James Knibbs (c. 1813-1875)
Convicted for ‘stealing shop goods viz plumbs, frock, basket &.c by entering a house’, James Knibbs had already served time for ‘neglect of family’. He was widowed with three children. He could not read or write. At age 30 the farm labourer was sentenced to 15 years’ transportation.
James arrived on the Anson in 1844. With mentions on his record for ‘neglect of duty’ and ‘misconduct’, he spent 22 months with a work gang. Next he was assigned to Wilson’s farm at Oatlands. There he met his wife-to-be, Mary Ann Dalton.
In a strange twist of fate, James found himself on the other side of the law as key witness at the murder trial of Doherty and Ennis. Ennis was hanged for the crime. Family legend has it that James himself made a death bed confession to having murdered George Sturgeon.