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1820 Settlers - Rowles' Party

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  • Robert Blackbeard (1819 - 1856)
    1820 British Settler Robert Blackbeard 1, together with his parents and brother, were members of Rowles Party of 27 Settlers on the Settler Ship Nautilus . Party originated from London. Departu...
  • Francis Blackbeard, Sr. SV/PROG (c.1792 - 1833)
    1820 British Settler Francis Blackbeard 27, Silversmith, together with his wife Elizabeth Toynbee 27 and their two children, were members of Rowles Party of 27 Settlers on the Settler Ship Nautilus ....
  • Elizabeth Blackbeard, SM/PROG (1793 - 1855)
    1820 British Settler Elizabeth Toynbee 27, together with her husband Francis Blackbeard 27, Silversmith, and their two children, were members of Rowles Party of 27 Settlers on the Settler Ship Nautil...
  • Solomon Estcourt Rowles (1819 - 1880)
    1820 British Settler Solomon Estcourt Rowles 1, together with his parents and 5 siblings, were members of Rowles Party of 27 Settlers on the Settler Ship Nautilus . Party originated from London. ...
  • William Henry Surmon, Jr. (1820 - 1866)
    "South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004," images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 Sep 2014), South Africa > Cape of Good Hope > Grahamstown Cathedral, St George ...

Rowles' Party

Main References - The Settler Handbook by MD Nash and 1820

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Party Details

  • Leader Thomas Rowles
  • Number 27
  • Area Party originated from London
  • Area Allocated to the Party Krap River - they called their location Rivers Dale in honour of the Landdrost of Albany, Harry Rivers
  • 1820 Settler Ship


  • Dates
  • Departure London, 3 December 1819
  • Arrival Table Bay, Cape Town - 17 March 1820
  • Final Port - Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth 14 April 1820

(Other parties on this voyage - Crause, Owen, Mandy, Scott)

M.D. Nash 1987 - Settler Handbook

"No 10 on the Colonial Department list, led by Thomas Rowles of 22 Weymouth Terrace, Hackney Road, London. Rowles' initial application to emigrate was made from Stroud in Gloucestershire, a centre of the West of Eng­land cloth trade which had been hard-hit by the recession. Rowles described himself as a 'traveller, clerk, surveyor, etc' who wished to combine agriculture with schoolteaching; he was 'possessed of an elevated mind' as well as an eloquent pen with which to plead his party's case: 'The refusal to our petition must come as a thunder bolt, it must be received by us under our present gloomy circumstances as a warrant to suffer martyrdom by starvation.' Rowles' proposed party consisted of 11 men and their families; one of them, Isaac Wiggill, sub­sequently joined Bradshaw's party, recruited in the nearby village of Cam, and six others 'withdrew from their agreement in consequ­ence of listening to the false rumours which are so industriously circulated by the enemies of all good and laudable efforts.' A revised list was submitted to the Colonial Department in October and deposits were paid for 10 men: four of the original party, Rowles, Chipper­field, Crane and Hawkes, and six newcomers, some or all of whom may have been recruited in London. John Smith, ropemaker and one­ time boatswain of the Impregnable, was among the last additions; he had been a member of a London party under John Staples whose appli­cation to emigrate had been unsuccessful.

This was a joint-stock party, and its mem­bers signed articles of agreement pledging themselves to unite for their 'mutual advantage and support'.

The party embarked in London, and left Gravesend in the regular transport ship Nautilus on 3 December 1819, reaching Table Bay on 17 March and Algoa Bay on 14 April. The party was located on the right bank of the Kap River and named the location Rivers Town, in honour of the Landdrost of Albany, Harry Rivers. Rowles abandoned the location in 1821 and was succeeded as director by Fran­cis Blackbeard".

Members of Rowles' Party

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

Francis Blackbeard 27, Silversmith.

Wife Elizabeth Toynbee 27. (Later married Richard Hayhurst of Hayhurst's Party.)


John Chipperfield 20. Cordwainer.

John Crane 23. Carpenter.

Frederick Hawkes 21. Mason.

John Hargraves Hooper 28. Labourer.

Thomas Rowles 30, Clerk or schoolmaster.

Wife Elizabeth Eastcourt 30.


John Smith 40. Ropemaker.

Wife Mary Ann 33.


  • Alfred Smith 3,
  • Eliza Smith 1.

William Henry Surmon 23, Currier.

Wife Louisa Charlotte Hatt 23.


Thomas Whiteing 27. Cordwainer.

John Wilson 33. Bricklayer.

Wife. Hannah 30.


  • Joseph Wilson 6.

Main source for party list

Return of settlers under the direction of Thomas Rowles (Cape Archives CO 6138/ 1,26); Articles of Agreement (Cape Archives 1/AY 8/71); Special Commissioner William Hayward's notes (Cape Archives CO 8543); Memorial of free settlers on Nautilus (Cape Archives CO 3917). No Agent of Transports' Return has been traced for the Nautilus, showing the state of the parties as they arrived at the Cape, but the presence in the colony of all the men of Rowles' party has been confirmed from colonial records.

The 1820 Settler Correspondence

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