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1820 Settlers - Thornhill's Party

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  • Ursula Ann Bramwell, SM (1811 - 1876)
    DN: stated as 64j 6m 13d=1820 British Settler= Ursula Ann Brooks 9, together with her parents and 3 siblings were members of Thornhill's Party of 35 Settlers on the Settler Ship Zoroaster .Party origin...
  • William Brooks, Jnr a1b2 (1810 - 1866)
    South African Genealogies Volume 1 Page 463William BROOKS * Engeland c. 1810 † 6.10.1866 (56.8.9) s.v. William BROOKS en Marian BROOKS, en ouer broer van Joseph, x Swellendam 30.5.1830 Eva Johanna LUCK...
  • Ann Brooks (c.1776 - 1858)
    1820 British Settler= Ann Guppy 40, together with her husband William Brooks 31, Farmer, and his 4 children, were members of Thornhill's ' Party of 35 Settlers on the Settler Ship Zoroaster .Party orig...
  • Elizabeth Brooks (c.1808 - 1876)
    1820 British Settler= Elizabeth Brooks 12, together with her parents and 3 siblings were members of Thornhill's ' Party of 35 Settlers on the Settler Ship Zoroaster .Party originated from Middlesex.Dep...
  • Susannah Howard, SM/PROG (1796 - 1865)
    1820 British Settler= Susannah Brant 27, together with her husband John Hassall Howard 27, Chemist and 2 children were members of Thornhill's Party of 35 Settlers on the Settler Ship Zoroaster .Party o...

Thornhill's Party

Main Reference The Settler Handbook by MD Nash and [

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Party Details

  • Leader Christopher Thornhill
  • Number 35
  • Area Party originated from Middlesex
  • Area Allocated to the Party between the Kowie and Rufane Rivers - the location being called Thornhill.
  • 1820 Settler Ship


  • Dates
  • Departure London, 12 February 1820
  • Arrival Simon's Bay, Cape Town - 30 April 1820 (Final Port)

(Other parties on this voyage - Dyason, Wait.)

In Simon's Bay they were transferred to Albury.

M.D. Nash 1987 - Settler Handbook

"No. 57 on the Colonial Department list, led by Christopher Thornhill, a merchant from a landowning family of Sutherland, Durham. Thornhill initially entered into a partnership with William Wait and Arthur Barker to take a party of some 50 labourers and their families to the Cape, under Wait's direction (see Wait's Party). Labourers were recruited in Buckinghamshire in October 1819 and signed on at a meeting attended by parish officers at the Greyhound Inn, Marlow. In December the settlers were assembed at Marlow and a nephew of Thornhill's Adam Gilfillan, supervised their journey on foot to Deptford where they were to embark. The settlers marched with the baggage wagons and spent a night at an inn at Hounslow en route.

Towards the end of December 1819, when the party was about to board the Zoroaster, the Colonial Department was notified that Wait had been arrested for debt and a writ to prevent his leaving the country had been issued on the application of a former business partner. Thornhill was appointed head of the party in Wait's place. Three weeks later however, with the Zoroaster still lying at Deptford, Wait managed to settle his affairs and obtain his release. Thornhill was unwilling to place himself and his share of the party's finances again under Wait's direction, and a quarrel developed that the Colonial Department was called upon to settle by arbitration. An official was sent from Downing Street to Deptford to dissolve the partnership and divide the party into two separate units, and the settlers on board were given the choice of which master they would serve. Twenty-six men signed a new service agreement with Wait, and Arthur Barker with his steward Henry Ulyate and nine labourers (two of whom deserted before the ship sailed) also chose to remain under Wait's leadership. When the settlers eventually reached Algoa Bay, Barker's party split off and was located separately.

Thornhill was made head of a party of his own, comprising 16 men, including two of his nephews, Adam Gilfillan and Philip Camm. His labourers signed an agreement similar to Wait's, binding them to six years of service at a daily wage equivalent to the value of half a bushel of wheat. Working hours were to be from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon, and each man would be entitled to 'a suitable habitation' and half an acre of garden ground. Three of Thornhill's party deserted before the Zoroaster sailed, but a late replacement, William Stokes, was allowed to board the ship while she was detained in the Downs awaiting a favourable wind.

The Zoroaster left the Downs on 12 February 1820, and reached Simon's Bay (See image above) on 20 April. Here her charter terminated, and the settlers were transshipped to the Albany for the voyage to Algoa Bay, which they reached on 15 May. Thornhill was granted a plot of land at Algoa Bay for the erection of a prefabricated wooden house which he had brought with him, as its size made it difficult to transport to his location in Albany.

Thornhill's party - described by one of the colonial officials as 'the best regulated of any yet landed here' - was located between the Kowie and Rufane Rivers, and the location was named Thornhill. Lieut William Gilfillan (half-pay, late 60th Regt), a brother of Adam Gilfillan, also lived at Thornhill after his marriage to Christopher Thornhill's daughter Ann. William Gilfillan did not, as is popularly supposed, emigrate with Thornhill's party; he landed in Cape Town from the Importer brig in March 1820, and applied for a grant of land by virtue of his seven years' army service at the Cape".

Members of Thornhill's Party

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

Annandale, George 20. Smith.

Ann Bagshaw (34) is entered in the Agent's Return but not in any earlier list, and may have been attached either to Thornhill's party or to Wait's (See Wait's Party).

William Brooks 31, Farmer.

Second wife Ann Guppy 40.
Children of 1st wife

Thomas Bruton 27, Smith.

Wife Charlotte Bruton 24.
Child :

Philip Camm 20 Clerk.

Edward Hunt Dell, 38. Cooper.

Wife (Lady) Hannah White 38.

Adam Gilfillan 20. Merchant.

John Hassall Howard 27, Chemist.

Wife Susannah Brant 27
Children :

William Howard 30. Chemist.

Wife Sarah 25.

  • Jane Howard 6,
  • Richard Howard 4.

Joseph Mildenhall, 26. Husbandman, (Later married Rebecca Hinton of James' Party.)

Robert Soper 24. Carpenter.

Wife Ellis 22.

John Stokes 26. Husbandman.

Wife Mary 26.

James Streak or Street, 18. Husbandman.

William Streak or Street 27. Husbandman.

Wife Elizabeth 22.

Christopher Thornhill 47, Merchant and Party Leader.

Wife Dorothea Mounsey 35.
Children :

Thomas White 29. Husbandman

Main sources for party list

Agent of Transports' Return of settlers under the direction of Messrs Wait, Thornhill and Dyason (Cape Archives CO 6138/2,98); Return of settlers under the direction of Christopher Thornhill (Cape Archives CO 6138/2, 56). The name Streak is given as Street in the official lists.

  • John Hassall Howard, whose name does not appear on any official list, claimed to have emigrated with his wife and family as members of Thornhill's party, and was discharged from Thornhill's service in 1821 when he injured his right hand (Cape Archives CO 158,142). In a letter to the Colonial Department before emigrating, he described himself as a chemist, druggist and apothecary. It is not known how he was connected with William Howard, or whether he sailed in the Zoroaster in place of some other settler.

HOWARD, John Hassall, 1820 Settler

National Archives, Kew CO48/43, 554 Minster St


July 22 1819

My Lord

The intent of my addressing you (which Liberty I hope you will pardon) is to crave your Lordships interest and support in behalf of myself and Family. I am a young person twenty seven years of age, by Trade or Profesion a Chemist, Druggist and Apothecary, have a wife about my own age of very industrious habits and two young children under four years old, but owing to existing circumstances cannot provide them a decent living. About five years back I commenced business as a Chemist Druggist and Apothecary as aforesaid in the town of Stockport in the county Palatine of Chester and for some time appeared doing well however from a very great depression of Trade which followed I experienced unpleasant circumstances, for some time my family have resided in this Town and I have been on the general look out to get into a situation of any description but have not been able to get one which my Lord I assure you has reduced me and family almost to distress. Having been given to understand a Passage would be provided by his Royal Highness the Prince Regent for families willing to go to the Cape of Good Hope as Settlers I feel desirous to go with my family, but not having the means to undertake such a voyage has induced me to make application to your Lordship to beg the favour of your Lordships interest and support. I have no objection to take a situation or I would attempt to agree with the Parish Officers of this Place or neighbouring Parishes to take out families provided it meets your Lordship's approbation and can be advised a subsistance might be procured for them. If your Lordship will condescend to advise me as to the Grants and Priviledges which might be given will much oblige
Your Lordships

Very Humble & Obedient Servant

John Hassall HOWARD

PS Respectable References will be advanced if required

~~~~~~ HOWARD, John Hassall - Extra Data

Family Search Pilot:

  • John Hassall HOWARD married Susannah BRANT on 21 May 1814 in Stockport, Cheshire.
  • Edward Ford, son of John Hassall and Susanna HOWARD, baptised 9 June 1816 in St.Mary's, Stockport, Cheshire
  • William, son of Johan Hassall and Susanna HOWARD, baptised 30 August 1818 in St.Mary's, Reading, Berkshire. and
  • Joseph HOWARD married Peggy HASSALL on 27 September 1791 in Prestbury, Cheshire


Ann Bagshaw (34) is entered in the Agent's Return but not in any earlier list, and may have been attached either to Thornhill's party or to Wait's (See Wait's Party).

Further reading

The Chronicle of Jeremiah Goldswain vol 1, ed Una Long (Cape Town, van Riebeeck Society, 1946).

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