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Orphan Number: 5861
Orphan: Richard YOUNG
Mother:YOUNG, Charlotte
Mother's ship:Midas
Father's ship:
Age when admitted:2yrs
Date admitted:27 Feb 1836
Date discharged:10 Sep 1847
Institution(s):Queens Orphan School
Discharged to: Joseph Hill, Hamilton
References: SWD7, 28, CSO5/191/4635, CSO5/86/1885

This orphan has been claimed by: Ken Young

In my orginal research I was not aware of Richard this is news to me

This story has been created by Kenneth Young as part of the University of Tasmania's HAA007 Convict Ancestors unit

Charlotte Fox - Murdered by 'Black Bill'

On the 11th of August 1835, Charlotte Young (nee Fox, my 5xGrandmother), died. She was badly burned when her clothes were set alight and then she was pushed into a roaring fire on 27th July 1835, by William Rothwell (Coromandel [1]) widely known by his nickname ‘Black Bill’. That was the testimony of her 8 year son George at the subsequent Inquest. I can only begin to imagine the suffering she endured for those 15 days in the primitive care of Launceston Hospital where she finally died. So why was Charlotte Fox in Tasmania? That is a bit of a story.

Charlotte Fox was born in 1805 in Fillongley, Warwickshire which was a rural area between Birmingham and Coventry. Charlotte was the eldest child of Sarah Smith, age 23, and John Fox, age 25. Charlotte had three younger siblings – Sarah (born in 1807), John (born in 1810) and Ann (born in 1814). The only recorded mention of Charlotte was her Baptism on the 17 February 1805 in the Parish Records of Fillongley Church of England.

Charlotte next appearance on the public record is on 29 March 1825 when she is convicted at Warwick Assizes of Highway Robbery, along with John Williams, Thomas Woodward, Martha King. Here's the newspaper account of the trial. Charlotte and her accomplices were all sentenced to death. For the women and Thomas Woodward this was commuted to Transportation for Life. Unfortunately John Williams was executed on the 22 April 1825 a  newspaper account of his demise including his Confession of Repentant Sinner.

Thus began Charlotte's journey to Tasmania along with her accomplice Martha King. The two women arrived on the first of two voyages Midas made to Australia as a convict transport. A ship of 430 tons, she was built at Hull in 1809. Her Master was James Baigrie and her surgeon-superintendent, Charles Cameron. The Midas sailed from London on the 24th of July 1825 and arrived at Hobart Town on the 23rd November 1825, where she disembarked 50 of her original complement of 109 convict passengers before proceeding to Sydney. Only one convict had died on the voyage. The records kept by Cameron shows that he treated Charlotte for loose bowels and he found her to be of bad character.

Charlotte's Conduct record is rather sparse but I found it interesting that she was single and had a child. I presume that the child was left in England maybe with her parents in Fillongley. A quick search of census records for John Fox didn't find any references to a young child living with them. This is a loose end in the story to follow up at a later date.

I found that Phillip Tardiff in his book Notorious Strumpets and Dangerous Girls: The Story of the 1600 Convict Women Sent to Van Diemen's Land from 1803 to 1829 had pulled together more information about Charlotte. 

Charlotte Fox

Police Number:                                 47

Convict at:                                         Warwick Assizes

Conviction Date and Sentenced:    29th march 1825  Life  (Death recorded)

Transported for:                                Highway Robberty

Gaol Report:                                      Character very bad

Stated this offence:                          Highway Robbery.

                                                           Single. One Child.

Transported:                                     per Midas.


Literacy:                                            Cannot write.

Age: (1825)                                        24.

Colonial Experiences:        

1826. August 7th. Married to George Young, convict per Coromandel, at Launceston.

1828. February 28th. Wife of Young Absent from Muster and Divine Service On Sunday last. Reprimanded.

1832 and 1833 Musters: Assigned to W.G.Walker. Esq

1835. August 11th. Died at Launceston Wilful Murder by William Rothwell.

We know that within 8 months of arriving in Tasmania, Charlotte married George Young (my 5xGrandfather) at Norfolk Plains and the marriage was registered at the Church of England, Parish of St. Johns in Launceston. George was 17 years old when he was transported to Tasmania. His description records shows that he was 5' 6" tall, Brown Hair, Light Grey Eyes and had an Anchor tattoo on his left arm. His trade was a Jewellers Apprentice.

George and Charlotte subsequently went on to have three children. Their eldest son, George Young (1828–1916), was born on the 12 May 1828 in Launceston, he was 8 years old at the time of Charlotte's death. Her daughter Mary Ann Young(1830–1893), was born in 1830 in Launceston (but I have not been able to find an actual date). Her youngest son John Young (George)(1831–1910) was born on the 13 March 1831 Launceston. John Young is my direct line to George and Charlotte.

We can get a hint of what Charlotte's marriage may have been like by reading George Young's Conduct Record, where just 7 months after the birth of John, it states on the 13 October 1831 he was convicted of Assulting his wife and was bound over to keep the peace for 12 months.

William Rothwell and George Young arrived togther aboard the Coromandel which departed from Spithead on the 27 October 1819. They arrived in Hobart on the 12 March 1820. William was 6 years older than George when he arrived (23). His Description Record shows he was 5' 6" and had a dark complexion (thus his nickname 'Black Bill') dark brown hair, hazel eyes. He was a cotton spinner from Manchester with a scar on the outside corner of his right eye. Sentenced 7 years for Stealing at Lancaster Quarter Sessions July 1819. 

The fatal events of the 27th July 1835, according to the main witness 8 year old George, were that ‘Black Bill’ the fisherman and his mother were drinking and were quite tipsy. Then began to argue over a broken catch on the door. Whilst Charlotte was stooping to light her pipe. Black Bill came up from behind her and pushed her into the blazing flames and using his foot kicked and kept her in the flames. George went for help and his mother was taken to the Launceston Hospital where she later died. The following inquest found William Rothwell did “kill and murder, against the peace of our said Lord the King his crown and dignity”. Read a transcript of the Inquest findings.

In the aftermath George went on to marry Elizabeth Jones on the 23 November 1836 in Launceston. His conduct record shows that he also assulted her. They later migrated to Victoria were he died 05 October 1879.

Black Bill seems never to have been tried for wilful murder of Charlotte Young. His subseuqent Conduct Record shows lots of examples of violence and drunkenness. He died 29 September 1843 his death registration lists debility as cause of death.


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