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1820 Settlers - Butler's Party

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  • Thomas Alcock Fowler, SV/PROG (c.1794 - 1833)
    1820 SETTLERS== SV/PROG = Suid-Afrikaanse Stamvader / South African Progenitor 1820 Settler to South Africa. Party, departed Cork, Ireland on 12 February 1820 on board the "Fanny". Arrived South Africa...
  • Thomas Farrar Sadler, Snr. SV/PROG (1799 - 1880)
    1820 British Settler= Thomas Farrar Sadler 20, was a member of Butler's Party of 27 Settlers on the Settler Ship Fanny . Party originated from Wicklow, Ireland.Departure Cork, Ireland 12 February 1820....
  • Ellen Devine (1816 - 1864)
    1820 British Settler= Ellen Devine 4, together with her father and brother, were members of Butler's Party of 27 Settlers on the Settler Ship Fanny . Party originated from Wicklow, Ireland.Departure Co...
  • William Devine, Snr. (1807 - 1846)
    Death Notice : "South Africa, Cape Province, Probate Records of the Master of the High Court, 1834-1989," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 September 2017), 007846093 > image 2128 of 2225; Piet...
  • By CJBarnes
    Margret Devine (1793 - d.)
    1820 British Settler= Margaret Devine 26, together with her husband James Devine 36, Labourer, and 2 children, were members of Butler's Party of 27 Settlers on the Settler Ship Fanny . Party originated...

Butler's Party

1820 Settlers

Main reference The Settler Handbook by MD Nash

See also eGGSA - The 1820 Settler Correspondence

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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Party Details

Leader Capt.Thomas Butler

  • Number 27
  • Area Party originated from Wicklow, Ireland
  • Area Allocated to the Party Originally to Clanwilliam, then to the Assegai Bush River, Alban
  • 1820 Settler Ship


  • Dates
  • Departure Cork, Ireland 12 February 1820
  • Arrival Simon's Bay, Cape Town - 1st May 1820
  • Final Port - Saldhana Bay - Mid May 1920

(Other parties on this voyage - Ingram, Synnot.)

M.D. Nash 1987 - Settler Handbook

"No. 36 on the Colonial Department list, led by Thomas Butler of Baltinglass, county Wicklow, Ireland, a Captain in the Dublin Militia. He was recommended by Charles Grant, Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

This was a proprietary party; Butler's labourers were recruited in Wicklow, and by the terms of their agreement Butler was to supply each family with 10 acres of land, 'to build a house on it, to crop it and stock it and to support each family until the crop comes round'. In return he was to receive 200 days' work every year for four years from the head of each family.

Arrangements were made for all four Irish parties (under Butler, Ingram, Parker and Synnot) to sail from Passage West, Cork. Under Butler's supervision, his labourers made the journey from Wicklow to Cork on foot, marching alongside the baggage wagons. Deposits were paid for 12 men, and the party embarked in the Fanny which sailed from the Cove of Cork in company with her consort, the East Indian, on 12 February 1820. The ships anchored in Simon's Bay on 1 May. It was official policy to locate the Irish settlers separately from the main body of emigrants, to avoid friction between people of 'different habits, tastes and manners', and in mid-May the ships were sent on to Saldanha Bay where the settlers were disembarked. Butler's party was located at Taaiboskraal on the Jan Dissels River in the Clanwilliam district.

The Irish settlers were dissatisfied with conditions at Clanwilliam and were subsequently given the option of relocation in Albany at government expense. Butler with nine of his men chose to move to Albany and was located on the Assegai Bush River. Fowler, Harrington and Toole elected to remain in the western Cape".

Members of Butler's Party

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

Thomas Butler 43, Captain, Dublin Militia.

Wife Elizabeth 35.
Children :

Murtagh Byrne 33. Labourer.

Wife Jane 30.

  • Patrick Byrne 13,
  • William Byrne 7.

James Devine 36. Labourer.

Wife Margaret 26.
Children :

Thomas Fowler 36. Carpenter

Michael Goss 21. Labourer.

James Harrington 22. Labourer.

Wife Frances 20.

John Healey 21. Labourer.

William Mageer 36. Labourer.

Child :

Thomas John James Montgomery 17

Montgomery John 16 (listed as 'John Fowler').

Edward Murray 21. Labourer.

Wife Jane 19.

  • a daughter born at sea.

Michael Toole 21. Labourer.

Wife Honora 20.

Laurence Walsh 40. Labourer.


  • Elizabeth Walsh 8,
  • James Walsh 7.

John Whelen 21. Labourer.

Anne Synnot of Synnot's Party)

Note - at Butler's Party - Return of Settlers Michael Cullen 21, labourer, Single man was included in the list of 27 party members, but not on the later list. Not in Nash's list.

Main sources for party list

Agent of Transports' Return of settlers under the direction of Captain Thomas Butler, and Articles of Agreement (Cape Archives CO 6138/2, 88-92). John Montgomery attached himself to the party shortly before it embarked. He was listed as the 13-year-old 'son' of Thomas Fowler to avoid paying a deposit, and worked his passage as a seaman in order to draw a full food ration.

  • The names of Thomas Sadler and John Butler do not appear in the Agent's Return but were both included in a list of Butler's settlers relocated in Albany (Cape Archives CO 136). It is not known whether John Butler sailed in the Fanny or joined the party later.

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).

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