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James Wiggins

James Wiggins


James Wiggins was born in Brighton Sussex about 1799 he married Mary Bishop and they had four children Jane baptized at St Nicholas Brighton on 19 September 1819. To date there is no marriage or any signs of the other children. James had a mother called Hannah who was a laundress by trade and two brothers named John and Thomas and a sister Jane, who was married to John Harker. James was a stone mason and a bricklayer having finished his trade. His brothers and his brother-in-law were tailors. All lived a Brighton in Sussex.


James fell on hard times even though he had a trade, and in trying to keep his family fed, got into trouble. He was convicted at the Sussex Quarter Session 18 December 1830 for assault on a number of occasions, also for poaching (which was often a sigh of the family being short of food) He was transported on the Argyle on the 5 August 1831 after spending sometime in goal and on the hulks.


He arrived in Hobart in 1831 and from September 1833 till 1840 he came before the courts for assault and just missed being transported again this time for highway robbery. 


In the meantime Mary and the children were allowed to join him and they arrived in Hobart on the Strathfieldsaye in 1835. As if it wasn’t bad enough spending months at sea, on arrival they were subjected to abuse by the local men after embarking from the ship at Hobart.


Accompanying Mary was Jane her 15 year old daughter, Martha, Mary, and her son Robert aged eight years.


It is not known where they lived, as James even though he had his ticket of leave and would have been able to work privately he continued to get into trouble for the next few years.


There were two more children born to Mary and James, Hannah in 1841 and John in 1843 both in Hobart and christened in St David’s Church.


With Mary arriving James soon settled down and by 1844 he was licensee of the King’s Arm pub in Murray Street. He continued to run pubs in Hobart until 1873. The Bricklayer’s Arms, the Duchess of Kent and the Wiggins’ Hotel


James died 28 June 1884 at the age of 85. His funeral left the St John’s Cemetery New town from the Ocean Child Hotel where his son Robert was licensee.


Robert carried on in his father’s tradition and was the licensee for the Bricklayers Arms, the Steam Navigation Hotel and the Builder’s Hotel from 1853 till 1878.                                                            


Irene Schaffer 2008

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