Thomas Hodgetts, Second Fleet Ancestor - Life in England

 

      Thomas Hodgetts - Convict Pioneer

 
Thomas Hodgetts - Second Fleet Convict Ancestor
 

This is the story of my Second Fleet convict ancestor Thomas Hodgetts, his beginnings in his native England, his arrest and his subsequent arduous journey on the Second Fleet convict ship, the "Scarborough" that brought him to his new life that was to begin in Port Jackson, New South Wales, Australia and end in Tasmania.

His life was never to be the same again.


The late 1700's in England was a place and time of intense change as the industrial revolution swept across the nation. As the population grew at a rapid rate and rich landowners began fencing off commonly available land that had previously provided means for poorer farmers to exist, much of the population was brought to a state of poverty and deprivation and unable to provide for their families.
In order to survive, many of the poor turned to petty theft just to feed their families.

Up until this time England had been transporting convicts to America but in 1775, American colonies revolted against British rule and with the subsequent War of Independence, England could no longer send her convicts there.

England began housing prisoners in prison hulks on the River Thames, however as the hulks and goals were overflowing with the prisoners, many of whom were guilty of only petty crime, the decision was made to transport convicts elsewhere. One of the places chosen was Port Jackson, Botany Bay, New South Wales, the continent was later to be named Australia.

Thomas' Early Life

It is thought that Thomas Hodgetts was born circa 1761. His death notice cites him as being 62 when he died in 1823. His trial mentions the town of Aldridge and it could be possible that Thomas was born in Aldridge or in the surrounding areas. To date, not much is known of Thomas Hodgetts early life, however future research may be able to fill in the details.

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