Thomas Randall was born in London about 1805. He was probably very young when he became a Royal Navy seaman. (He had a tattoo with an anchor and ‘1820’, when he would have been 15.) Thomas could read and write. Seamen sometimes volunteered for service in the Royal Navy, but it was far more likely for them to be 'pressed' into it. The Impress Service existed as an early form of conscription. It was responsible for gathering up vast quantities of men when needed, and holding them until a ship might need a few extra hands. With an office or 'rendezvous' in every major town and city, it was highly organized and highly efficient. Thomas was convicted for stealing a handkerchief from an unknown person in Fleet Street. At his trial in Newgate Prison in 1825, he got life.
Thomas RANDALL when young joined His Majesty’s East India Company as a seaman and made several voyages to Bengal on the ship, Princess Charlotte of Wales. In January 1825 he was convicted and sentenced to transportation for Life for the supposed theft (on his way home from church at St Brides) of a handkerchief, value sixpence, from an unknown person in Salisbury Court near Fleet Street. His mother, Rebecca RANDALL petitioned Home Secretary, Robert Peel, with the support of the ship’s owners, Captain and officers as well as local businessmen from the Smithfield, area for his release, but without success. On arrival at Port Jackson by the City of Edinburgh, he was assigned as crew to the Governor’s barge where he remained for 8 years, as well as serving as a Constable and Signal Master at Parramatta. He was highly respected by the Colonial authorities who supported his Conditional Pardon received in 1841.
[from Dr Pat MILLAR & Noel Wilkinson]
Thomas later married Mary Gibbons in New South Wales. One of their children, also named Rebecca, married George JB Weller. Their son, George Weller, married Emily Ellen Gorton and among their children were Rebecca Jane Weller, later Millar, and Joseph John (Jack) Gorton-Weller.
Rebecca Randall, mother of Thomas Randall, submitted this petition when he was sentenced to transportation in 1825. It was refused.
PetitionofRebecca RandallWidow___Thomas RandallOld BaileyJanuary Sess. 1825from the PersonTrans.d for Life5 Feb 1825Refused
To the Right Honorable Robert Peel
The Humble Petition of Rebecca Randale of No. 7 Gunpowder Alley, Shoe Lane in the City of London (Widow).
Most Humbly Sheweth
That your petitioner is the widow of William Randale, late of Red Lion Passage Fleet Street, Warehouseman, and was left a widow with four children about twelve years ago, and has brought up her children in a very respectable way.
… Your Excellency was pleased to direct in February 1834 that her son John Gibbons aged 5 years should be placed in that valuable Institution the Male Orphan School in consequence of its not being at that time in the power of your petitioner to support the said son … your petitioner having lately married Thomas Randall Signal Master at Parramatta is now enabled to support her said Son, and therefore most humbly pray that Your Excellency will be graciously pleased to grant an order to have her said Son restored to her again …
I certify that I have known Petitioner some time, he works the Signals at the Parramatta Station, and was highly recommended to me by the Harbour Master, this man employed him nine years as one of the crew of His Excellency’s Barge.
A reference for Thomas Randall was included with the petition, dated Penrith Feb. 2nd 1835, signature unreadable, stating:
John, 1830–1857. He became a carpenter, and never married. In 1853, when his sister Rebecca married, John was one of the witnesses. He died 16 December 1857, in Church Street, Parramatta, of consumption, and was buried next day in St John’s Cemetery, Parramatta.
Rebecca (our ancestor), 1835–1887. She married George John Barwise Weller in 1853 at Parramatta. Rebecca and her sister Mary Scholastica (see next) appear to have been well educated, for the times. There were choices of schools for young Catholic ladies at Parramatta where girls were educated to strict Victorian standards of behaviour.
Mary Scholastica, 1838–1879, married Frederick Saunders, a gentleman from Kent, in 1855 at Parramatta. Mary Scholastica died at the Star Hotel, 156 Castlereagh St, Sydney. Her husband Frederick owned the hotel. Mrs Noel Wilkinson, of Mittagong NSW, who provided much of this information, is a descendant.
Mary Scholastica would appear to have been named for Mother Mary Scholastica, Mother Superior of the Sisters of Charity and the Good Samaritan Orders. The Good Samaritans were started by the Sisters of Charity, who still operate St Vincents Hospital in Sydney. They came to Australia in 1838 and either as Sisters of Charity or Good Samaritans they were in Parramatta in 1838, when Mary Scholastica Randall was born.
Bernard Thomas, 1842–1897, married Ada Kingston in 1875 at Spring Ridge, when he described his occupation as ‘bushman’. A descendant of Bernard Thomas, Barry Walsh of Sydney, has also provided information.
William, 1844–1920, married Helen Shepherd in 1899 in Sydney. William, an orchardist, died 25.11.1920. Cause of death was given as ‘enteritis [and] senility’. William appears to have had three children: Mary, Thomas and Edwin. Edwin was the informant for the death certificate. William was buried in the Church of England Cemetery at Smithfield.
Henry, born 1846.