Mary Smith, Convict
Before the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice
MARY SMITH was indicted for feloniously
stealing, on the 5th day of May , one pair of leather
boots, value 21 s. the property of Charles Taylor ,
privily in his shop .
CHARLES TAYLOR sworn.
I keep a shoemaker’s shop , my goods are openly exposed,
on Friday the 5th of this month I lost a pair of boots,
they were hanging over the arm of a chair which I keep
for customers to sit down in, they were bespoke, I was
drinking tea in the back-room, and a young man that
works in the shop was sitting close to the shop, the
prisoner and another woman who is not in custody, came
into my shop to buy a pair of women’s leather pumps, the
other woman sat down in the chair, she had a child in
her lap, the prisoner was standing as close as possible
to the arm of the chair where the boots hung, the other
young woman had a pair of pumps tried on, I heard some
kind of a dispute, and I went out, and she asked me the
price, I told her they were three shillings; they bade
me two shillings and nine-pence; I said I could not take
it; they went out immediately, they went up
Lemon-street; I says to my young man, they are a pair
not so well made, tell them they shall have them for two
shillings and ten-pence; he sat himself down to work,
and coming out I missed the boots, I immediately said to
the man, them women have the boots; we both went out of
the shop in pursuit of them, and in three minutes my man
got before me, we could see nothing of them, I saw
nothing of them till I got into the shop.
Are you sure that was one of the women that was in the
shop? - Yes.
JOHN HENYON sworn.
I am journeyman to Mr. Taylor, I was in the shop;
between five and six, the prisoner and another woman
came into our shop to buy a pair of leather pumps, I am
sure to the prisoner, my master was in the parlour
drinking tea, there is a large glass window that looks
into the shop, the boots hung on a chair, the prisoner
was leaning on the left hand side of the chair where the
boots hung, she bid me threepence less than the selling
price, after I had fitted her with a pair; my master
sent me to tell them they should have them for two
shillings and ten-pence, they were two houses off, I did
not observe they had any thing particular about them
then, and they said they would not have them at all,
when I came back my master went into the parlour to
drink another cup of tea, and in about three minutes he
came out and missed the boots, then he sent me after
them, I took both the women in Rosemary-lane, I said
nothing to them, they were coming towards the street
that my master lives in, and the prisoner had the boots
under her cloak, I was sure she had them, though her
cloak was so very much confined I could perceive the
heel under her cloak, I clapped her on the shoulder,
says I, where are the boots you stole; she said, I have
no boots; then she dropped one, and I picked it up, and
brought her into the shop, and we found the other boot
under her clothes, which I brought into the shop with
her; I am sure this is the woman, those are the boots.
Have they been in your possession ever since? - Not ever
since, I left them upon my master’s table last night
till this morning, I am sure these are the boots.
Taylor. I can swear to these boots, my own name is
There was a woman with me, and that woman gave me the
Court. Was the prisoner in a situation best calculated
to take the boots, or was the other? - I think it was
hardly possible the other woman could take them, she had
a child on her left arm where the boots hung, and this
woman had nothing but a cloak on, and stood as close as
possible, and she urged the other woman to go.
What may be the value of these boots? - I valued them at
a guinea, the price is twenty-seven shillings.
Court to prisoner. Are you married or single? - Single,
What way of life are you in? - I am a mantua maker .
GUILTY, Death .
She was humbly recommended to mercy by the Jury and
Prosecutor mercy recommended by the Jury and Prosecutor.
This was later commuted to transportation for 7 years.
Left England on 13th May 1787.
Ship:- the ‘Lady Penrhyn’ sailed
with 101 female convicts on board of which 3 died during
Arrived on 26th January 1788.
Mary Smith, married James Sheers Convict
Scarborough on 21 February 1788 St Phillips
Sydney by permission of His Excellency Arthur Phillip
On 4th March 1790 James & Mary were sent to Norfolk
Island on the ‘Sirius’ with their daughter Mary Ann born
embarking on 5 March 1790, disembarking
at Cascade Norfolk Island on 14 March 1790.
James was the Government Butcher on
Norfolk Island and he also was the holder of Settlers
Block 12 which adjoined Settlers Block 7, only separated
by Stockyard Creek. Block 7 was held by another married
couple John Owles(Alexander) and Mary Wilson
(Prince of Wales) but unfortunately Mary and James
separated around 1791.
Mary Sheers died 9 December 1792aged
31 years, and marked as dead 27 December 1792 Norfolk
Island, leaving James to care for their3 y/o daughter
Daughter Mary Ann became the wife of
Captain John Piper, Commandant of Norfolk Island from
1804 to 1810
For more information on James Sheers and
their Ann daughter see story with FFF Plaque No 86.
Complied by John Boyd 2020
The Fellowship of First Fleeters
installed a FFF Plaque forMary Smith at Kingston
Cemetery Quality Row Kingston N I on 6th
Refer FFF Web Site:http://www.fellowshipfirstfleeters.org.au/graves.html
Plaque 112 – Installed 6th March 2001for
FF Mary Smith, Convict ‘Lady Penrhyn’(c1761-1792)
-The Founders of Australia by Mollie
Gillen pages 336
-Dispatched Downunder by Ron Withington p