Elizabetth Thomas was born circa 1781 in England and died 1830 Pitt Town, New South Wales, Australia of unspecified causes.

Elizabeth Mitchell - convict on the Lord Wellington in 1820

Eliabeth Thomas, by her married name of Elizabeth Mitchell, arrived Port Jackson (Sydney), New South Wales, aboard the Lord Wellington on 20 January 1820. Her 4 children accompanied her as free settlers. Trial Place - Cumberland, Date 7 August 1818. Convicted of "Uttering", that is passing forged banknotes that someone else had made with the intention of defrauding. Sentenced to death this was later commuted to 14 years transportation.

There were 121 convict women on board the Lord Wellington, 35 children, 6 Free women with their ten children and a detachment of the 24th Regiment. According to the journal of the ships surgeon, there were no losses of life on the journey and just the usual cases of sea sickness and dysentry. Having sailed via Rio De Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope, the ship eventually arrived in Australia on the 20 January 1820. Elizabeth and her chidren had been on board for approximately 11 months.

Elizabeth's Trial

in 1818 Elizabeth found herself in terrible trouble. She was 37 years old and had lived in Liverpool for 8 years, where she sold goods of various sorts and occasionally went north to buy articles for her business. That is what led to her being in Whitehaven on the 5 March 1818. The facts of the case are she arrived in Whitehaven with a group of women, including a Mary Heylin and they proceeded to the home of Jane Mitchell (who was not a relative of Elizabeths) Janes testimony at trial, stated that Elizabeth, accompanied by the other women, took a room in her home. Shortly after, Elizabeth went out, returning with some rum and tea. Jane implied that she did not give Elizabeth the note to buy these goods, but Elizabeth in her defence said that it was Jane who asked her to go purchase these items and it was Jane who gave her the note to do so. Whether it was Janes note or Elizabeths, the fact is the note she used was forged.

From the Cumberland Assizes trial of Elizabeth Mitchell:- On Thursday, the 5th March last (1818), the prisoner at the bar came to Mrs Elliots shop with a small dark coloured square bottle and asked for a pint of rum and two ounces of tea, with which he served her and received in payment a note purporting to be of the Bank of England and returned to her 17s 1-1/2d in silver and copper. The bottle did not hold all the pint of rum, but the prisoner drank the remainder.

Jane Mitchell went on to say that the other woman, Mary Heylin, had also gone out and when she returned, was in a state of panic as a Mr Haywood, the superintendent of the Police, had been following her up and down the street. The other women, including Elizabeth, got quite angry with Heylin and told her she should have swallowed the note. At this stage, Jane ordered the women out of the house. Elizabeth and one of the other women left, however one of the women remained. According to Jane, this woman gave her a bundle of notes to hide, which Jane hid in her Weaving shop. She was also asked to go to the home of a Jackson Todd where she would find in the sand in his kitchen, a tin cannister and some parcels, which she should give to Jackson to hide in a secret place. Jane was also asked to take the notes she had hidden in her Weaving shop and give them to Jackson also. In her testimony, Jane stated that she did not do this as she feared getting caught and getting into trouble, so she chose to burn them instead.

Haywood, the police superintendent, stated that on the 13 March, he went to Jacksons house and found 40 forged notes. These were wrapped in a handkerchief and hidden under the slates of a privy (toilet) out the back of Jacksons house.

The judge, in summing up the evidence, stated to the jury that there was no question the note Elizabeth had used was a forgery. The question the jury had to answer, however, was whether Elizabeth knew that it was forged. He went on to say that there was no doubt that Elizabeth was in the company of a group of women who had one main purpose: to pass on these counterfeits, and if the jury were satisified she was part of this group, she should be charged accordingly.

Despite her pleas of innocence, the jury took just half and hour deliberation to find her guilty:- The jury, after consulting, retired, and in half an hour returned with the verdict - guilty - upon which the prisoner seemed very much affected; and uttering bitter lamentations, was by the assistance of the officers, taken out of court. Sentence of DEATH was afterwards passed upon her.

Elizabeth was clearly devastated by this verdict, as recorded in The Times:- The jury after consulting for a few minutes in the box, retired, and three quarters of an hour afterwards returned with a verdict of Guilty. The prisoner, on hearing this verdict, screamed and plunged in the most violent manner, and continued to do so till she was removed out of Court. She is a married woman, very tall, and rather good looking.

Fortunately for Elizabeth her death sentence was commuted to transportation to the Colonies for 14 years.

The other woman involved in this case, Mary Heylin, was also bought before the judge on the same day. She was aged 28 and was caught using a forged note to purchase a pair of shoes. This young woman's appearance was extremely distressing. She is good looking, she is far gone in the family way, and she cried and sobbed and moaned the whole time of her trial.

Mary had actually confessed earlier to the Superintendent of Police stating that Elizabeth (who she called Betty) had come from Liverpool with a "cargo" of forged notes and with the other women, set about to use them. Mary then stated that she had been threatened and made promises to make the confession, which the Police superintendent denied. She turned to the jury and asked for mercy, however she was found guilty and recommended to mercy. This was obvious very upsetting to her as She screamed, and was hurrying from the bar, when she was ordered to remain.

Her husband William Heylin was then placed by her side and they were both charged with having four of these forged notes in their possession which the Constable had found under their bed. He was found guilty of this charge and Mary was aquitted as having acted under his control.

He is a very handsome youth. He declined to say any thing for himself. During the greater part of the trial, she reclined her forehead on his shoulder, heaving the most agonizing sobs. He was quite composed, but the hectic in his cheek indicated a mind ill at ease. He occasionally whispered to her, as if recommending greater self-command.

Mary sailed on the Lord Wellington (the same ship Elizabeth sailed on). The Lord Wellington arrived in Australia in January 1820. William was transported and arrived in Australia in 1819 and ended up being the school master at Castlereagh. Its also apparent that William and Mary reunited and continued their family.

Events in New South Wales

MITCHELL, Elizabeth. Per "Lord Wellington"

  • 1820 Jan 27 On list of convicts disembarked from the "Lord Wellington" & forwarded to Parramatta for distribution; with four children (Reel 6007; 4/3501 p.212)
  • Elizabeth received her Ticket of Leave shortly after her arrival, due to some information Major General Macquarie received on her. It would seem Elizabeth's father worked for the Earl of Lonsdale and Lord Lowther, as she had some connection still back home in England. Her father worked for this family as a house steward for upwards of these 38 years, and through their intercessions to the government, on her arrival to Australia, his excellency Governor Macquarie was pleased to grant her a free ticket, from his own hands. A Ticket of Leave allowed convicts to work for themselves on condition that they remained in a specified area, reported regularly to local authorities and if at all possible, attend divine worship every Sunday.
  • 1820 Jun 21, Jul 3 Re permission to marry James Jelly at Windsor (Reel 6007; 4/3502 p.106) Men and women who were transported were allowed to marry in the Colony even if they had a spouse alive back in England and this was not regarded as bigamy due to separation from former spouse of more than 7 years.
  • 1820 Jul 18 Husband-to-be James Jelly made a Constable at Windsor (Government Orders published in Sydney Gazette)
  • 1820 Aug 21 Marriage to James Jelly. James Jelly/Jelley/Jolley/Shelly, a Baker, was born in County Down Ireland and died in 1869 (death registered as Shelly). James was tried at Lancaster Castle, England, the charge as follows:-James Jelly and William Conolly. Committed to W. D. Evans, Esq, 2 December, 1817. Charged with having uttered to Joseph White at Manchester, eight forged notes purporting to be Bank of England notes, for the payment of one pound each, knowing the same to be forged.

JELLY, Elizabeth. Per "Lord Wellington", 1820, as Elizabeth Mitchell; wife of James Jelly, per "Morley", 1818

  • 1821 Jan (about) Husband James Jelly dismissed as a Constable for selling spirits. He was to be assigned to a settler. Elizabeth asked for him to be assigned to her instead. The Government agreed to this on the stipulation that the familycame off the Stores and that James supported them. James built a house for his family he didn't do a very good job supporting them as he was soon owing money.
  • 1822 Jan 14 Husband, James Jelly, Debtor at Windsor. Re refusal of Windsor gaoler to admit him to Gaol (Reel 6058; 4/1770 pp.31-31a)
  • 1822 Jan 23 Re gaoling of Husband, James Jelly (Reel 6008; 4/3504A p.348)
  • 1822 Jan 31 Husband, James Jelly, to be gaoled as a debtor (Reel 6054; 4/1759 p.115)
  • 1823 Sep 17 Re Document from Macquarie giving her both ticket of leave privileges & having her husband, James Jelly, assigned to her - letter goven as result of loss of [papers (Reel 6057; 4/1768 pp.180-180a)
  • 1823 Sep 18 Re her husband James Jelly having "about 2 years ago" been made a Constable at Windsor and then holding the position for about 6 months before being dismissed for selling spirits. Also re Government rations for Elizabeth and her husband James Jelly (Reel 6057; 4/1768 p.178, 179-179b)
  • 1823 Sep 22 Re her husband living in Parramatta without proper authority (Reel 6057; 4/1768 p.182) James had his Ticket of Leave cancelled due him being in Parramatta without permission. His house and land at Pitt Town was being sold to repay his debtors.
  • 1823 Oct 15 On list of persons receiving an assigned convict, her husband James Jelly (listed as Joseph Shelly); listed as Mitchell alias Shelly (Fiche 3291; 4/4570D p.115)
  • 1823 Oct 21 Published on a list of convicts who had obtained a Ticket of Leave in Sydney Gazette of 23 October 1823
  • 1828 She was managing her 17 year old son Robert's business in Market St and husband James was a prisoner in Hyde Park Barracks. Robert put a notice in the newspaper cautioning people from buying goods from his step-father James Jelly as the goods belonged to Robert.
  • November 1828 census she is recorded as Elizabeth Mitchell living in Market St, Sydney, with her 3 youngest children. Her occupation was Housekeeper to a James Jelly. Her husband James is living with her and is shown as James Jelly, 45yrs, Baker at Market Street.
  • 1829 Feb 7 Lord Wellington Elizabeth Mitchell, for drunkenness, Ticket of leave cancelled. Published this date Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser.


Offspring of Thomas Mitchell and Elizabetth Thomas
Name Birth Death Joined with
Elizabeth Mitchell (c1802-1882) 1802 England 11 December 1882 Windsor, New South Wales, Australia James Wilbow (1798-1839)
Alexander Morrison (c1808-1874)
Robert Mitchell (c1822-1892)
Mary Mitchell (1815-1894)
Thomas Mitchell (c1817-1886)



Footnotes (including sources)