James McManus II (1794–1839)

James McManus II was the son of First Fleeters James McManus I, a marine and member of the New South Wales Corp, and Jane Poole, a convict transported per Charlotte (1788). In adulthood, James became a decorated ‘Chief Constable,’ but during a period of mental illness and reputed alcoholism, James gruesomely murdered the St. John’s Church bell-ringer, an elderly man named Edward ‘Neddy’ Vallace. James McManus II committed suicide at the Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum a decade after he committed his crime.


  • Son of James McManus I
  • Son of Jane McManus
  • Brother / Half-brother of Margaret Poole
  • Brother of Sarah McManus
  • Brother of John McManus
  • Half-brother of Martha Poole
  • Murderer of Edward Vallace

Related Content

James McManus II: The Wrath of a Madman (2016)

By Michaela Ann Cameron

Abstract: At first glance, it would seem this child of two First Fleeters had taken after the right parent: the father, also named James McManus, who came to the colony as a free marine as opposed to the mother, Jane Poole, who came to New South Wales as a convict. However, James McManus the younger inherited more from James McManus the elder than his name and a predilection for positions of authority. Like his father, whose life seemed to be respectable only to take a turn for the worst and featured a suicide attempt, James McManus II went from being a decorated ‘Chief Constable’ and family man to a deranged axe-murderer and long-term resident of multiple ‘lunatic asylums’ whose erratic life came to a violent end. more>>

Jane McManus: The Maid Freed from the Gallows (2016)

By Michaela Ann Cameron

Abstract: Jane Poole was a mere 16-year-old girl when she faced the possibility of being hanged by the neck until she was dead. For nine days she nervously waited while His Majesty the King decided at His Royal Will and Pleasure to save her from the gallows pole. After receiving the much lighter sentence of seven years transportation to the Colony of New South Wales, Jane spent five months on the Dunkirk hulk and sailed with the First Fleet on the Charlotte. Even when she became a free settler, Jane’s colonial life was one of constant movement and turmoil. Towards the end of her life, Jane would again find herself at the mercy of the powers that be, waiting for them to make a decision about her life at their own will and pleasure. more>>


# Born in the colony

# Constable

# Murderer

# Suicide

# Burial year: 1839

# Grave: unmarked