Ann Thomas (1791?–1856?)

by Alison Alexander

 

Ann Thomas was born in Paris in about 1791. At some stage she came to England and married a coachman, and in 1841 she was living with him in Exeter, aged fifty. She was tried for obtaining goods under false pretences, and sentenced to 14 years’ transportation. ‘A French woman’, was noted on her record, the only evidence of any Frenchness.

Ann was transported to Van Diemen’s Land on the Garland Grove, leaving England on 10 October 1841, and arriving in Hobart on 23 June 1841. The surgeon described her as ‘quiet’. In Van Diemen’s Land she was assigned to the Rev Rochford Grange, the Anglican clergyman at Clarence Plains. A well-behaved convict, a Frenchwoman who described herself as a cook—Grange was lucky. In 1845 Ann obtained a ticket of leave, and in 1848 Joseph Ashbury applied to marry her, but no wedding resulted. Ann’s ticket of leave was revoked in 1852, so she must have committed some offence, but in 1855 she became free by servitude. Since her name is not unusual, identification cannot be certain, but she could be the Ann Thomas who died in Hobart in 1856, aged 58.

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