Charles CLAXTON Elizabeth CLAXTON Mini tree diagram

Catherine HART

1823 - 1861

Life History

1823

Born

1845

Birth of daughter Elizabeth CLAXTON

1861

Died

Other facts

 

Married Charles CLAXTON

Notes

  • Catherine Hart - sometimes spelt Catharine in the records - was born in about 1824. She was found guilty of larceny at Nottingham Assizes on 22 October 1835 and at the age of 11, and was sentenced to imprisonment for 3 months, which shows how tough were the penalties in those days. It was noted that she could neither read nor write. The punishment for grand larceny was death and was based on the value of the goods stolen, so we presume that, in view of the short sentence, Catherine's offence was relatively minor. However, on 2 January 1837, she was sentenced to 14 years transportation for "larceny, before committed of felony," which seems extremely harsh for a 13 year old. The conviction was later amended to 7 years. One girl aged 20, was transported for seven years for stealing a handkerchief!

    Catherine is recorded on the HMS Henry Wellesley Muster Roll as being transported for 14 years, but this was changed on the record to seven years. This ship of 304 tons was built in 1804, and sailed from Woolwich, London, to New South Wales, Australia, on the 17th July 1837, arriving via the Cape of Good Hope, in Port Jackson, Sydney, on 22 December 1837. The ships may have stopped off for supplies at Gibraltar, in the West Indies, South America, or the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

    Thus the voyage took 155 days and there were 139 female convicts on board. We can only imagine the conditions in a small vessel on a voyage of 5 months, passing through the tropics and most probably experiencing some very rough weather. Catherine gained her Ticket of Leave at Parramata, Sydney, and Certificate of Freedom on 6 May 1844. She married Charles Claxton and their daughter Elizabeth, born in 1845, became part of the Marchesi family in due course. Quite often, people who were transported could make much better lives than they might have had if they had remained in England, where poverty was so severe, especially in the big cities. We do not know if Charles and Catherine had any other children. She died in 1861.

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