THE FORD FAMILY CONNECTION.
From: 'Roll of British Settlers in South Africa' - E. Morse Jones.
 
FORD            Edward, aged 54, wife Jane 39, children James 17, John 16, Patience 13, Elizabeth 11.
                     Leader of Ford's party on 'Weymouth'
 
FORD'S  PARTY.  A party of 42 from Wiltshire led by Edward Ford in 'Weymouth'.  After frequent re-location, they were finally settled on the right bank of the Lynedoch River.  Their land is now called Ford's Party.
 
From: 'The Settler Handbook' - M.D.Nash
 
No. 25 on the Colonial Department list, led by Edward Ford, a labourer of Deverill Longbridge, near Warminster, Wiltshire, an area hard hit by unemployment.  The parish authorities were anxious to assist emigration and probably advanced the party's deposit money; the returns were compiled and the deposits submitted by the vicar of Deverill, the Rev. Henry Goddard.  Changes occurred in the party list almost up to the time of sailing.  Goddard ascribed the desertions to the 'dread of the sea voyage and apprehension of being devoured by wild beasts', which alarmed the women in particular.
This was a joint stock party consisting of labourers from Deverill Longbridge and a late addition from nearby Earlestoke, a weaver named Robert Miles ...
The emigrants had difficulty finding the means to bridge the waiting period before they were allowed to board their ship, as Ford complained in mid-December, 1819: 'Having sold all that we had to sell and given notice to quit our houses and given up our labour we are distressed very much at present and shall be a great deal more so if we cannot be moved soon'.  The Colonial Department was able to respond sympathetically to this appeal because although H.M.Store Ship 'Weymouth', lying at Portsmith, was not yet ready to receive her passengers, the party could be temporarily accommodated on board the three-decker hulk that served as her tender.
 
While in Portsmith James Jennings fell ill and was taken to the Naval Hospital where he subsequently died.  His wife and three-year-old son sailed with the rest of the party. The 'Weymouth' left Portsmith on 7 Janusry 1820, arriving Table Bay on 26 April.  Three children of the party died during the voyage and Ephraim Dicks Snr. died on the day the ship reached Table Bay.  James Dick's wife died on 3 May.
 
The 'Weymouth' reached Algoa Bay on 15 May.  After being located, Ford's party were moved twice before finally being assigned land on the right bank of the Lynedoch River.  It stayed together under Ford's leadership until 1824, when acrimony about the division of land resulted in a petition for his removal.  It is interesting to note that the three parties of Wiltshire labourers (Ford's, Hyman's and James') were the only Settler parties to remain virtually intact under their original leaders during the settlements first three years.
 
From: 'The Chronicle of Jeremiah Goldswain' - van Riebeeck series.
 
Ford's partey most or all of them attended the Baptist but when they Wesleyan prechers came they of Ford's partey most of them youested to attend at Mr. Trolips and of Hymans partey allways attended the Baptist preching at Mr. Fords,so considred it my dutey to go and inform them that Mr. Kay wold prech that evening at seven oClock.  (sic)
 
From: 'Thus Came the English' - Dorothy Rivett-Carnac.
 
In letters to their friends and relatives in England, the Settlers told of their desperate plight. 'Bread is now quite out of the question, the scanty allowance of half a pound of rice is all we get ...'
 
'If I could get a bag of meal or rice, it would be a great relief...'
 
'...Every necessity is so extravagant at Graham's Town that it is impossible to come at clothing.  My sons and myself are very naked and the weather is now excessively cold.  The calico when it arrives will be a great relief.  A whole shirt will now be a great luxury...'
 
'...Hyman's and Ford's party are in a truly miserable plight with scarcely anything to eat but a few vegetables.  I saw an aged couple in almost starving condition.  On going into their hut, I found the poor woman boiling a little pumpkin soup which was mixed with some milk.  She said it was the only food they had...'
 
To the question: why did they stay? - there is only one answer: there was nowhere else for them to go.  In the bitterness of their time of trial, many of them must have remembered the prophetic words of the 'London Times'  '...he may die if he remains; he may stave if he returns.'  The Settlers had no alternative but to stay - to take root or rot where they stood.
 
Note: Edward Ford* served in the Albany Levy in 1823.  He was born in 1766 and died 24.8.1843 in Grahamstown.  He married Jane, (born 1781) and they had four children:
 
              James Ford*, born 1803
              John Ford*, born 1804, married Anna (Hannah) Kirkman*
             Patience Ford*, born 1806, married Richard Freemantle*
             Elizabeth Ford*, born 1809, married John Willden
 
John Ford's* son, Edward, born 1833, was drowned in Rosebud Bay on 18.1.1847.
 
From: 'The Story of the British Settlers in 1820 in South Africa' - Hockley
 
Ford's Party:
 
Considering the difficulties connected with the allotting of land to a large number of parties of different sizes in a vast, unoccupied and untamed tract of country, the few officials upon whom that duly devolved executed their task competently, but it is not surprising that mistakes were sometimes made and that readjustments and removals became necessary during the first few months, causing considerable irritation and inconvenience.  After settling at Rietfontein, H. Sephton's party was eventually moved to a spot later known as Salem, C. Hyman's party was moved twice, and E. Ford's party three times!
(As Goldswain expresses it - they were moved three times after landing and nearly starved, being 'in miserable plight')
 
Note: Other Settlers appearing in this history, who travelled on the 'Weymouth' were:
 
The Staples in Cock's party
 
John Woodland in Gurney's party
 
Joseph Trollip in Hyman's party
 
James White in Cock's party
 
And the Warner family in Smith's party were transhipped from the'Stentor' to the 'Weymouth'
Further references and information are given under these sections.
 
This note submitted 8th October 2011 by John Powell:
I just wanted to propose a correction to the item about the arrival and settlement of Sephton's Party. MD Nash has repeated the error made by AE Makin which indicates that the entire party was first settled at Rietfontein (Reed Fountain) before being removed to Assagaai Bush / Salem. Only the advance parties were settled at Rietfontein, the remainder being taken directly to Salem. Refer to Hancock's Drift by F Whinchcombe Powell and the primary source, James Hancock's notebook at the Cory Library.