Thomas Sweetnam, Snr, SV/PROG (1783 - 1857) MP

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Birthplace: Warbleton, Sussex, England
Death: Died in Fort Beaufort, Amatole, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Occupation: wheelwright
Managed by: Peter Jay
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Thomas Sweetnam, Snr, SV/PROG

1820 British Settler

Thomas Sweetnam 46, wheelwright, and his wife Jane Barton 39, together with their 3 children, were members of William Menezes' Party of 51 Settlers on the Weymouth.

Party originated from Kent.

Departed London, 7 January 1820. Arrived Table Bay, Cape Town on 16 April 1820. Final Port - Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth 15 May 1820.

Area Allocated to the Party : Reitfontein then Kareiga River

Children :

  • James Sweetnam 7
  • Hannah Sweetnam 5
  • Ruth Sweetnam 3


THOMAS SWEETNAM, wheelwright, aged 46, and his wife JANE, aged 39, were residents of Deal, Kent, when they signed up to come to South Africa with William Menzies’ (or Menezes’) party in 1820. This Kent party of 51 was also known as the Dover Party because their leader William Menezes and his wife Mary were from Dover. The ship Weymouth left Portsmouth in January 1820, and arrived in Algoa Bay during May 1820. Thomas and Jane were accompanied by their four children, MARY born 1803, who came out as Mrs George Hayward, JAMES born1812, HANNAH born 1815 and RUTH born 1817. Their fifth child, RICHARD, was born during the voyage on 7 Apr 1820.Mene zes’ Party was located on the upper Kareiga River, next to John Parkin’s Party of thirty from Devonshire. In 1821, soon after the party arrived in the Kareiga valley, William Menezes died at “Devonshire Farm”, aged 29, leaving his young wife Mary a widow. (On 4 Feb 1822, at Grahamstown, Mary Menezes, nee Whitnall, was married to Benjamin Patrick, widower, of Salem.) After the death of William Menezes, Thomas Sweetnam took charge of the party. The area is known as “Sweetnam’s Post”. Thomas Sweetnam was born in Warbleton, Sussex, in 1773 or 1774, son of Thomas Sweetnam and Mary Kemp. During the Napoleonic Wars, 1802-1815, Thomas served in the Royal Navy. He was a Warrent Officer on HMS Orion at the battle of Trafalgar, 21 Oct 1805, and also fought at Copenhagen, Cape St Vincent and the Nile. While temporarily released from the Royal Navy during the Peace of Amiens, he married, on 26 Dec 1802, JANET (JANE) BARTON, daughter of Thomas and Mary Barton of Wartling, Sussex. Jane was born on 12 Apr 1780, and christened on 8 Jun 1781, at Wartling, Sussex.Tw o more children were born to Thomas and Jane Sweetnam, both at Sweetnam’s Post on the Kareiga River: THOMAS, born on 15 Aug 1822 and BENJAMIN, born on 19 March 1826.Abou t 1832-1833 Thomas Sweetnam and family left the Kareiga and settled at Post Retief in the Winterberg, Fort Beaufort district. The name of their farm was “Zuiwerfontein”. Thomas Sweetnam died in October 1857. His widow, Jane Sweetnam, died in September 1867. A tombstone marks their grave in the Church-yard at Post Retief.Ex tracts from the Burials Register of St John the Evangelist Church at Post Retief in the Parish of Winterberg, Division of Fort Beaufort: “Thomas Sweetnam, of Zuiwerfontein, Winterberg, buried 22 Oct 1857, 82 years, died 19 Oct 1857.” And “Jane Sweetnam, of Zuiwerfontein, buried 21 Sep 1867, 88 years 5 months.” Fort Beaufort is an important and progressive centre. The town is surrounded by the Kat and Brak Rivers situated south of the Winterberg. The old Fort, built in 1822 and still preserved (1974) was an important military centre in the Frontier Wars of 1837 and 1846. Post Retief is a farming area in the Winterberg, north of Fort Beaufort, surrounded by mountains and named after Piet Retief the Voortrekker Leader who was murdered by the Zulu King, Dingaan, on 6 Feb 1838. Post Retief was an important military post during the Frontier Wars. Some of the buildings and walls of the Post are still standing today (1974).


Includes Notes for Thomas Sweetnam: Ancestral File Number: 17LJ-N1 THOMAS SWEETNAM, wheelwright, was born in Warbleton, Sussex in 1773 to Thomas and Mary (nee Kemp). During the NapoleonicWars of 1802-1815 Thomas served as warrant Officer in the British Navy aboard HMS Orion at the battle of Trafalgar. He also fought at Copenhagen, Cape St Vincent and the Nile. On 26 December 1802 while on temporary release from the navy during the Peace of Amiens he married Janet (Jane) Barton, daughter of Thomasand Mary Barton of Wartling, Sussex. They were residents of Deal, Kent when they signed up to emigrate to the Cape Colony with William Menzies' party (also known as the Dover Party of 1820 settlers) on the ship 'Weymouth'. They were located on the upper Kariega River on the location known as Devonshire Farm where the party leader, Menzies died in 1821. (On 4 February 1822. Mary Menzies nee Whitnall married Benjamin Patrick, widower, of Salem.)

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Thomas Sweetnam, Snr, SV/PROG's Timeline

March 25, 1775
Warbleton, Sussex, England
December 24, 1783
Warbleton, Sussex, England
December 26, 1802
Age 19
Wartling, Sussex, England
- 1815
Age 18

Served on the HMS Orion as warrant Officer in the British Navy. this was during the Napoleonic Wars. was on the HSM Orion for the battle of Trafalgar. He also fought at Copenhagen, Cape St Vincent and the Nile.

October 8, 1803
Age 19
Dorset, England
August 6, 1812
Age 28
March 17, 1815
Age 31
February 4, 1817
Age 33
Sittingbourne, Dover, Kent, England
August 15, 1822
Age 38
Kareigo, Fort Beaufort, So. Afr.
April 19, 1826
Age 42
Kareigo, Fort Beaufort, So. Afr.