Elizabeth Leslie (1786–?)

by Maureen Mann


Elizabeth Leslie, transported for 7 years on the Sovereign in 1829 for stealing stuffs (24 yards of moreen) or shop lifting, was born in either 1784 or 1786. Her trial was at the Old Bailey on 23 October 1828. There is some confusion about her place of birth. According to her convict indent and her certificate of freedom, she was born in Edinburgh. Her ticket of leave, however, gives her place of birth as Quebec, America (sic). It is possible, therefore, that she was born in Quebec and raised in Scotland.

Elizabeth could read and write, was married with three children and was a Protestant. She had two previous convictions. Physically she was 5 feet 2½ inches (158.75 cm) tall, with a ruddy complexion, brown to grey hair and grey eyes. Scars on her face were on the bridge of her nose, under her chin and on the left side under her lip.

The Sovereign sailed under the captaincy of William McKellar with George Fairfowl the ship’s surgeon. On arrival in Sydney on 3 August 1829 after a voyage of 102 days, Elizabeth was assigned to Mrs Meyers, Castlereagh Street, Sydney. She had given her trade as lady’s maid, housekeeper, cook and laundress.

Her ticket of leave was issued in the district of Bathurst, but later cancelled for drunkenness. Her certificate of freedom was dated 16 April 1836.

On 21 February 1838, Giles Sedden, who had arrived per Canada in 1819, applied for permission to marry Elizabeth. James Blackman employed both; Giles as a sawyer, Elizabeth’s trade was not recorded. Henry Fulton, chaplain of Castlereagh Church, stated that he had met the man’s employer on the road and the latter gave consent, but because Elizabeth had stated on arrival that she was married with three children permission was refused.

There are several deaths for women named Elizabeth Leslie, but none is the right age. No death registration has been located for an Elizabeth Seddon.

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