Eventually the law seems to have caught up with him at Bingham, a town now a suburb of Nottingham:
The Burglar from Nottingham
William COOPER was born in Nottingham, England, in 1799. His father's name was Jonathan COOPER. We know nothing of his early life, apart from his occupation as chimney sweep. The life of a sweep was tough, with a reputation for criminal activity. For more on chimney-sweeps in victorian England, click Chimney-sweeps in Victorian England.
Eventually the law seems to have caught up with him at Bingham, a town now a suburb of Nottingham:
On 23rd instant [December 1817] William COOPER and FORREST were committed [to the County Jail] by Rev. Dr. WYLDE [magistrate] for trial at the next Assizes, on a charge of burglarously entering the shop of William STUBBS, at Bingham, and thereout stealing several silver watches. |
[Nottingham Review, 9 January 1818]
Nottingham Assize. Before the Hon. Sir William GARROW, Knight. William COOPER (a chimney sweeper) aged 18, and James FORREST, a private soldier, belonging to the 95th Regiment, aged 19, for stealing several watches - William STUBBS, the prosecutor stated that he left his shop, at Bingham, about 8 o'clock on the evening of 6th November. He returned about 10, when he missed 3 watches (two silver and one gilt watch) from the window, one of the panes in the window being broken, by clearing the putty, and taking a piece of glass out.
COOPER was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Removed from the County Jail on Monday last, under the care of Mr. WRIGHT [Governor of the County Jail] and assistants, the following convicts, viz. John OXLEY, aged 32, William MOORE, aged 26, James FORREST, aged 19, William COOPER, aged 18, William PLOWRIGHT, aged 37, James FEAGEN, aged 36, and Thomas HAYES, aged 28, to be delivered on board the Justitia hulk at Woolwich, for the term of their natural lives.|
[Nottingham Review, 29 May 1818]
[Extracts courtesy of Sue Lund and Ms. Keys]
The National Library of Australia site has some pics of convict hulks (hulk 1, hulk 2) and a death on the Justitia.
William must have spent only a few months in the hulk, then transported for life to Van Diemen's Land in the Lord Melville. The ship sailed July 1818 (PRO Reel 88) and arrived in Hobart Town on 18 December 1818. The Convict Indents show William COOPER's occupation as "Sweep and brickmaker", describing him as aged 19, height 5ft 5 3/4 in, light complexion, brown hair, blue eyes (but the Muster Roll on arrival ahows shows 5 ft 3 3/4 in. and and having brown eyes: AONSW Reel 2424).
1818 Governor's Report confirms the arrival of the Lord Melville [Macquarie to Bathurst, HRA, Series I, Vol.10, pp.86-89] - points out that Hobart now has enough male convicts, and Macquarie would be unable to forward more to that place for some time to come.
1818 Lord Melville arrived Hobart Town 18 December
[Hobart Town Gazette, 19 December 1818, p.2]
SHIP NEWS. - Yesterday morning arrived the ship Lord Melville, Captain Wetherall, from England, which she left on 18th of July; having on board 149 male prisoners, all in good health, one only having died on the voyage. She touched at the Cape of Good Hope. - Surgeon Superintendant Dr. M'Millon, R.N. The guard consists of 31 men, 10 of whom belong to the 48th and 21 to the 30th Regiments, under the command of Lieut. A. Waddell, of 48th Regiment. - Passengers, Mr. Ford; and Mr. Cawthorne and family.|
The Shipley and Morley, with male prisoners for Port Jackson, left the downs [England] in company with the Lord Melville...
NOTICE. - The Lord Melville will sail for Port Jackson in about a Week from this Date. - For Freight of Passage apply to Capt. Wetherall, on board; or to Messrs. Kemp and Gatehouse, Macquarie-street.
CAPT. WETHERALL, of the Lord Melville, hereby cautions the Public against giving Credit to any of the Crew of that Vessel; as he will not be responsible for any Debts contracted by them.
It didn't take long for COOPER to find trouble again. Employed on the Huon (sic), COOPER was on 18th May 1819 found guilty of being drunk and disorderly, and making an affray, and sentenced to 25 lashes. On 23 June he was caught out after hours, and ordered to be confined at nights for one month. On 3 July 1819 COOPER was again drunk and disorderly, and absent from the gaol at nights. He was sent to Public Works and to receive 25 lashes (again). On 28th October, now employed at Port Davey, COOPER was found guilty of insulting the military, and sentenced to yet a further 25 lashes, and to work in irons for a month.
No offences were recorded for 1820, nor in 1821 by which time he was employed at Port Dalrymple.[see PRO Reel 77, ref. H.O.10/43,pp.71 et seq.]
William COOPER couldn't stay out of trouble, and was sentenced on 31 December 1821 to be transported to Port Macquarie, at that time a place of secondary punishment for convicts. This sentence was remitted; instead he was sent to Newcastle per the brig Elizabeth Henrietta, on 10 January 1822 [Reel 6008]. After this, COOPER must have kept out of trouble for a while, until 1825 when in Government employ he was in trouble again. Here are some extracts from the Newcastle Police Files:
1825 28 November - working for government - irregular conduct disobedient to orders
1825 22 December - disobedient to orders. 287. WILLIAM COOPER and WILLIAM PITT belonging to the Establishment for "irregular conduct". SAMUEL DELL, Parish Clerk states it was the duty of COOPER and PITT to attend every Friday evening at my house to practice Psalm singing. On the Friday last, they were in a state of intoxication during all the week. Reverend W Middleton, here, suggest the placing of COOPER and PITT under immediate inspection and that he provide them with lodgings at the parsonage until he made a report favourable as to their conduct where after ordered.
291. WILLIAM COOPER - 6th December 1825. William Cooper belonging to the Church Establishment for neglecting his work at the Parsonage garden, was brought forward at the instance of the Rev. W. Middleton. Admonished and ordered to return to work.
297. WILLIAM COOPER belonging to the CHURCH ESTABLISHMENT. Disobedient of Orders, 14 days Solitary confinement. Refer to Rev. M. Middleton's Statement.
25th January, 1826 William Cooper and William Pitt of the Church Establishment. For refusing work and absenting themselves from the Parsonage without leave. Reverend W. Middleton, in reference to the proceeds on the 2nd November, last concerning the prisoners states: I provide them with lodgings at the parsonage and appoints to each of them a daily moderate task at the same time informing them that if they conducted themselves well for two months, they would be restored to the former indulgence ald allowed of them. They have not behaved well and in the interim particularly Cooper whom I have had the necessity of bringing before this Court in December, last. This morning both the prisoners dismissed my promise, I did not immediately accide to their wishes. They declared they wont not to their Church duty and also at the Parsonage and left the Parsonage of their work, there indifference of my orders. When they returned I sent for the Constable whom took them into Custody. Cooper used very insolent language to me in his presence. William Turvey states: I was directed by W. Middleton to take Cooper and Pitt into Custody whilst performing that duty, they made several observations to Mr. Middleton. I did not distinctly hear their words but Cooper's manner and gestures appeared slightly disrespectful. The prisoners generally deny any intentional giving offence to Mr. Middleton stating that the work appointed to them was more than they were able to perform and that they considered Mr. Middleton promise to them as binding and therefore thought themselves justified in leaving the parsonage as they did.
Sentence COOPER . 7 days
COOPER and PITT to work with the Road Gang for two months each.
21st March, 1826 William Cooper, General Misconduct - 50 lashes.
James MORLEY, William's future father in law, was prosecuted for harbouring him. COOPER seems to have visited the MORLEY's residence regularly, probably wooing MORLEY's eldest daughter, Mary Ann.
James MORLEY living with Ann MORLEY, December 22nd 1825. &NBSP; Harbouring Prisoner...
James MORLEY, 22nd March 1826, in service to Ann MORLEY, Disorderly Conduct, Gaol Gang. Order, G. Brown, Esquire.
27 March 1826. James Morley assigned of (sic: "off"?) the stores and his wife... harbouring a Prisoner of the Crown. The Reverend Middleton states that William COOPER belongs to the Church Establishment and resides at the Parsonage. It has been for his quitting the premises without leave and especially not to the Morley House and I am confident MORLEY knew of the prohibition, yesterday. I saw COOPER about to leave the premises and ordered him to return to the kitchen which he absolutely refused as he frequently disobeyed my orders in this instance and continually absented himself and is always to be found at Morleys. JAMES MORLEY denies any knowledge of COOPER being at his house and undertakes not to suffer him to come again. ADMONISHED and DISCHARGED.
William COOPER wed Mary Ann MORLEY at Christchurch, on 20 May 1826. The marriage celebrant was Rev. MIDDLETON (also COOPER's employee). William doesn't seem to have gotten into trouble after this. William apparently settled down, with a new family to support. The 1828 Census shows William's occupation as brickmaker, posssibly working with his father in law, James MORLEY. The family was living in Newcastle.
By 1837, the family had moved to Maitland, supporting two assigned convict servants [see 1837 Muster].
In 1846 William COOPER was granted a Conditional Pardon.
|[September 1846 List of 605 Convicts transported from the United Kingdom, who are recommended by His Excellency the Governor of New South Wales as worthy to receive the indulgence of Conditional Pardons- available everywhere save in the said United Kingdom.... No.46/922. COOPER, William, Lord Melville (2) Colonial Secretary's Office list, Sydney, 20 January 1847.]|
William lost his wife, Mary Ann, who died 1 April 1855, aged just 44.
William COOPER died on 8 September, 1859, of phrenitis and paralysis. His occupation was noted as carpenter. The informant was his daughter, Eliza WILLIAMSON, who resided in Dawson Street. William's father was named Jonathan. William COOPER was buried in Christ Church Burial Ground. The undertaker was James COOPER (probably William's son). William was survived by five of seven (or eight?) children.