Main reference The Settler Handbook by MD Nash
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- Leader Miles Bowker
- Number 23
- Area Party originated from Wiltshire
- Area Allocated to the Party Olive Burn and Tharfield
- 1820 Settler Ship
- Departure 7 January 1820
- Arrival Table Bay, Cape Town - 16 April 1820
- Final Port - Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth 15 May 1820
M.D. Nash 1987 - Settler Handbook
"No. 41 on the Colonial Department list, led by Miles Bowker, a gentleman farmer of Manor Farm, South Newton (near Wilton), Wiltshire. Bowker was recommended by his landlord, Lord Pembroke, who made a personal visit to the Colonial Department on his behalf, and by William Boscawen, a cousin of Lord Falmouth. This was a proprietary party; the eight indentured labourers Bowker engaged to accompany him were all Wiltshire countrymen and with one exception single men. The only married man among them, John Stanford, had his deposit paid by the parish. Bowker's chief object in emigrating was to provide better opportunities than his situation in England could offer for his large and lively family of sons. The eldest of them, John Mitford, did not sail with the rest of the family but remained in England for two years to wind up his father's affairs.
Deposits were paid for nine men; 17-year-old William Bowker, although he did not pay the full deposit, was accepted by the authorities as the tenth 'able-bodied man' needed to bring the party to the prescribed minimum size. The journey from South Newton to Portsmouth where the party was to embark was made with a borrowed travelling carriage and several farm wagons loaded with household furniture and agricultural implements. The settlers were not able to board HM Store Ship Weymouth immediately as her fitting up was not yet completed; as a temporary measure they were accommodated on a hulk in Portsmouth harbour that was used as the ship's tender.
The Weymouth sailed from Portsmouth on 7 January 1820 with all the party on board, although Bowker's men had already voiced their dissatisfaction with the conditions of their engagement, declaring that they would rather return home 'as poor deluded Emigrants than become Slaves'. Their ringleader, John Stanford, was particularly aggrieved to find himself worse off than the parish-assisted emigrants in the party under Samuel James. He considered that he was entitled to receive a full 100 acres of land at the Cape, not the 10 that Bowker was willing to give him: 'There are many Families on board who have been sent out by the Parish and has the Privelidge of 100 acres and why not me the same.'
Two of Stanford's children, Jane aged 2 and an infant, Sophia, died on the voyage to the Cape. The Weymouth reached Table Bay on 26 April, and Miles Bowker's wife gave birth to a daughter, Anna Maria, while the ship lay at anchor. Algoa Bay was reached on 15 May. The party was located on the right bank of the George River and its location was named Olive Burn".
Members of Bowker's Party
[Bold links are to Geni profiles; other links are to other biographical notes]
- Henry Adams, 36. Mason.
- John Austin, 25. Countryman.
- Charles Besant, 34. Labourer.
- Bowker, Miles 55. Farmer. Wife Anna Maria Mitford 38.
- George Flooks, 25. Countryman. Later married Hannah Garside Green of Menezes Party.
- Hayter, John 20. Ploughman. (Later married Mary Trollip of Hyman's Party.)
- William Ingram, 24. Joiner.
- Richard Limes, 20. Countryman.
- John Stanford 35, Countryman. Wife, Maria Stanford 28
Main sources for party list
Return of settlers under the direction of Miles Bowker (Cape Archives CO 6138/2,4); Muster-roll and Log of HM Store Ship Weymouth (Public Record Office, London). George Flooks name is given as Down, Hooks Down, Flooks Down, Flooks and Frooks in various sources. Flooksdown is the version used in Miles Bowker's own manuscript notes in the Albany Museum.
I Mitford-Barberton, The Bowkers of Tharfield (Oxford University Press, 1952), Comdt. Holden Bowker (Cape Town, Human and Rousseau, 1970).