Abraham Noster 

*? - †7 Dec 1835


a) BIOGRAPHY: Small handwritten note in Portland Museum.December 21st 1834.n'William Pearce's house was robbed Sunday evening while they were at Chapel and suspicion fell upon Samuel Noster who was commited to Dorchester Jail and at March 12 Assizes he was convicted for the offence with his brother Abraham.nTransported for life May 4th at 1 O'clock in the morning went away to join the convict ship lying at Portsmouth for New South Wales'.nnBIOGRAPHY: REPORT FROM DORCHESTER COUNTY CHRONICLE, 19TH MARCH 1835;nSamuel Norster (35), Joan Norster, his wife (25), and Abraham Norster (32), were indicted for having broken into the dwelling-house of Wm. Pearce, in Portland, and stealing money therefrom to the amount upwards of Ð60, his property, on the 21st Dec. last.nMr. Hodges, with whom was Mr. Horsford, addresses the Jury for the prosecution, stating the facts of the case: and the following witnesses were called.nWm. Pearce: I am a shopkeeper living in Portland, on the evening of 21st Dec. I and my family went to chapel, about six o'clock, fastening up the house. On our return, about eight, I found the yard door had been unlocked, and the window of the dwelling-house broken. I went upstairs and found one drawer in a chest taken out, and a hole cut through the bottom of one over it, and that more than Ð60 had been taken from it. There was a guinea, sixty sovereigns, several crowns and half crowns. I also lost some keys. I obtained a warrant from the Rev. Mr. Dade at Broadway, in consequence of some suspicion, and the prisoners were apprehended.nRobert Pearce: I am a constable of Portland; I obtained a warrant on Tuesday evening, the 23rd Dec., and went on the following morning to search the house of the prisoners who live together. The men were at home. When the woman returned, she asked what was the matter? I said I had apprehended her husband and Abraham Norster on suspicion of stealing money. She said there was no money in the house: and that she was so poor that yesterday she borrowed 6d. From her brother's wife, for she had not a penny to by some caster oil. This was in the presence of her husband. Wm. Way and Wm. Pearce, other constables, were with me. We searched the house, but found nothing while I was there.nWm. Pearce: I am a constable of Portland, and went with a search warrant to take the prisoners into custody, with the last witness. Samuel Norster took 4s. 4d. From his pocket and said that was all the money he had. On searching him I found four sovereigns in his waistcoat pocket. He said he had five sovereigns given him the day before by a gentleman at Weymouth; but he did no know the gentleman's name, nor where he lived. Joan Norster, after a search, and with much hesitation, produced a small purse, with a sovereign, seventeen shillings, and a sixpence.nWm. Way: I accompanied last witness to the house of Abraham Norster, Joan Norster's brother's wife, and the sister of Joan were there. There are two rooms up stairs divided by a partition. The male prisoners were apprehended and taken away before I got there. I went up stairs, and searched in a dark closet; and put my hand on a parcel, which I gave to Benjamin Pearce. It contained one pound for shillings and sixpence in silver. I went again the day following and searched in a dark room down stairs, and found Ð6. 10s. 6d. all in silver; wrapped in a handkerchief, and buried in the dirt. I gave it to Robert Pearce. All the prisoners lived in the house.nBenjamin Pearce: I am a constable of Portland, and went to the dwelling house of the prisoners, with the two Pearces, constables. I was there also with Wm. Way, when he found some money, all in silver.nJas. Joyeaux Glenister: I am clerk to the County gaol. The prisoners were brought in custody on 24th Dec. As is customary, I asked them whether they had any money. They said they had none. On searching Samuel Norster, I found a guinea, some sovereigns, and some silver.nThe guinea was produced, and put into the hands of the prosecutor, who said it was of the same coinage as that he had lost, and appeared the same in every respect.nGeorge Cull: Clerk to the Magistrates' Clerk for Dorchester Division. The prisoners were brought before the Magistrates on the 27th Dec. the examination of Samuel Norster, now produced, was then taking in writing.The examination was read, it was a statement of Samuel Norster, that he had been given Ð5 by a gentleman of Weymouth whom he did not know. His wife had said she would not take it unless she knew who gave it, and he had, to pacify her, said it was given by Mr. Roper Weston.nJohn Randall: Overseer of Melcombe Regis in 1833. From Sept. 7, 1833, to Jan 1, 1834, Samuel Norster, received parochial relief.nJohn Dyne: Overseer of Portland. The prisoner Abraham, had received parochial relief in November last; and on the 4th of Dec, when witness gave him an order for 3 loaves of bread.nSamuel Norster declined saying any thing in his defence; and Abraham said he was merely a lodger in his brother's house; and knew nothing about the money.nThe learned Judge, in summing up, said there was no evidence at all against the female; and explained the law on the subject as affecting women.nThe two male prisoners were found guilty, and the female prisoner acquitted. ------Sentence of Death Recorded; and the learned Judge intimated that theynwould be transported for life.nnBIOGRAPHY: TRIAL:Dorset Assizes,12th March 1835.nSENTENCE:Transportation for life.nTRANSPORT SHIP:Bardaster sailed from Portsmouth 16th September 1835; arrived Hobart Town, Tasmania, 13th January 1836.nMASTER: Alexander McDonald.nSURGEON: Joseph Street. The Bardaster carried 240 male convicts and there were 5 deaths on board.nCONDUCT RECORD: (385) Transported for Burglary.nGAOL RECORD: Orderly.nHULK RECORD: Good, married with 3 children. Died on board, 7th December 1835, of consumption.n(REF: PRO HO11/10; AOTAS CON31/33 p74)nnBIOGRAPHY: Petitions for Clemency.nnBIOGRAPHY: Letter from Thomas Dade, Broadway Rectory, Dorchester, 25th April 1835.nnBIOGRAPHY: My Lord,nI take the liberty of addressing you on the subject of Abraham Norster, who was tried with his brother Samuel, & his wife for a burglary in the Island of Portland at the last Assizes at Dorchester - the two brothers are now under sentence of transportation for life. I was the committing magistrate, & have sifted the evidence very closely both before and after the trial - & the reason of my addressing you is, because I am convinced there is not the guilt on the part of Abraham there is on that of Samuel. The burglary took place between six and eight in the eve. I cannot prove it, but I am fully convinced that Abraham was not present when the robbery was committed - he was certainly at home till very near seven o'clock - his wife was from home nursing a sickwoman, but an uncle was with him, tho' that evidence was not given in Court. No part of the money stolen was found on him - a few shillings were found in the walls of his house, but then Samuel and he lived under the same roof, and used the same door - in Samuel's house money was found. He denies having been in any way concerned, & when I asked Samuel why I should not commit him for trial, he gave a no way credible account how he became possessed of the money, & finished by saying that his wife & brother were innocent of the money. I attended the trial &, with other magistrates who knew the case, expected Abraham would have been acquitted, such was the case too with the attorney for the prosecution. I believe that he knew of the robbery afterwards - but felt unwilling to say anything against a brother. I do not mean to speak of him as a good character, but I feel strongly impresses that he was not a party concerned here. I hope your Lordship will excuse my requesting you to ask the Judges opinion, & that if you should find that mercy may be extended to him, that you will recommend a commitation of punishment for Abraham Norster.nI believe the prisoner will be removed early next week from Dorchester Gaol to Portsmouth, but the hopes of finding evidence to strenghthen my opinion of his innocence was the cause of my being so late in making application to you.nI have the honor to be my Lord, your Lordships obedient servant, Thos Dade.nnBIOGRAPHY: Letter from Charles Cannon, Cove Cottage, Isle of Portland, 10th May 1835.nnBIOGRAPHY: My Lord,nMay it please your Lordship to allow me the favor of stating my opinion, & the opinion of all the inhabitants of this Island, who, are in in possession of information sufficient, to enable them to judge of the circumstances connected with the prosecution of Samuel and Abraham Noster, at the last Lent Assizes held at Dorchester, for breaking into the Dwelling house of my neighbour Mr William Pearce, on the evening of the 21st December 1834, and stealing therefrom upwards of 60£ in Gold & Silver - they were convicted before Sir John Patteson, & the sentence of "Death recorded" against them, but inconsequence of an impression made on the minds of some persons, not connected with the Island, that Abraham Noster was not accessary before the fact, it is understood that application has been made to you Lordship, to intercede in behalf of Abraham, for the purpose of mitigating his punishment. I beg to assure your Lordship that there is every reason to believe that Abraham was accessary before the fact, & that he and his brother, contrived & executed their scheme conjointly - for since the trial terminated, it has been stated that two persons were seen after it was dark standing in the passage leading to Mr Pearce's, on the night of the robbery, & it created surprise, but this excitement subsided on a second thought, that, it probably was persons belonging to his Majesty's Coast Guard, & therefore no further notice was taken. The character of Abraham as well as Samuel Noster is notoriously bad, so much so, that tho' an attempt was made to get signatures on a petition in their favour by their relations, it failed, scarcely any one would sign it. I believe that Abraham Noster is not more deserving of lenity than his Brother Samuel, and that the peace and safety of the inhabitants of this Island, require that they should both be sent out of the country, as a preventive to worse consequences.nI beg the honor of subscribing myself, My Lord, Your Lordships most obedient servant, Chas Cannon, Dissenting Minister of Portland.n'His venom towards the brothers seems to originate from his friendship with William Pearce ( his neighbour ) - who was at Chapel on the night of the robbery - possibly Chas Cannon's Chapel? - Also, he couldn't get the surname right!!'nnBIOGRAPHY: Letter from Thomas Dade, Broadway Rectory, Dorchester, 12th May 1835.nnBIOGRAPHY: Sir,nnBIOGRAPHY: I took the liberty, as committing magistrate, to address Lord J Russell, concerning Abraham Norster, convicted at the last Dorset Assizes, with his brother Samuel Norster, for burglary in the Island of Portland. To that letter I have not rec'd an answer. I requested that Baron Gurney, the Judge, might be applied to, to refer to his notes. My conviction is, that Abraham was not concerned in the robbery, tho' I think he knew of it afterwards, but then he must have informed against a brother. Under the case there was a necessity to commit Abraham with his brother for trial, tho' I fully expected he would have been acquitted & that was the opinion of the attorney for the prosecution. Before I committed them for trial, I asked Samuel what he had to say, he gave a foolish defence of himself, but concluded by saying "my wife (who was acquitted) & my brother are innocent of the money". This expression was before the Judge, but I do not know if he made a note of it. You will excuse my saying I am extremely anxious on the subject, so fully am I convinced that Abraham was not concerned in the robbery, tho' I am unable to bring any evidence to that effect, but I earnestly desire to bring the matter under the consideration of the Home Secretary that if possible there may be mercy shewn him. He is now under sentence of transportation for life. He was removed last week to Portsmouth, & is now ill in the hospital. He perseveres in saying he is innocent, which I am inclined to think he is.nI am Sir, your obedient servant, Thos Dade.nnBIOGRAPHY: Reply to Home Office from J Patteson, 33 Bedford Square, 19th May 1835.nnBIOGRAPHY: My Lord,nI lose no time in replying to your Lordship's note of the 13th instant, which did not reach me till today, respecting Abraham Norster, who was convicted before me, & not before my Brother Gurney to whom the papers have been sent.nThe case was shortly this. The prisoners Samuel & Abraham Norster lived in the same house, both married men. A burglary was committed at the house of one Pearce & a large sum of money stolen, amongst it a Guinea. Both the prisoners were proved to be in indigent circumstances. Three days after the burglary both prisoners were apprehended at their own house. Four sovereigns were found in Samuels pocket after he had denied having any, & when he got to gaol a guinea two sovereigns & five half sovereigns were found in the pad of his neck handkerchief. No money was found on Abraham. On searching the house afterwards other money was found concealed in various parts of the house. As they both occupied the house, & were both together when they were apprehended & money found concealed on Samuel's person, the jury thought that both were concerned in the burglary. No evidence was given by either prisoner.nI cannot say that the jury was wrong, & at the time of the trial I was satisfied, otherwise I should have recommended a less punishment as to Abraham in my letter to his Majesty, stating the Capital convictions on the circuit.nThe letter of Mr Dade, the Committing Magistarte, to your Lordship has certainly shaken my confidence in the propriety of the verdict as regards Abraham & the other letter of Mr cannon does not contain any new facts, except that two persons were seen near the premises, but that it does not appear who they were.nUnder all the circumstances I think it is possible that Abraham may not have been present at the burglary, but the impression on my mind is that he was. Had the Uncle been called at the trial, as he ought to have been by the prisoner, he would been able to have proved whether the brothers were together or not, during the time of the prosecutor's abscure, but whether he would have told a credible story or not I cannot even guess.nI am your Lordship's most obedient humble servant, J Patteson.nMy note of the trial is already in Mr Phillipps's hands. This trial is on page 33.nnBIOGRAPHY: Note on cover of 2nd letter from Thos Dade.nnBIOGRAPHY: Inform Mr Dade that in complying with his request he has written to Mr J Patteson & that the judges report is such that he does not think himself warranted in issuing a pardon.nnBIOGRAPHY: Inform Mr Patteson that Lord J proposes not to recommend a pardon or any mercy.nnBIOGRAPHY: PRO Ref HO/17/55/iv 17nnDEATH: PRO Ref ADM 101/7/3/2 - Medical and surgical journal of His Majesty's convict ship Bardaster for 12 August 1835 to 18 January 1836 by Joseph Steret RN, Surgeon Superintendent, during which time the said ship was employed in a voyage from England to Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land.nFolios 27-28: Abraham Noster, aged 32, Prisoner; disease or hurt, phthisis. Put on sick list, 6 October 1835, at sea. Died, 7 December 1835. Complained of cough and shortness of breath, to both of which he had been occasionally subject. His brother was on board and said that he had lost flesh and strength in a remarkable way but was very anxious to accompany his brother. nnOCCUPATION: 1828 Quarrymann1830 Seamann1833 Seamann1848 Seaman