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Details for the convict Thomas Venables Smith (1826)

Convict Name:Thomas Venables Smith
Trial Place:Oxford Assizes
Trial Date:1 March 1826
Arrival Details
Ship:England (1)
Arrival Year:1826
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There is currently one researcher who has claimed Thomas Venables Smith

  • Researcher (3894)
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Thomas Venables Smith was born in 1796 in Chinnor, Oxfordshire, the illegitimate son of William Venables, a married man from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and Mary Smith of Chinnor. Six months after William’s marriage to Jane Smith in September 1794 Jane had given birth to their son John. William’s roving eyes resulted in her sister, Mary becoming pregnant at the same time, but should he be excused this lapse? He was keeping it in the family, after all! Thomas remained in Chinnor and married Mary Keen there in 1817. They had six children all baptised with the surname Smith in St Andrew’s, Chinnor. In 1826 Thomas Venables Smith and others were “charged with feloniously stealing, taking, and carrying away from the dwelling house of Zachariah Hester, at Chinnor, in the night of Feb 11, a copper tea kettle, an iron boiler, two sides of bacon, and divers other articles, the property of Zachariah Hester.” This man was the Uncle of the man his daughter later married. Keep it in the family! He was tried at Oxford Assizes on 1st March 1826, described as Thos V Smith, aged 30, no education, Protestant, married, born '96, wife 3 chdn, native of Oxfordshire, farmer's man. He had no former convictions, was 5'8½" tall, of ruddy complexion, freckled, light brown hair, blue eyes, no marks. He was convicted of burglary, “Stealing Bacon," for which the sentence was death, but this was commuted to transportation for life. He departed the Downs in England on 6th May 1826 with 148 other convicts, many in chains, with only seventy men not in irons and arrived on the England(1) at Sydney Cove on 18 Sep 1826. He had a Ticket of Leave on Dec 27 1834 but on 31 Dec 1834 it was returned, cancelled and mutilated. Another ticket was issued on 1 Aug 1839. By now he was living and working at Patrick Plains, N S W, for Mr. Michael Steel. In 1846 he was recommended for a conditional pardon by E J Blaxland JP;Gilbert Eliott PM and H H Bobart. A notice in the newspapers, in 1850, stated that he had not claimed this. The Principal Superintendent of Convicts' Office, Sydney, on June 4, 1850 placed an ad in the Sydney Morning Herald, saying: "It is hereby notified that the parties in whose favour these Pardons have been prepared, are required by the Government within three months from this date to make application for the same, either at my Office, or to the Clerk of Petty Sessions of their respective Districts, and failing in so doing, they will become liable to all the consequences that may arise from their not possessing those Instruments." Meanwhile, back in England, his wife had moved in with another man, a labourer called Richard Whitney, and the family moved north to Bacup in Lancashire with Thomas's surviving children, as shown in the 1841 census. Two daughters were born to the Whitneys in Bacup just after 1836. Mary died in Bacup in June 1860, registered as Mary Whitney and her children made new lives for themselves here. However Rachel, the eldest daughter, returned to Chinnor where she married a local man, Joseph Stratford, in June 1844 . Perhaps by moving back she was able to keep in touch with her father as in 1848 Rachel, with Joseph, a farm labourer,and their two children, sailed to Australia as assisted immigrants. The Government had begun paying for skilled workers, especially farmers, to emigrate. The Industrial Revolution in England was causing so much hardship for the working classes, that emigration was a chance of making a new and financially beneficial life. The Stratfords had two more children in NSW. One of their grandchildren was Australia's first soldier ashore at Gallipoli. One of Rachel’s nieces also emigrated to Australia, so the family in Bacup were probably aware of Thomas’s past, although most descendants were later told that their parents had left home because their father Thomas (AKA John) was a strict disciplinarian. Thomas died aged 78 in Hinton registered as Smith, father not informed.
Submitted by Researcher (3894) on 17 March 2015

Disclaimer: The information has not been verified by Claim a Convict. As this information is contributed, it is the responsibility of those who use the data to verify its accuracy.

Research notes

Baptisms and marriages :Chinnor (Oxfordshire) Marriages and baptisms. Jackson's Oxford Journal Feb. 18th 1826 for proof of his crime
Submitted by Researcher (3894) on 18 March 2015
Oxford Assizes: Criminal Registers,1791-1892 Class:HO 27;Piece:32;Page74 State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12188; Item:Bound Indents 1826 (Shelf 4/4011)[4/4011]; Microfiche: 662, Page 122 No 85
Submitted by Researcher (3894) on 18 March 2015
New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia, Convict Pardons and Tickets of Leave, 1834-1859
Submitted by Researcher (3894) on 18 March 2015
Proof of Pardon;Firstname:thomas;Vessel:England(1)
Submitted by Researcher (3894) on 18 March 2015
Unclaimed conditional pardon advertised Sydney Morning Herald. June 4 1850
Submitted by Researcher (3894) on 18 March 2015
1841 Census HO107; Piece: 509; Book: 10; Civil Parish: Whalley; County: Lancashire; Enumeration District: 11; Folio:15; Page: 22; Line: 16; GSU roll: 306898
Submitted by Researcher (3894) on 18 March 2015
GRO (in UK) references for marriage and death. Jun Q 1860 Haslingden 8e 82 Jun Q 1844 Wycombe 6 561
Submitted by Researcher (3894) on 18 March 2015
Assisted Immigrant detail State Records Authority of New South Wales; Kingswood New South Wales, Australia; Persons on bounty ships (Agent's Immigrant Lists); Series: 5316; Reel: 2135; Item: [4/4786]
Submitted by Researcher (3894) on 18 March 2015

Disclaimer: The information has not been verified by Claim a Convict. As this information is contributed, it is the responsibility of those who use the data to verify its accuracy.


  • The National Archives (TNA) : HO 11/6, p.22

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