Records held appear to show that Samuel Ricketts was the 7th child of Thomas and Mary Ricketts. He was born 22 February 1808 in Clavering, Essex, UK and baptized 14 June 1812, also in Clavering.

The first we know of Samuel is when he was tried for stealing in Hertford on 15 October 1827; he was sentenced to 7 years and was aged 19. From Hertford he was received on 1 November 1827 into the Prison Hulk “GANYMEDE” which was moored at Chatham. Disposal was to NSW on 9 November 1827. He sailed 19 August 1828 from Downs on the convict ship “ROSLIN CASTLE” arriving VDL (Tasmania) Australia on 16 December 1828. Master of the convict ship was John T. Duff.

convict record
From Tasmanian Archives - CON31-1-34_00408_L

Following is a brief extract of details on his Convict Record (top section in red ink) prior to his arrival in VDL:

‘Transported for stealing a waistcoat - Gaol Report. Connections of former life bad. Admitted evidence in 1826 against three of his companions. Orderly in gaol. Hulk Report - Indifferent. Single. Stated this offence Stealing a waistcoat in a public house once. Three months for poaching twice hurried up. N.P. Clavering, Essex. Mother Mary Ricketts three sisters, three brothers. I worked last for George Bush, Clavering, carpenter’.

Samuel led an ‘interesting’ life as a convict often in trouble and suffering the consequences!

Details from his Convict Record have been transcribed by another researcher (a direct descendant of his) and the grisly details follow:

NOTE: Abbreviations - C.P.M (Chief Police Magistrate), A.P.M. (Assistant Police Magistrate), P.S. (Principal Superintendent), P.A. (Port Arthur), P.W. (Pitt Water)

Jan 9, 1830 Gage/Neglect of duty & insolence - tread wheel 14 days and returned to Govt. (J.H. Butcher).
Jan 15, 1831 Davidson/neglect of duty, insolence & disobedience of orders. Tread wheel 21 days (A.P.M.)
May 6, 1831 I Davidson/Insolence and neglect of duty 25 lashes (S. Dawson).
Oct 8, 1831 Davidson/Stg 2 stringy bark oars v. 5sh, the property of Thos Oakley Commission for trial at the Quarter Sessions/C.P.M.
Jan 9, 1832 Davidson/Insolence to his master threatening to beat him - 25 lashes S.R. Dawson.
Mar 9, 1832 Davidson/Using beastly and disgusting language to his master last night - 50 lashes/C.P.M.
Sept 7, 1832 Davidson/Disobedience of orders and neglect of duty Admin S.R. Dawson/
Nov 21, 1832 Davidson/Found in a public house by Mr Fernott and contemptuously refusing to return to his Master when desired by him to do so Adms/S.R. Dawson
Feb 4, 1833 Davidson/Neglect of duty discharged/C.P.M.
Mar 27, 1833 Davidson/Insolence to his master T. Wheel 10 days'/A.P.M.
Jun 11, 1833 Davidson/Insubordination original sentence extended one year/C.P.M.
Jul 2, 1833 Davidson/Drunk, gross insolence and disobedience of orders Imprisonment and hard labour 12 months Constitution Hill/C.P.M.
May 8, 1834 Pitt Water/Absent from the Barracks after muster - 3 days solitary confinement on bread and water./C.P.M.
Oct 28, 1834 - Absconding after being refused his Certificate of Freedom being then under an extension of Sentence and remaining absent until approached by Mr Fletcher. His original term of transportation to be extended two years and returned to Pitt Water (A.P.M. and P.S.) and sent to Sorell Rivulet Road Party 6 months on probation Vida Lieut. Govs decision 7 Nov 1834.
October 28, 1834 Extended two years.
27 2 34 APM Constitution Hill
1/4/34 Hamilton
2/3/36 P.W.
Jan 7, 1835 Road Party/Absconding, 6 months imprisonment and hard labour in chains, Bridgewater recommended/NW/ and returned to his party on expiration of sentence Lt. Gov decision 15 Jan, 1835

Free by Servitude

Now a free man, on 24 December 1838, Samuel married Margaret BRUCE aged 17 in the Trinity Church, Hobart. Margaret was born in 1822 in Peterhead, Scotland and came to Tasmania on the “THOMAS” free with her parents, brother and sister in 1833. She and Samuel had a daughter Jemima Ann who was born in 1841.

Life as a free man was not to be however as Samuel re-offended and was tried in the Supreme Court, Hobart on 3 September 1840, receiving 14 years for Felony to be sent to PA (Port Arthur) for fourteen years and conducted to be Vide Memo P'secty 15/9/40.

Newspaper reports exist of him receiving goods property of Mr Carter in 1840/41 while he and his brother Edward were living at Greenpoint, (Bridgewater) Tasmania.

NOTE:Following is a transcription of the report on the trial and conviction of Samuel and his subsequent sentence of an additional 14 years.

Colonial Times, Hobart, Tas. 1828-1857 Tues 8 Sept 1840

Supreme Court-Criminal side.
Before Mr. Justice Montagu, and a Military Jury.
Thursday, September 3, 1840.

Samuel Ricketts was charged with feloniously receiving certain articles, the property of Mr. William Carter, knowing them to have been stolen.
The particulars of Mr. Carter's robbery, from his Stores on the Old Wharf, are too fresh in the memory of our readers (being narrated at length in this Journal) to render any repetition necessary; we must, however, supply a few facts, in more immediate connexion with the prisoner Samuel Ricketts.
On discovering the robbery the next morning (Monday, July 27) information was promptly given to the Police, and a suspicion being entertained that the property of which Mr. Carter had been robbed, had found its way by water to New Norfolk, the attention of the Police was pointed in that direction. In the neighborhood of the township, the boat of one Matthews, called the "BLACK JOKE", was searched, and in it there were found 14 hams, 3 bags of sugar, and 4 firkins of butter. This boat was manned by three persons, Jesse Holden, Benjamin Cox, and John Gandy. This latter person was the principal witness in the case, who stated that, although no accomplice in the robbery, he knew of it, as Cox told him that the goods in the boat had been stolen from a store on the Old Wharf, at the same time putting very low prices on the several articles, and authorizing Gandy to dispose of them at such prices. When the boat arrived in the vicinity of Bridgewater, the prisoner came on board, and purchased, at the prices mentioned, 6 hams, 2 kegs of butter, and 1 bag of sugar, for which he paid 6. Gandy stated, also, that he told Ricketts that the goods had been stolen from Mr. Carter's store, to which the prisoner replied, that it was no matter to him where they came from ; the articles were cheaper than he could get them anywhere else, and that was enough for him.
Messrs. Carter and Son deposed to the robbery, and stated that, in their firm belief, the property now produced was the same as that which they, had lost.
District Constable Smith, of New Norfolk, testified to the searching Matthews' boat, and to taking therefrom several articles, and 6 from the witness Gandy; he also searched Rickett's premises, where he found part of a cask of butter, part of two hams, and some sugar.
Mr. S. Stephen, for the defence, contended, that no sufficient evidence had been adduced to prove that the articles produced were the identical property of Mr. Carter ; it was absolutely necessary to prove this, before the prisoner could be convicted.
His Honor went over the principal points of the evidence, when the Jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict of Guilty. To be transported for fourteen years - (Samuel Ricketts)

Edward Ricketts
- the brother to the last prisoner, was indicted for receiving two hams, the property of Mr. Carter, well knowing them to have been stolen. The prisoner it appeared had purchased these hams from Cox and Holden, subsequently to Mr. Carter's robbery, but as there was a deficiency in the evidence, he was acquitted.

Benjamin Cox and Jesse Holden, were next placed at the bar, charged with breaking into Mr. Carter's stores, and with stealing therefrom the articles already mentioned. The "breaking" was not proved, neither was the charge brought home to Holden, who was consequently acquitted, Cox, however, was found guilty of stealing, and sentenced to transportation for seven years, the greater portion of the time to be passed at Port Arthur.

Further Gaol reports follow:
25 Oct, 1841 Misconduct in smoking contrary to orders. 1 month hard labour in chains/P.A. The Lt. Governor has ordered this man to serve 3 months probation in the Domain Gang. Vide Mnis PS 13 Feb 1844.
27 March, 1844 PW Neglect of duty as sub overseer 14 days solitary confinement/W.G./ A record made in this man's favour for the assistance rendered to the survivors of the “MARY” Vide Miens CG 22 May 1846.
24 June 1847 Ticket of Leave
4 July 184 Recommended for a con Pardon 8
4 December 1849 Approved
3 October 1854 Certified Free - himself.

NOTE: On 13 September 1845 the “MARY” grounded off Watson's Yard (Saltwater River) - 5 convicts plus 7 troups (sic) returning to Port Arthur. This could possibly have been the ship that gained Samuel his Ticket of leave for assisting. (C. Brill).

Nothing is known regarding contact between Samuel and his wife Margaret during his additional years as a prisoner, it is quite likely she may have wanted nothing further to do with him..! On 5 August 1853 Samuel and Mary LEHARM, while still living in Hobart, had a son Francis; no marriage has been located between Samuel and Mary, and in actual fact his wife Margaret was still alive and living in Hobart - she did not die until 1910.

It seems Samuel, Mary and Francis must have had enough of Tasmania and they relocated to Sale, Victoria. Samuel died aged 77 on 8 August 1887 while Mary died in Sale Hospital, district of Longford, Victoria on 8 January 1899.

Their son Francis married Alice RILEY in 1883 in Longford, Victoria (near Sale) and they had three children - Laurence Arthur born 1884, Maude Mary 1888 and Ernest Albert in 1890. Laurence was KIA in France in 1917; Maude married Arthur JAMIESON and between them they produced a large family of ten - 5 boys and 5 girls. Ernest died in Corowa, NSW in 1893.

Samuel was born in 1808 and spent between 1826 and 1854 bucking the system and suffering the extreme hardship of life as a prisoner. Let us hope the 33 years between 1854 and 1887 were spent more favourably!


The above details (including dates, places and names) have been collated from information garnered from various sources including indexes, websites, certificates, publications and fellow researchers. Some of the details were supplied by descendants of Edward and Samuel Ricketts with follow-up research conducted to verify the facts where possible.

Names, dates and information are presented with the best intentions. Family history being what it is, although much time, effort and money is expended, we can never know it all!

If you notice any inconsistencies or errors, or if you feel you have information to add, please go to Contact Page to submit form, or send me an e-mail


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