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  • ID: I546
  • Name: Michael Handley Thompson WARD
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1788 in Islington, Middlesex, UK
  • Burial: 06 APR 1859 C of E, West Maitland, NSW
  • Occupation: Dealer
  • Event: BDM Reg No 1859 3745
  • Death: 04 APR 1859 in Campbell's Hill, West Maitland, NSW
  • Note:
    On the KING's Commission of the PEACE

    Justice Hall, in the Old Bailey,
    On WEDNESDAY the 20th of APRIL 1814, and the following Days;
    The Right Honourable WILLIAM DOMVILLE



    By R. Butters, No. 22, Fetter-lane, Fleet-street The trial of Michael Ward, 20 April 1814 for which he was transported.

    327. THOMAS DODMAN and MICHAEL WARD were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 16th of February, one gallon and a half of rectified spirits, value 30s. and one gallon and a pint of rum, value 22s. the property of John Nicholson and William Nicholson, in their dwelling house.

    JAMES NICHOLSON. I live in Woodbridge-street, Clerkenwell. I am clerk to John and William Nicholson; they are distillers. On the 16th of February, in the evening, I was sitting in the accompting-house; I saw Dodman standing at the top of the stairs leading into the cellar; he looked very hard at me, which made me suspect all was not right. I then asked Dodman where Ward, the other prisoner, was. They are servants in the employ of Messrs. Nicholson. He said he was down in the cellar. I immediately went down into the cellar, Ward seemed very much agitated in seeing me come down; he made trifling excuses, and moved from one part of the cellar to the other to try to avoid me. I followed him close up. He then came up stairs into the distill-house; I followed him up. He went to the further part of the still-house; I kept following him; he then made a sharp turn, when I heard something like spirits jolt in a bladder.

    Q Where was Dodman all this time-
    A. He was standing where I first saw him; he had not gone into the cellar then. I took hold of Ward by the collar, and asked him what he had got. He took the bladder out of (sic) rectified spirits out of his breeches, and gave it into my hand. I then called Robert Wilson out of the accompting-house; I told him to take hold of Dodman, as I had no doubt of his being a party concerned.

    Q Was Dodman within sight of you while you laid hold of Ward-
    A. Yes, he was. He laid hold of Dodman and said he had no doubt they were both concerned. I then enquired in the house whether Mr. Nicholson was within. Mr. Nicholson came down. When Mr. Nicholson came, he took hold of Ward, and I took hold of Dodman, and then Robert Wilson went for an officer. Dodman then wanted to go to the necessary; I said he should not move. He then put his hand into his waistcoat pocket, and drew a knife. I immediately seized hold of his arm, and called to Mr. Nicholson that he had drawn a knife. He let go Ward, and came to my assistance. When he found Mr. Nicholson was coming he threw the knife from him. In the scuffle, Mr. Nicholson threw him on his back; he got up again, and threw himself down upon his belly, and attempted to burst the bladder, and with one hand he pulled it out of his breeches and threw it from him. We tied his hands. He then pretended to faint, and laid on his back until the officer came. I told the officer he was fainting. I took up the bladder which he had thrown away before the officer came. The officer said he would soon bring him about; he gave him a tap on the head. The officer then handcuffed them, and took them to the office.

    Q What became of the bladders-
    A. I took it to the office and examined it; the officer examined it with me. One bladder contained better than a gallon and a half of strong rectified spirits; that was Ward's bladder; the bladders leaked, so we emptied them out into strong bottles. The other bladder contained about a pint and a gallon of strong rum. The prisoners were committed to prison. The spirits are here; the rectified spirits are of the value of twenty shillings, and the rum twenty-two shillings; that is what it cost me'.

    Mr. Challenor. What part of the premises did this take place-
    A. In the distill-house.

    Q That is some distance from where Mr. Nicholson dwells-
    A. It is connected with the house.

    Q Dodman did not offer any personal violence to any body with the knife-
    A. No.

    Q Do not you think he took the knife out of his pocket with intention of stabbing the bladder-
    A. I do.

    COURT Did he say what he meaned to do with the knife-
    A. He did not. The entrance to the distill-house is underneath the dwellinghouse; it is covered in' and all one premises; we pay regular taxes for the distill-house as well as the house. We can go from the house into the distill-house without going into the street or into the yard.

    WILLIAM READ. I am an officer. I was sent for to Mr. Nicholson's; I received the two prisoners there. When I came, Dodman's hands were tied; I untied them and handcuffed them together. I told Dodman he must go with me; he said, he would not. These two bladders were produced to me at the time they were nearly full of spirits; I kept them until the next day. I found the bladders leaked; I put the spirits into these stone bottles; I have had it ever since. I tasted it; one was rum, and the other was a strong spirit. I searched Dodman's premises; in his bed room I found four bottles of spirits, and this bladder, and a quantity of sugar; they were locked u in a chest. The bottles contained strong spirits like that i the bladder. I asked him how he came to do it; he replied we are two rogues together.

    ROBERT WILSON. I was called up by the first witness, James Nicholson. I know nothing more than he has stated.

    The prisoners left their defense to their counsel.

    Dodman called six witnesses, who gave him a good character.


    WARD, GUILTY-DEATH, aged 26

    First Middlesex jury, before Mr Justice Chambre.


    For convict or settler the bushranger was an omnipresent fact of Australian life - indeed an institution. When in 1814 Fred Ward's father, Michael, was transported, bushranging in Van Diemans Land was at its zenith.

    Ward, was a 5' 6" ruddy-complexioned labourer who in 1814 was convicted with a confederate Thomas Dodman at the Middlesex Assizes for stealing liquor. The labourer and his companion were sentenced to death. This was set aside for transportation for seven years to New South Wales. Ward sailed aboard the convict ship, the Indefatigable in May 1815. Two months later his 23 year old wife, Sophia sailed aboard the Northampton from Liverpool as a free person. Little is known of the family's early years however soon after Sophia settled in the Windsor area, Michael was assigned to her to work on a property where she was living, while this was a cosy situation it was quite common in the early life of New South Wales.

    The 1828 New South Wales Blue Book or census shows that Michael was a labourer with a small farm at Wilberforce near Windsor. The Wards' children were Sarah 12, Emily 8, Joshua 6, George 4, Hester 2 and Selina one month. Windsor historian D. G. Bowd records Frederick Ward's birth as May 16, 1836, although others states anywhere from 1834. No birth records are known. There was at least one other child, William (also known as Harry), older than Frederick was. Typical of the times, Frederick is said to have been born in a typical slab hut at Freeman's Reach, opposite Gardiner's Hotel, Wilberforce. Convictism, a term denoting the convict heritage of Australian society, was blamed as a major cause of bushranging, particularly in the 1860's. Indeed many argued that bushranging was hereditary, derived from convictism.

    Certainly many of the Wild Colonial Boys of the 1860's were sons of convicts. Australia was founded in 1788 as a harbour for England's refuse, the convicts. It was a society formed for outcasts, rejects of the British system, criminals who would hopefully reform. The colonial seal showed prisoners being released on a new land. Through the industry of farming, they became a prosperous and loyal yeoman class. The vast Australian colonies were the solution for the burgeoning masses of criminals formed in the Industrial Revolution - criminals who were products of a great population increase, and the upset of a rural economy. One significant effect of convictism was to create heroes from criminals. Bushrangers became the first folk heroes, and probably the most enduring. For, transportation of convicts was an integral part of Australia life till the year of Thunderbolt's death in 1870. So was bushranging - even among the 1,070 souls first transported to Australia there were "bolters" or runaway convicts soon known as "bushrangers". Some 160,000 convicts, about triple the number previously transported to the US colonies, were dumped on the Australian shores. Yet the Australia population was minuscule compared with the American. So the effect of crime was far greater.

    During most of the 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain's criminal law was mostly directed against property offenses; the result of great unemployment and a population explosion. At the time of Australia's foundation there were 260 offenses punishable by death or transportation. These included cutting down trees, raiding oyster beds and any form of petty theft. Convicts were initially imprisoned in hulks and then transported. The death rate on the hulks and the subsequent voyage, through over-crowding and diseases could often be high. As well there was widespread unrest in the countryside, with farmers dressed in disguise as "Rebecca's Daughters" smashing and burning Government turnpikes. Smugglers too, did battle with officials and vicious land-laws and famine crushed the peasants of Ireland. Crime ranged from political and social causes to pure greed.

    The Australian colonies were the apothesis of experimentation - one of the most curious of modern times, and of world history. For it was the intention of the English to establish, 13,000 miles from their shores a vast prison, a continent of prisoners. Bushranging was among the many curious results of this extraordinary decision. Power was passed onto the naval/military founders who exercised laws unknown in Britain. Crime as distinct from corruption flourished from earliest times.

    The first Governor, Captain Arthur Phillip, was faced with immense problems, including famine, a debauched guard and convict contingent, and the unsuitability of practically the entire affair 1,070 souls to be self sufficient at farming. By the time of Captain Thunderbolt's death in 1870 the Australian colonies were major world exporters of wool, gold, and the economy was firmly rooted in agriculture. The interlude however provided a weird history.

    From the start there were distinct factions in society, the jailor and the jailed. Governor Phillip for example, needed to supplement his marines with mainly a convict-composed police force, hence the term and the practice for generations, of using "felon police". At times Phillip even begged his convict constables not to raid vegetable gardens or steal rations in the critically food-short colony. The convicts in fact arrested several robbing marines.

    Law and order under a strong naval/military force was far different from anything Britain had ever experienced, probably the most peculiar ever in a British colony. Supt. Harris, who controlled the greatest number of convicts on earth, was himself a former convict. Several of the early police chiefs were former convicts including George Barrington, renowned as the Crown Prince of Pickpockets. D'Arcy Wentworth, another, fled England with warrants out-standing for his arrest on highway robbery. For some years too the courts refused to sit when a reformist Governor Lachlan Macquarie appointed former convicts or emancipists to the bench. Also there were punishments unknown to British law, including the cutting off of ears for perjury, and 1,000 lashes with a cat of nine tails.

    Father: Hanley Thompson WARD

    Marriage 1 Sophia Jane Elizabeth Ann CROLSTON b: 1788 in Islington, Middlesex, UK
    • Married: 1813 in England
    1. Has Children Sophia Jane WARD b: 29 MAR 1809 in Keppel St, Holborn, London, UK
    2. Has Children Sarah Ann WARD b: 1816 in Wilberforce, NSW
    3. Has Children Amelia (EMILY) WARD b: 1820 in Wilberforce, NSW
    4. Has Children Edward George WARD b: 1821 in Wilberforce, NSW
    5. Has Children Joshua Michael WARD b: 1822 in Wilberforce, NSW
    6. Has Children George Edward WARD b: 1824 in Wilberforce, NSW
    7. Has Children Esther Berfield (HESTER) WARD b: 14 NOV 1826 in Wilberforce, NSW
    8. Has Children Selina Maria WARD b: OCT 1828 in Wilberforce, NSW
    9. Has Children William Thompson (HARRY) WARD b: 1829 in Wilberforce, NSW
    10. Has No Children Harriet WARD b: APR 1833 in Wilberforce, NSW

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