James Cumberland

Originally transported from his native home of Walthamstow for stealing geese, James Cumberland was re transported from Sydney on the convict ship 'Louisa' in 1846 for the manslaughter of his pregnant wife, Anne. James originally travelled to New South Wales aged 21 aboard the Prince of Orange with his brother John Cumberland aged 22 on 2 October 1820. They were both tried on 17 July 1820 at Essex Assizes. He received a certificate of freedom in 1827. James was a butcher in Penrith and was described as having a dark complexion, grey hair, hazel eyes and very hairy arms. James was later charged with the manslaughter of Ann Connell his wife who was a regular in the courts for drunkenness. On one instance, 30 December 1844, she was found at 1 am in the street at Penrith by constables Cavanagh and White, under the influence of
the “rosy god”. When trying to take her in their charge she began abusing them with unseemly language. She had previously been before the court for the same charge on 18 December 1844! On the day before her death she was again bought before the bench and fined 30s for drunkenness. She paid the fine and returned to find husband James was not home so she went again to a public house and became intoxicated. A neighbour returned her home late in the evening, James, now home, was likewise under “spiritual influence”. Ann was left under the veranda. A short time later James was seen to drag her inside and kick her. They had a reputation for quarrelling so no one interfered. A while later James went to the neighbours stating he thought Ann was dead. The neighbour returned to find a quantity of blood on the floor and Ann dead out the back. The surgeon who examined Ann found her to be six months pregnant, her womb ruptured by a kick or blow causing immediate death. James was found guilty of manslaughter by the jury and committed for trial. James was tried in Sydney on 10 October 1846 and received life. His conduct record states his age to be 32 when he arrived in Van Diemen’s Land in 1846, but it appears this is incorrect. After serving his probationary sentence, James worked for George Gellibrand at South Arm where he died from heart disease on 19 June 1853 aged 53.

Tasmanian Archives & Heritage Office - Convict records: CON 37/1/3 00195 (Image 195) CON 16/1/3 00332
(image 332)
Port Jackson Convicts Anthology by Lesley Uebel CD ROM
The Australian 9 January 1845, page 3
Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer 10 October 1846, page 4