Thomas Martin (c.1764–1822)

THOMAS MARTIN is one of St John’s First Fleeters. MARTIN was a convict transported per Charlotte (1788). His burial was registered in the parish of St. John’s, Parramatta 27 September 1822. The exact location of his grave within the parish of St. John’s is unknown.


  • Born: c.1764
  • Stole seventeen towels, a petticoat, and an apron: 8 November 1783
  • Tried and convicted for the theft: Old Bailey, London, 10 December 1783
  • Sentenced to seven years transportation: Old Bailey, London, 10 December 1783
  • Imprisoned at Newgate: until 30 March 1784.
  • Transferred in irons to Mercury for transportation to America: 30 March 1784, Woolwich, London, England
  • Sailed per Mercury with 178 other convicts: 2 April 1784, Woolwich, London, England
  • Convicts mutinied on the Mercury: “Thursday morning, eight o’clock,” 8 April 1784, “we were about twenty-five leagues to westward of St. Mary’s, on the West India Rocks.” (c.f. Charles Peat’s Old Bailey trial, 7 July 1784)
  • Convict mutineers held possession of the ship as commanders for six days: 8 April 1784–13 April 1784
  • The ringleaders escaped in the ship’s boats and the remaining convicts steered the Mercury to shore. MARTIN was recaptured on shore. (Some were captured while still on the water by HMS Helena, while others were captured later on elsewhere, including London): 13 April 1784, Torbay, Devon, England
  • Received death sentence: Special Commission, Exeter, 24 May 1784
  • Given a reprieve, sentence commuted to seven years transportation: 9 June 1784
  • Sent to Dunkirk hulk: > 9 June 1784, Plymouth, Devon, England
  • Embarked on Charlotte: 11 March 1787
  • Sailed with the First Fleet per Charlotte: 13 May 1787
  • Arrived at Botany Bay per Charlotte20 January 1788
  • Arrived at Port Jackson per Charlotte: 26 January 1788
  • Ordered 200 lashes for theft of trousers from JOHN FERGUSON and for attempted bribery of FERGUSON: 6 September 1788, Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, Colony of New South Wales
  • Settled on 30-acres at Prospect: July 1791, Prospect, Colony of New South Wales
  • Superintendent DAVID BURTON reported MARTIN “a person entirely ignorant respecting agriculture”: February 1792
  • Married MARY ANN HUGO per Pitt (1792): 24 June 1792
  • Daughter ELIZABETH MARTIN born: 30 October 1797, Parramatta, Colony of New South Wales
  • Sold grant to D. D. FRANKLYN: < 1800
  • Received another 50-acre grant at Toongabbie: 1 January 1798
  • A son and another daughter born: sometime between 1797–1806
  • Died: c. 26 September 1822, Parramatta
  • Buried: 26 September 1822, parish of St. John’s, Parramatta

Burial Location

  • Unmarked grave, location unknown, parish of St. John’s, Parramatta

Trial Records

  • Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.2), 10 December 1783, trial of THOMAS MARTIN (t17831210-45).


  • Convict, Newgate Prison, c.8 November 1783–30 March 1784
  • Convict, Mercury, 30 March 1784–April 1784
  • Convict, Dunkirk>9 June 1784–11 March 1787
  • Convict, Charlotte, 11 March 1787–26 January 1788


  • Weaver

Related Content

Thomas Martin: The Ripples of a Revolution (2020)

By Ben Vine

Abstract: America’s revolutionary war gave birth to the modern United States of America and laid the foundation for its dominant role in the modern age, but what is less appreciated is how the Revolution transformed the lives of people across the world in the eighteenth century, including a London weaver named Thomas Martin. Like most working-class people of this era, we have only a few records of his life. Much of what we know of him comes from a period of little more than six months between November 1783 and June 1784; a period in which his life was thrown into upheaval by the fallout from the American Revolutionary War. In November 1783, Martin committed a crime that resulted in a sentence of transportation, and saw him caught up in the British government’s attempt to surreptitiously restart the American convict trade. The failure of this scheme then led to the forced migration of Martin and hundreds of others to Kamay (Botany Bay) via the First Fleet. Read more>>


Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

  • John Cobley, The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts, (North Ryde, N.S.W.: Halstead Press, 1970), p. 183.
  • Michael Flynn, “Transportation: America, Africa and the First Fleet,” in Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain’s Grim Convict Armada of 1790, (Sydney” Library of Australian History, 1993), pp. 11–15.
  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, (Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1989), p. 240.
  • The Digital Panopticon, Thomas Martin Life Archive, (ID: obpt17831210-45-defend529),, accessed 9 March 2018.
  • Ron Withington, Dispatched Downunder: Tracing the Resting Places of the First Fleeters, (Woolloomooloo, The Fellowship of First Fleeters, 2013), p. 441.


# First Fleet

# Convict

# Trial Place: Old Bailey

# Punishment: Seven Years Transportation

# Ship: Mercury (1784)

# Mutineer

# Sentence: Death (commuted)

# Punishment: Seven Years Transportation

# Hulk: Dunkirk

# Ship: Charlotte (1788)

# Burial year: 1822

# Grave: unmarked