1820 Settler Party : Rowles

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Party  Rowles 
Leader  Thomas Rowles 
Number in the Party  27 
Area Party originated from  London, England 
Area allocated to the party  Kap River 
1820 Settler Ship  Nautilus,    
Surnames in party  Blackbeard, Chipperfield, Crane, De Fallaux, Estcourt, Hatt, Hawkes, Hooper, Rowles, Smith, Surmon, Toynbee, Unknown, Whiteing, Wilson
Other Information  A party of 27 from London led by Thomas ROWLES sailed in "Nautilus". They were located on the right bank of the Kap River and called their location Rivers Dale. Thomas ROWLES left early and was succeeded in charge by Francis BLACKBEARD.
Settler Handbook Content:   No. 10 on the Colonial Department list, led by Thomas Rowles of 22 Weymouth Terrace, Hackney Road, London. Rowles' initial application to emigrate was made from Stroud in Gloucestershire, a centre of the West of England cloth trade which had been hard-hit by the recession. Rowles described himself as a 'traveller, clerk, surveyor, etc' who wished to combine agriculture with schoolteaching; he was 'possessed of an elevated mind' as well as an eloquent pen with which to plead his party's case: 'The refusal to our petition must come as a thunder bolt, it must be received by us under our present gloomy circumstances as a warrant to suffer martyrdom by starvation'. Rowles' proposed party consisted of 11 men and their families; one of them, Isaac Wiggill, subsequently joined Bradshaw's party, recruited in the nearby village of Cam, and six others 'withdrew from their agreement in consequence of listening to the false rumours which are so industriously circulated by the enemies of all good and laudable efforts'. A revised list was submitted to the Colonial Department in October and deposits were paid for 10 men: four of the original party, Rowles, Chipperfield, Crane and Hawkes, and six newcomers, some or all of whom may have been recruited in London. John Smith, ropemaker and one-time boatswain of the Impregnable, was among the last additions; he had been a member of a London party under John Staples whose application to emigrate had been unsuccessful.

This was a joint-stock party, and its members signed articles of agreement pledging themselves to unite for their 'mutual advantage and support'.

The party embarked in London, and left Gravesend in the regular transport ship Nautilus on 3 December 1819, reaching Table Bay on 17 March and Algoa Bay on 14 April. The party was located on the right bank of the Kap River and named the location Rivers Town, in honour of the Landdrost of Albany, Harry Rivers. Rowles abandoned the location in 1821 and was succeeded as director by Francis Blackbeard.


BLACKBEARD, Francis 27. Silversmith. w Elizabeth Toynbee 27. c Francis 3, Robert 1.

CHIPPERFIELD, John 20. Cordwainer.

CRANE, John 23. Carpenter.

HAWKES, Frederick 21. Mason.

HOOPER, John Hargraves 28. Labourer.

ROWLES, Thomas 32. Clerk or schoolmaster. w. Elizabeth 30. c Augusta 10, Edward 8, Frederick Pegler 6, Stephen 4, Ebenezer Philip 2, Solomon Estcourt 1.

SMITH, John 40. Ropemaker. w Mary Ann 33. c Alfred 3, Eliza 1.

SURMON, William Henry 23. Currier. w Louisa Hatt 23. c William Henry 1.

WHITEING, Thomas 27. Cordwainer.

WILSON, John 33. Bricklayer. w Hannah 30. c Joseph 6.

Main sources for party list

Return of settlers under the direction of Thomas Rowles (Cape Archives CO 6138/1,26); Articles of Agreement (Cape Archives 1/AY 8/71); Special Commissioner William Hayward's notes (Cape Archives CO 8543); Memorial of free settlers on Nautilus (Cape Archives CO 3917). No Agent of Transports' Return has been traced for the Nautilus, showing the state of the parties as they arrived at the Cape, but the presence in the colony of all the men of Rowles' party has been confirmed from colonial records.

from THE SETTLER HANDBOOK by MD Nash page 111 

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