George Smith's Party
Main References - The Settler Handbook by MD Nash and 1820 Settlers.com
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- Leader George
- Number 71
- Area Party originated from Lancashire, England
- Area Allocated to the Party Rufane and George Rivers. The location was called George Vale
- 1820 Settler Ship
- Departure Liverpool, 13 January 1820
- Arrival Table Bay, Cape Town - 19 April 1820
"No 23 on the Colonial Department list, led by George Smith, a shopkeeper and Chelsea Hospital out-pensioner of 12 Southern Street, Manchester. Smith had served with the 95th Regt (Rifle Brigade) during the Peninsular War and was wounded and taken prisoner at Corunna in 1809. After the defeat of the French in 1814 he rejoined the British army in Paris, and served as one of the escort party that accompanied the exiled Napoleon to Elba. A year later, he fought and was again wounded at Waterloo, when Napoleon suffered his final defeat.
Smith's initial application to emigrate was submitted through the Commander in Chief of the army, but he was informed that no individual applications could be considered. However, he was subsequently selected by the churchwardens and parish overseers of Manchester to lead a parish-assisted party of 20 families; they were given financial assistance on condition that 'no part of their families should be left chargeable to the Parish, neither would they in the event of their return to this country ever become burdensome to any Parish therein.' This was a joint-stock party, and Smith complained to the Colonial Department soon after embarkation that 'several of the individuals considers that as they paid their own deposit money there is no Respect due to me.' Unless he was given proper authority he could 'in no wise keep order and regularity which is requisite for so long a voyage.' However, once the party was at sea Smith appears to have been persuaded to let democratic principles prevail, and he submitted a formal request for equal deposit repayments and shares of land to be made on arrival in the colony to all the men of the party except Thomas Rigby, a runaway who had come aboard with the pilot boat and been allowed to remain in the place of a last minute drop-out.
Manchester was at the centre of the political disturbances that affected England in 1819, and the scene of the ill-fated reform meeting at St Peter's Field on 16 August. The events leading up to the 'Peterloo Massacre', and the outcry that followed it, had their effect on the composition of Smith's party; of the 21 names he submitted to the Colonial Department at the beginning of September, only three besides Smith's own were on the final sailing list. He blamed the frequent changes on 'the disaffection that has taken place', and claimed that some of his settlers had withdrawn because they were 'unwilling for political reasons to conform to the rules laid down by His Majesty 's Government'.
Deposits were paid for 21 men, and all but one (for whom Thomas Rigby became an unofficial replacement) embarked at Liverpool in the Stentor, which sailed on 13 January 1820, reaching Table Bay on 19 April. As the ship's charter expired at this port, the parties under Smith and James Richardson were trans-shipped to HM Store Ship Weymouth for the voyage to Algoa Bay, which they reached on 15 May .
Smith's party was located between the Rufane and George Rivers, and its location was named George Vale".
Members of George Smith's Party
[Bold links are to Geni profiles; other links are to other biographical notes]
- George Bonsall 24. Schoolmaster. Wife Sarah 21.
- Henry Bonsall 2,
- Ann Bonsall 1.
- Thomas Capper 34. Weaver. Wife Mary 30
- Samuel Duxbury 40. Weaver. Wife Margaret 39.
- William Duxbury 15,
- Hannah Duxbury 5, John 3.
- William Elliott 23. Smith and turner. Wife. Ellen 22 .
- Jane Elliott 5.
- Ralph Forrest 26. Weaver.
- Thomas Hayes 47. Weaver and army pensioner.
- John Holt 38. Farmer. (Later married Sarah Whittaker of this Party.)
- John James 26. Well-sinker. Wife Mary 27.
- Ann James 10.
- John Mitton 35. Joiner and builder. Wife. Ellen 39.
- Elizabeth Mitton 15.
- Thomas Rigby. Shoemaker.
- George Smith 34, Shopkeeper and army pensioner. Wife Mary Benson 27
- Joseph Walker 22. Agriculturist (Brother of Richard Walker). (later married Margaret Booth of Sephton's Party)
- Richard Walker 29, Agriculturist (Brother of Joseph Walker). Wife Martha Littlewood 28.
- William Wedderburn 19. Tailor .
Main source for party list
Return of settlers under the direction of George Smith (Cape Archives CO 6138/ 1,69); List of settlers actually embarked in Stentor, 24.I2.1819 (Public Record Office, London, CO 48/45,1124); Special Commissioner William Hayward's notes (Cape Archives CO 8544).