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Details for the convict James (Junior) Nye (1818)

Convict Name:James (Junior) Nye
Trial Place:Sussex Assizes
Trial Date:16 March 1818
Arrival Details
Ship:General Stewart
Arrival Year:1818
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Researchers who have claimed this convict

There are currently 3 researchers who have claimed James (Junior) Nye

  • Researcher (847)
  • Researcher (1957)
  • Researcher (Helen ARNALL)
Claimed convict


My third Great Grandfather, James Nye Junior and his father, James Nye Senior were part of the Shipley Gang . They both arrived in New South Wales on board the “General Stewart”(Stuart) in December 1818 . James Junior, was first assigned to a Road Party then sent on assignment as a farm labourer.
James Nye Junior was born in Shipley in 1793. He would have been twenty-five when he was arrested on 14 August 1817. Punishments were severe, even for minor crimes and varied according to a person’s reputation, previous record, age, demeanour in court or the judge . It is no surprise, therefore, that James and his father, having committed many crimes over several years , found themselves in Court on the eighteenth of March 1818 . They pleaded Guilty, were sentenced to Death and were removed to the Prison Hulk, the Laurel in Portsmouth to await execution.
James’ sentence was commuted to Transportation for Life, his fathers to 14 years and he left for the Colony of New South Wales on 30th of June 1818 on board the “General Stewart.”
James was married before he left England. A search of Ancestry Records found a possible wife (Ann Stone) and a child but these are not able to be fully validated. However, a tattoo on James’ inner right arm mentioned in a later prison record “Woman and child, A Nye” indicates it could be Ann Stone. It was customary for prisoners, whilst awaiting transportation, to be tattooed, often with the names of loved ones as in this case.

On arrival in Sydney on 31st December, James was assigned “For a Road Party to Commence at Parramatta”. Convicts who had misbehaved were often assigned to Road Parties or Road Gangs. His father was assigned to Liverpool for General Distribution I wonder if James Junior’s behaviour had contributed to his assignment to a Road Party. .
By 1822, James was working on assignment for Mr Charles Throsby a wealthy and prominent figure in the Cowpastures area and records show that he was still there in 1828 despite having gained a Ticket of Leave in 1827. Mr Throsby’s property adjoined that of Mr Charles Wright, another prominent local. Ann McDonnell, a convict arriving on the Elizabeth II in 1828 , was assigned to Mr Wright as a servant and this is where she most likely met James Nye Junior.
James and Ann made three applications to marry, 1828, 1829, and February 1833. All were refused on the grounds “the female being already married.” Finally on the 30th March 1833, permission was granted and they married on the 23 May the same year . In the earliest application, James status lists his status as ‘ Widower’, but if Ann Stone was his first wife, she was still alive at the time. Anne McDonnell had put ‘spinster’ as her status on her first application, ‘Widow’ on the second, possibly in an attempt to have the marriage sanctioned. Unfortunately, the muster rolls for 1828, has her status as Married with one child.
James and Ann went on to have 10 children. He remained in the district working as a farmer after receiving his Conditional Pardon on 10 July 1837. Records show that in 1843, he was found guilty of larceny and imprisoned in Berrima Jail for “3 Calendar months, every other week to be in solitary confinement.”
Newspaper Articles in 1855 refer to James prospecting for Gold at the Oven’s Gold fields near Albury in Victoria with his son-in-law William Stewart Later, in 1855, he was again convicted of stealing, this time horses. Money, or lack of it may have been the driving factor. After his death in 1874, many articles appeared in newspapers regarding Insolvency.
Despite his criminal tendencies, James led a relatively free life in Australia. He remained working for Mr Throsby well after he received his conditional pardon, enjoyed a relatively simple family life with his wife Anne and their 10 children and apart from his money worries and tendency to criminal activity, may well have lived a far better life than he would have back in England.
Submitted by Researcher (Helen ARNALL) on 23 April 2020

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Research notes

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  • The National Archives (TNA) : HO 11/3, p.76

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