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1820 Settlers - Russell's Party (Survivors of the Abeona)

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Russell's Party

Main Reference The Settler Handbook by MD Nash

Additional information from South African Settlers

The aim of this project is to link profiles on Geni to the names in the list, and to expand notes about individuals - mostly on the Profile page in the "About Me" field, or here if no profile exists.

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Led by William Russell of 48 Bridge Gate Street, Glasgow, Scotland. This was a party of Scots artisans and trademen whose deposits were paid through Monteith of Glasgow, and who sailed from Greenock in the Abeona on 13 October 1820. At sea on 25 November, in latitude 4° 30' N and longitude 25° 30' W, the ship caught fire, and after burning for fifteen hours was totally destroyed. Three small boatloads of survivors were rescued by a Portuguese merchant ship; 16 of the crew including the master, 27 emigrants and nine passengers were saved, and 114 people - nine of the crew, 100 emigrants and five passengers - were lost with the ship.

Six survivors of the Abeona disaster were given passage to the Cape in HMS Sappho in the following year, and arrived in Simon's Bay in August 1821. They applied for a grant of land, and presumably settled in the western Cape.

Survivors of Russell's Party who reached the Cape

[Bold links are to Geni profiles; other links are to other biographical notes]

  • CLARK, James.
  • McLAREN, John. Joiner.
  • McLEAN, John.
  • REID, Thomas. Sawyer. w Agnes.
  • THOMPSON, Robert. Bricklayer.

Main sources for party list

Correspondence of Russell and Monteith with the Colonial Department (Public Record Office, London, CO 49/14); Account of the loss of the Abeona in GM Theal, Records of the Cape Colony vol. 13; Memorial of Abeona survivors on board Sappho (Cape Archives CO 158,146).

For a full list of those onboard and more information about the event read

Loss of the Abeona written by Trisha McLeod in the eGGSA Library - 1820 Settler Correspondence.

Terrible loss by fire of the Abeona transport ship from various printed source and maritime chronicles - Pascal Kainic

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