1820 Settler Party : Synnot

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Party  Synnot 
Leader  Captain Walter Synnot 
Number in the Party  25 
Area Party originated from  Newtown Hamilton, County Armagh, Ireland 
Area allocated to the party  Clanwilliam 
1820 Settler Ship  Fanny,    
Surnames in party  Caliston, Cowsert, Houston, Kennedy, McDonald, Quin, Scannell, Short, Spiers, Synnot, Thompson, Unknown, Young
Other Information  A party of 25 from Newtown Hamilton, County Armagh, led by Captain Walter Synnot. 89th Regiment, sailed in "Fanny".
Settler Handbook Content:   No. 56 on the Colonial Department list, led by Captain Walter Synnot of Ballywalter, Newtown Hamilton, county Armagh in northern Ireland, an officer of the 89th Regiment on half-pay. Synnot was the second son of a baronet, and was described by Sir Rufane Donkin, the Acting Governor of the Cape, as 'one of the most respectable of all the settlers'. He had first enquired about the possibility of emigrating to the Cape in May 1818, and when the emigration scheme was advertised a year later, he applied at once to take out a proprietary party of 10 labouring families from Armagh, 'all members of the Church of Scotland'. By late October, however, half his party had dropped out, and Synnot was given official permission to replace them with others so long as the number remained the same. Synnot's own family group comprised his 12-year-old son by his first marriage, his second wife and their two small sons (a third, Marcus, was born during the voyage), and Frances Houston, aged 15, a sister (or niece) of Mrs Synnot.

Arrangements were made for all four Irish settler parties, under Butler, Ingram, Parker and Synnot, to sail from Passage West, Cork. After travelling almost the length of the country by road, Synnot's party, the only one from nothern Ireland, had to wait for permission from London before boarding the Fanny, because of the late payment of its deposit money.

Deposits were finally paid for 11 men, and the Fanny and her consort, the East Indian, sailed from the Cove of Cork on 12 February 1820, anchoring in Simon's Bay on 1 May. It was official policy that the Irish settlers should be located separately from the main body of emigrants, and in mid-May they sailed on to Saldanha Bay where they were disembarked. Synnot's party was located in the Groot Seekoei Valley in the Clanwilliam district, at the junction of the Jan Dissels and Olifants Rivers. When the Irish settlers were subsequently given the option of relocation in Albany, Synnot chose to remain in Clanwilliam. He was appointed a Special Heemraad (Justice of the Peace) for the district soon after his arrival, and became Deputy Landdrost of the sub-drostdy of Tulbagh in 1821. By 1825, Cowser and Kennedy were the only other men of the party still living in Clanwilliam. In that year Synnot decided to return to Ireland, and some years later he emigrated to Tasmania.


CALISTON, William 28. Carpenter.

COWSER, Robert 20. Labourer.

HOUSTON, Frances 15 (in the care of W Synnot).

KENNEDY, James 25. Labourer.

McDONALD, Patrick 25. Labourer.

QUIN, Joseph 21. Labourer. w Mary 19.

SCANNELL, John 21. Blacksmith. w Johanna 21.

SHORT, Robert 18. Labourer.

SPIERS, William 30. Linen weaver. w Sarah 28. c George 10, James 8, Mary 6, Margaret 4, Sarah 2, Elizabeth.

SYNNOT, Walter 45. Capt, 89th Regt (half-pay). w Elizabeth 20. c Anne 16, Walter 12, Robert 2, George 1, Marcus (born at sea).

THOMPSON, Robert 26. Labourer.

YOUNG, Robert 28. Labourer. w Margaret 20. c Samuel 8.

Main sources for party list

Lists of settlers under the direction of Capt Walter Synnot (Cape Archives CO 6137/2,55 and Public Record Office, London, CO 48/47,185). Although the Agent of Transports' Returns for the other settler parties in the Fanny are available in the Cape Archives, the return for Synnot's party as it arrived at Simon's Bay could not be traced. However, the presence of all 11 men of the party at the Cape has been confirmed from colonial records.

'Anne Synnot', aged 16, has been identified by GB Dickason in Irish Settlers to the Cape as a maidservant named Ann Clerk.

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).
Montgomery was a member of Butler's party on board the Fanny.

from THE SETTLER HANDBOOK by MD Nash page 126 

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