1820 Settler Party : Butler

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Party  Butler 
Leader  Capt. Thomas Butler 
Number in the Party  27 
Area Party originated from  Wicklow, Ireland 
Area allocated to the party  Originally to Clanwilliam, then to the Assegai Bush River, Alban 
1820 Settler Ship  Fanny,    
Surnames in party  Butler, Byrne, Devine, Dougherty, Fowler, Goss, Harrington, Healey, Mageer, Montgomery, Mulhall, Murray, Sadler, Toole, Unknown, Walsh, Whelan
Other Information  A party of 27 from Wicklow led by Captain Thomas BUTLER, Dublin Militia, sailed in "Fanny". They were located in Jan Dissels Valley, Western Cape. Most of them were shortly transferred to "East Indian", for re-location on the Assegai Bush River.
Settler Handbook Content:   No. 36 on the Colonial Department list, led by Thomas Butler of Baltinglass, county Wicklow, Ireland, a Captain in the Dublin Militia. He was recommended by Charles Grant, Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

This was a proprietary party; Butler's labourers were recruited in Wicklow, and by the terms of their agreement Butler was to supply each family with 10 acres of land, 'to build a house on it, to crop it and stock it and to support each family until the crop comes round'. In return he was to receive 200 days' work every year for four years from the head of each family.

Arrangements were made for all four Irish parties (under Butler, Ingram, Parker and Synnot) to sail from Passage West, Cork. Under Butler's supervision, his labourers made the journey from Wicklow to Cork on foot, marching alongside the baggage wagons. Deposits were paid for 12 men, and the party embarked in the Fanny which sailed from the Cove of Cork in company with her consort, the East Indian, on 12 February 1820. The ships anchored in Simon's Bay on 1 May. It was official policy to locate the Irish settlers separately from the main body of emigrants, to avoid friction between people of 'different habits, tastes and manners', and in mid-May the ships were sent on to Saldanha Bay where the settlers were disembarked. Butler's party was located at Taaiboskraal on the Jan Dissels River in the Clanwilliam district.

The Irish settlers were dissatisfied with conditions at Clanwilliam and were subsequently given the option of relocation in Albany at government expense. Butler with nine of his men chose to move to Albany and was located on the Assegai Bush River. Fowler, Harrington and Toole elected to remain in the western Cape.


BUTLER, Thomas 43. Captain, Dublin Militia. w Elizabeth 35. c Joseph 11, James 6, Matilda 1.

BYRNE, Murtagh 33. Labourer. w Jane 30. c Patrick 13, William 7.

DEVINE, James 36. Labourer. w Margaret 26. c William 12, Ellen 4.

FOWLER, Thomas 36. Carpenter

GOSS, Michael 21. Labourer.

HARRINGTON, James 22. Labourer. w Frances 20.

HEALEY, John 21. Labourer.

MAGEER, William 36. Labourer. c Thomas 8.

MONTGOMERY, John 16 (listed as 'John Fowler').

MURRAY, Edward 21. Labourer. w Jane 19. c a daughter born at sea.

TOOLE, Michael 21. Labourer. w Honora 20.

WALSH, Laurence 40. Labourer. c Elizabeth 8, James 7.

WHELAN, John 21. Labourer.

*BUTLER, John 19 (son of Thomas Butler).

*SADLER, Thomas 20 (son of Capt Sadler of the Fanny).

Main sources for party list

Agent of Transports' Return of settlers under the direction of Captain Thomas Butler, and Articles of Agreement (Cape Archives CO 6138/2, 88-92). John Montgomery attached himself to the party shortly before it embarked. He was listed as the 13-year-old 'son' of Thomas Fowler to avoid paying a deposit, and worked his passage as a seaman in order to draw a full food ration.

*The names of Thomas Sadler and John Butler do not appear in the Agent's Return but were both included in a list of Butler's settlers relocated in Albany (Cape Archives CO 136). It is not known whether John Butler sailed in the Fanny or joined the party later.

Further reading

GB Dickason, Irish Settlers to the Cape (Cape Town, AA Balkema, 1973);

The Reminiscences of John Montgomery, ed A Giffard (Cape Town, AA Balkema, 1981).

from THE SETTLER HANDBOOK by MD Nash page 51 

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