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William Bell (c. 1760–?)

William Bell was found guilty on 14 January 1874 at the Old Bailey, London, of assault and highway robbery. His death sentence was commuted to seven years transportation to America and he was sent to the Censor hulk to await transportation. Instead of America he was sent to Sydney on the Scarborough, arriving in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

On 21 July 1788 Bell and Joseph Marshall received 50 lashes for making a riot at night and striking Charles Peat and John Bazely. Bell married Ann Greensdale/Grinslade/Grinslet on 9 October 1791. The couple left for Norfolk Island on the Atlantic on 26 October. He was granted 12 acres of land at Queenborough.

Bell left the Norfolk Island on the Kitty on 9 March 1793; Ann joined him a year later, taking their daughter with her. Bell joined the NSW Corps in Sydney on 13 April 1793. He shared a 75 acre grant of land at Field of Mars in 1796 with two other soldiers. 

In September 1808 Bell was described as being 50 years 4 months old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, with a dark complexion, dark brown hair, and hazel eyes. He left the colony in 1810 on the Hindostan with his family, and was discharged to the 5th Veteran Battalion.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), pp 30-31

Citation details

'Bell, William (c. 1760–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


c. 1760
Warwickshire, England

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Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years