Thomas was born in Broadway in 1810, the son of Mary Tustin. A few months after his birth, on 9 December 1810, his mother married Richard Haines in Broadway.
Aged 19, in the County of Worcester Sessions of Easter 1829, Thomas, using the surname Haines, was found guilty of stealing “a coat, stockings and other articles” from the premises of Richard Townsend’s1 grocery shop in the village. It was also noted at his trial that Thomas was guilty of other robberies in the preceding three months. Thomas was sentenced to 7 years’ transportation but it would appear that he served his time on HMS Ganymede, a prison ship moored in Chatham Harbour in Kent, from which he was released after serving 6 years.
A few months later, at the Oxford Quarter Sessions on 6 April 1835, Thomas was found guilty of breaking into buildings and workshops and stealing “a quantity of sugar, and other property” of George Tims, and John and Samuel Such of Chipping Norton. Thomas was again sentenced to 7 years’ transportation and was subsequently shipped to Van Diemen’s Land (modern day Tasmania) on the convict ship HMS Norfolk2 alongside 279 other male convicts. The Norfolk set sail from Sheerness on 12 May 1835 arriving in Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land on 29th August 1835.
The transportation records describe Thomas (prisoner number 923), as a ploughman, farm labourer, groom and coachman from Broadway, Worcestershire (see image below).
In June 1842, Thomas was granted permission to marry a fellow convict, Ann Bartlett, and they married on 11 November 1842, in St George’s Church, Sorell, Tasmania (an Anglican church which had been built by convicts in 1826). Ann, from Somerset, had been sentenced to 7 years’ transportation by Somerset Assizes in 1841 for stealing potatoes, (Ann had previously served 10 weeks in prison for stealing some ducks). Ann had been transported to Van Diemen’s Land on 14 June 1841, one of 180 convicts on the Garland Grove.
Thomas and Ann stayed in Sorrel after their marriage where they raised a family. Thomas was granted his Certificate of Freedom on 13 August 1847 and died in Sorell in 1869.
- Richard Townsend was a grocer and Deacon of Broadway Congregational Church.
- This was HMS Norfolk’s fifth convict voyage. Captain John Gatenby and surgeon Arthur Savage departed Sheerness on 14 May 1835 and arrived in Hobart Town on 29 August 1835. There were no convict deaths en route.