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Spence, John (c. 1759–?)

John Spence (c.1759- ), alias John Pearce, was found guilty on 10 December 1783 at the Old Bailey, London, of the theft of goods from a tobacconist and grocer. Sentenced to 7 years transportation to America, he was among the prisoners who mutinied on the convict transport Mercury in April 1784. Recaptured, he was sent to the Dunkirk hulk in June 1784. He was discharged to the Friendship in March 1787 and arrived in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Spence was ordered to receive 25 lashes for drunkenness on 11 September 1789. He was sent to Norfolk Island on the Supply in January 1790. He and John Howard received 50 lashes each on 19 November 1790 for stealing potatoes. By early December he was settled on 12 acres at Mount Pitt Path, Queenborough.

John Spence left Norfolk Island on the Chesterfield in March 1793. This ship was eventually heading for India. No further colonial records have been found for Spence.

* information from Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 339

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Spence, John (c. 1759–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/spence-john-30847/text38198, accessed 2 December 2021.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Pearce, John
Birth

c. 1759
Middlesex, England

Cultural Heritage
Passenger Ship
Occupation
Key Events
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Social Issues
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years