Mary Ann Price (1829?-?)
by Libby Prescott
Mary Ann Price was born at sea in about 1829. The convict records give her native place as the East Indies. They also give her mother as Margaret and her brother as James. Her father’s identity is not mentioned, but he may have been in military service in India. Mary Ann spent little time in the East Indies, instead growing up in Glasgow.
As Mary Ann Cuthbertson, on 23 October 1847, she was convicted of theft of a green top coat and white counterpain bed mat and sentenced to 60 days imprisonment in the Police Court of Central Glasgow. According to the gaol report mentioned in her conduct register, she was married at the time. On 7 September 1849 the Sheriff Court of Lanarkshire sentenced Mary Ann Price (‘habite and repente a thief’) to 12 months’ imprisonment for the theft of 6 yards of Drugget cloth.
In 1851 she was living in Main Street Bridgeton, Glasgow, and working in a cotton mill. For two years previously she had been living with Richard Plumtree, a tailor. On 22 September 1851, Mary Ann, who gave her age as 20, was walking with Agnes McIndoe (17), a mill worker in Kelvinhaugh. Agnes lived with her parents, Robert (a saltweigher) and Ann, in Saltmarket Street Glasgow and had previously ‘walked out’ with Mary Ann’s brother (probably James, also a tailor, born in Ireland in 1826). They were accused of stealing one yard of Drugget cloth and 2 yards of cotton cloth which Mary Ann cut from pieces hanging outside the shop of John Horn & Co, drapers, of High Street Glasgow. On 22 December 1851 the Glasgow Burgh Court convicted Mary Ann of theft with a previous conviction and sentenced her to 7 years’ transportation. Agnes was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.
Mary Ann was transported to Van Diemen’s Land on the Sir Robert Seppings, a female convict transport carrying 220 convicts, leaving Woolwich on 18 March 1852 and arriving in Hobart Town on 8 July 1852. The Surgeon, L. T. Cunningham, recorded her suffering from Menorrhagia from 3-5 May (age 23), then Catarrh (age 22) from 29 June to 4 July.
On arrival Mary Ann was described a 22 years old with red hair, blue eyes and a sallow, deeply-freckled complexion, with medium features. She was 5 feet 1½ inches (156 cm) in height with’JB’ tattooed on the lower part of her left arm and a large mole at the side of her neck. She was single, a Roman Catholic, and could read but not write. Her occupation was cited as house maid and plain laundress. The Surgeon reported her ship character as ‘good’.
Mary Ann was initially sent to the Brickfields Hiring Depot (15 July 1852), then worked for W.H. Bowden at O’Brien’s Bridge (Glenorchy, 21 July 1852). She was convicted of absconding on 3 March 1853 and sentenced to six months’ hard labour. At the time she was pregnant and was delivered of illegitimate twins, Charles and Mary Ann Price, at the Female House of Correction on 2 July 1853. The babies both died of convulsions at Brickfields Nursery ten days later. Mary Ann then worked for Mrs Kenny in Barrack Street from 30 June 1854. She gained her ticket of leave on 31 October 1854 after serving a little over three years of her 7 year sentence. A conditional pardon was recommended for her on 27 January 1855 and was awarded on 18 December 1855.
On 10 January 1855 William Carrick applied to marry Ann. The marriage took place on 5 February 1855 at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church Hobart. He was painter and glazier by trade, his age given as 24, and she a servant aged 26. The witnesses were George Greenwood and Elizabeth Price. William was the eldest son of Robert, a glazier, and Janet Carrick of Tradeston, Glasgow, born in Barony on 1 July 1829. William had been tried on 12 January 1850 at Glasgow Court of Judiciary for stealing clothes and some foreign coin. He had previously been sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment for assault, so was this time sentenced to 7 years’ transportation. He arrived in Hobart Town on the Pestongee Bomangee on 31 July 1852, some three weeks after Mary Ann. He was a small, brown-haired, blue-eyed man, a Presbyterian who could read and write a little. His good behaviour led to his being granted a ticket of leave on 27 September 1853 and a conditional pardon on 17 July 1855. His trade led to his working for Thomas Harbottle, a painter and glazier with shops in Elizabeth Street.
Over the next eleven years or so Mary Ann and William had at least seven children:
William Robert (1855-1919) who became a painter and glazier in business with his father, married Mary Jane Finch (1878), had nine children, lived at 140 Brisbane Street Hobart and died there in his 65th year.
Jane (c1857-1901) who married John Miller in Bothwell (1877), lived in East Dundas and died in Zeehan after a long illness, aged 44, leaving ten children.
James (1858-1939) a painter who married Elizabeth Finch (1880), lived in Elizabeth Street North Hobart, had nine children, lost a leg in a motor lorry accident and lived later in life with his sister Mary at Battery Point.
Alexander (1860-1933) who married Minnie McLaren (1885), was convicted of theft, disturbing the peace and multiple cases of not paying maintenance for his nine children, and who died in Glen Huntley Victoria.
Mary Ann (later Mary Elizabeth) (1864-1937) who married Charles Willis (1887), had five children and lived in South Street Battery Point.
Peter Joseph (1866-1912), a drover who survived a snake bite on the West Coast, married Ada Ellen Somers (1905), had at least four children, lived at Franklin in the Huon and died of pneumonia at Hobart Hospital.
Patrick (c1868-?), who appears only in the Queen’s Orphan School records and may have died young.
Life did not run smoothly for the family over these years. Mary Ann took to theft and drinking again and had legal disputes with William over maintenance.
On 21 November 1861, Mary Ann (tried with ‘a drinking companion’ Mrs Taylor) was convicted and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment with hard labour for larceny of 30 yards of calico from Mr John Perkins’ shop. At the time she had four children (William Robert, Jane, James and Alexander). William was employed by the government at the lighthouse for £10 a month plus rations. Detective McGuire said that Mary Ann’s rent was paid and she had a pound a week for necessaries, but through her misconduct the family was destitute.
In October 1867 the 12-year-old son William Carrick of Watchhorn Street, a ‘youthful native of the colony’, was charged, along with two others, with having stolen a cedar box and sentenced to two months’ hard labour.
In February 1868 both William and Mary Ann Carrick were charged with larceny as bailees but were discharged for lack of evidence.
On 11 March 1868, Mary Ann was convicted of stealing a pair of tweed trousers from Rose Gray, a general dealer in Hobart Town, despite begging Mrs Gray to be let go as she had ‘four or five children’. She was sentenced this time to another six months imprisonment.
On 14 April 1869, Mary Ann took William to court for maintenance. William ‘expressed his willingness to take his wife back’ so the complaint was withdrawn.
On 23 November 1869, Mary Ann was charged, along with Jane Kay, with larceny of a purse and £3 in money from John Callow, a ‘man of colour’. She pleaded not guilty and was freed for lack of evidence, while Kay pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months’ hard labour. The Bench said: ‘it was more by good luck than good management that the prisoner Carrick got out of it’.
Less than four months later Mary Ann’s good luck failed her. On 2 March 1870, she was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for stealing a purse containing six £1 notes, 5 sovereigns and 1 shilling from James Babington. Her co-accused were Mrs Mary Troy, proprietor of the ‘Help-Me-Through-The-World Hotel’ in Liverpool Street, and Mrs Troy’s daughter Mary Ann Wooby. Mary Ann Carrick, referred to as ‘the red-headed woman’, was initially called as a witness, but was later charged on inconsistent evidence. Unfortunately for the three women a friend, John Power or Powell, a taylor, tried to bribe Babington to drop the charges. The jury found against the women despite their good character... Mary Ann ‘had conducted herself respectably for three years’. All were ‘deeply affected’ by the sentence.
On 15 March 1870 William Carrick was charged with leaving his children without means of support. The Mercury reported that Carrick was in receipt of wages of two guineas a week from Mr Harbottle and was living with a person named Ingram in Argyle Street. His wife was undergoing a sentence of three years. The children aged between 2 and 6 (presumably Patrick, Peter and Mary Ann) had been living in Goulburn Street in the care of an elder sister (Jane) but ‘would have starved had they not been supplied with food by the neighbours: they had been sleeping on the floor on a piece of sacking’. The three ‘meanly clad’ children were presented to the Court. The Stipendiary Magistrate told the defendant he ‘ought to be ashamed of himself to see his children in tatters, while he was well clothed’. An order was made for 15 shillings a week and the children were to be sent to the Cascades Factory. In mid June and again in mid July William was taken to Court for failing to pay maintenance for the children. He claimed that he had been unable to find work and had only earned 38/- since the time the order was made.
On 28 December 1870 six of the seven Carrick children... James (12), Jane (age given as 12, actually 14), Alexander (7?), Mary Ann (6), Patrick (2?) and Peter (4)... were admitted to the Queen’s Orphan School in New Town. Over the years they were there the children were awarded prizes at the school: Jane and Peter in January 1874, Alexander and Mary Ann in December 1874, Mary Ann in January and December 1876, P. Carrick in December 1876 and Mary A. in January 1877.
On 20 September 1872 Mary Ann, who was by then out of prison, had her case claiming maintenance against William declined and dismissed. Jane absconded from the Orphan School twice in May 1873 in order to see her mother who was back frequenting the ‘Help-Me-Through-The-World Hotel’. In discussing Jane’s case, members of the Board considered her to be ‘very troublesome’ and were concerned about the effect she was having on other children. She and Alexander were both punished severely for offenses. One member said that her father was ‘a capital tradesman’ who had paid £2.5.0. toward her contribution, but not recently. Jane was eventually apprenticed to David Reynolds at Old Beach from 6 Mar 1874 to 1 July 1875. Alexander was apprenticed to James Wilson on 19 May 1875. At some point James and Patrick were discharged to their father and Mary Ann and Peter to their brother, William Robert.
Jane’s visit in May 1873 appears to be the last mention of Mary Ann (Price) Carrick in the Tasmanian records.
William Carrick and his second wife Mary Ann Carrick (‘formerly Anderson’) had a son, John Edwin Carrick, born 19 September 1875. There is no marriage record. This Mary Ann (Anderson) Carrick, ‘painter’s wife’ aged 32, died of pulmonary consumption at her sister’s home in Battery Point on 2 August 1880.
William Carrick and his son William Robert continued to run a successful painting, plumbing and glazing business, painting, among many other buildings, the Hobart Town Hall and the Royal Exchange Hotel in Zeehan. By 1898 William Robert owned several house in Hobart.
William Carrick, ‘formerly of Glasgow’, died on 23 October 1904 at his son’s residence, 112 Brisbane Street Hobart, aged 74 years. He was buried at Cornelian Bay Cemetery.
Chris Leppard-Quinn, 'Born at Sea', in From the Edges of Empire, eds L. Frost and C. McAlpine, Convict Women’s Press, Hobart, 2015, pp. 249-253.
© 2016 Convict Women's Press Inc.