Louisa Morris (1775?-?)
by Cheryl Griffin
Although Louisa Morris was born in Philadelphia, no trace of her life in America has been found. The first mention of her in the official record is on 18 July 1829 when she was tried at the Middlesex Gaol Delivery and sentenced to 7 years’ transportation for stealing from the person. This was not her first offence: previously she had served three months in a house of correction. She had also been tried and acquitted on the charge of receiving stolen goods.
Louisa was 44 years old when she was sentenced and was by trade a cook. When she left London for Hobart on 7 November 1829, she left behind five children. It is not known how old they were or whether they were living in America or London.
She arrived in Van Diemen’s Land on board the Eliza on 24 February 1830. Her gaol report stated that she was well behaved, but Louisa had a problem with alcohol and was suffering from poor health and in July 1831 she was returned to the ‘Service of the Government’ by her master John Ibbott, licensee of the ‘Old Black Boy’ at Cove Hill, Old Beach (in the Brighton area) with the words ‘Perfectly useless in a Public House from her Age and Infirmities’.
Her next assignment, to Mark Solomon, formerly a constable but now a dealer in wine and spirits in Hobart, was brief. In September 1831, she was firstly admonished for being ‘drunk in her service’ then a month later was admitted to the Hobart Hospital with an unknown illness and remained there for ten days. Shortly after her discharge she was moved to the employ of a Mr Chapman where she was punished several times for being drunk.
In March 1832 she was admitted to the Colonial Hospital from the House of Correction and died there on 25 March 1832, aged about 47.
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