William Hook born 1759 (Inquests)

by dklopp, Friday, January 20, 2017, 19:56 (1268 days ago) @ sanspang

I always thought it was odd that William would have emigrated alone. In that time frame, most people traveled with at least one relative. Another researcher suggested to me that our William may have been one of the many individuals sent from England to the American Colonies for minor misdemeanors; a way of clearing out the overcrowded prisons.

From the book "Bonded Passengers to America" Volume II, by Peter Wilson Coldham, on page 134: "William Hook, of St. Margaret Westminster, was sentenced for "transportation" in October 1773". The next available ship would have been the Justitia with Captain Finlay Gray in January 1774 which carried 170 bonds from London to Virginia.

An individual had to be at least 14 years old to be transported and most bonds lasted up to seven years. Our William would have been 14 years old at the time of sentencing, possibly 15 by the time he set sail and 21 years old by the end of seven years. He then would have been of age to join the Virginia Militia and fight in the Revolutionary War. Of course, this is all conjecture but the ages correspond, so this theory is worth considering.

The movie Moll Flanders is a great example of how the Bond system worked. Upon arrival, many bonded persons were treated no differently than indentured servants. Once they had fulfilled their bond, they were free to pursue a new life in America or they had the option of returning to England.

I have visited the Hook homestead in Hampshire County as well as the small cemetery where the family is interred. The cemetery is located on the neighboring farm, once a part of the original Hook property. The log house has been well-preserved. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the cemetery with its broken wooden fence and weedy lot. Once in a while the farmer whacks down the overgrowth, but it really is not looked after.

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