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.
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.
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.