William Scott played an important role in the lives of both Elizabeth and her son GM Pitt. He came to the colony free on board the convict ship Surry, with his sister Margaret and his mother Joan. Joan died on board ‘leaving three small children’ who were believed to be William, aged 16, Margaret 11 and James, aged 3. They were travelling to join their father James senior, who’d been transported for life the previous year from Scotland.
What happened to the three orphans next is a mystery, but it’s presumed they lived with their father until 1818, when James senior re-offended and was sent to the Coal River in Newcastle, at which point they may have been taken under the wing of Thomas and Elizabeth Pitt, because in January 1819 the youngest, James junior, aged 7, was admitted into the Male Orphan School, ‘parent or guardian Mt Pitt’.
Both William and Margaret were listed on the 1822 census under Elizabeth Pitt, he as a labourer, she as a servant working for ‘E Mortimer’, in the Windsor area. In the 1828 census William was listed as overseer for Elizabeth.
William fathered four children with Elizabeth Pitt following her husband Thomas’s death, but for some reason they never married.
In 1838 Scott and GM Pitt travelled to the Gwydir River near what is now Moree and took up land on The Big River. Scott was granted a license there in 1839.
There followed a land dispute spanning several years, and eventually Scott’s grant was taken from him and given to someone else.
On Scott’s death and burial certificates in Kurrajong and North Richmond in November 1868 it states he was born in Richmond, which contradicts the censuses. It also states his father was William rather than James, which is believed to be a mistake.
I have a copy of his death certificate from ancestry on which someone has scribbled that William named only three of his four children as beneficiaries in his will. The missing one, Elizabeth – aka Betsey – married Jack Timmins, well-known drover and dog breeder, who accompanied William and GM Pitt on their journey to the Gwydir.
Scott’s sister Margaret married Edward Inall.
Thanks are due to Gail Sutton, Margaret’s descendant, for filling in the gaps in William and Margaret’s earlier life.
London, February 2017