[Home] [Membership Application] [Search] [Contents] [Biographies Index]

IFHAA Biographies Library

Andrew Snowden
Convict Transportee per Pitt in 1791
                              Submitted by
Vicki Smith


My Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandparents arrived in Australia over 200 years ago. They both were convicted of crimes and transported to N.S.W.

Andrew Snowden (Snowdon) was convicted for break and steal on 23 March 1791 in the Assizes for the County of Surrey at Kingston-upon-Thames and sentenced to 7 years.

Parchment and paper documents in box No ASSI94/1345 covering the Lent Assizes for Surrey in 1791 (found by English Researcher Stephen Wright) details Andrew Snowden's case as follows:

A ‘Calendar’ of the prisoners delivered to the Assize Court on 23 March 1791 for trial had been prepared by the County Sheriff who had brought them from the County Gaol:

Andrew Snowden had been committed the 24th day of August 1790 by William Winch Esq. (i.e. had been sent to gaol on that date by the named Justice of the Peace). He had been ‘charged on the oaths of William Dawson, James Bush and Thomas Hunt on violent suspicion of having, in the night between the 17th and 18th days of August instant in the Parish of St George’s Southwark broken into the house of that William Dawson and taken away four pairs of Nankeen Breeches, and ten pairs of stockings belonging to him’ The Justice had received sworn evidence from Dawson, Bush and Hunt that they strongly suspected Andrew of burglary.

(Nankeen Breeches were trousers made of a buff coloured cotton cloth originally made in Nanking, China)It then appears that a long delay occurred while details of the alleged crimes were investigated so it was not until 1791 that his trial took place. Certainly the list of items alleged at the trial to have been stolen differed somewhat from the initial list.

By law at that time, every case to be tried had to be reviewed beforehand by a ‘Grand Jury’ composed of Justices etc. to consider whether or not the evidence available was sufficient to warrant a trial rather than the release of the prisoner without charge. The ‘Indictment’ (formal statement of the charges) for Andrew’s trial had been marked on the reverse side ‘True Bill’, the traditional phrase indicating that the Grand Jury had decided that there was a need for the trial by jury to go ahead.

Four witnesses were sworn infor Andrew Snowden's trial, their names being listed below the words ‘True Bill’ as William Dawson, James Bush, Henry Alport and Thomas Hunt. The formal charge on the Indictment was that ‘Andrew Snowden, late of the Parish of St George, within the Borough of Southwark in the County of Surrey, Labourer’ had used force to break into the house of William Dawson at about 2am during the night of 17-18 August 1790 and had taken away ‘Three silver tablespoons of the value of 2 pounds, Four silver teaspoons of the value of 6 shillings, Four pairs of Nankeen Breeches of the value of 30 shillings and Four pairs of Worsted stockings of the value of 6 shillings’ the property of William Dawson. Andrew pleaded not guilty but was convicted, the nature of the evidence not being recorded in the surviving papers.

A Post-Trial Calendar states the outcome, as Andrew’s name is bracketed with various others as to sentence ‘ Convicted of Felony. Let them be severally Transported beyond the seas.....Andrew Snowden.....For the term of Seven Years....to such place as His Majesty, with the advice of the Privy Council, shall think fit to declare and appoint, pursuant to the Statute in each case made and provided.’

(In 1979 another English researcher - A.J. McMillan - obtained details of Andrew Snowden's Trial in the ASSI 31 16. South East Circuit Agenda Book, 1789-92. Details are very similar - with the addition of another man, Henry Alport, who gave evidence against Andrew. The document also states 'Jury say guilty of stealing to the value of 39/-. Not guilty of breaking and entering the dwelling house. No goods. To be transported beyond the seas for the term of seven years'.)

Andrew was transported on the "Pitt", which was part of the 4th Fleet. (The 'Pitt' was built in 1780 on the Thames, was 775 tons. She was the largest vessel to have come with convicts to Australia carrying 410 convicts (352 men and 58 women) on her only voyage to N.S.W. - 5 escaped, 29 died (20 men and 9 females). The ship sailed from Yarmouth on 17 July 1791 - the voyage taking 212 days - arriving 14 February 1792. The master was Edward Manning, the Surgeon ? Jameson.) This voyage is well documented in "The Convict Ships" by Charles Bateson. Andrew Snowden and family are written up in "Fourth Fleet Families of Australia" by C.J.Smee.

Andrew Snowden was born 3 November 1771 at Southwark, London and christened 1 December 1771 at St George the Martyr Church at Southwark. His parents were Andrew and Dorothy Snowden (No record of Marriage on I.G.I.) Andrew Snr was a Soldier and the family lived at Lombard St in 1757 and 1771. An Andrew Snowden was born 1748c at Southwark (I.G.I.)

Nothing is known of Andrew Snowden's life for the first eight years he was in the Colony. He was listed under List 6 - List of Persons 1801 AF 323 322 - Andrew Snowden N Pitt (ref - Musters and Lists NSW & Norfolk Island 1800-1802). From the Australian Archives there is a list of Convict Clothing Allowance 1790-1800 which describes the clothing usually provided for the use of convicts. The males were allotted two jackets, one waistcoat, one pair of breeches, two shirts, one hat, one woolen cap, two pair of shoes and two pair of stockings. The females got one striped jacket, one striped petticoat, one hat, two flannel petticoats, three pairs of stockings, two pairs of shoes, two handkerchiefs, two caps - each set of clothing to be kept in a bag (also issued). I wonder how long this allotment was supposed to last!

From the Sydney Gazette 27 October 1805:
A quantity of wearing apparel found in the possession of Elizabeth Lily, was proved to be the property of I. Sutherland, a private in the NSW Corps, Who had been twice plundered by the fame villians, as acknowledged by Lemon, from whom the woman had received the property. This youthful miscreant declared the fact of having committed the last robbery by himself; but in his acknowledgement of the first implicated Evans, who not only accompanied him, but officiated as treasurer, and paid him his dividend. Another felony committed upon the property of A. Snowden was likewise proved against the prisoners; and in aggravation of the crime itself it appeared, that the latter was a fellow workman, employed bythe fame Gentleman, and in daily habits of intimacy and friendly intercourse. Lemon acknowledged the fact; and Evans likewise acknowledged that he had told him of it; but gave as a reason for keeping as a secret from Snowden, that he did not like to promote dissention among friends.

Lemon, not content with practising his villanies upon his friends and acquaintances, and whomsoever else chance had thrown in his way, at length threw himself into the arms of justice by a theft upon his Master, which tho' trivial bespoke him infamous, and justified suspicion of his guilt in crimes of which he had been indirectly challenged.

Evans, although a convict servant, was in the habit of receiving the most liberal encouragement from the Gentleman above mentioned, and besides his weekly subsistence, a pecuniary reward for his services as a good mechanic, at least equivalent to the wages demanded by the best free labourers; yet it now is manifest that indulgence has been shamefully abused, and generosity odiously repaid with imposition and neglect. - All the parties were remanded.

From the Sydney Gazette of 16 March 1806:
Among other depredations committed by the bush rangers lately absent, we hear of two boats, one a large one belonging to Richard Knight, a fettler, and the other a small one to A. Snowden, a carpenter. The building of J. Harris Esq at the swamp was robbed on Friday, and one of the delinquents seen on a small island in the channel; the measures adopted by the Officer of Police will we trust soon bring to a conclusion a system of depredation which cannot at all events be possibly of long continance.

From the Sydney Gazette of 16 March 1806:
Between the hours of 4 and 6 in the evening of Sunday last a robbery was affected in the house of Thos. Andrews, in Pitt's Row; and 9 1/2 guineas were taken out of a trunk, and between 40 and 50 dollars. Two men were the same evening apprehended on vehement suspicion of the offence, and several guineas being found about them, fully strengthened the suspicion for which they were in the first instance indented to the over caution of the principal in the fact. On Tuesday the above men, viz. A. Snowden and J. Evans were examined; and after a close of chain of presumptive evidence being taken on deposition, both were remanded.
Bench of Magistrates - Saturday March 15.

From the Sydney Gazette of 16 June1806:
Snowden and Caffery ( and not Evans as before mentioned) were brought forward re examination in the charge of breaking into and robbing the house of Thomas Andrews on Sunday last.
The evidence that appeared against Caffery was strong though circumstantial, and every opportunity was granted him of advancing every thing that might tend to defeat the evidence against him in the present stage of the business. Between 4 and 5 the above day very soon after Mr Andrews and his wife had walked out together, he called at the adjoining house, and after enquiring for a man next door further up the Row, requested permission to go through the house, in order to take the other by surprise; a mortice chisel was seen in his jacket pocket; he was absent about ten minutes; and then returning through the same house, was questioned as he had seen the person he wanted? to which he replied he had though actually he had not: - for rather unfortunately for him, the man he enquired for had been absent from home, and was returning just as the prisoner was going out. The prisoner did ask him a question or two, but these being not of any serious kind, were afterwards construed into an idle subterfuge. This person, who also saw the chisel in his pocket likewise thought him rather agitated, and desirous of going further: so that after the alarm had been given, and a chisel appearing to be the implement used in effecting the robbery, suspicion attached to the prisoner, who when taken had several guineas and dollars about him, in attempting to account for which he prevaricated repeatedly.
The presumptive evidence against Snowden was, that he was on the look-out at an opposite house when the offence was committed; and that several acquaintances of Mr. Andrews proceeding towards the house shortly after he had gone out of it, were accosted by Snowden, who informed them that nobody was at home, that Andrews and his wife were just stepped out towards the Hospital Wharf and that they might easily overtake them. These people went into the house where Snowden was; and thought from his answers to different questions that he also appeared a good deal confused. When apprehended the money found about him of the same kind as that which had been lost considerably strengthened the first suspicion; and in addition to this a half guinea with some particular marks was sworn to; - and the prisoners were remanded.

From the Sydney Gazette of 23 March 1806:
On Tuesday a Bench of Magistrates assembled before which Snowden and Caffery were again brought on the robbery committed in the house of T. Andrews. The evidence being rehearsed, & appearing perfectly clear and decisive, the prisoners were sentenced three years hard labour for the Crown in addition to their original term of transportation, and Caffery to receive 100 lashes.

23 March 1806 - Snowden and Caffrey, for a robbery, 100 lashes each and 3 years transportation in addition to their original term.

Both Andrew Snowden and Sarah Dart (Darke) are listed in the 1806 General Muster and Samuel Marsden's Female Muster. They were now Free by Servitude, Andrew being employed by the Pitt Loyalist Association at Parramatta, Sarah listed as concubine to Andrew Snoden (Snowden) with one male illegitimate child. Their first child was Andrew Jnr, born 9 March 1806 at Parramatta. Sarah Ann, their first daughter was born 3Aug1809, also born at Parramatta.

20 August 1809
The under-mentioned Letters are for delivery at my Office. Signed I. Nichols
By the 'Indispensible' - Andw Snowden.

According to Colonial Government Records Pre 1901, Andrew Snowdon on 24 November 1809 was granted 76 rods of land in the Main St of the township of Parramatta for an annual rent of five shillings a year by Lt. Gov Wm Patterson Esq. Details differ slightly on the Index & Registers of Land Grants & Leases - Location 7/447 Volume 2 where this land grant is documented.

In a Memorial to Colonial Governor Macquarie on 27January 1810 Andrew Snowden petitioned him saying he "has resided 15 years past on the alotment of ground this leave specifies and has been at an Expence and Labour on the same by part building a new house and many other conveniences. This petitioner has a Wife and two children, has been in this country eighteen years, free twelve years, and since my arrival in this country has allways behaved honest and industrious".

Records on 30 April 1810 report Andrew Snowden as having had to surrender land grant to Gov. Macquarie (Convicts & Pioneer History Book 2, Vol 1 by James McClelland).
On 5June 1810 Andrew Snowden was listed as Member of Parramatta Loyal Association (those who would be willing and available to take up Arms in the event of another armed Rebellion as happened at the Battle for Vinegar Hill on 4 March 1804. On 17July 1810 he was a signatory " to petition from Parramatta residents to R. Durie for erection of a public pound".

In the General Muster of 1811 both Andrew and Sarah are listed with all their relevent convict details as in 1806. (Andrew reference PRONO696 AO4476) (Sarah's reference N4363 1464). Sarah"s surname is spelt "Darts". There are two children mentioned with that surname - John and Leonard Darts, both born in the colony of N.S.W. (reference N5071 & N5070)

In the State Archives of NSW - register of pardons and ticket of leave Vol 1 pp 530-31 - Andrew Snowden received Certificate of emancipation February 1811. (Colonial Secretary papers 4/4427 COD 18). On 6 March 1811 he was mentioned as having received a spirit licence in February 1811. A month after being a juror, on 2 February 1812 at the inquest on Michael Wallis held at Parramatta.

A third child, a son Henry Davis was born 20 October 1811. Andrew married Sarah on 21 March 1812 at St. John's Parramatta. He was aged 44, she 35. In the 1814 General Muster Andrew Snowden is listed as Free and "off stores" and a landholder. Sarah Dark (sic) is also Free and "off stores", wife of Andrew Snowden with 3 children also "off stores".

Andrew was on list of persons holding licences for sale of wine and spiritous liquors on 7 August 1813, also on list of persons licensed as publicans for 1815 at Parramatta on 1 April 1815. On 24 June 1815 as a Publican of Parramatta - a General Order cancelling Snowden's licence for keeping a disorderly house was listed.

On 10 June 1815 Andrew Snowden was granted 50 acres of land in the district of Bringelly for the annual rent of one shilling. To be called Snowden's farm it was conditional on his cultivating 15 of these acres. This grant is documented on page 49 of Register 2 of the Index & Registers of Land Grants & Leases. There is also a map showing the location.

From th Sydney Gazette of 21 January 1815
Strayed, from Sydney; early in December last, a dark Bay Mare, 15 hands high, black mane, legs and tail, the tail docked - Whoever will bring the said Mare to Andrew Snowden, at Parramatta, will receive a Resard of Two Pounds.

From the Sydney Gazette of 17 February 1816
Stolen, from the House of Michael Murphy, at Prospect, on Thursday the 1st Instant, the following Notes, Viz. one drawn by Andrew Nash in favour of Michael Murphy, dated Jan 31, 1815, payable 12 months after date, for the sum of 90 pounds Currency, and witnessed by Andrew Snowden; a Note of Hand, payable in 18 months, for the sum of 100 pounds Currency, and also witnessed by Andrew Snowden; and a Note of Hand drawn by Joseph Phelps, in favour of Anthony Best or Bearer, three months after date, and due the 1st of last January, for 17 pounds Currency. Any person returning the above Notes to the Undersigned, or to Mr Andrew Nash, Parramatta, will receive Five Pounds Sterling Reward.
Signed Michael Murphy.

On 19 August 1819 Andrew was again a Juror at an inquest. This time the person was Thomas Gorman and the inquest was held at Parramatta.
A list of persons who tendered Supplies of Fresh Meat for the use of His Majesty's Stores was printed in the Sydney Gazette on Sat 20 March 1819. Mr Andrew Snowden of Parramatta suppled 2000 pounds on 10 April 1819.

The 1821 Bigge Report found at the Mitchell Library, Sydney states Andrew Snowden held 50 acres by grant (1821 Bigge J.T. report appendix p5509 B.T.box 25). Andrew was noted in the Colonial Government Records on 24 May 1821 as "Store receipts of for fresh meat paid at Parramatta". On 18 July 1822 was a "Signatory
to memorial from inhabitants and stockholders of Parramatta re common land on the Sydney road known as the Dog Traps". On 5 April 1823 Andrew was "On return of allotments in the town of Parramatta".

Between 1816 and 1825, five more children were born to Andrew and Sarah. Isabella b. 5 April 1816, Mary b. 20 February 1820, John b. 1822c and Henry b. 1824c (both died as infants) and Robert b. 1825. In the 1822 General Muster and Land & Stock Muster of N.S.W., Andrew Snowden is listed as licensed victualler at Parramatta. Also "by grant cleared ground 7 acres total held 50 acres, 16 head cattle, 1 hog, 20 bales grain in hand".

In the General Return of Allotments in the Town of Parramatta 1823, Andrew Snowden is listed at No 19 George St, his allotment being 90 perches, and valued at two pound, five shillings. There is a map of Parramatta in 1823 showing this allotment. On 23 August 1824 both Andrew Snr and Andrew Jnr petitioned His Excellency Sir Thomas Brisbane for a land grant. Andrew Snr states he is a "free Colonist that he has been thirty three years in this Colony. He has at this time thirty head of cattle much increasing and is very much distressed for a feed of pasture for them. " The Memorial also states "We hereby Certify that Andrew Snowden Snr is to our belief a very honest and well disposed family Man and an old inhabitant of Parramatta. As such we do respectfully recommend him to your Excellencys humane consideration" The Memorial has a signature Don Macleod Esq. A postscript signed by Samuel Marsden states "This petitioner is a man of some property and has a family to provide for." Andrew Jnr stated "being a Native of this Colony, nineteen years of age, who has never received any indulgence from Government, Your Memorialist therefore most humbly intreats that Your Excellency will be pleased to take his case into your kind consideration and give to him a proportionable grant of land for which your Excellencys humane kindness, Your Memorialist most humbly as in Duty bound will ever Pray". The Memorial also adds that "We hereby certify that Andrew Snowden Jnr is to our knowledge and belief a very Sober, and well instructed young man. We therefore in consideration of his good and steady conduct is by us recommended to Your Excellencys humane and kind Attention". A postcript in different handwriting states "This petitioner is a native of Parramatta - his father can assist him should he obtain a grant of land."

Both these Memorials were written in the same handwriting in a very ornate style. It appears that both Andrews were illiterate because the signatures are both the same, the style matching the handwriting of the Memorial. Andrew and Sarah's two youngest sons Andrew and Henry are mentioned in the 1825 muster but not in the 1828 one.

This is an extract of an article in the Sydney Gazette, Thursday March 4th, 1830 - "The following Address has been presented to A.C. Innes Esq. Superintendent of Police at Parramatta, by the inhabitants of that town.To A.C. Innes Esq. J.P.
Sir, As you are about to vacate the seat of Police Magistrate at this Station, we, the undersigned, being Landholders, Merchants, Dealers, Householders, & others, the Inhabitants of Parramatta & its districts, beg leave most respectively to assure you of our entire approbation of your conduct, whilst you have been amongst us & of that mild disposition & polite attention, manifested towards all classes of the inhabitants, & we further assure you of our best wishes for your happiness & prosperity, & we cannot divest our minds of the hope that the Executive Government will justly appreciate your fitness for a public situation."
Signed by 374 people including Andrew Snowden Snr & Jnr, Henry Snowden, & John Deane.
Andrew Snr is also buried at St. John's but appears not to have had a headstone. He died 1Nov1833 at Parramatta.


1998 - 2000 Copyright Notice: All files on this site are copyrighted by the Internet Family History Association of Australia (IFHAA) and/or their creator. They may be linked to but may not be reproduced on another site without specific permission from the IFHAA Coordinator. Although public information is not in and of itself copyrightable, the format in which they are presented, the notes and comments, etc., are. It is however, quite permissible to print or save the files to a personal computer for PERSONAL USE ONLY.

Last modified: May 20, 2006