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EDWIN ABBOTT

Edwin Abbott was born c1847 in the Civil Parish of Canterbury St. Mary Northgate, Kent, the eldest son of Charles and Selina Abbott and brother to William, John Oliver, Cate, Charles, Alfred Thomas, Jessie and Frank Tenterden. They lived in a poor area initially at 115 St John's Place, St Mary, Northgate, Canterbury and then moving to No. 135.


His mother came from a good family, although they lived in a very poor and apparently rough area of Canterbury.His father had followed in the family trade and was a tailor.

Nothing is known of his childhood and early life until he was summoned to appear at Maidstone Assizes on 29/11/1862 accused of Churchbreaking and Larceny of a taper and key, found guilty and sentenced to one year in penal servitude. He was then aged 15 and
had been employed as a Draper’s Assistant. The candle you could understand, but the key implies intent for further mischief. Although as yet, I can't find any previous information, the record states that he was a re-offender. So he was obviously in trouble before, as a juvenile.

He was first received at Maidstone Gaol as part of the standard interim holding arrangements and subsequently transferred to Parkhurst Prison on 26/12/1862. His Gaoler’s intial report stated that he had been previously convicted “Twice summarily”, his behaviour had been good as an inmate and that he was single and could read and write imperfectly, although new records show that he had been privately schooled. He was discharged from Parkhurst Prison on 28/11/1863 on expiry of his sentence

He was the same age as one of his cousins, Ellen Abbott and his Uncle and other cousins lived on the Isle of Wight at that time and it is wondered if they visited him at all during his incarceration.

A mere two years later, he was caught stealing again. What he stole and where he stole from is not listed. He was summoned to appear at the Canterbury General Quarter Sessions on 03/01/1866 accused of “Stealing” (unspecified), found guilty and sentenced to Penal Servitude for 7 years.

In 1856 Parkhurst Prison’s Governor, George Hall, remarked that “neither I, nor the Chaplain, nor anyone here, can entertain any reasonable expectation that boys of this class can be effectually reclaimed in 9, 12, 15 or 24 months”. And, of course, such a criterion would apply to Edwin Abbott. However, he had a history of re-offending, with the final occasion leading to his transportation to Australia for 7 years which, at that time, denoted a serious offence. Sadly, there are no details available describing this particular offence to judge the actual seriousness or otherwise. The conclusion to be drawn is that he must be classified as incorrigible, even though his record in Australia appears unblemished.

This time, there was no mercy by the court and he was sentenced to 7 years penal servitude. He was transported to the Swan River Colony in Western Australia, sailing from Portland Harbour on 18/04/1867 aboard the "Norwood" on her second voyage as a convict ship. He is listed as prisoner 150 in the surgeon's diary. He disembarked at the port of Freemantle, Western Australia on 13/07/1867.

 

 

On his arrival he was noted to be five foot three and a half inches tall of middle to stocky build. He had brown hair and grey eyes. His face was long with a freckled complexion and he had a caste in one eye. He was a protestant. He had a scar above his left elbow.

He was allocated the Convict number of 9377.

He was awarded his ticket of leave on 18/11/1869 and his certificate of Freedom on 08/11/1871.

During this time he worked in the Wellington area as a general servant.

Three years later he died of phebitis in the Freemantle hospital on 15/11/1874.

He never married and never saw any of his family again.

 

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