Our Hodgetts Family Saga-Thomas Hodgetts,1796,Sydney

I have previously blogged about other convict weddings Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts were witness to.

See Our Hodgetts Family Saga Thomas Hodgetts,1790, Sydney posted 31 May 2020


Our Hodgetts Family Saga Harriet Hodgetts,1790, Sydney posted 8 June 2020


Our Hodgetts Family Saga – Thomas Hodgetts,1792, Parramatta. posted 13 July 2020

As I previously mentioned, the above-mentioned marriages were in John Cobley’s series of books about the early settlement in New South Wales and ‘The Brave Old Pioneers 1788-1988: the story of Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts and their family, by Richard Hodgetts.

However, this marriage is another of several documents I have recently located about Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts and their life in Australia. This marriage has not been mentioned in the material published on the Hodgetts family.

There has been an error in the transcribing for the index. On the marriage entry, the year is 1796, but it has been transcribed as 1798.[1]

View of Sydney Cove / painted by Thomas Watling1794-1796?
From <https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/collection-items/view-sydney-cove-painted-thomas-watling>

These entries can be found on Reel 5002  in the Archives Authority of NSW (State Records), in their Genealogical Kit.

332/1798 V1798332 3A






212/1798 V1798212 4






From <https://familyhistory.bdm.nsw.gov.au/lifelink/familyhistory/search/result?3>

As I have indicated before this was only the beginning, not the end of my research when I transcribed these records.

How did I use these records to further my research into the lives of our Hodgetts ancestors?

Remember our ancestors lived complex lives and their family and friends played an important part. As Sydney was a convict settlement the Government officials also played a part and greatly influenced where and how our ancestors lived.

Benjamin Jones was born about 1772 in Birmingham, England. On 23 March 1790 at the Warwick Assizes Jones was tried for theft and was sentenced to seven years transportation. He arrived in Sydney on the Third Fleet on board the Britania on 14 October 1791.

He married the widow Mary Flemming on 20 April 1796 in St Phillip’s, Sydney. Soon after marriage, he settled the family on a land grant on the Hawkesbury, which had been granted by Governor Hunter to his eldest step-son Henry Fleming, although he was only a child at the time. Further children were born to Benjamin and Mary Jones including Elizabeth, born  1797; John, born 1799, James born 1803, Benjamin born 1804 and Robert born 1809.

Benjamin and Mary Jones with their five children left the colony on the Sydney Packet on 1 July 1815 bound for England. They returned the following year and settled in Hobart, Tasmania.

Benjamin Jones died there on 13 April 1837 and Mary Jones died the following year.[2]

Mary Flemming (nee Lay), is believed to have been born in the British Colonies in America. She met Joseph Flemming, a British soldier during the American War of Independence, and had a daughter with him, whom they named Eleanor. They returned to England and settled in Essex. They married there on 8 July 1788 before Joseph Flemming transferred to the New South Wales Corps in late 1789. He was promoted to Sargent the following year. The family arrived in Sydney on board the William and Ann of the Third Fleet on 28 August 1791. Soon after arrival, a son was born and they named him Henry. He was baptized at St Phillip’s on 11 September 1791.

Another daughter was born in 1793 and was named Margaret. She was baptized on 25 December 1793 at St Phillip’s, Sydney.

After serving his three years in the NSW Corps, Joseph Flemming resigned from the army and was granted land at Concord in 1794.

The family had just settled on this grant when Joseph Flemming died leaving his widow, Mary, with three young children to support. It is believed that Benjamin Jones was an assigned convict helping Flemming clear his land ready for sowing crops. After Joseph Flemming’s death, his Grant was sold and the family moved to the Hawkesbury River where the eldest son Henry (although only eight years of age), was granted land. The Flemming children all survived to adulthood and married. Mary Jones had five further children with Benjamin Jones. She died in 1838 in Hobart, Tasmania.[3]

Thomas Hodgetts

Thomas Hodgetts was implicated in a robbery in 1787 in Staffordshire and was sentenced to 7 years transportation. He embarked on the Scarborough in the Second Fleet in 1790. After a few months in Sydney, he moved to Parramatta with Harriet, a free woman who arrived on the Neptune claiming to be his wife. [See earlier blogs]

By the time of the Benjamin Jones- Mary Flemming marriage in 1796, Thomas Hodgetts had completed his seven-year sentence.

Thomas and Harriet Hodgetts had three surviving children at this stage and were living in Sydney, where Thomas plied his blacksmithing trade.

He possibly made friends with  Benjamin Jones because he came from the same area in England and his speech would have naturally made these men plausible friends, although there was nearly ten years difference in age.

Katherine King is believed to have been the wife of Robert King. Robert King may have been a soldier and that is how Katherine became a close friend of the widow, Mary Flemming.

Robert and Katherine King had children including William Henry King born on 8 March 1791 and baptized in Sydney on 17 March 1792. He was drowned as an infant and was buried on 26 October 1792.

Another son named Robert was born on 27 October 1795 and baptized at St Phillip’s on 1 January 1796. I have not been able to find more information on the King family and they may have left the colony soon afterwards.[4]

 Rev Richard Johnson.

He was a Church of England clergyman ordained in England in 1784. In 1786 he received a Royal Warrant appointing him chaplain to the new colony in New South Wales. Shortly afterward he married Mary Burton at Islington, London on 4 December 1786. They embarked a few months later in the Golden Grove in the First Fleet.

Soon after arrival the Rev Johnson held his first service and continued to do whenever and wherever he could. These he carried out in tents, barns, or even under trees when a building was not available. He also carried out baptism, marriage, and burial services and entered them into his private register. Later he sent a list to the Governor’s Office of all baptisms, marriages, and burials.

Johnson was known for his care and interest in the convicts and often gave articles and food for their comfort from his own stores brought out from London in a private capacity.

Although Governor Phillip required the convicts to attend Sunday service, he was reticent to build a church as he felt all the Government building projects should be to house and feed the colony.

By 1793, Johnson was so frustrated by the lack of progress towards the building of a church that he undertook this project himself and paid for the materials and labour for the church to be built. It was a wattle and daub construction at what is now Richard Johnson Square at the intersection of Bligh and Hunter Streets. Unfortunately, this was burned down in 1798. The Governor had it replaced with a larger and more substantial building.

Johnson was also concerned about the lack of facilities for the education of colonial children and established schools in Sydney and later Parramatta. He also travelled to Norfolk Island when he could for the spiritual care of the convicts there.

Johnson and his family remained in the colony for nearly ten years before he asked to be returned home to England citing ill health. The family left by the Buffalo in September 1800.[5]

View of Sydney Cove / painted by Thomas Watling1794-1796?
From <https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/collection-items/view-sydney-cove-painted-thomas-watling>

Although this marriage is not mentioned in ‘The Brave Old Pioneers 1788-1988 by Richard Hodgetts, this book is still available for purchase from the author. Those interested can contact me by leaving a request in the comments box below and I will happily pass on the message.

A list of my references is available to family members and interested researchers on application. Please leave a request in the comments box below indicating your interest.