Monthly Archives: February 2021

John Martin the Celebrity Delinquent: Part 1: Bold Bad Boy

 

John Martin the Celebrity Delinquent: 

Part 1: Bold Bad Boy

 In March 1894, John Martin was charged with breaking and entering and theft. He had escaped from F. Burton’s Glanville Reformatory and made his way to Magill. There, he had broken into Mr Moseley’s house and stolen a gold watch and chain, a gold ring, a gold locket, and other valuables.

 Martin was presented to the Supreme Court, presided over by Judge Bundey. In that period, boys were judged and sentenced as men. If convicted, the boys were sent to a prison hulk at Largs Bay, or if their crime was deemed too offensive, sent to Adelaide Gaol.

 Much was made in the newspapers of Martins general appearance in court. He was described as a ‘short thick-set sunburnt little fellow’ by one journalist. Martin was wearing at his hearing, a man’s coat and transfers, which were much too big for him, requiring him to hold them up with one hand.

Harry Nelson, the warder at the reformatory, stated in court that he had checked on Martin in the evening. Martin was on the third story and shackled by the ankle to his bed. At the 2am check, Nelson found Martin had escaped.
 Martin was arrested at Charles Street, Norwood by constable Garland. Moseley’s valuables found in his possession. Martin, when asked if he had anything to say, said, \”I can\’t stop at that school\”. [1]

 While standing before Judge Bundey, Martin began to sob, stating he had stolen the goods from Moseley with the idea of being sent to gaol. In his young mind, he believed he would be treated better in the Adelaide Gaol than he was in the reformatory.
 Bundey took pity upon the boy, stating “Martin, yours is a peculiar case, now if I send you to a good kind gentleman, who will treat you well, look after and train your better, will you behave yourself, and remain with him?”

Martin, holding back tears stated, “yes, sir”.

Bundey: “I have never seen anything like your case here. You are under fifteen years of age and have shown extraordinary boldness and energy. You have escaped from the Reformatory fourteen times. Now what I should like to do would be to treat you not as a bold bad boy, but as a bold good boy. a bold boy with elements of good in him. You are approaching the years of manhood, and if rightly directed may make an extremely useful man. If I were the commander of a man-of-war, I would like to take you on board my ship and put you under strict discipline, which would bring out your best qualities, and tone down your evil tendencies.”[2]

 In 1894, John Martin would become somewhat of a celebrity escape artist in Adelaide. His escapades, crimes, and court appearances would be published in almost all South Australian newspapers. Such was this 15-year-olds notoriety, his exploits made national news.

 

Next Week: John Martin the Celebrity Delinquent: Part 2: Escape Artist

 

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020


[1]\’A Daring Youngster.\’, Evening Journal, (30 March 1894), p. 2. (SECOND EDITION), http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article200770875.

[2]\’Law and Criminal Courts\’, Evening Journal, (3 April 1894), p. 2. (SECOND EDITION), http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article200771138.

It’s Only a Bastard.

 It’s Only a Bastard.


In 1878, Mary Scudmore was charged with unlawfully beating Charles Grills, a nine-month-old child.
 Scudmore appeared at the Police-court before Judges Beddome, Wilshire and Reed. The prosecutor read the charge that Scudmore was accused of cruel conduct towards the child.


 It was claimed that on several occasions she had thrust the child’s head into dirty water to get it to stop crying, almost drowning the boy. It was stated that if anyone confronted her about her cruel behaviour she would state; “It’s only a bastard. There’s no such luck as killing it. The child has got as many lives as a cat!”.[1]

Scudmore’s neighbour reported her to the police. The child had been in Scudmore’s custody for an unknown amount of time. The Judges deliberated among themselves and came back with the verdict ‘case dismissed’ on the grounds that the evidence fell short of what required to prove the charge.[2]

[1] ‘MONDAY, OCTOBER 14.’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, (19 October 1878), p. 13., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92265724
[2] ‘Law and Criminal Courts.’, Evening Journal, 914 October 1878), p. 2., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197717855

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part II)

 

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part II)

  After serving two years in gaol for the abduction of 15-year-old girl Ellen Ween, Cunningham found himself living on Currie Street at Boddington Row in the company of a prostitute, Alice Tree. The pair were accused of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Ah Kong, a charge later dismissed. 

  Thomas Cunningham found himself in further trouble in 1882 when he faced court on the charge of being a ‘Rogue and Vagabond’. The charges were brought forth by Detective Dunlevi, who stated for the prior twelve months, Cunningham was unemployed and had been associating with thieves and prostitutes. He had served two years for abduction and had prior to that been charged and convicted for larceny, felonious assault, and assaulting police.

  Cunningham told the court he would find work on Wednesday. Sitting Judges, Beddome and Lucy allowed him to be released to do so.[1] Cunningham did not look for work, instead, he went about his usual business, drinking and gambling at the Shamrock Hotel, the Ship Inn, The Provincial Hotel, and the Galatea Hotel. Detective Hampton arrested Cunningham and again charged him as a Rogue and Vagabond.

  On 22 May 1882, Cunningham was brought before Judge Beddome. This time the Judge was not so lenient, sentencing Cunningham with two months imprisonment and two sureties to keep the peace at 50 pounds each.

  Cunningham was the charged with assaulting Police Officer Copeland. Officer Copeland stated that while trying to arrest Cunningham for the charge he sat previously, Cunningham turned and struck him in the eye. Judge Beddome sentenced Cunningham to a further six months in prison and hard labour.
Another man Edward Bates was charged alongside Cunningham, for inciting Cunningham to resist arrest. He was fined 1 pound and two 50-pound sureties to keep the peace for a year.
Yet another man, William Jury, was sentenced for assaulting police. Jury had seen the Constable arresting Cunningham and starting remonstrating with him to release Cunningham, in doing so, he kicked the officer several times. Jury was sentenced to six months in prison.[2]

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020


[1] ‘Adelaide: Monday. May 1.’, Adelaide Observer, (6 May 1882), p. 12., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160157123. 
[2] ‘MONDAY, MAY 22.’, South Australian Weekly Chronicle, (27 May 1882), p. 13. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91467672

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part I)

 

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part I)

 

  You may remember Thomas Cunningham from my previous blog, ‘The Colourful and Tragic Life of Alice Tree: Part 1 – “Kill the Chinaman!”’. Thomas was then the partner of Adelaide prostitute Alice Tree, and was accused of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Ah Kong, a charge later dismissed. Before that incident, Cunningham had served a two-year sentence in gaol for abduction.

  In 1877, Thomas Cunningham was charged with attempting to abduct 15-year-old Ellen Ween. On 14 October the same year, Cunningham who been lodging with the Ween family at Nailsworth had become acquainted with young Ellen, and fallen in love with her.
Thomas and Elizabeth Ween, Ellen’s parents were mortified that Cunningham, a married man, would dare to try and corrupt their daughter. Cunningham replied to Mrs Ween that if he couldn’t have her daughter one way, he would have her another.

  On 14 October, Ellen asked to go out. She never returned. Mrs Ween saw Cunningham on the 15th and asked him about her daughter. He said he would be leaving and wanted nothing to do with the Ween family any longer.

  Cunningham and Ellen were discovered at Rochester, near Clare, by Police Trooper Atkinson on 8 December. Cunningham gave Atkinson a fake name Thomas Bane, Ellen was gathering wood on a hill, but soon returned to Cunningham’s tent. Atkinson queried them, with Cunningham saying he did not run away with the girl, she came freely with him and paid her own way.
Ellen said to the Trooper that she would go wherever Cunningham went, that he did not take her away, and that she would “never go borne again because she would be sent to the Industrial School.”
Ellen said she was afraid to go home as her father had threatened her and Cunningham with a knife, then threw it at them. She told her mother she was going out with a servant girl and ran away. Her mother found her, however, and told her to return home, where she would “keep her in”. To this Ellen replied that her mother “would not keep her in, or the Governor either,” Ellen’s father came looking for her, so she fled north.

  During the trial, Ellen Ween was questioned by the prosecution about her abduction. She replied she had not been abducted but had asked a carter to tell Thomas Cunningham she wanted to see him. She claimed she that Cunningham declined to go away with her, but when she said she would pay her own way to Burra, he consented. Ellen stated that she knew Cunningham was a married man, but she did not care. Ellen also accused her mother, with impudence, of giving her a black eye.[1]

  Elizabeth Ween was called to the stand. She stated to Cunningham; “Yon left our house because we would keep you no longer. My husband did not run after my daughter with a knife and threaten to stab you.” John Ween added, “I have never beat my daughter in my life. John Ween, “she was taken away without my consent.”
Ween also stated he had never thrown a knife at the girl.

  Mr Smith, who conducted the prosecution for Superintendent Peterswald, produced the register of the birth of the first Ellen Ween, who died on December 9, 1862, six months after the present Ellen Ween was born. Search for the certificate of birth of the surviving Ellen Ween was being made.[2] Detective Doyle discovered Ellen Ween’s birth registry entry proving she was just 15 years old. Cunningham was remanded in custody until his trial in March the following year.
At the Supreme Court, the Judge declared he was glad he had made the decision to take the case into consideration, so as to relieve his own feelings of disgust about the matter. The Judge stated that the evidence showed that Cunningham, a married man, did not have it in his power to undo the damage he had done to the girl. He declared that Cunningham’s conduct in the court was disgusting. Thomas Cunningham was found guilty of abduction and sentenced to two years hard labour in gaol.[3]

Next Week: Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part II)

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020  


[1] ‘TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11.’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, (15 December 1877), p. 13., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90944206.
[2] ‘POLICE COURTS’, Adelaide Observer, (15 December 1877) p. 7. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article159446938
[3] ‘LAW COURTS. SUPREME COURT—CRIMINAL SITTINGS’, The Express and Telegraph, (27 March 1878), p. 2., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207645154

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part I)

 

Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part I)

 

  You may remember Thomas Cunningham from my previous blog, ‘The Colourful and Tragic Life of Alice Tree: Part 1 – “Kill the Chinaman!”’. Thomas was then the partner of Adelaide prostitute Alice Tree, and was accused of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Ah Kong, a charge later dismissed. Before that incident, Cunningham had served a two-year sentence in gaol for abduction.

  In 1877, Thomas Cunningham was charged with attempting to abduct 15-year-old Ellen Ween. On 14 October the same year, Cunningham who been lodging with the Ween family at Nailsworth had become acquainted with young Ellen, and fallen in love with her.
Thomas and Elizabeth Ween, Ellen’s parents were mortified that Cunningham, a married man, would dare to try and corrupt their daughter. Cunningham replied to Mrs Ween that if he couldn’t have her daughter one way, he would have her another.

  On 14 October, Ellen asked to go out. She never returned. Mrs Ween saw Cunningham on the 15th and asked him about her daughter. He said he would be leaving and wanted nothing to do with the Ween family any longer.

  Cunningham and Ellen were discovered at Rochester, near Clare, by Police Trooper Atkinson on 8 December. Cunningham gave Atkinson a fake name Thomas Bane, Ellen was gathering wood on a hill, but soon returned to Cunningham’s tent. Atkinson queried them, with Cunningham saying he did not run away with the girl, she came freely with him and paid her own way.
Ellen said to the Trooper that she would go wherever Cunningham went, that he did not take her away, and that she would “never go borne again because she would be sent to the Industrial School.”
Ellen said she was afraid to go home as her father had threatened her and Cunningham with a knife, then threw it at them. She told her mother she was going out with a servant girl and ran away. Her mother found her, however, and told her to return home, where she would “keep her in”. To this Ellen replied that her mother “would not keep her in, or the Governor either,” Ellen’s father came looking for her, so she fled north.

  During the trial, Ellen Ween was questioned by the prosecution about her abduction. She replied she had not been abducted but had asked a carter to tell Thomas Cunningham she wanted to see him. She claimed she that Cunningham declined to go away with her, but when she said she would pay her own way to Burra, he consented. Ellen stated that she knew Cunningham was a married man, but she did not care. Ellen also accused her mother, with impudence, of giving her a black eye.[1]

  Elizabeth Ween was called to the stand. She stated to Cunningham; “Yon left our house because we would keep you no longer. My husband did not run after my daughter with a knife and threaten to stab you.” John Ween added, “I have never beat my daughter in my life. John Ween, “she was taken away without my consent.”
Ween also stated he had never thrown a knife at the girl.

  Mr Smith, who conducted the prosecution for Superintendent Peterswald, produced the register of the birth of the first Ellen Ween, who died on December 9, 1862, six months after the present Ellen Ween was born. Search for the certificate of birth of the surviving Ellen Ween was being made.[2] Detective Doyle discovered Ellen Ween’s birth registry entry proving she was just 15 years old. Cunningham was remanded in custody until his trial in March the following year.
At the Supreme Court, the Judge declared he was glad he had made the decision to take the case into consideration, so as to relieve his own feelings of disgust about the matter. The Judge stated that the evidence showed that Cunningham, a married man, did not have it in his power to undo the damage he had done to the girl. He declared that Cunningham’s conduct in the court was disgusting. Thomas Cunningham was found guilty of abduction and sentenced to two years hard labour in gaol.[3]

Next Week: Thomas Cunningham: Rogue and Vagabond (Part II)

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020  


[1] \’TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11.\’, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail, (15 December 1877), p. 13., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90944206.
[2] \’POLICE COURTS\’, Adelaide Observer, (15 December 1877) p. 7. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article159446938
[3] \’LAW COURTS. SUPREME COURT—CRIMINAL SITTINGS\’, The Express and Telegraph, (27 March 1878), p. 2., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207645154