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Jonathon Dart was born 26 May 1798, Christopher’s Alley, Shoreditch, London England. He was christened on 30 September 1798, St Leonards, Shoreditch. His parents were Henry Dart and Catherine Hobson.
On 20 February 1820, 4th Session, Old Bailey no. 508: John Dart, Robert Chandler, John Duke and James Richards, were indicted for stealing 13lbs of veal, value 9 shillings, and one machine cloth, value 5 shillings.
Whipped and Discharged First Middlesex Jury, before J Vaillant Esq.
- JONATHON DART : Guilty, aged 21
- ROBERT CHANDLER : Guilty
- JOHN DUKE : Guilty, aged 16
- JAMES RICHARDS : Guilty
Jonathon married Bridget Keeven at St Leonards, Shoreditch on 23 May 1820. Witnesses to their marriage being Sophia Squires and John Taft.
The following year Jonathon was brought into custody on the 31 May 1821. On the 7 June 1821, their daughter Elizabeth was born and Christened at St Luke, Old Street, Finsbury, London. (Nothing else is known of this daughter. She was alive when Jonathon was sentenced to transportation, as it was stated that he had a wife and 1 child living at 2 Gloucester Court, White Cross Street). On the following day, 8 June 1821, Jonathon was brought before the Old Bailey.
Friday 8 June 1821, 5th session Old Bailey no. 731 - John Dart and 21 others (10 women and 11 men) were severally and separately indicted for having in their custody and possession, forged Bank notes, knowing them to be forged. The prisoners severally pleaded GUILTY.
Transported for 14 years Before Mr. Justice Bayley, and Mr. Baron Garrow
Friday 8 June 1821, 5th Session Old Bailey no. 732, the same prisoners were again indicted for disposing of and putting away certain forged Bank notes, with intent to defraud the Governor and company of the Bank of England. Mr. Sergeant Bosanquet on the part of the Governor and Company of the bank of England, declined offering any evidence. NOT GUILTY - Before Mr Justice Bayley, and Mr Baron Garrow.
A physical description of Jonathon from official records of 1821; Height 5’ 4½", Fair complexion, Brown hair, Grey eyes, Stout made. Occupation - Calico Glazier.
Jonathon was removed on the 28 June 1821 from Newgate Prison to the “Bellersphon” Hulk at Sheerness. He was transported aboard the convict ship “Lord Hungerford” which departed England in July 1821 and arrived at Hobart, Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) on 26 Dec 1821.
Almost a year later on 4 November 1822 in the Penal Colony, it was noted that Jonathon was "Absent from Muster and Church". He was reprimanded for this misdemeanour. The punishment handed out the next time he erred was not so light. On 5 December 1822, he was charged with "Going aboard ship General Yates with intent to escape the Colony". He found himself awarded 50 lashes and returned to the Public Works Gang. This punishment it would seem, was enough to set him on the straight and narrow as he was not charged again until 22 April 1831. Back in Shoreditch England, Jonathon’s wife Bridget came before the Old Bailey.
Bridget Dart was indicted for Stealing on 24 May 1822. The judgement was NOT GUILTY.
Determined to be transported to be with her husband, Bridget came before the courts again in 1826. She was indicted for Stealing on 23 February 1826. She said “I tried to come out free, but could not get leave. I committed this offence in order to come out to my husband. GUILTY - Transported for seven years.
She arrived in Hobart Town, Van Diemens Land on the convict ship "Sir Charles Forbes" on 3 January 1827.
In 1827 she was assigned to her husband. Together at last! The 1828 census states that John Dart was living at Tea Tree, a householder and his landlady was Mrs Lamprill.
Their first son, John was born 3 January 1829 at Bagdad. More children were born over the years; Bridget, Thomas, Susan, Catherine and Henry.
Jonathon was reprimanded for neglecting to attend Divine Service and Muster at Bagdad on Sunday 17 April 1831. His "Conditional Pardon" was granted in February 1832.
In 1832, Bridget was assigned to Mr D. Ballantyne and on 6 April 1833, she was Free By Servitude. Both were now free persons.
On 19 October 1888, Jonathon died and his final resting place is St Marks, Pontville, Tasmania. His obituary sums up the full circle his life had turned and what he had become, since leaving England as a convict.
Hobart Mercury 27 Oct. 1888; "Dart - Gone to his rest on 19 Oct. 1888, at is son-in-law’s residence, Cambridge, Tas. Jonathon, an old and respected Colonist of 67 years".
No record has been found to date on Bridget's death or final resting place.
Submitted by : Valerie Williams, Member WFHG, 20 February 2010