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The Book Thief

James Heritage (1802-?)

In 1831 James Heritage, a cooper, was before the Somerset courts again, this time for ‘stealing plate’. The silver plate goods were valued at more than £5, so James was sentenced to transportation for life.
James continued to offend in Van Diemen’s Land. His convict record shows him being drunk, out after hours, committing assault, and more. For these offences he received time on the Tread Wheel, bread & water rations, hard labour, and lashes.
It took James eight years to earn his Ticket of Leave. He resumed his coopering (barrel-making), an important trade to whaling and shipping.
James and Mary Cleary took the unusual step of marrying twice, to appease both parties, first at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and then at St. John’s Anglican Church. They had three children before Mary died from breast cancer, aged 42.

When James Heritage was sentenced to transportation for life, the silver plate goods he stole were estimated to be worth about £5.  Goods worth £5 in 1830 equate to goods worth about $500 in today’s terms.
When James Heritage was sentenced to transportation for life, the silver plate goods he stole were estimated to be worth about £5. Goods worth £5 in 1830 equate to goods worth about $500 in today’s terms.

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