Enduring Spirit: Convicts or Colonists
The True Story of Henry Kable & Susannah Holmes

By Len P. Hedges
December 2009
Old Forge
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications
ISBN: 9781906183080
259 pages
$49.50 Hardcover

In 1783, Henry Kable and Susannah Holmes found themselves desperately afraid in the fortress that was Norwich Castle. They had been imprisoned for stealing goods worth more than forty shillings, a crime that automatically drew sentences of death by hanging. There they fell in love and enjoyed a potent fusion of pain and pleasure within the prison's grim walls. This story follows the true events leading to two young country folk struggling to survive the perils and squalor of a Georgian prison, where first offenders lay beside hardened criminals, muggers and murderers were mixed with children, harlots and petty criminals.

When Susannah and her baby were sent to the hulks for transportation on the first fleet to Australia, Henry was desperate but powerless to join her. John Simpson, the humane turnkey, stepped in when the Captain of the hulk refused to take Susannah's baby, who, having been born in prison, had no papers. His actions sparked off an amazing chain of events which culminated in the two young people being reunited on the hulk prior to joining the very first fleet to the New World.Henry, tough and resourceful in Australia, was the first convict in history to successfully sue the authorities, run a mail service, own a ship and become the Colony's first Chief Constable. He went on to make a fortune in sealing and whaling. To survive and remain together was remarkable, to succeed and flourish truly astonishing.


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