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Convict Ship Chapman 1817

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Embarked: 200 men
Voyage: 134 days
Surgeon's Journal: no
Previous vessel: Shipley arrived 24 April 1817
Next vessel: Pilot arrived 29 July 1817
Master John Drake  
Surgeon Superintendent Alexander Dewar

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The Chapman was the next convict ship to leave Ireland after the departure of the Surry in July 1816. The Chapman departed Cove of Cork on 25 March 1817 in company with the Pilot and arrived in Port Jackson 26th July 1817.

Two hundred prisoners embarked in Cork. Seven were killed and others wounded during a daring mutiny on the voyage out.  Captain John Drake and James Clements, mariner, were later put on trial for the wilful murder of convict John McArdle on 28 April 1817 while off St. Jago. They were found not guilty..........

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John Drake, Alexander Dewar and Lieutenant Christopher Bustead were indicted for the wilful murder of Daniel McCormick.  During the trials it was revealed that a plot to overthrow the Captain and crew of the Chapman and the Pilot was hatched by prisoners in Dublin gaol before sailing, however the voyage of the Pilot was uneventful and the prisoners on arriving thanked the Doctor for his kind attention on the passage out.   Those mentioned in the trials of Captain Drake and Surgeon Dewar included:

Terence Kiernan - convict. Flogged for having a piece of tin in his berth to break his irons and flogged again for speaking Latin to the doctor who told him "You are a good scholar, but a damned rascal". (In the convict indents there is recorded a John or James Kiernan. He was a teacher from Leitrim and sentenced to 14 years transportation. )

Michael Collins - Convict Francis (Frank) Murphy - Convict (ringleader)

Duncan McLean - Convict, wounded

Thomas Kelly - Convict, wounded

Bryan Kelly - Convict, brother of Thomas Kelly, mortally wounded in affray

Michael Wood - Convict

John Ryan - Convict

Patrick Smith - Convict. Employed as surgeon's mate and slept in the sick bay

John Fagan - Convict. Assisted the doctor in sick bay

John Jackson - Convict (one of the ringleaders)

Peter Allen - Convict. Man of colour (ringleader)

Baxter - 3rd mate. Officer of the ship

William Lea - convict - put on deck on his knees with other prisoners before being tied to a rope and thrown astern and towed after the ship for some time, ducked nine or ten times. Frequently punished afterwards as well and kept chained to the poop for 14 weeks until they reached NSW

George Cook - marine

Campion - 4th mate

Jesse Warburton

Corporal John Brown - Guard

Thomas Turner - Guard

Richard Vickary - Guard  

Petition of Captain John Drake presented and read before the House of Commons........    

In the Colonial Secretary's Correspondence is a letter to the Commandant at Newcastle dated 3rd December 1817 requesting that prisoner John Sullivan who had recently been sent to Newcastle be returned to Sydney as he was required to be sent to England in respect of the cruelties exercised against the unfortunate convicts of the Chapman.  

Correspondence dated 8 December 1817 is held in the Chief Secretary's Office Registered Papers, National Archives, Ireland written by Thomas Ryan a prisoner who arrived on the Pilot, to Dr. Trevor in Ireland. Thomas Ryan gives an outline of the outbreak of violence on the Chapman..... ‘in consequence of two villainous Prisoners giving private (false) information to the Captain and Doctor’ of an impending mutiny and massacre of the crew, an attack was made on the convicts on board the Chapman by the crew who ‘fired on them from all quarters and destroyed the poor unfortunate wretches as they lay in their Births [sic] and on the deck’; as a result ‘twelve unfortunate prisoners fell victim to the Cold Blooded assassins to whose care they were committed, and about thirty severely wounded, two of which died since’...Original Reference: CSORP1818/C83    

Notes & Links:  

1). Hunter Valley convicts/ passengers arriving on the Chapman in 1817  

2). Convict James McGreavy held a publicans license for the Victoria Inn in Watt Street Newcastle in the 1830's and 1840's. James' wife Margaret McGreavy arrived on the Elizabeth in 1818

More about the voyage of the Chapman in the Historical Records of Australia



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