Henry Canham

Henry Canham
Born at St Ives in 1820, little is known of Henry until he appeared at the Isle of Ely Quarter Sessions on 6 January 1841, aged 22yrs, sentenced to twelve months imprisonment for stealing a jacket. It appears he had little schooling. The 1841 Census records Henry serving his sentence at Wisbech House of Correction. His occupation was an agricultural labourer, skilled as a ploughman.

Henry was soon in trouble again. Convicted of stealing a coat and trousers at Swaffham Quarter Sessions on 23 October 1844, he was sentenced to 10yrs transportation for his second offence. After a short period in the local gaol he was moved to Millbank prison. Conditions were atrocious. Kept in solitary confinement and imposed silence, rations were the minimum bread and water. Exercise was limited to five minutes a day and there were regular outbreaks of cholera, malaria, dysentery and scurvy.

It would have been with some relief for Henry that he only spent a few months at Millbank. He set sail from Sheerness on 1 April 1845 aboard the convict ship Theresa, one of 220 male prisoners. They arrived at Hobart, Van Diemen's Land (today called Tasmania) on 3 July 1845.

Convict ship berthed at Hobart
Convict ship berthed at Hobart.
Henry was described as quiet and orderly. He could read a little. With a ruddy complexion, broad face, brown hair and blue eyes, Henry was stout, with a scar on the back of his right hand. He stood just under 5ft 3ins tall.

Assigned to work for free settlers, Henry gained his Ticket of Leave in August 1950. He applied to marry Bridget Waldron in May 1852. It appears that first request was refused. In August 1852 Henry applied to marry Mary Sullivan. This second request was confirmed the following month.

Henry gained his Certificate of Freedom on 30 December 1855, aged 35yrs. What happened to him thereafter is unknown.

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