Daniel Gleeson and Bridget Hayes were both transported to Tasmania (or Van Diemen’s Land) as convicts. Both were native to Ireland.
Daniel had ‘been a soldier’ after joining the 70th Regiment in about 1836, aged 22. The 70th Regiment was on garrison duty in Ireland during the 1830s, and spent time in Canada. I have imagined that Daniel joined the army looking for something other than farming, and perhaps adventure. On his convict record he said he had a brother (William?) in his native Tipperary, and a sister Catherine, but there is no mention of parents.
Daniel was court-martialed in Montreal, Canada for desertion and sentenced to 14 years transportation. During the 11 months between sentencing in April 1842 and embarkation on board the Cressy from Plymouth England in May 1843, Daniel would have had plenty of time to reflect on his defence: “I was drunk”. According to his record, this was not his first offence; he had been imprisoned for two months once before.
In July 1847 Bridget Hayes was tried and convicted for stealing mutton and was sentenced to 7 years transportation to Van Diemen’s Land. It is difficult to know much about Bridget’s early life, but it is likely she and her family felt some impact of the potato famine. In her records there are listed three brothers, John, Jim and Tom and a mother Johanna. Brief searches have not uncovered any of these people being transported to VDL Nor have I found any prior convictions for her in the records, and she did not declare any when interviewed for her records. Bridget was tried in Waterford, on the south-eastern coast of Ireland. According to her convict records, she was native to this area.When she arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in May 1848, she was 26.
Once sentenced to transportation, Irish female prisoners were sent to Grangegorman Prison, Dublin, to wait for the next suitable ship to become available for a full complement of trasnportees. Those sentenced to transportation were kept separate to the general prison population, and were given instruction in religion. Bridget was a Roman Catholic and so would have participated in the appropriate services.Bridget was sent, along with 170 other convict women, on the convict ship John Calvin which left Dublin on 24th January 1848 and arrived 115 days later on the 18th May.
At that time, female convicts who arrived in the colony were subject to 6 months probation on board the prison hulk HMS Anson in Prince of Wales Bay, Risdon. The women were given further religious lessons and taught skills which would help them become gainfully employed by free settlers. Once probation was served, the Anson also served as a hiring depot.
Bridget and Daniel were granted permission to marry on 30 April 1850. A William Scasebrook had applied to marry Bridget the previous year, and permission was granted but she didn’t marry him. For this ‘offence’ she was punished.
On the registration of birth of their children, Daniel was described as a farmer. The Gleesons settled in the Northern Midlands, in the Westbury area. Part of my research going further will be to try and find out where they lived and if there is any evidence of them remaining in Westbury or Deloraine.
- Michael b 23 Apr 1850 RGD 33/1/28 no1228 District of Westbury
Julia (listed as LEESON) b 16 Sep 1852 RGD33/1/30 no 705 District of Westbury
- Timothy b 1 Dec 1853 RGD33/1/31 no 1221 District of Westbury
- William b 28 Jan 1856 RGD33/1/34 no 1580 District of Westbury
- Cornelius b 5 Feb 1859 RGD33/1/37 no 236 District of Deloraine (my GG Grandfather)
Founders and Survivors Storylines, ‘ John Calvin 1848’, http://www.founders-storylines.com/mugsheets/voyages/view/BV0695, accessed 3 Oct 2016
Female Convict Research Centre Inc., ‘Anson Probation Station’, http://www.femaleconvicts.org.au/index.php/convict-institutions/probation-stations/anson, accessed 3 Oct 2016
National Army Museum, ’70th (Surrey) Regiment of Foot’, http://www.nam.ac.uk/research/famous-units/70th-surrey-regiment-foot, accessed 3 Oct 2016