Thomas Pitt and family

Thomas was Mary’s only surviving son to make the journey to New South Wales, and he was 20 years old when the family first arrived.

Thomas was granted 100 acres next door to his mother Mary at Mulgrave Place in September 1802. He lived at the Hawkesbury throughout his relatively short life and at the time of his death he also owned 400 acres at Kurrajong.

Early land grants at Green Hills. Mary and Thomas’ grants are south-east of the river and shaded yellow. John and Lucy Wood’s grants were across the river (also shaded yellow).

Thomas was one of five Hawkesbury settlers chosen as signatories on an official letter to Governor Bligh in 1806, and he also put his name to further ‘memorials’ to various governors throughout the years. He was embroiled in the Rum Rebellion of 1808 and gave evidence at the trial of John Macarthur, who was accused of sedition. He was on the founding committee of the local school and of the Hawkesbury Benevolent Society, and he acted as steward at anniversary celebrations in honour of Governor Macquarie.

Thomas was the last of his siblings to marry. On 15 February 1813, aged 31, he married 16 year old Elizabeth Laycock, younger daughter of the renowned (or notorious) Thomas Laycock, Quartermaster with the New South Wales Corps. Thomas and Elizabeth had five children: George Matcham (aka GM), Mary Matcham, Robert, William and Eliza.

Thomas died on 21 January 1821, aged 39, from a fever contracted during a journey from Sydney.

After his death his widow Elizabeth went on to produce four more children fathered out of wedlock by the property’s overseer, William Scott. Why they did not marry is anyone’s guess, but after her death Scott accompanied her eldest son GM when he set off to try his luck in the Moree district.

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As the only surviving son and head of the family Thomas’ responsibilities for his mother and sisters were enormous. It would have been his job to construct the Pitts’ first house on the Hawkesbury and transform the two 100 acre grants into a thriving farm. While his profile was not as high as some of his peers such as Robert Jenkins, or George Suttor, Thomas’ involvement in public affairs, at a local and a national level, suggests he was a man of substance and generosity.


Descendants of Thomas Pitt, 2009


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Published on March 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm  Comments (11)  

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  1. Patsy, do you know when William Scott returned to North Richmond and if was ever a blacksmith? My great-grandmother Rosanna’s parents were Sarah Taylor and William Scott, a blacksmith. She was born in 1839. In 1840 Sarah Taylor married George Draper, a convict who was assigned to Elizabeth Pitt. I have speculated for many years that William Scott the blacksmith may also have been William Scott the overseer, but have no proof.

    • Hello – I don’t know if this is going to reach you as it’s some years since your email. I’m researching my second family history book and I’m interested to hear more about your ancestor George Draper, who was assigned to Elizabeth Pitt in 1825 and in 1828 according to my census notes.

      I’m also trying to find out more about William Scott, with not much luck so far. I have his burial and death certificates, in Kurrajong and North Richmond respectively, dated 8 November 1868. On one copy of the death certificate on ancestry someone has scribbled that he never married but beneficiaries in his will were three of his four children (by Elizabeth Pitt). The certificates both state he was born in the colony, which contradicts the censuses, and that his occupation was farmer. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been a blacksmith as well, but it doesn’t look as if he ever married.

      Don’t know if that’s helpful, but if you find out anything more about either of these people I’d be very interested to hear about it. My email is patsytrench@gmail.com.

      Best regards
      Patsy

  2. I may be duplicating myself here – I’m never quite sure how to reply to comments! Anyway thanks for getting in touch. I don’t know a lot about William Scott other than that he was overseer on the Pitt property and fathered four children with Elizabeth Pitt. He also took up land in the Moree district with my great grandfather GM Pitt (Elizabeth’s son). But whether or not he was a blacksmith, or ended up in North Richmond, I’ve no idea. If I get to write the sequel to ‘Worst Country’ I may find out more, but with a name like William Scott it may be tricky!

  3. Do you have any idea if any aboriginies worked for them cause that name thomas pitt his my grandfather who might have got that name from your family.

    • Thanks for getting in touch. I have no record of any aboriginal people working for Thomas, but it’s quite possible. Also my great great grandfather GM Pitt farmed in the Moree district in 1838 so it’s very possible there was a connection with Arthur Thomas Pitt. I’d like to more about him and about you, and what ‘first aboriginal people to be sited by white settlement’ means. Do let me know!

  4. Or arthur thomas pitt of moree first aboriginal people to be sited by white settlement

  5. On their arrival on this country in moree around 1829 when my family was sighted by white man was GM PITT apart of the bingara run around that time. Arthur thomas pitt of moree is my grate grandfather.

  6. As far as I know GM first went to Moree in 1838, to the ‘Lower Gwydir’, and later that same year he applied for a licence in the district of ‘Brisbane’, in the same part of the world (not the Queensland Brisbane I assume). I don’t know whether these were part of the Bingara run. I’m researching this now so I will see if I can find a connection with Arthur Thomas Pitt. I’ll let you know if I come up with anything!

  7. Thanks mary

  8. My gggrandfather, William Broggy [1804/5 – 1844] arrived as a convict who had been tried in Limerick, Ireland in 1828. He arrived on the Governor Ready in 1829 and was assigned to Elizabeth Pitt. He received his ticket of leave in 1832 and a Pardon in 1835 and died in 1844. He was in a defacto relationship with a Mary White who arrived as a free person on the Duchess of Northumberland. William’s surname on convict documents shows Broggy, but records of his death and birth of his two children show Brophy. His first child was a son Michael Brophy [1839-1890] and his second a daughter Margaret Brophy [1843-1925]. After William’s death Mary White married a John Callinan in 1846 and had three more children. All five seemed to use various derivations of the surname Callinan but by 1870 they were all using the surname Callaghan. I have been fortunate enough to record William’s history and all his descendants in a 800 page book Not Famous Just Battlers. It is pleasing to see folk preserving our history through their families.

  9. Wow, 800 pages, that is some achievement, especially with all those name derivations. I agree, we are all benefitting from the hard work done by family historians.


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