Possibly as a result of their contentious attitudes, on their arrival in Algoa Bay, the authorities decided to locate Mahoney's party on the right hand bank of the Coombs river, (known just as 'the Coombs'), very close to the clay pits, but a considerable distance from Grahamstown and most of the other locations. These clay pits attracted large numbers of Xhosa, who crossed the river in order to use the red clay to paint their faces and bodies, particularly during the young men's initiation ceremonies and other mystical observances.
[(?) Unfortunately the reference for the following has been mislaid and is no longer available:]
"Whenever they came to collect clay they stole a number of the settlers' cattle. Also 'Clay Fairs' were held when the natives were allowed to remove clay in exchange for cattle, ivory and hides to be paid to the Government."
"The most hazardous location of all was allotted to Mahoney's Irish party, a quarrelsome collection of settlers, who had defied the Captain of their ship, the 'Northampton'. They were allocated the land around the red clay pits on the Kap river (now Coombs) which was the acknowledged preserve of the Kaffirs, who attached particular and almost sacred importance to the red clay, which they applied to their faces and bodies. The area was known to be a trouble spot and in settling the pugnacious Irish upon it, the authorities secretly regarded them as the 'forlorn hope of the settlement'. They were in fact the first to be murdered."
This party of settlers reached Coombs River on 10.12.1820 and, once established there, Thomas Berrington* took over the responsibility of the party because Mahoney* was absent on building contracts. However, most of the party had dispersed by 1825, the land then being held by Thomas Mahoney* alone.
Also recorded is an incident in 1821 when Richard Freemantle with Thomas Wallace (aged 44, of Sephton's party) were apprehended for being without a pass while away from the location at Coombs and were discharged from that party. There is some confusion as to which of the Richards was involved in this, the companion being of an age to match the father, but in 1822 the well-documented account of Richard senior's death while travelling between the Clay Pits and Bathurst/Grahamstown with Mahoney's wagon does not tally with the detailed result if the misdemeanour was his. On the other hand it is not known whether the son had by then (presuming Mr. Morse-Jones to be correct) resumed his own name. The two items of confirmed information concerning Richard, the son, are his marriage in Grahamstown in 1823 and a second marriage in Port Elizabeth in 1837.
As the death of Richard* and his son, John*, is so well recorded and there are a number of versions given hereafter, suffice to say they were murdered by a group of Xhosa when Richard was escorting one of Thomas Mahoney's wagons back to Coombs, when they were some two miles away from the location. John* was 'almost pierced through the body' and died before his brother could carry him there. Samuel* himself was wounded in the leg by an assegai, 'Samuel* carried him (John*) for half a mile, but he died of his wounds.'
In addition to their two children born in London, Sarah* and Richard Freemantle* had one child born in the Grahamstown area in 1822. He was named Thomas.
It is recorded that they lost 5 cattle in 1822 and also that Sarah, Richard's widow was forced to support the four children by selling her needlework in September, 1823, but no indication is given as to where the family were then living. However, they had moved to Grahamstown not later than 1825, probably earlier, because she, Sarah Freemantle, married Joseph Stevens in Grahamstown on 6.2.1824, the service being taken by Rev. William Geary. She was born Sarah Kent in December, 1788 and she died in Grahamstown on 14.10.1862, aged 74.
Joseph Stevens* was a settler in Waite's party on the 'Zoraster' and there were two children of his marriage to Sarah Freemantle. They were (i) Joseph Stevens and (ii) Isabella Stevens. On the shipping lists he was registered as a 'husbandman'.