1820 Settler Party : Mahony

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Party  Mahony 
Leader  Thomas Mahony 
Number in the Party  42 
Area Party originated from  London, England 
Area allocated to the party  Coombs River 
1820 Settler Ship  Northampton,    
Surnames in party  Alder, Bateman, Berrington, Collin, Conway, Freemantle, Holland, Jeffries, Jewson, Kent, Mahony, Shearan, Sullivan, Tomlinson, Turner, Unknown
Other Information  Thomas MAHONEY organised a party in London. Before embarkation it was divided, Surgeon William CLARKE leading 88 as a separate party.
42 led by Thomas MAHONY sailed in "Northampton". They were located on the right bank of the Coombs River their location being known as the Coombs. Thomas BERRINGTON was early responsible for the party, Thomas MAHONY being absent on building contracts. The party had dispersed by 1825, the land then being held by Thomas MAHONY.
Settler Handbook Content:   No. 4 on the Colonial Department list, led by Thomas Mahony, an architect and builder of 53 Charles Street, Westminster. In his letter of application, Mahony claimed to own property in London and to have been employed for 12 years by the Royal Engineer Department in Ireland, where he built martello and signal towers at Cork Harbour and Bantry Bay. His party originally included Edward Turvey, and was accepted on the recommendation of Turvey's patroness, the Dowager Countess of Liverpool. Mahony subsequently excluded Turvey from the party and the latter, in high indignation, formed a separate party of his own.

This was a proprietary party, and although it included a number of Irish families it seems likely that it was recruited in London. Under their articles of agreement, Mahony's men were to work for him for three years, to be fed and clothed and to receive, in addition wages of £7 a year in the case of labourers and £10 a year for skilled tradesmen. Mahony undertook to give each family 35 acres of land and a two-roomed house at the end of the service period.

Deposits were paid for 16 men, and after numerous last minute changes the party embarked at Deptford in the Northampton transport, which sailed from Gravesend on 13 December 1819. A fellow-passenger in the ship, Sophia Pigot, recorded in her journal that several 'great disturbances' were caused during the voyage by the belligerent behaviour of Mahony and his Irish servants. The Northampton anchored in Table Bay on 26 March 1820 and reached Algoa Bay on 30 April. The party was located on the right bank of the Coombs River, and the location was known as The Coombs.

Mahony's men soon mutinied against his treatment of them and were released from his service, and Thomas Berrington took over the leadership of what remained of the party.


BATEMAN, Jeremiah 32. Gardener.

CONWAY, Andrew 35. Mason. w Ann 30. c Eliza 9, Michael 6.

FREEMANTLE, Richard 38. Wagon maker. w Sarah 31. c John 13, Eliza 4, George 1.

HOLLAND, Dennis 18.

HOLLAND, Dennis 40. Cooper. w Mary 35. c Mary 17, John 16, Daniel 13, Ellen 7.

JEFFRIES, Samuel 35. Farmer. w Mary 30.

JEWSON, William 25. Farmer.

MAHONY, Thomas 35. Architect. w Ann 36. c Eliza 14, Daniel 13.

SHEARAN, Edward 23. Tallow chandler and soap boiler. w Ellen 24.

TOMLINSON, George 29. Farmer. w Harriet 25.

*ALDER, Thomas.

*BERRINGTON, Thomas 24. Farmer. w Diana 27. c Thomas 1.

*FREEMANTLE, Richard 24. Wagon maker.

*FREEMANTLE, Samuel 18. Wagon maker.


*SULLIVAN, Dennis 37. Glazier. w Jane 34.

Main sources for party list

Agent of Transports' List of persons belonging to Mr Mahony's party embarked on board the Northampton (Cape Archives CO 136); Articles of Agreement between Thomas Mahony and his servants, signed in the Downs off Deal (reproduced in Cory, Rise of South Africa ll, p 41).

Mahony's party is one of the most difficult of the settler parties to list with any degree of confidence. On 22 December 1819, the Colonial Department formally instructed the Commissioners of the Navy to allow substitutes to board the transport ships in place of men who had withdrawn from the emigrant parties, provided the original numbers for whom deposits had been paid and provision made were not exceeded. Mahony's people had embarked in the Northampton a month before this instruction was issued, and rather than risk rejection, the numerous substitutes in the party had temporarily adopted the names of the men they had replaced. This deception does not seem to have been discovered by the authorities; the Agent of Transports who was responsible for the settlers on board the Northampton did not sail in her but in her sister ship the Ocean.

*A more reliable source of names than the Agent of Transports' list, in this case, is the agreement signed by Mahony and his servants in the Downs off Deal after the party had sailed. A comparison of the two lists suggests that James Macfarland snr and jnr, Florence Carty, George Hamblin snr and jnr, Alexander Patten and Charles (or Cornelius) Lamb, whose names appear on the Agent's list, did not in fact sail with the party. They seem to have been replaced by Richard Freemantle jnr, Samuel Freemantle, Thomas Alder, John Shearan, Dennis Sullivan (all of whom signed the agreement) and Thomas Berrington. Berrington's signature does not appear on the agreement; he may have been an independent settler who paid his own deposit and was not bound in service to Mahony. References traced in colonial records confirm that all six of these 'replacements' were in fact at the Cape between 1820 and 1825. No mention has been traced of the Macfarlands, Hamblins, Patten or Lamb; Florence Carty (or McCarty) was the brother-in-law of Dennis Holland and came to the Cape in 1826.

Further reading

The voyage of the Northampton to the Cape is described in
The Reminiscences of Thomas Stubbs, ed WA Maxwell and RT McGeogh (Cape Town, AA Balkema, 1978),
and The Journals of Sophia Pigot, ed Margaret Rainier (Cape Town, AA Balkema, 1974).

from THE SETTLER HANDBOOK by MD Nash page 88 

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