Thomas Hodgetts -
Second Fleet Convict Ancestor
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
that was to begin in Port Jackson, New South Wales, Australia and end in Tasmania.
life was never to be the same again.
late 1700's in England was a place and time of intense
change as the industrial revolution swept across the nation.
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.
began housing prisoners in prison hulks on the River
Thames, however as the hulks and goals were overflowing with
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.
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.