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Two Grandfathers, Should Have Been For Me

Joseph Spark Preston (1789–1879)

Joseph Spark Preston was convicted of embezzlement. Sentenced to transportation for 14 years, he arrived in 1830 on the Royal George. He stated his occupation as a ‘first class clerk’. His height was recorded as 5 feet 10 ½ inches (179 cm), a tall man for his day.

Preston did not settle well. He committed further offences, mostly for being out after hours, and one charge of assault. For a time he was employed as a clerk. He also tried to establish a business but failed, which saw him back in gaol for debt.

Family history has Joseph Preston working as a driver and groom for his son-in-law, William Henry Burgess. While this was a huge drop in status, it meant that Preston and his wife still had a place to live with their three unmarried daughters.

Many ex-convicts had nothing to fall back on in old age.  Although Joseph was lucky to have the charity of his family, it was hardly the life he’d once enjoyed, working with the London tea merchants Richard & Thomas Cooper of Monument Yard, between Fish Street Hill and Pudding Lane.
Many ex-convicts had nothing to fall back on in old age. Although Joseph was lucky to have the charity of his family, it was hardly the life he’d once enjoyed, working with the London tea merchants Richard & Thomas Cooper of Monument Yard, between Fish Street Hill and Pudding Lane.

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