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Details for the convict Ann Robert (1808)

Convict Name:Ann Robert
Trial Place:Worcester Assizes
Trial Date:7 March 1807
Sentence:7 years
Arrival Details
Ship:Speke I (1)
Arrival Year:1808
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There is currently one researcher who has claimed Ann Robert

  • Researcher (406)
Claimed convict


ANN ROBERTS arrived in Australia in November 1808 on the ship 'Speke" as a convict. She was convicted of larceny in Worchester in March 1807 and sentenced to transportation for 7 years.
She was living with Laurence Butler by 1811, as their first child, Lawrence was born July 20, 1812.
Born in 1777, Ann was twenty seven years younger than Laurence Butler
In the 1814 Muster of NSW she was listed as "wife to Laurence Butler". However she officially married Laurence Butler on 1 July 1817, shortly after Laurence had received the news of the death of his Irish wife Catherine. Ann died in 1824, four years after her husband. She had four children to Laurence between 1812 and 1819, two of whom died in 1819 within a month of each other. Their daughter, Mary Ann, born on June 1, was baptised on the same day as their marriage.

Ann was widowed in December 1820, and was named sole executrix of Laurence’s Will. In his Will Laurence described her as “his affectionate wife”.

Ann continued to run Laurence’s business for at least another 3 years. She applied to marry Miles Leary in August 1823. Leary was a cabinet maker who had previously worked for Laurence, and he helped her run the business. However, Rev. Cowper on the advice of Rev. Therry, refused to marry them. Therry was the appointed guardian of Laurence’s children under the terms of his Will and was probably looking after the interests of the children and their estate.
Her Memorial said:

“That Memorialist has been a free woman for a number of years,that she has been left by her deceased husband Laurence Butler.... Executing to the little property he possessed with a clause in the Will, appointing the Rev. P. Connoly as his successor to superintend the education of her 3 children. That Memorialist has for some time struggled to clear off the encumbrances attached to her property in which she had (by the assistance of a person by the name of Miles Leary who has been a free man 16 years and upwards) succeeded.
That Memorialist finding herself unable to continue his business without so able an assistant appeals for permission to be married and after the regular form of being Called(?) three successive Sundays in Chursh, the day was appointed. When the Rev. W. Cowper refused marrying them on a plea that the Rev. J. Therry disputed her power to do so. That Memorialist in consequence must respectfully solicit Your Excellency’s interference on her behalf and cause the necessary investigation to take place, that she may not be debarred from a privilege to which she is entitled.”

Something must have happened to cause a rift in their relationship in the following six months. On 12 February 1824, Ann placed the following notice in the ‘Sydney Gazette’:

“CAUTION- I have to Caution the Public against giving Miles Leary any Trust or Credit on my Account. As he is not authorised by me to receive any Debts, or make any Contracts whatever, I will not hold myself responsible for any of them. And Notice is hereby given to the said Miles Leary, that he will be prosecuted if he shall hereafter attempt to come into my House, or upon my Premises.
Ann Butler.”

Within the next year, Ann died, as Walter’s Memorial in June 1825, stated that they had recently been orphaned. This Memorial followed his initial Memorial in December 1824.

However, on 28 April 1824, Leary was still listed as a resident of Pitt Street. He was on a list of individuals to whom bonded mechanics had been assigned. There are two implications from this. Either, Ann and Leary settled their differences and continued their relationship before her death, or Leary continued the cabinet making business after Ann’s death, possibly appointed by the executors of the estate, John Connell and William Davis. Leary, a convict with a seven year sentence, had arrived on the “Herc
Submitted by Researcher (406) on 11 May 2014

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Research notes

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  • The National Archives (TNA) : HO 11/1, p.403

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