No. 8 on the Colonial Department list, led by Edward Damant of Fakenham, Norfolk, who had held a lieutenant's commission in the 38th Regiment of Foot and subsequently in the West Norfolk Militia. He had made an abortive earlier attempt to emigrate to the Cape in 1817, in company with his sister and her husband Dr John Atherstone, in order to join their brother John Damant, then stationed at Uitenhage as Assistant Commissary General. John Damant had married the only daughter of a local landowner and merchant, Frederick Korsten, and in partnership with a third brother, Thomas Damant, had acquired a large estate on the Gamtoos River which they named New Lammas after their birthplace in Norfolk.
Early in 1819 John Damant had retired on half-pay and returned to England to engage additional labourers for New Lammas. The newly promulgated Cape emigration scheme provided the opportunity to make up a party consisting of the Damant and Atherstone families, including Thomas Damant's 13-year-old daughter Ann who had been living in England with her maternal grandparents, and some 20 indentured labourers. Although on the face of it this was a proprietary party, the status of one of its members, Philip Frost, is not clear; he probably joined the party as an independent settler as he purchased a farm on the Gamtoos in his own right in 1822. The party was recruited in Norfolk, Tee hailing from Sedgeford, Gibbon from West Barsham, Lake from Colkirk and Sterley from Billingford, all in the neighbourhood of Fakenham.
Shortly before Michaelmas quarter-day (29 September), Damant wrote to the Colonial Deparment asking as a matter of urgency to be informed whether his proposal had been accepted or rejected, 'the men being distressed beyond measure at the uncertainty of their situation as they would be deprived of work the whole of the ensuing Winter, should the proposition not be acceded to, and they not know it before Michaelmas, but were they now acquainted with it, they would be able to renew their present engagements if necessary'. The delay in notifying party heads of the success of their applications was the cause of numerous changes in the party lists, Damant's included.
Once his application had been approved, Damant invoked the influence of the Member of Parliament for Norfolk, Edmund Wodehouse, to try to obtain permission for him to take out breeding stock - horses and Norfolk bulls. This was contrary to regulations, however, and was refused.
Deposits were paid for 25 men, and the party embarked at Deptford in the regular transport ship Ocean, sailing from Portsmouth on 1 January 1920 and arriving in Table Bay on 29 March and Algoa Bay on 15 April. Two men of the party and one child died at sea. The location assigned to Damant was on the site of the old Waaiplaats barracks at the source of the Kaffir Kraal River, but he refused the land and removed his people to his brothers' property on the Gamtoos River.
LIST OF DAMANT'S PARTY
ATHERSTONE, John 29. Surgeon. w Elizabeth 37. c William Guybon 5, Catherine 4, Elizabeth 3, Emily 2.
ATHERSTONE, Thomas 26. Husbandman.
COOPER, John 27. Bricklayer.
DAMANT, Ann 13 (in the care of her uncle Edward Damant).
DAMANT, Edward 33. Lieut, 38th Regiment. c Louisa 2.
DAMANT, John 34. Commissary (half-pay).
DURRELL, Henry 27. Husbandman.
FRANCIS, John 24. Husbandman.
FROST, Philip 32. Husbandman. w Elizabeth 30. c Philip 11, James 10, William 7, Edward 6, John 4, Mary.
GIBBON, Edward 21. Husbandman.
HAMES, Joseph 20. Husbandman.
JACOBS, John 21. Husbandman. w Catherine 20.
LAKE, John 19. Husbandman.
LAWSON, Philip 22. Husbandman.
MALES, Thomas 18. Shoemaker (died at sea).
MATHEWS, John 22. Husbandman.
PRICE, John 25. Husbandman (died at sea).
PURVIS, Henry 32. Blacksmith.
SELEY, William 26. Husbandman.
SMITH, Stephen 27. Carpenter. w Ann 27. c Henry 5, Harriet 1 (died at sea).
STERLEY, Thomas 19. Husbandman.
STERLEY, Thomas 54. Husbandman and army pensioner. w Ann 44, c Thomas 17, John 15, Mary 12, Lydia 8, Maria 6, William 3, James 1.
TEE, Richard 34. Husbandman. w Sarah 29. c Richard 7, Frances 6, Susannah 4, Elizabeth 1.
THOMPSON, William 21. Husbandman.
WELLS, John 20. Tanner.
WHITE, William 28. Husbandman.
Main source for party list
Agent of Transports' List of settlers under Edward Damant Esqre (Cape Archives CO 136). Edward Damant's wife was confined shortly before the party sailed and did not emigrate, but the name of her 2-year-old daughter is included in the Agent's List.
The name of Richard Tee's wife and the names and ages of their children have been amended to agree with family records (they are given in the Agent's List as Mary 30, Richard 8, Mary 7, Charlotte 5 and Elizabeth 2). Edward Frost (6) does not appear in the Agent's List, but according to a family historian he sailed with the rest of the family.
DG Damant, The Damants and their Party (Port Elizabeth Historical Society, 1984).
from THE SETTLER HANDBOOK by MD Nash page 65