Ann Jackson (1817?-?)

by Steve Rhodes


Although born in South America in about 1817, Ann Jackson, whose real name was Maria Donaldson, was raised in London where she married Robert Donaldson. They lived at 1 Tavistock Street, in that city, and had one child together. She was a short woman at 4 feet 9½ inches (146.05 cm) tall , had dark brown hair, hazel eyes and fair complexion, and her freckled nose was inclined to the right.

Ann had most recently been employed as a cook at the residence of Robert and Hannah Pearse, and at some time prior to this as house servant to Mr Bennett Gosling, Esq, when on 1 July 1839 she was apprehended by policeman, Andrew Wyness, carrying a bundle of stolen items. The items included coats, combs and a brush, a shawl, and a spoon, and were proved on 8 July at the Old Bailey to be the property of her previous employers. In her defence, she stated that a young man had offered her the coats if she would take the parcel to Duke Street for him, but she was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years’ transportation.

After arriving in Van Diemen’s Land on 24 April 1840 on the convict ship Gilbert Henderson, Ann remained relatively trouble free, apart from a case of misconduct on 16 April 1842 and the delivery of an illegitimate child on 28 July the same year. In June the following year, John Sykes, a free man was granted permission to marry Ann. They married in Hobart on 26 December 1843. John was described as a mounted policeman aged 25, and Ann was a 26-year-old spinster.

There were three children known to be born to Ann Jackson and it is likely that John Sykes was the father of them all. A daughter, Virginia Jackson, was born in 1842, a son John Sykes Jackson in 1843, and another daughter, Ellen Sykes on 25 January 1845. Ellen died a few weeks later on 18 February from convulsions.

Ann was recommended for a conditional pardon, which was approved on 18 November 1845, and she received her certificate of freedom on 22 November 1850. After this time, no confirmed trace of Ann or her family can be found.

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