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1820 Settler Party : Bowker



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Party  Bowker 
Leader  Miles Bowker 
Number in the Party  23 
Area Party originated from  Wiltshire, England 
Area allocated to the party  Olive Burn and Tharfield 
Ship  Weymouth,    
Surnames in party  Adams, Austin, Besant, Bowker, Flooks, Hayter, Ingram, Limes, Mitford, Stanford, Unknown
Other Information  They were located on the right bank of the George River, the place being named Olive Burn. By 1823 the party had dispersed and the location was granted to Miles BOWKER.
 
Settler Handbook Content:   No. 41 on the Colonial Department list, led by Miles Bowker, a gentleman farmer of Manor Farm, South Newton (near Wilton), Wiltshire. Bowker was recommended by his landlord, Lord Pembroke, who made a personal visit to the Colonial Department on his behalf, and by William Boscawen, a cousin of Lord Falmouth. This was a proprietary party; the eight indentured labourers Bowker engaged to accompany him were all Wiltshire countrymen and with one exception single men. The only married man among them, John Stanford, had his deposit paid by the parish. Bowker's chief object in emigrating was to provide better opportunities than his situation in England could offer for his large and lively family of sons. The eldest of them, John Mitford, did not sail with the rest of the family but remained in England for two years to wind up his father's affairs.


Deposits were paid for nine men; 17-year-old William Bowker, although he did not pay the full deposit, was accepted by the authorities as the tenth 'able-bodied man' needed to bring the party to the prescribed minimum size. The journey from South Newton to Portsmouth where the party was to embark was made with a borrowed travelling carriage and several farm wagons loaded with household furniture and agricultural implements. The settlers were not able to board HM Store Ship Weymouth immediately as her fitting up was not yet completed; as a temporary measure they were accommodated on a hulk in Portsmouth harbour that was used as the ship's tender.


The Weymouth sailed from Portsmouth on 7 January 1820 with all the party on board, although Bowker's men had already voiced their dissatisfaction with the conditions of their engagement, declaring that they would rather return home 'as poor deluded Emigrants than become Slaves'. Their ringleader, John Stanford, was particularly aggrieved to find himself worse off than the parish-assisted emigrants in the party under Samuel James. He considered that he was entitled to receive a full 100 acres of land at the Cape, not the 10 that Bowker was willing to give him: 'There are many Families on board who have been sent out by the Parish and has the Privelidge of 100 acres and why not me the same.'


Two of Stanford's children, Jane aged 2 and an infant, Sophia, died on the voyage to the Cape. The Weymouth reached Table Bay on 26 April, and Miles Bowker's wife gave birth to a daughter, Anna Maria, while the ship lay at anchor. Algoa Bay was reached on 15 May. The party was located on the right bank of the George River and its location was named Olive Burn.


LIST OF BOWKER'S PARTY


ADAMS, Henry 36. Mason.

AUSTIN, John 25. Countryman.

BESANT, Charles 34. Labourer.

BOWKER, Miles 55. Farmer. w Anna Maria 38. c William Monkhouse 17, Miles Brabbin 14, Thomas Holden 12, Bertram Egerton 11, Robert Mitford 9, Septimus Bourchier 7, Octavius Bourchier 4, Mary Elizabeth 2,
Anna Maria (born at sea).

FLOOKSDOWN, George 25. Countryman.

HAYTER, John 20. Ploughman.

INGRAM, William 24. Joiner.

LIMES, Richard 20. Countryman.

STANFORD, John 35. Countryman. w Maria 28. c John 7, Letitia 5, Jane 2 (died at sea), Sophia (died at sea).


Main sources for party list


Return of settlers under the direction of Miles Bowker (Cape Archives CO 6138/2,4); Muster-roll and Log of HM Store Ship Weymouth (Public Record Office, London). George Flooksdown's name is given as Down, Hooks Down, Flooks Down, Flooks and Frooks in various sources. Flooksdown is the version used in Miles Bowker's own manuscript notes in the Albany Museum.


Further reading


I Mitford-Barberton, The Bowkers of Tharfield (Oxford University Press, 1952), Comdt. Holden Bowker (Cape Town, Human and Rousseau, 1970).


from THE SETTLER HANDBOOK by MD Nash page 47 


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