Maria Hone (1799?-?)

by Steve Rhodes

 

Maria Hone, or Hoane or Sloan, arrived in Port Jackson, New South Wales, aboard the convict ship Edward on 26 April 1829 after being convicted of stealing money at County Roscommon, Ireland. She was one of 174 female prisoners on board, of whom three died during the 115-day voyage. There were also fourteen children of convicts and 23 free settlers making the journey. Maria was well behaved during this time.

The convict clerk recorded that Maria, although living in Ireland, was born in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), had been educated at home but could only read a little, was of a ruddy complexion with freckles, light brown hair, light hazel eyes, and was 5 feet 2½ inches (158.75 cm) tall. There was a scar over her right eye, and another on her right cheek, and the little fingers on both hands were crooked. She had worked as a laundress and stated that she was married with two children. No details are known about Maria’s husband and children.

Upon arrival Maria was assigned as a servant to Mr H. Clements Esq at Liverpool, NSW. In a community that suffered from a shortage of available women, it wasn’t long before Maria was pursued as a potential spouse. John Tiffen, a 58-year- old widower, who was free, but had himself been a convict transported in 1817 per Fame, applied in December 1829 for permission to marry Maria at St. Lukes, Liverpool, but they were refused. They re-applied and were again refused on 1 July 1830. On both occasions they were refused on the basis of Maria stating upon arrival that she was married with two children.

It appears Maria’s good behaviour continued and she received her certificate of freedom in 1835 at the expiration of her seven-year term. After this time no marriage or death has been identified for her using any of the spellings of her name.

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