Convict Ship Planter 1839
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|The Planter was built at Lynn in 1829. Convicts were transported to New South Wales on the Planter in 1832 and 1839
It was reported in the London Dispatch on 23rd September 1838 that the female prisoners Sarah Neville, Ann Nash, Ellen Sullivan, Julia Keating, Ann Conley and Caroline Bunnit who had all been tried at the Old Bailey had been sentenced to 10 years transportation. In all twenty seven women were removed in hackney coaches from Newgate prison to the Penitentiary at Millbank on 25th September 1838 where they were admitted prior to embarking on the Planter.
The prisoners who were embarked on the Planter at Woolwich were convicted in counties in England and Scotland.
Most had been employed as housemaids, kitchen maids, cooks, dairymaids, children's maids, laundresses, dressmakers and needlewomen and their crimes were nearly all various forms of stealing. There were also four women who were convicted of uttering base coin or forgery and another for a breach of trust. Twenty year old Ann Wilson was convicted of infanticide. Three of the women - Ann Hunt, Ann Bryan and Susan Tandy were all convicted of receiving stolen goods on 30th July 1839 at the Gloucester Assizes.
There were also fourteen children of convicts, five free women and nine of their children on board as well as Mr. John Somes and Mr. William Young who were Commissariat Clerks.
SURGEON THOMAS ROBERTSON
Although Thomas Robertson kept a Medical Journal from 7 August 1838 to 16 March 1839, the Planter did not depart London until 10 November 1838....... The women were in good health when they embarked however the surgeon remarked that when they neared the Cape of Good Hope, the aged females showed symptoms of debility and there was a general despondency running through the ship arising from the long passage. They put into Simon's Bay for refreshment and a change of scene. The oldest prisoners on the voyage were Jane Theobold age 60, Jean Wilson age 59, Christiana Campbell age 52 and Margaret Wilson age 51. 
The surgeon treated an average of about five women per day for various complaints including pneumonia, catarrh and diarrhoea. Most of the cases of pneumonia and catarrh were in England or between the Cape and Sydney when the weather was cold and wet. Throughout the voyage the prisoners were kept kept on deck when the weather permitted from 7 o'clock in the morning until sunset.
As on the voyage of the Mary Ann which also transported female convicts from England and Scotland in 1839, schools were strictly attended. According to the surgeon a great many learned to read and write that could not previously to coming on board. Needlework and dancing generally occupied most of the day. One birth occurred on the Planter during the passage and there were no deaths. 
When the Planter arrived at Port Jackson on 9th March 1839, she brought with her the news of the vessel Juliana which had been bound for N.S.W. with emigrants and was wrecked at Table Bay at the Cape of Good Hope.
The printed convict indents reveal name, age, education, religion, marital status, family, native place, occupation, offence, when and where tried, sentence, former convictions and physical description of each woman. There is occasional information about family members already in the colony; there is no information as to where or to whom the women were assigned on arrival.
Fifty were married women and the rest were widows (22) or single. The three youngest were Betsey Tomeny, Charlotte Baker and Mary Devine who were all only 15 years old. 
Only two of the five female convict ships arriving in New South Wales in 1839 brought women convicted in Scotland - the Planter and the Mary Ann. Prisoners of the Planter convicted in Scotland included:
Barbara Adie (or Smith)
Agnes Barnett or Henderson or Dickie
Margaret or Grace Campbell
Agnes Ferguson or Spence
Janet Harvey or Hamilton
Isabella Hay or Combs
Isabella Heron or Montgomery
Elizabeth Hughes or Ritchie
Elizabeth Knight or Betsy Harvey
Elizabeth Laird or Denholm
Margaret Dougall or Buchan
Mary Ann McLaren
Mary McLaren or Henry
Helen McMachen or McMahon
Agnes McVey or Farmer
Elspet McWilliam or Melvin
Grace Martin or Nichol
Alison Reid or Scott
Margaret Reid or Taylor
Agnes Roy or Dewar
Margaret Smith or Shillinglaw
Jean Wilson or Carlaw
Margaret Wilson or Grant
NOTES AND LINKS
1). More about Hunter Valley convicts / passengers arriving on the Planter in 1839
2) Five ships transported female convicts to New South Wales in 1839 the Margaret, Planter, Whitby, Mary Ann and Minerva. A total of 727 female prisoners arrived in the colony in 1839.
3). Adorning the right arm of Ann Corbett, a kitchen maid transported for seven years for stealing cloth and arriving in March 1839, were the letters MWWHMDBDSDSDEDBDLDSDR. According to Brad Argent of Ancestry, ''stringing letters together in this way is a fairly common form of convict tattoo. Small groups of letters can be interpreted as possible initials of loved one, but larger groups might refer to a biblical phrase or political slogan … whose meaning is now lost.'' Select here to find out more about Ann Corbett
3). The following Petitions have been transcribed by researcher Keith Searson in UK in conjunction with Colette McAlpine of the Female Convict Research Centre in Tasmania.....
MARY JACKSON 1838 STEALING FROM A DWELLING HOUSE 15 YEARS TRANSPORTATION SOURCE - HOME OFFICE CRIMINAL PETITION - SERIES 1 SERIES - HO 17 PIECE NUMBER - 121 ITEM NUMBER - XY 50 - MARY JACKSON - AGED 30 CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT JULY 1838 15 YEARS TRANSPORTATION HERE JUSTICE IS ASKED IN ACCOUNT OF THE CHILDREN SHE MAY BE ALLOWED TO TAKE BOTH HER CHILDREN WITH HER
To the Right Honourable Lord John Russell Secretary of State for the Home Department My Lord I humbly submit to your Lordship and earnestly solicit your Lordships consideration of the case of MARY JACKSON convicted of felony at the last Sessions of the Central Criminal Court and sentenced to fifteen years transportation. My Lord, the convict is the wife of JOHN JACKSON who has served in the Royal Navy for many years, but at present in the West Indies, and ignorant of his unfortunate wife's miserable situation . The wretched woman being without food and with no prospect of any (for her husband allowed no part of his pay) took a few articles and wad tried and sentenced accordingly. My Lord, It is not so much for herself I am now troubling your Lordship as for her two children, a girl of eleven and a boy of nine years of age. If the mother is sent out of the country the situation for the children as they have no friends will indeed be dreadful and their father is constantly at sea and there will be no person to look after their future welfare.
My Lord, I have to inform you that this is her first offence and in consequence of her having no friends have taken the liberty of laying the case before your Lordship, humbly soliciting your Lordship to commute her sentence (for the sake of the children) to some long term of confinement in this country where by being separated from the world she may return to it a better member of society and be a guide to her otherwise motherless children. My Lord I have the honour to remain your obedient humble servant M G Faddy Turgeon 1 Mansion House Place Camberwell 14th July 1838
CHRISTIAN McDONALD EDINBURGH - 1838 THEFT TRANSPORTATION 7 YEARS SOURCE HOME OFFICE CRIMINAL PETITIONS SERIES 1 SERIES - HO 17 PIECE NUMBER - 29 ITEM NUMBER - CZ42 ------------------------- CHRISTIAN McDONALD AGED 20 EDINBURGH HIGH COURT JULY 1838 THEFT 7 YEARS TRANSPORTATION
GAOL REPORT - CHARACTER - VERY INDIFFERENT - CONVICTED BEFORE EMBARKED ON THE SHIP PLANTER FOR NEW SOUTH WALES ------
PETITION OF ALEXANDER McDONALD - 2nd OCTOBER 1838 --------------------- Unto the Right Honourable Lord John Russell Secretary of State for the Home Department The Petition of Alexander McDonald residing in No 5 [ des] Court Edinburgh Most Humbly Sheweth, That on the 18th day of July last your petitioners daughter CHRISTIAN MACDONALD was tried before the High Court of Justiciary at Edinburgh for the crime of theft and sentenced to 7 years transportation. That on the 27th [ ] the said CHRISTIAN MACDONALD along with a number of other female convicts were shipped at Leith bound for Her Majesty's Transport the Planter. That your petitioner is very desirous that his daughter be not sent out of the country and feels [satisfied ] that if she is kept in the General Penitentiary London, she may yet prove a useful member of society and alleviate the grief of her aged parents. May it therefore please your Lordship to consider this Petition to commutate your Petitioners daughters sentence of transportation beyond the seas, to confinement in the general penitentiary London or do otherwise in the [ ] as your Lordship may see proper and your Lordships humble Petitioner in duty bound will very pray. Alexander MacDonald. We the undersigned in respect of the estimation of the high character of the petitioner who has long held a very respectable though humble situation with credit to himself and fidelity to his employer, beg leave to recommend the prayer of the Petitioner: S Macgregor A Hodges
. Convict Indents. State Archives NSW; Series: NRS 12189; Item: [X642]; Microfiche: 739
. Journal of Thomas Robertson. Ancestry.com. UK Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857. The National Archives, Kew, Surry