Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Prisoner Thomas ARCHER alias Thomas SMITH or James SMITH 1875

PRISONERS named "James SMITH" and ALIASES
PRISONER IDENTIFICATION PHOTOGRAPHS by T. J. NEVIN
REDUNDANCIES and ERRORS in PUBLIC ARCHIVES

Thomas ARCHER alias Thomas SMITH or James SMITH
Two copies of this one image of a prisoner identified on numerous transportation, gaol and police records as Thomas Archer, alias Thomas Smith or James Smith, are extant in public collections. All three names are associated with the prison ships John Calvin (to NSW) and Tory (from Norfolk Island to Hobart, VDL). Whether the prisoner in this image was known to the police administration as Thomas Archer alias Thomas Smith or James Smith, he was photographed just once at the Hobart Gaol in July 1875. His image was produced at the one and only sitting with government contracted photographer Thomas J. Nevin from his glass negative, and duplicated for police records. One of these copies, most likely the copy held at the Archives Office of Tasmania, was reproduced for print publication or exhibition in the 20th century.

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery copy



Prisoner: Thomas ARCHER alias Thomas SMITH
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin, July 1875
Location: Hobart House of Corrections (Hobart Gaol)
TMAG Ref: Q15583

Number on recto: this mugshot of prisoner identified as Thomas Smith was mounted as a carte-de-visite when first printed in 1874-75, but it was numbered "43" on the recto when it was removed from the John Watt Beattie Collection at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston in 1983 for an exhibition at the Port Arthur prison heritage site on the Tasman Peninsula. It was not returned to the Beattie Collection at the QVMAG in Launceston, as it should have been, it was deposited instead at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart (TMAG), along with at least fifty (50) more cdvs of prisoners similarly numbered. The original photographs of these men were taken by professional photographer Thomas J. Nevin in the 1870s on contract for daily use by police and prisons administration. The QVMAG list (2005) showed a total of 199 mugshots, but only 72 were physically held at the QVMAG when the list was devised. At least 127 mugshots were missing by 2005.



Verso. Prisoner: Thomas ARCHER alias Thomas SMITH
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin, July 1875
Location: Hobart House of Corrections (Hobart Gaol)
TMAG Ref: Q15583

Number on verso: this cdv was numbered "153" on the verso much earlier, in the early 1900s when it was removed from the Hobart Gaol and Municipal Police Office registry and inscribed verso by Beattie et al with the wording "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" along with more than a hundred of these original mugshots taken by government contractor T. J. Nevin in the 1870s. J. W. Beattie, as the government photographer by 1900 who was contracted to promote Tasmania's penal heritage, sent this mugshot of James Smith or Thomas Archer alias Smith - among many dozens more - for inclusion in travelling exhibitions associated with the fake convict hulk Success at Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide. On Beattie's death in 1930, the QVMAG acquired this travelling set of Tasmanian mugshots, removed each from the cardboard to which they were pasted, and exhibited them in 1934 at Launceston as part of the estate of John Watt Beattie's convictaria collection.

The Archives Office of Tasmania copy
This copy of the photograph taken from the one capture at a single sitting by Thomas J. Nevin of the prisoner Thomas Archer, alias Thomas Smith is held at the Archives Office of Tasmania with the name of James Smith. The slight vertical dark mark at the edge of the oval mount at right suggests it was coupled next to another image or object when reproduced, not in the 1870s when police used duplicates from Nevin's single glass negative for their Photo Books and the Gaol's blue rap sheets, but decades later.



LINC Tasmania APA citation: “James Smith, Convict transported per John Calvin.
Photograph taken at Port Arthur by Thomas Nevin.”

Prisoner James Smith per ships Calvin (to Norfolk Island) and Tory to (VDL)
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin, Hobart Gaol, December 1874
Archives Office Tasmania Ref: 30/3256

Trials and sentences from 1855 to 1884
In the Remarks column of this record (below) which documents the prisoner transported as Thomas Archer but later convicted as Thomas Smith, is the note:
For former history vide Thomas Archer per John Calvin
After his arrival in Van Diemen's Land in September 1846, and at the termination of his initial sentence of ten years, Thomas Archer as Smith was regularly incarcerated for periods of eight or ten years for burglary and larceny. This record document records his trials and sentences between 1855 and 1884.

Thomas Archer as Smith was imprisoned and released from 1855 to 1859 at the Prisoners Barracks and Port Arthur, and then tried as Thomas Smith at the Supreme Court, Hobart on 23 July 1862 for burglary, sentenced to eight (8) years. The Judge at trial advised the prisoner should serve the full sentence.

As soon as Thomas Archer as Smith was released, he was arrested again and tried at the Supreme Court Hobart on 6th July 1869 for housebreaking and larceny. He was sentenced to another eight (8) years imprisonment.

The Governor in Council remitted the residue of Thomas Archer alias Smith's sentence on 19th July 1875.  He was released to freedom on 24th July 1875 from the House of Corrections, Campbell St. Hobart. Government contractor Thomas J. Nevin photographed Thomas Archer alias Thomas Smith between the 19th and 24th July 1875 as soon as Archer's sentence was remitted.

It seems June and July were Thomas Archer's preferred time of the year for his chosen criminal vocation - burglary. Less than a year after release to freedom in July 1875, he was tried again at the Supreme Court Hobart, on 8th June 1876 for burglary and larceny and sentenced to ten (10) years imprisonment.

Once more released to freedom, he was tried at the Supreme Court Hobart nine years later, on 25 March 1884 for burglary and sentenced to another 10 (ten) years imprisonment.



Remarks on this record :
For former history vide Thomas Archer per John Calvin
Prisoner Thomas ARCHER alias Thomas SMITH
Archives Office of Tasmania
Link: https://stors.tas.gov.au/CON37-1-8$init=CON37-1-8P434

Transportation and Port Arthur records
Names: Smith, Thomas
Record Type: Convicts
Employer: Degraves, Charles: 1854
Additional identifier: 2
Departure date: 9 May 1846
Departure port: Woolwich
Ship: John Calvin
Voyage number: 371
Remarks: Off Norfolk Island per Tory Jun 1847
Index number: 66197
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1436039
Conduct Record: CON33/1/88
Employment: CON30/1/2 Page 330
Indent: CON14/1/37 Page 162

Name: Archer, Thomas
Record Type: Convicts
Also known as: Smith, Thomas
Departure date: 9 May 1846
Departure port: Woolwich
Ship: John Calvin
Voyage number: 371
Remarks: Off Norfolk Island per Tory Jun 1847
Index number:1327
Record ID: NAME_INDEXES:1369338
Conduct Record: CON33/1/88
CON37/1/8 Page 2837
CON94/1/1 Page 316
CON94/1/1 Page 316 (cont.)
CON94/1/2 Page 33
Indent: CON14/1/37 Page 124
CON14/1/37 Page 125 (cont.)



Prisoner Thomas ARCHER alias Thomas SMITH
Archives Office of Tasmania
Link: https://stors.tas.gov.au/CON33-1-88$init=CON33-1-88P3



Prisoner Thomas ARCHER alias Thomas SMITH per John Calvin
Archives Office of Tasmania
Link: https://stors.tas.gov.au/CON94-1-2$init=CON94-1-2p65

This record of Thomas Archer's earnings is transcribed with the note:
"Discharged to Freedom 23 July 1875"

POLICE GAZETTE RECORDS
The police gazette records which list a prisoner's place of discharge from "Port Arthur" are misleading. On this discharge notice, for example, Thomas ARCHER as Thomas Smith per John Calvin was listed second from top as released from Hobart Town in the week ending 28th July 1875, no physical details provided, Free in Servitude, received from Port Arthur. Further down on the same list, third from bottom,  he is recorded again as released from Port Arthur, native place Essex. The gaol book gives more detail: he was granted a remit of sentence on the 19th July 1875 by the Governor in Council, and released to freedom on 24th July from the House of Corrections (Hobart Gaol), Campbell Street, Hobart (see record above - CON37-1-8 Image 434)



Prisoner Thomas Archer alias Thomas Smith was photographed and discharged from the Hobart Gaol in the week ending 28 July 1875.
Source: Tasmania Information  for Police (weekly police gazette).

Addenda
Errors made by the 19th century administration which recorded the prisoner's first convictions; errors made by archivists cataloguing those same documents decades or even centuries later; the inevitability of aliases used by any convicted criminal who claims to have been born with the name "James Smith" - all these pitfalls return the sorts of confusions which a researcher seeking the history of family members long dead may well pursue to the end of their days, but which a frustrated researcher may well ask - "Is it really worth it?" For example: - 

1. WHO WAS THIS JAMES SMITH?
This James Smith who was sentenced to 12 months for perjury in December 1874 could not have been the same James Smith who was not released to freedom until July 1875, yet these two records are conflated as if there was just one prisoner called James Smith.
James SMITH: CONDUCT RECORD
Surname Smith Given names James
Colony Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island
Sentence term 15
Ship John Calvin
Tried at York Special Assizes
Record extract Convicted at York Special Assizes for a term of 15 years. Gender m

Surname SMITH
Given names James
Ship John Calvin
Departure date 9 May 1846
Arrival in NSW year 1837
Date record 20 Mar 1845
Record summary Certificate of Freedom
Additional information TL 41/945
Citation [4/4397; Reel 1019]
Gender m




This James Smith was employed by Charles Degraves in 1852. The ship on which he arrived at NSW - Norfolk Island - was the John Calvin, then to Hobart on the Tory, arriving June 1847.This James Smith was given permission to marry Mary Haneen on 18 December 1855.

2. IS THIS THE SAME MAN?
Convict Records (held by State Library of Queensland)
John Calvin, 09 May 1846
Link: https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/john-calvin/1846

Thomas Archer, one of 200 convicts transported on the John Calvin, 09 May 1846
Thomas Archer Central Criminal Court
Sentence term: 10 years
Ship: John Calvin
Departure date:9th May, 1846
Arrival date:21st September, 1846
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island

3. IS THIS Thomas ARCHER aka James SMITH?
James Smith, one of 200 convicts transported on the John Calvin, 09 May 1846
York Special Assizes
Sentence term: 15 years
Ship: John Calvin
Departure date: 9th May, 1846
Arrival date: 21st September, 1846
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island
Community Contributions
Anonymous on 15th October, 2011 wrote: James was convicted at York, England on 6 Dec 1845 for robbery - 15 yr transportation sentence. Travelled on the ‘John Calvin’ to Norfolk Island (for 13mths) then to van Diemens Land (Tasmania) on ‘Tory’ arriving 21 Sep 1846. He was assigned to various locations and coal mines and sent to Port Arthur Penal Settlement for assault on a police officer. He received his Ticket of Leave in 1855 and Conditional Pardon in 1857. He married an Irish convict, Mrs. Mary Hanneen (or Hannon) in 1856. (She had 2 children back in Ireland and also an illegitimate child in Tasmania who was subsequently raised as one of the family.) It is known they had at least 4 children. They lived in the Oatlands, midlands of Tasmania and appear to have been highly regarded. He died 86 yrs and is buried in the R.C. section of the Oatlands cemetery.
Link: https://convictrecords.com.au/convicts/smith/james/24345

4. Thomas SMITH or James SMITH?
Thomas Smith, one of 200 convicts transported on the John Calvin, 09 May 1846
Central Criminal Court
Sentence term:15 years
Ship:John Calvin
Departure date: 9th May, 1846
Arrival date:21st September, 1846
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island
Thomas Smith, one of 200 convicts transported on the John Calvin, 09 May 1846
Crime: Robbery with violence
Convicted at:Central Criminal Court
Sentence term: Life
Ship:John Calvin
Departure date: 9th May, 1846
Arrival date: 21st September, 1846
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island
Community Contribution:
Thomas was charged and found guilty at the CCC London on 5 Jan 1846 of obtaining a 10 pound note, using weapons, from Thomas Phillips, Camberwell, London. Found guilty and sentenced to Life transportation. His wife was stated as Mrs. Ann Jones and she said they were married at Towcester, Northamptonshire. It seems "Smith" was not his correct name. (CCC court ref. t18460105-452). Tas Archives Convict record indent also states his proper name is "James Hales". Native place ‘Tochester’- but this may read Towchester. Wife-Ann; Father - Stephen; Brother-Samuel; Sisters -Ann, Lucy. Protestant, could read & write, 5 4 1/4", brown hair, blue eyes.
Married.
Escaped from hulk in Portsmouth. Convict record shows he absconded several times and charged with misconduct. Ticket of Leave 18 June 1861 but later revoked. 4 Mar 1862 listed as absent. Spent time on Norfolk Island and van Diemen’s Land. (Ref. Tasmanian Convict Conduct & Indent records.)
Link: https://convictrecords.com.au/convicts/smith/thomas/27973

5. WHO was this James SMITH ?
This James Smith who was sentenced to 12 months for perjury in December 1874 could not have been the same James Smith who was not released to freedom until July 1875.

1874, December: James Smith, 12 months for perjury

LAW INTELLIGENCE.
SUPREME COURT. CRIMINAL SITTINGS.
SECOND DAY-WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2ND, 1874. -
FIRST COURT.
Before His Honor Sir FRANCIS SMITH, Chief Justice.
The ATTORNEY-GENERAL prosecuted on behalf of the Crown.

PERJURY.
James Smith was charged with having, on the 22nd September last, wilfully committed perjury, by giving certain evidence in the case of an information heard against a publican named Henry P. Ryder, and knowing at the same time such evidence to be untrue.

The prisoner conducted his own defence.

It appeared from the evidence that at the hearing of the information against Ryder, on the 22nd September last, the prisoner had made certain statements as a witness in Ryder's behalf. Ryder was charged with having received a watch from one John Fahey as pledge over the bar for drink, in lieu of money. The prisoner had sworn on oath that the watch had been sold by Fahey to Ryder in his (the prisoner's) presence.

Edward Cahill, Council Clerk at New Norfolk, produced the depositions of the prisoner, as given by him in the charge against Ryder, heard before Messrs. Jamieson and Huston, J.s.P., on the 22nd September last.

John Pain deposed to having gone into Ryder's Inn on the day in question, without any money. He asked Ryder for beer, and wanted him to trust him. He saw the prisoner in the bar. He appeared to be drunk. Witness and Ryder went into the parlour, leaving prisoner in the bar. Witness in the parlour tendered a watch to Ryder, in the presence of Mrs. Ryder and a man named Burt. The prisoner at the time being in the bar. After that witness returned to the bar, and got a considerable quantity of beer.

Thomas Smith gave somewhat similar evidence Henry Ryder deposed to the same facts.

In cross-examination by His HONOR, Ryder admitted that it might be possible for a person to see from the bar into the parlour.

His HONOR in summing up went over the facts of the case. He commented forcibly on the conduct of Ryder throughout the transaction, and directed the jury, that if they believed the prisoner had seen any action such as the handing over of the watch to Ryder, or the passing of money, they should give the prisoner the benefit of this belief.

After a brief consultation the jury returned with a verdict of " guilty," accompanied by a recommendation to mercy, believing the prisoner to be the dupe of the man Ryder.

His HONOR said that he believed the prisoner had been led away. He was one of those men who habituated public-houses and had not been particular as to what he had sworn. But taking into consideration the facts connected with the case, and the recommendation to mercy of the jury, the sentence of the court was that he be imprisoned for 12 calendar months.
Source: Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), Thursday 3 December 1874, page 2

When James Smith appeared in the Criminal Court, Hobart 2 December 1874 and sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment, he appeared in the same session as James Geary who was sentenced in February 1874. Another prisoner sentenced to death in the same session for murder was George Williams (no photograph, and no execution?)

CRIMINAL COURT, HOBART TOWN The sittings of the Court were resumed on Wednesday... In the Second Court, before Mr Justice Dobson, George Williams, accused of the murder of his wife, was found guilty, and sentenced to a death. James Smith, wilful perjury, found guilty with a recommendation to mercy, sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment. James Geary, horse stealing at Bothwell was found guilty and sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment.
Source: Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), Saturday 5 December 1874, page 3
PERJURY
James Smith was charged with having committed wilful perjury in the New Norfolk Police-court in an information filed against Mr. Ryder, a licensed victualler. The perjury consisted in prisoner having sworn that Mr. Ryder had given money and beer to a man named Fahey for a watch, and that the transaction took place at the bar of a public house. Ryder was charged with having received a pledge for drink.
Prisoner pleaded not guilty.
Up to a late stage of the case the particulars were devoid of the slightest interest. It appeared that the case arose out of a drunken bout.
Prisoner asserted the prosecution was a conspiracy, and he called Mr. Ryder as a witness. His evidence came to this: that he had made the best statement he could for himself, and that he had allowed the prisoner before the New Norfolk magistrates to state what he knew to be untrue.
The Solicitor-General, in closing the case, said Ryder was as bad, if not worse that the prisoner, for he admitted that he had been guilty of subornation of perjury.
His Honour in summing up to the jury said they would have to be satisfied that the prisoner, in addition to having sworn what was false - for there was little doubt upon that point - but that he knew it was false, and that he designedly and wilfully swore what he knew to be false. After reviewing the evidence of the various witnesses, His Honour left it to the jury to say what weight was to be attached to it....
Source: SECOND COURT. (1874, December 3). The Tasmanian Tribune p. 3.
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article201486897

6. Thomas ARCHER as Thomas SMITH or James SMITH?
https://www.digitalpanopticon.org/life?id=btr24344
Old Bailey Proceedings 1740-1913
Record ID obpdef1-452-18460105
Trial text at oldbaileyonline.org
Data created by Old Bailey Online
5th January 1846
Surname SMITH
Given names THOMAS
Age 24 Birth year 1822 Gender m
Occupation
Offence category violent theft: robbery
Verdict category guilty
Sentence category transport
Sentence term 99
Victim's name Thomas Phillips
Offence date 14th of Dec
Offence details that he, with a certain other person, being armed with offensive weapons, viz. pistols and daggers, did assault Thomas Phillips, on the 14th of Dec, putting him in fear and robbing him, from his person and against his will, of 1 10l. Bank note, his property;
Punishment summary: Transported for Life Old Bailey Online reference ID t18460105-452


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