A convict in the family?

I think we may have struck gold with our Dawson family history research.  Well, a little nugget.

John Hughes Dawson had a great uncle called Uncle Tom – or rather, Thomas Hughes.  He was JHD’s grandmother’s brother.  Well, Thomas married Mary Bax, and one of their children, named William, worked as an agricultural labourer in Kent, in the Isle of Thanet, in the long tradition of the Dawsons and no doubt the Hughes.

But of course, the late 18th and early 19th century saw the agricultural and industrial revolutions having their devastating effect on traditional farm life and cottage industries throughout rural England.  This was a major reason for the huge increase in crime, due to people being forced off the land due to changes in agricultural practices.  These changes produced more food, but provided less employment.  The out-of-workers then headed to the cities to try and find work in the new industrial developments, and many of them failed, and even those who succeeded were working in terrible conditions for little pay.  Just think ‘Oliver Twist’.

Kent suffered quite badly, and especially that isolated end bit, the Isle of Thanet.  Well, at one time in Thanet there was an uprising where a number of angry and disgruntled local workers attacked some of the new-fangled ‘threshing-machines’ used on the farms, part of the agricultural revolution.  These were an example of the type of machines putting agricultural labourers out of work.


Threshing Machine (via Wikipedia)

These uprisings were known as the ‘Swing Riots’ of 1830.  Many of those involved were convicted and transported to NSW.

And guess who was one of those convicts?  Our William Hughes, son of Thomas, nephew to Anne Hughes, and first cousin once removed to John Hughes Dawson.

So – an amazing event, someone with pure South Australian ancestry, has found a convict in her line.  OK, he is not direct, but he is there, and I will claim him!  Especially since he was convicted for such a noble cause, an early socialist- type, good work William!

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Robert Hughes (1729-1804) m. Sarah Pay (1734 – 1813)

Anne (1762 – 1846) m. Richard Dawson (c.1763 – 1837)
Child: Richard(1785 – 1834) m. Elizabeth Fox(1780 – 1838)
Child:  John Hughes Dawson (1815 – 1894)

Thomas (1772 – 1851) m. Mary Bax
ChildWilliam Hughes. (1810- ?)  Transported to NSW 1830.


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About eirenehogan

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