wales Government, Memorials to the Governor, 1810-25, Series 899, Fiche 3001-3162, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia.

[38]GOVERNMENT AND GENERAL ORDERS. Government House, Sydney, Saturday, 16th March, 1811,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Saturday 16 March 1811 p.1, accessed 30 April 2016; New South Wales Government, Special Bundles, 1794-1825, Series 898, Reels 6020-6040, 6070; Fiche 3260-3312, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia. (Note on this last source, his name is incorrectly recorded in the primary source as ‘William Wright, Phillip St. Parramatta’ but is correctly recorded elsewhere as James Wright); Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p.395

[39] Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p.395

[40] New South Wales Government, Memorials to the Governor, 1810-25, Series 899, Fiche 3001-3162, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia, dated 1 June 1820

[41] New South Wales Government, Memorials to the Governor, 1810-25, Series 899, Fiche 3001-3162, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia dated 1 June 1820

[42]New South Wales Government, Memorials to the Governor, 1810-25, Series 899, Fiche 3001-3162, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia, dated 7 July 1824.

[43]Family Notices,” The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 – 1842) Thursday 17 March 1825 p.3, accessed 30 April 2016

[44] James and Letitia / Lititia Wright as well as their daughter Shepherdess Agland are buried in Section 1, Row I, Number 21. Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta, New South Wales: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991) p.63.

© Copyright 2016 Michaela Ann Cameron