Thomas and Hannah Laycock’s youngest daughter Elizabeth married my great great great grandfather Thomas Pitt, hence the connection between the two pioneering families.
Thomas Laycock travelled to New South Wales in 1791 as a quartermaster with the New South Wales Corps. His wife Hannah came with him along with their elder children. Elizabeth was born in Sydney in 1796.
Laycock senior was at various times granted huge tracts of land in the Sydney area, including 80 acres at Parsley Bay (where Vaucluse House now stands) and at Homebush, which he named.
He was involved in the notorious incident of ‘Boston’s Pig’, when he ordered Susanna Pitt’s husband-to-be William Faithfull to shoot a pig that was trespassing on land belonging to Captain Foveaux, and in 1804 he helped to quell the rebellion at Castle Hill. In his later years he appeared to go off the rails rather and was courtmartialled in 1805 for among other things using mutinous language against his superior officer. He died in 1809.
There’s more to read about Thomas in Ken Laycock’s self published booklet (available at the Mitchell Library in Sydney) LAYCOCK: A Pioneer Australian Family.
Thomas’s wife Hannah left the colony for England in 1806 to be with her daughters, who were being educated there, and did not return until 1810, after her husband had died. She had been granted land at King’s Grove in 1804 in her own right, which was unusual for a woman, but later she went to live in Sydney, where she died in 1831. The suburb of Kingsgrove is named after Hannah’s property.
Hannah’s story has been written up by Sheila Tearle in Hannah Laycock of King’s Grove Farm (Hurstville Historical Society, 1972), and in Kingsgrove: The First Two Hundred Years, by Ron Hill & Brian Madden (Canterbury & District Historical Society, 2004).
Elizabeth Laycock spent her youngest years being educated back in England and was 14 years old when she returned to the colony with her mother and sister. She married Thomas Pitt at the age of 16 at St John’s Parramatta and they lived together at Pitt and Nelson’s farms (later known as Bronte) near Richmond. They had five children before Thomas died in 1821. In the years following Elizabeth produced four more children by William Scott, overseer on her property at the Hawkesbury.
Elizabeth died in 1835, aged 38.