James Freeman, born 1801, at Eltham, Kent, was
a coachman for Mr Howe and drove a '4-in-hand' carriage. In 1825
he was convicted of stealing a black mare worth £10, and was
sentenced to be hanged. This was commuted to transportation for life
to Van Diemen's Land, where he arrived aboard the Bengal Merchant in
He was assigned to Mary, wife of John Lakeland
the Principal Superintendent of Convicts. In 1831 he was permitted
to withdraw £5 10s from his account in the Convicts' Savings
Bank2 and by 1832 was a javelin man to the sheriff (court attendant
who carried a spear). In 1833 he married Mary Ann Bowyer/Boyer, a
free settler who arrived aboard the female immigrant ship Princess
Royal in 1832. James received his conditional pardon in 1835
and his free pardon in 1839.3
James worked as a gardener and a carrier at different
times, and the family lived mainly in West Hobart. Between 1834 and
1858 their ten children were born, seven of whom lived to adulthood.
In late 1849 all family members except their son James William changed
their surname to 'Prince', presumably to conceal James' convict past and to enable the family to blend into the emerging free society.4
James William, a carrier, who married Mary Henderson, was the only
family member to remain in Tasmania, as his siblings left the island
for Victoria, Western Australia and New Zealand.
1. PRO ASSI 35/265/3 PFF 1950, Kent Gaol Calendar, for the Summer Assizes 25 July 1825, entry 22; AOT CON 18/1, No. 337; AOT ML5 Indent.
2. PRO Reel 252, CO 280/36 p. 120; Enclosure No. 6 Return of cash received from convicts... 1831; Enclosure in Arthur's dispatch No 51, 10 October 1832.
3. AOT RGD 36 Hobart 2122/1833; CP No 693, 9 March 1835; FP 427, 3 June 1839.
4. Mercury, 10 April 1871; All Saints Church burial register; AOT NS 349/30 Holy Trinity Burial Register.