Alexander Croote (1785-1872)

Alexander Croote was the oldest of the three men convicted of stealing Mr Prickman's sheep at Broadnymett. Croote had a long association with that farm, having been an apprentice there to George Powsland thirty years before.


He was married to Ann (nee Hawkins), born in North Tawton in 1791. They had, according to the Australian Convict records, two sons. One of them, William, born in 1833 (possibly while they were living at Broadnymett) later had a family and lived in Bovey Tracey where he was a clay cutter.


Alexander was Protestant, a farm labourer.  5’ 3½“, Ruddy, freckled complexion. Brown hair, light hazel eyes, Carroty whiskers, lost a front upper tooth, point of nose sharp.

 

With William Coombe, he was first taken to the hulk Justitia at Woolwich, then transported on the "John Barry" which left Torbay on 20 Sep 1835 with 320 male convicts. She arrived at Port Jackson on 17 January 1836.

 

It seems that he didn't remarry. It is known that he received mail, probably from home, in December 1838, and in July 1847 there was an advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald:


LETTERS DETAINED-The following is a list of letters detained in in the General Post Office, Sydney, in consequence of the sea postage required thereon not having been paid:-  ... Mrs. Ann Croote, North Tunton, Devonshire ....

He was granted a Conditional Pardon when in Wollombi, 100 Km North of Sydney, in December 1848, which still did not permit him to return to England.


He is believed to have remained in New South Wales - there is mention of an Alexander Crook in Hawkesbury census in 1860, and the death of an Alexander Crook was registered in Windsor, NSW in 1872.

Ann, his wife remained in North Tawton. In 1841 she was a wool carder, living with their 8 year old son, William. In the censuses for 1851 and 1861  she was living alone. She died at her son's house in Bovey Tracey in 1865 aged 75.