25 Nov 2019
November 25, 2019

Tasmanian Convict Biography

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Camden Town Crime Map

Tasmanian Convict Biography – Daniel Crane

Camden Town Origins – Life of Crime

My fifth great grandfather, Daniel Crane was a convict transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1822 for stealing a tea chest full of goods. He was twenty years old and no stranger to crime. He kept things local. The crimes for which he faced prosecution for were committed not far from his place of residence in Camden Town, London, England.

Daniel was born on the 25 May 1801 in London, England to parents Isaac and Ann Crane. He was baptised five months later on 18 October at the Old Church of Saint Pancras, Camden Town.[1] He came from a family of thieves. His older brother Christian Crane spent six years on the prison hulk Retribution moored at Woolwich from 28 November 1811 to 10 September 1817.[2] Christian and their father Isaac were indicted for grand larceny on 12 January 1820 but were found not guilty.[3] He was finally transported for seven years to Sydney, New South Wales in 1820.[4] Daniel’s other brother Edward Crane was found guilty of grand larceny on 26 May 1819 and sentenced to seven years transportation also.[5]

His own life before the courts began on 21 April 1819 when he was indicted for two separate cases of stealing linen off the back line. On the 5 March he apparently stole a table cloth from Ann Beattie at her residence at 1 Pratt Street, Camden and on the 15 March six sheets from Charles Stanbridge. He had an accomplice who was also on trial, Miles McCabe. Two pair of sheets was later found in the kitchen of Charlotte Leslie (Daniel’s sister). Edward Crane was indicted for receiving the sheets knowing that they were stolen. Daniel, Edward and Charlotte were all found to be not guilty.[6]

A year later, Daniel was still stealing linen.  This time he was becoming more brazen.  He was indicted on 28 June 1820 for breaking and entering the residence of Mary Eales at Buckingham Place, Fitzroy Square and stealing the bed linen from the parlour. He was found guilty of stealing but not the burglary and was sentenced to three months in Newgate prison and a public whipping. It was noted that his two brothers had already been transported for other crimes.[7] Daniel often worked with a number of individuals to commit theft. A group of them performed their crafty pick pocket trick on Robert Tate on 19 October 1820 when they stole his handkerchief. Daniel was found not guilty of the crime on 28 October 1820. It was noted that he had been in Newgate prison before.[8]

As a native of Camden Town, Daniel was working with horses but supplementing his income through the profits of crime.[9]  Camden Town was traditionally a quiet middle class residential suburb on the outskirts of London and was still surrounded by fields. However it was rapidly expanding. The construction and then opening of the Regent’s canal in 1820 which ran through the area was bringing more people, buildings and trade.  Horses were used to pull the canal barges along that were used to transfer cargo from the seafaring vessels in the harbour. Factories, warehouses and housing for the workers were clustered along the canal. The demographics of the suburb were changing and it was known as ‘the poorest part of the London suburbs’ and an ‘unfashionable’ locality.[10]

Daniel had knowledge of small personal cargo being carried through Camden. On 13 June 1821 he saw a tea chest on the back of a wagon and suspected it to contain valuable goods he could offload for a nice sum of money. He followed the wagon down Berners Street then took the opportunity to take the chest off the wagon and put it on his back. However he had been watched the whole time by a police constable who saw the thieving act. When Daniel saw Constable Davis approach him he dropped the chest and took off. He was captured shortly after not too far away and taken to the watch house. On 18 July he was before the Central Criminal Court for the charge of stealing, grand larceny. He pleaded innocent but was sentenced to seven years transportation.[11]

After one month in Newgate prison he was received on to the prison hulk Leviathan on 10 August 1821, moored at Portsmouth.[12]  He spent exactly three months in this hulk before it appears that he may have been transferred to another hulk on 10 November 1821. His name appears on the convict list for the hulk Captivity also moored at Portsmouth.[13]  His conduct on the hulk(s) was recorded as orderly.[14] On 5 January 1822 he left from Portsmouth on the convict vessel Phoenix bound for Van Diemen’s Land. The journey took four and a half months before arriving in Hobart Town on 20 May 1822.[15]

Life in Van Diemens Land

A description of the convict Daniel Crane records him as being 5’6” in height with brown eyes and dark brown hair. On his right arm was a tattoo of a woman and the initials D.C.I.S..[16] As he made it through the convict probation system he made a few minor indiscretions. On 24 August 1824 under the supervision of Mr. A Williams he was charged with neglect of duty and reprimanded by J. G. Esquire. On 27 December 1824 still under the same conditions he was accused of a felony but it was not proven and he was discharged by J.G. Esquire. On 12 October 1830 whilst free by servitude he was charged with cutting down timber the property of Mr McCrombie and was admonished by F. Roberts. Again as free by servitude he was charged with obstructing Constables Smith and Poultney in the execution of their duty. He was fined 5s for costs or in default of 7 days.[17]

Daniel’s days as a convict were over when he was issued a Free Certificate on 24 July 1828.[18] At some point he married and had children but I could not find reference material to confirm this. A hint towards the births of his children might come from a newspaper notice for a charge of drunkenness in August 1833 and May 1835. He may have been out drinking to celebrate their arrival.[19] A final mention of Daniel Crane in the Hobart Courier lists him as donating 5s to the Patriotic War Fund in May 1855.[20] There is a date for Daniel’s death in 1868 on Ancestry.com but there is no source for this event.

Bibliography

Alphabetical Registers of Male Convicts, Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office, Hobart,

https://stors.tas.gov.au/CON23-1-1, LINC, Accessed 7 June 2017.

British History Online, ‘Camden Town’,

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/surveylondon/vol24/pt4/pp134-139, Accessed 29 May 2017

Conduct Registers of Male Convicts Arriving in the Period of the Assignment System,

Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office, Hobart, http://search.archives.tas.gov.au/ImageViewer/image_viewer.htm?CON31-1-6,358,161,F,60, LINC, Accessed 7 June 2017.

Dunton, Larkin (1896). The World and its People. Silver, Burdett, p 29.

‘England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538 – 1975’, England Births and Christenings,

1538 – 1975, Salt Lake City, Utah: Family Search 2013, Ancestry, Accessed 7 June 2017.

‘New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788 – 1842’, Indents First Fleet, Second Fleet

and Ships, State Records, A, Ancestry, Accessed 7 June 2017.

‘New South Wales, Australian Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1790- 1849’,

New South Government. Muster and other papers relating to convict ships, State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood, Ancestry, Accessed 26 May 2017.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Christopher Crane, Isaac Crane, Theft >grand larceny,

12th January 1820’, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18200112-61-defend647&div=t18200112-61#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Christopher Crane, Theft >theft from a specified place,

17th May 1820’, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18200517-124-punish728&div=t18200517-124#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Daniel Crane, Charles Marsh, Theft > pocketpicking, 28th

October, 1820, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18201028-146-defend1368&div=t18201028-146#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Daniel Crane, Theft > burglary, 28th June 1820,

https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18200628-23-defend267&div=t18200628-23#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Daniel Crane, Theft >grand larceny, 18th July 1821’,

https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18210718-106-defend970&div=t18210718-106#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Edward Crane, Theft >grand larceny, 26th May 1819,

https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18190526-21-punish120&div=t18190526-21#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Miles M’Cabe, Daniel Crane, Edward Crane, Theft >grand

larceny, Theft >receiving, 21st April 1819’, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18190421-231-defend2163&div=t18190421-231#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

‘UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802 – 1849.’ Home Office: Convict Prison

Hulks: Registers and Letter Books, Ancestry, Accessed 7 June 2017.

Newspapers

Colonial Times.

The Courier

The Tasmanian.

Footnotes

[1] Ancestry, Baptism record for Daniel Crane, ‘England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538 – 1975’, England Births and Christenings, 1538 – 1975. Salt Lake City, Utah: Family Search 2013. Accessed 7 June 2017.

[2] Ancestry, Prison hulk record for Christian Crane, ‘UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802 – 1849. Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books; Class: HO9; Piece: 7. Accessed 7 June 2017.

[3] The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Christopher Crane, Isaac Crane, Theft >grand larceny, 12th January 1820’, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18200112-61-defend647&div=t18200112-61#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

[4] The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Christopher Crane, Theft >theft from a specified place, 17th May 1820’, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18200517-124-punish728&div=t18200517-124#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

[5] The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Edward Crane, Theft >grand larceny, 26th May 1819, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18190526-21-punish120&div=t18190526-21#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

[6] The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Miles M’Cabe, Daniel Crane, Edward Crane, Theft >grand larceny, Theft >receiving, 21st April 1819’, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18190421-231-defend2163&div=t18190421-231#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

[7] The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Daniel Crane, Theft > burglary, 28th June 1820, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18200628-23-defend267&div=t18200628-23#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

[8] The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Daniel Crane, Charles Marsh, Theft > pocketpicking, 28th October, 1820, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18201028-146-defend1368&div=t18201028-146#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

[9] Ancestry, Muster record for Daniel Crane, ‘New South Wales, Australian Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1790- 1849’, New South Government. Muster and other papers relating to convict ships. Series CGS 1155, Reels 2417 – 2428. State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood. Accessed 26 May 2017.

[10]British History Online, ‘Camden Town’, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol24/pt4/pp134-139, Accessed 29 May 2017 & Dunton, Larkin (1896). The World and its People. Silver, Burdett, p 29.

10 year old Charles Dickens lived with his family at Bayham St then later at 112 College Place, Camden Town. It is thought that he based some of the characters from his novels on people from Camden Town.

[11] The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, ‘Daniel Crane, Theft >grand larceny, 18th July 1821’, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18210718-106-defend970&div=t18210718-106#highlight, Accessed 7 June 2017.

[12] Ancestry, Prison hulk record for Daniel Crane, ‘UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802 – 1849. Home Office: Convict Prison Hulks: Registers and Letter Books; Microfilm: HO9. Accessed 7 June 2017.

[13] Ancestry, Prison hulk record for Daniel Crane.

[14] Daniel Crane, Conduct Record, Conduct Registers of Male Convicts Arriving in the Period of the Assignment System, Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office, Hobart, CON 31/1/6, http://search.archives.tas.gov.au/ImageViewer/image_viewer.htm?CON31-1-6,358,161,F,60, Accessed 7 June 2017.

[15] Ancestry, Convict Indents for Daniel Crane, ‘New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788 – 1842’, Indents First Fleet, Second Fleet and Ships. NRS 1150, microfiche 620-624, State Records, A. Accessed 7 June 2017.

[16] Daniel Crane, Description List, Alphabetical Registers of Male Convicts, Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office, Hobart, CON23/1/1, https://stors.tas.gov.au/CON23-1-1, Accessed 7 June 2017.

[17] Daniel Crane, Conduct Record

[18] Daniel Crane, Description List

[19] “POLICE REPORTS.” The Tasmanian (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1827 – 1839) 9 August 1833: 6. Accessed 7 June 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article233613896>. & “Hobart Town Police Report.” Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857) 2 June 1835: 7. Accessed 7 June 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8648234>.

[20] “Classified Advertising” The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 – 1859) 30 May 1855: 4. Accessed 7 June 2017 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2484495>.

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