James Grant alias Parker

James Grant’s mother Joanna died when he was a few years old; he was brought up by his father John and his stepmother Maria (nee Melhuish). The family lived in Cheriton Fitzpaine where his father was a farm labourer. Born in 1832, by the time he was 17 he was already in trouble. In July 1849 he had been found guilty of stealing horse hair in St Thomas, Exeter, and sentenced to 14 days solitary confinement in jail and a whipping. He had given his name as James Parker, using his mother’s maiden name.


Within a few days of his release from prison he was re-arrested on an identical charge, this time for stealing horse hair from an animal belonging to John Tremlett, 54, who farmed at Lower Creedy, Upton Hellions.


He was tried at Exeter in September 1849 and sentenced to be transported for seven years. In view of his age he was first sent to the “young offenders’ training centre” at Parkhurst, Isle of Wight.

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He was taken to Tasmania on the Fairlie in March 1852, with 29 other “Parkhurst Boys”, and was placed in and around Ross, including Ellenthorpe Hall. He received his certificate of freedom in July 1857.


Later, two of James's brothers, Thomas and William, emigrated to Australia.


This advertisement appeared in The Hobart Town Mercury in November 1857: whether the brothers did meet may never be known and what became of James remains a mystery.


Both his brothers married and settled in Victoria where they had several children. Thomas  died aged 35 in 1869 and William aged 62 in 1890.

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Back in Cheriton Fitzpaine, James's father John lived to the age of 81, dying in 1884.