convicts

a good missus

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"First Impressions" Sandstone relief sculpture symbolises the origins and settlement of the colony. Playfair Street, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW Australia
“First Impressions” Sandstone relief sculpture symbolises the origins and settlement of the colony. Playfair Street, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW Australia

One of the quainter ways the G.O. expresses his appreciation of me is the by the reassuring accolade “you’re a good missus”… However, I’m not even remotely in the league of one of his great-great-great-great grandmothers, Harriet Hodgetts.

While the convicts of the Second Fleet were waiting to depart England the Home Secretary, William Grenville sent a letter to Lieutenant John Shapcote aboard the Neptune advising due to vacant berths there was some capacity for prisoners wives to have passage to the colony. Ordinarily not allowed, however Thomas Hodgetts and his wife listed as Harriet Hodgetts were beneficiaries of this circumstance. Harriet was one of six free women allowed to travel in this instance as convict spouses to New South Wales.

Her husband Thomas Hodgetts was convicted of theft in 1788 and sentenced to death, the sentence being commuted to seven years imprisonment and transportation to New South Wales. Thomas and Harriett Hodgetts arrived at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, New South Wales, Australia in June 1790 on ships of the Second Fleet. Thomas as a convict on board the “Scarborough” and Harriet as a free woman on board the “Neptune”.

If the times and life Thomas and Harriett left behind in England were harsh, their journey to the other side of the world was more so, with the mortality rate of the Second Fleet the highest in the history of transportation to Australia. The ships were contracted to private businesses who kept the convicts in awful conditions, treating them brutally. Of the 1026 convicts due to disembark in NSW 267 died. Of those who managed to complete the journey 486 were described as lean and emaciated many needing medical attention, with 124 dying shortly after.

Thomas and Harriet are described in the book The Brave Old Pioneers. A History of the Hodgetts Family In Australia.

“Convict Thomas Hodgetts & his wife Harriet, who was one of the first free women to come to Australia, survived the notorious Second Fleet to become respectable citizens and pioneers in a strange and challenging land.”

Such was the beginning of Thomas & Harriet’s new life together. They remained in Sydney until Thomas’ sentence expired in March 1795, thereafter he was free to work and apply for land grants. In July 1800 they moved to Norfolk Island, returned to Sydney in July 1805, in 1810 moved to Pitt Town on the Hawkesbury River, and finally to Tasmania in 1819 where they remained. During this time Thomas and Harriet had 10 children.

Thomas died suddenly in 1823, age 62 leaving his wife, eight children and fourteen grandchildren. Harriet stayed on at the farm at Longford where she died at 85 years of age in 1850.

The life Thomas and Harriet began anew was up summed by Tom Keneally in his book The Commonwealth of Thieves: The Story of the Founding of Australia.

“Male convicts were suddenly told that they could bring their wives on the voyage, if they chose, but only three women and three children turned up at Portsmouth by 21 December. Three of four other women embarked in the following days, interesting volunteers, lovers of various convicts, willing to take the step, on the eve of Christmas, into the void.

Amongst them was Harriet Hodgetts, wife of a 24-year-old blacksmith-cum-burglar from Staffordshire, Thomas Hodgetts. She had followed her husband down from Staffordshire to London, where she lived with their three small children in acute squalor in Whitechapel. It seems that the church wardens and overseers of the parish of St Mary’s Whitechapel took an interest in her case and were anxious to get Harriet aboard, since she had no other prospects at all.

That made her fit for New South Wales. Her revenge was to live till 1850 and to give birth to nine colonial children.”

With grandchildren of his own the G.O.’s family has 8 generations born in Australia descended from Thomas & Harriet.

Generation 1: Thomas & Harriet’s eldest living daughter Mary Maria (1795-1844) married Thomas Graham (1794-1862), son of the G.O.’s other 2 convict ancestors Eupham (sometimes referred to as Elizabeth) Graham and Matthias (often referred to as Matthew) Lock and who were described in one bit of research as “Australian Royalty“.

Generation 2: Frederick Albert Graham, son of Thomas Graham and Mary Maria Hodgetts was born at Wilberforce in 1841. He married Annie Maria Organ (1842-1905) in 1862 at Bukkulla. They had 12 children. Frederick died in 1924, age 82 and is buried at Inverell, as is Annie Maria.

Generation 3: Ernest Richmond Graham, son of Frederick Albert Graham and Annie Maria Organ was born at Inverell in 1885. In 1906 Ernest married Amanda Maria (sometimes recorded as Marie) Kachel (1886-1968) of German free settlers, who the G.O. remembers and refers to as Old Mummy. They also had 12 children most of them known to the G.O. Ernest died in 1960 age 75 and is buried at Urunga with Old Mummy.

Generation 4: Thelma May Graham (1906-1992), is the G.O.’s grandmother. May is buried at Coffs Harbour with the G.O.’s grandfather, Vincent who died in 1963 age 59 years.

There is some mystery attached to this story. One of the crimes Thomas was convicted of was reported as stealing a cotton gown valued at ten shillings, being the property of William and Ann Duce at Wednsbury in Staffordshire, purportedly his in-laws as there are suggestions that Thomas may have been married to a woman named Ann Duce at the time of his conviction, and had 3 children, who did not accompany them on the voyage. Harriet’s name has been recorded variously as “Duce”, Henrietta Ann (Harriet) Luce and Harriet Henrietta. Her headstone records her name as Henaretta Hodgetts.

In A Great Second Fleet Mystery-the Hodgetts Family Nola Mackey, a Historian whose husband’s family is also descended from Thomas and Harriett Hodgetts writes:

“Similarly I have been able to identify his wife, Ann, and their reputed children. By tracing these forward in time, I found no evidence they emigrated to Australia at a later time. In fact they remained in their native place and some of them can be found in the census records, some sixty years later.

It has been suggested Thomas’s wife Ann, changed her name to ‘Harriet’ and came to Australia leaving the children behind. As I can now prove this was not the case, it raises the question, who was the woman who came on the Second Fleet, and later claimed to be ‘Harriet Hodgetts’ the wife of Thomas Hodgetts?”

Disclaimer:

With the advent of the internet and various ancestry and genealogy websites, depending on the depth of research you want to undertake, web searches can offer up information previously only obtainable via considerable effort, research and cost. It was during a period of Google-based family history research on my mother’s family which morphed into the G.O.’s paternal grandmother May’s ancestry that I stumbled across what many Australians consider family history gold – convicts. Should you endeavour to undertake this type of research be prepared to get side tracked and spend endless time clicking on links and sources leading you to snippets of various information which do not necessarily exactly correlate necessitating the approximation and cobbling together of a story. With more material coming to light be prepared for revisions, updates and sometimes conflicting & varying information and versions.

Sources:

http://nolamackey.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/a-great-second-fleet-mystery-the-hodgetts-family/

http://members.tripod.com/franklee_1/id4.htm

http://www.freewebs.com/hodgetts/

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hodgettsoftasmania/

http://www.freewebs.com/msmccarthy/apps/forums/topics/show/2397555

http://www.myheritage.com/person-2000016_179434492_179434492/thomas-hodgetts

http://hodgetts.webs.com/harriethodgetts.htm

http://www.swvic.org/carapook/names/hodgetts.htm

http://genforum.genealogy.com/hodgetts/messages/2.html

http://www.chestnut-blue.com/Chestnut%20Blue-o/p333.htm

http://boards.ancestry.com.au/localities.oceania.australia.tas.general/2511.2625.1929.2655.2761.1/mb.ashx

https://elladeewords.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/alls-well-that-ends-well-matthias-eupham/

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All’s well that ends well – Matthias & Eupham

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As well as blogging to caretake my sanity I also dabble in family history. I love it, mine or anyone else’s. There’s always interesting stuff to rummage through.

With the advent of the internet and various ancestry and genealogy websites, depending on the depth of research you want to undertake, web searches can offer up information previously only obtainable via considerable effort, research and cost.

It was during a period last year of Google-based family history research on my mother’s family which morphed into the G.O.’s paternal grandmother May’s ancestry that I stumbled across what many Australians consider family history gold – convicts.

We’re not quick movers as evidenced by it taking us until a week or so ago to visit the final resting places of the G.O.’s convict ancestors and their families, but I guess they weren’t going anywhere…

This is the short version but if genealogy holds no interest for you, read no further…

The G.O.’s convict ancestors are Eupham (sometimes referred to as Elizabeth) Graham and Matthias (often referred to as Matthew) Lock and who were described in one bit of research as “Australian Royalty“. That description might be taking it a bit far but many Australian’s hold convict heritage in high regard. Indeed the G.O. would only have been more pleased had I found a familial connection to Ned Kelly or his ilk.

Matthias Lock was born in London, England c. 1763. He was an educated craftsman and worked as a plasterer in the London area. In 1787 changing his lodgings, he was accused of stealing from his landlord, convicted for theft and sentenced to 7 years transportation to the colonies. After 7 months in an overcrowded Newgate Goal he moved to one of the hulks ‘Stanislaus’ for 18 months. In November 1789 Matthew was moved to the transportation ship ‘Surprize’. In January 1790, the Second Fleet of six ships set sail, arriving in Sydney Cove on 3 June 1790 followed, over coming weeks, by what remained of the surviving vessels including the ‘Surprize’.

Two years later the ‘Fourth Fleet’ docked and on one of these ships ‘Pitt’, carrying 410 convicts of which 58 were women, was 19 year old Eupham Graham. Eupham was born near Edinburgh, Scotland c. 1772, daughter of a Spoonmaker. In 1790 she appeared in Perth court with her cousin Helen Lowrie, charged with the theft of napkins from a shop. There was some dispute as to who was responsible as the circumstances were vague but Eupham and Helen were found guilty and sentenced to 14 years transportation to the colony of New South Wales aboard the convict transportation ship, ‘Pitt’ in June 1791, arriving at Sydney Cove in January 1792.

In the short ensuing period, Eupham settled with Matthias Lock and although they were unable to marry due to the laws precluding convict marriages, they lived as man and wife.

At the end of 1792, Governor of the colony, Captain Arthur Phillip, departed for England leaving the colony under the control of Major Francis Grose who placed settlers west of Sydney Cove on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. Matthias was given a ‘Permit to Settle’ and it was here that Eupham gave birth to her children: twins, Thomas Graham and Elizabeth Graham in 1794; and Mary Graham in 1795. The children were ascribed their mother’s surname as due to their convict status Eupham & Matthias weren’t allowed to marry.

Matthias Lock received a grant of 30 acres of land in late 1794. Eupham Graham died in April 1797 at the age of 25, leaving twins Thomas and Elizabeth, aged 2 years 10 months, and daughter Mary, aged 1 year 7 months, motherless. Eupham was buried at St Johns Cemetery in Parramatta where her headstone still exists and is believed to be the third oldest remaining in the cemetery.

Although the cause of Eupham’s death is unknown there is information indicating there were 120 sick on board the Pitt when it arrived at Sydney Cove. One of these was probably Helen Lowrie, who died five weeks after landing. Eupham may have also been affected by the illness and it may have contributed to her early death.

With 3 children to bring up it was fortuitous for Matthias to marry Alice Burrows at St Johns church, Parramatta less than 3 months after Eupham’s death, and burial nearby. Matthias & Alice bore no children together. Sadly Matthias’ daughter Elizabeth, one of the twins, died in 1803 aged 9, so he and Alice raised Thomas and Mary.

Matthias played an important leadership role in the new settlement, and was well rewarded:
By 1802 he was the owner of a horse, somewhat of a privilege in those times.
He received several additional numerous land grants: 1802 – 50 acres, 1804 – 30 acres, 1816 – 60 acres, 1827 – 100 acres.
1803 – he aided a friend, Constable Thompson, to recapture 15 Irish escapees.
1806 – he had a hand in saving over 100 lives in the floods.
1808 – he was appointed District Constable.
1809 – held a liquor licence.
1810 – appointed as Chief Constable of the Hawkesbury district.
1811 – his fairness with the local Aboriginal people was evidenced by his arrest of local European-origin settlers who fired upon a group of Aboriginals.
1812 – he resigned as Chief Constable to attend to his farming interests.

1818 – Matthias’ surviving daughter Mary Graham married Irishman Thomas Maloney (1787-1873) at Matthew’s Church of England, Windsor. Mary Maloney died in 1835 at Wilberforce, at age 40. Both Mary & Thomas Maloney are buried at the Windsor Catholic Cemetery.

Matthias Lock died in April 1836 at the age of 73 survived by his son Thomas, 18 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. He is buried at St  Johns Cemetery in Wilberforce.

Generation 1: Matthias’ son, Thomas Graham married Mary Maria Hodgetts (1795-1844) at St Matthew’s Church of England, Windsor in 1813. Mary Maria Hodgetts was daughter of Second Fleet convict Thomas Hodgetts* and Harriet (surname possibly Duce but sometimes recorded as Luce).

After their marriage, Thomas and Mary Maria farmed a land grant on the HawkesburyRiver and by 1815 were supplying the Government with meat. By 1828 their land holdings had increased to 145 acres.

Thomas and Mary Maria had 14 children before she died in 1844.  

Thomas remarried in 1846 to Margaret Louisa Mills (1825-1882) 2 years after Mary Maria’s death. Together they had 7 children, making Thomas the father of 21 children in all. Mary Maria is buried at St Johns Cemetery, Wilberforce.

Thomas died at Wilberforce in 1862, and was buried in St Johns Cemetery, next to his father and his first wife.

Generation 2: Frederick Albert Graham, son of Thomas Graham and Mary Maria Hodgetts was born at Wilberforce in 1841. He married Annie Maria Organ (1842-1905) in 1862 at Bukkulla. They had 12 children. Frederick died in 1924, age 82 and is buried at Inverell, as is Annie Maria.

Generation 3: Ernest Richmond Graham, son of Frederick Albert Graham and Annie Maria Organ was born at Inverell in 1885. In 1906 Ernest married Amanda Maria (sometimes recorded as Marie) Kachel (1886-1968) of German free settlers, who the G.O. remembers and refers to as Old Mummy. They also had 12 children most of them known to the G.O.  Ernest died in 1960 age 75 and is buried at Urunga with Old Mummy.

Generation 4: Thelma May Graham (1906-1992), is the G.O.’s grandmother. May is buried at Coffs Harbour with the G.O.’s grandfather, Vincent who died in 1963 age 59 years.

With grandchildren of his own the G.O.’s family has 8 generations born in Australia descended from Matthias & Eupham.

Cases of wrongful convictions or not, the future Graham-Lock family caught a lucky break when fate stepped in and transported their forbears to Australia. The British ruling parties’ solution to economic pressure and ‘undesirables’, i.e. convicting its citizens of petty crimes based on ‘convenient’ evidence gave those citizens’ descendants the most wonderful punishment of being Aussie born n’ bred.

*Rechecking the myriad of links and information I’ve collated, I found details of a third convict ancestor Thomas Hodgetts, father of Mary Maria Hodgetts married to Thomas Graham (Generation 1), another interesting story but one I will save for another post.

Disclaimer: Should you endeavour to undertake this type of research and resulting blog post be prepared to get side tracked and spend endless time clicking on links and sources leading you to snippets of various information which does not necessarily marry together necessitating the approximation and cobbling together of a story. With more material coming to light (such as I have found for Thomas Graham) be prepared for revisions and updates, which I will also save for another post.

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