Samuel Dobbs was born in 1797 in Mitcheldean and lived in Coleford where he worked as a collier. He married Ann Gough in 1820 and had two children. On 14 August 1822, he was found guilty of the theft of 2s 5d from Margaret Yemm the wife of a collier in Ruardean. He had already served three months on remand and therefore was fined one pound and discharged. At the age of 31, on 30 March 1831, he was convicted of stealing one lamb valued at 20 shillings the property of John Bethell and sentenced to death which was then commuted to transportation for life. After spending a few weeks on the a hulk, the Cumberland, he was transferred to the Lord Lyndoch which set sail on 25 July 1831 and arrived in Van Diemen’s Land on 18 November 1831.
He had a long history of absconding and in most cases, he was caught by the police soon after and spent short spells in prison. He absconded on the following dates: 20 May 1832, 1 June 1832, 8 June 1832, 21 December 1832, 4 January 1833, 8 March 1833, 9 March 1836, 18 March 1836, 9 June 1837, 14 June 1841, 25 June 1841 and 21 October 1842.
He obtained his ticket of leave on 1 November 1845 and conditional pardon on 14 January 1848 and 29 January 1849.