[An extract describing the Stubbs family's delay, written by young Thomas Stubbs is included under the section relating to Richard Freemantle Snr. F11. ]
The following is a description of the voyage to the Cape Colony and their arrival by William Guybon Atherstone, who was aged five in 1820. He writes: 'We embarked on the 'Ocean'. A large ship in which we had cabins and a large diningroom. We were told on no account to part company with the 'Northampton', for fear of accidents, but to keep well within sight of each other. It was all new and very exciting ... The 'Ocean' and the 'Northampton' set sail from London at the end of 1819. My father shipped as surgeon on the 'Ocean' and I can distinctly recall several exciting events.
The first was in the Channel when we were hove to for the night and our anchors dragged (so the sailors told me) when a great gale swept down upon us and our shrouds became entangled with those of 'Northampton'. Hatchets had to be used to cut the rigging to prevent (I was afterwards told) our two ships going to the bottom...
All was new and strange to us - the porpoises so huge and ugly ... flying fish... sharks... (the ceremony of crossing the line) from now on, calm warm weather favoured us for the remainder of that wonderful voyage. (The 'Northampton' arrived in Table Bay on 26th.March, 1820 ...)
We made with all speed for Algoa Bay, now Port Elizabeth. In those days it was not a port at all, but only a dreary stretch of sand dunes and scrub. We were carried off the ships and placed into huge surfboats which rocked and rolled us about horribly. When we reached the sandy shore, kind men lifted us out onto to dry land ... All the settlers had been taken in surfboats to long rows of tents on the hill. It looked very dreary ... When Sir Rufane Donkin came to see all the settlers, he named the little village 'Port Elizabeth' in memory of his wife [who] had died a little while before we arrived.
[In Port Alfred was a large double-storied building which 'was filled with all kinds of stores for the Settlers. Built before the arrival of the Settlers at a cost of three thousand pounds]
And this from Pringle's report:
[When walking among the tents of the encampment at Algoa Bay] 'On my way I passed two or three marquees, pitched apart, among the evergreen bushes, which were scattered between the sandhills and the heights behind. These were the encampments of some of the higher class of Settlers, and evinced the taste of the occupants by the pleasant situations in which they were placed and by the neatness and order of everything about them.'
Also, as previously mentioned, an incident occurred in 1821 which is recorded as follows: 'Richard Freemantle, with Thomas Wallace were apprehended for being without a pass while away from the location of Mahoney's party and were discharged from that party'. It would seem that this version of events might well have applied to the son, Richard, because by 8.4.1823 he was living in Grahamstown and on 1.12.1823 he had married Patience Ford*, whereas his father was still in charge of Mahoney's wagons when he was killed in 1822.
From 'The Oxford History of South Africa'. Edited by Monica Wilson and Leonard Thompson.
The British Government encouraged the settlement of English speaking people at the Cape, but the 1820 Settlement in Albany was primarily an attempt to buttress an insecure frontier at a time when Whig demands for a reduction of the army estimates was growing, when there was much unemployment in Great Britain, and when, after Makanda's attack in 1819, that frontier badly needed defending.
Charles Somerset, the Governor of the Cape, began to urge settlement of the Suurveld, describing it in his dispatches as a 'succession of parks' where the soil was 'well adapted to cultivation' and 'peculiarly fitted for cattle and pasturage' and the climate 'the most healthy in the universe'. The hazards were not advertised by the British Government when, in September 1818, it offered free passage and land at the rate of 100 acres per settler to men who recruited parties which included ten or more men, and would deposit ten pound per head until the Settlers were established on the land. Some 4000 Settlers arrived at the Cape early in 1820, of whom about 2,400 were males. They came from all four countries of the British Isles and included farmers and artisans and a sprinkling of professional men, military men, medical and clerical. Another 1000 followed on the heels of the organised parties. Some parties were recruited and paid for by single wealthy leaders who brought groups of indentured servants; other parties were 'independent' each member paying his own deposit and receiving title to land on arrival.
The independent parties fared best in face of initial hazards, which beset the young settlement - three successive harvest failures, and disastrous floods in 1823. Many indentured retainers of larger proprietors, unused to working on the land, defied the pass system imposed to keep them to their contracts, and went to Grahamstown and other centres to seek a better living from the practice of their trades.
The arrival of the 1820 Settlers resulted in at least a doubling of the English speaking population of the Cape and the establishment of a bridgehead from which British culture, and more particularly the characteristics of British urban civilization, with its retail shops, its newspapers, debating societies, horse-riding and cricket matches, would radiate into the villages of the interior. The Settlers, though in many cases of humble origin were an articulate community, by contrast with the relatively unlettered Boers among whom they were placed. Their role in the struggle for press freedom, in the establishment of a South African literature, in the planting of schools and libraries was especially noteworthy. A few achieved reputations in the field of science. Their architecture introduced a distinctive British idiom, whether in their farm buildings, which often reproduced British rural styles, or in the Georgian town houses that gave a special character to the streets of Grahamstown, and matched the new styles beginning to appear in Cape Town. Finally, the Settlers became frontiersmen, active like their Boer counterparts in the defence of their material goods; attempting to cling to the values of civilization they brought with them ... providing from their ranks people who were prepared to move and live among the neighbouring Xhosa to impart their Christian religion, or to trade ... The Settlers remained to a large extent a separate community, encouraged to retain their distinctiveness by the fact that the language they spoke had been made the language of official communication and to a large extent the language of the schools. Neither the Huguenots before them nor the German Settlers who came after them were given such a strong incentive to remain apart.
From: 'One Titan at a Time' - Pamela Ffolliatt and E.L.H.Croft.
[The following extracts give some insights on Port Elizabeth - 1820-1841.]
The 1820 Settlers were formally welcomed by Sir Rufane Donkin, acting Governor, as Lord Somerset had been recalled to England and it was Sir Rufane who promoted the village to the status of a town, giving it the name of Port Elizabeth in remembrance of his late wife, Elizabeth nee Markham, who had died in India aged eighteen.
'Captain Evatt after an adventurous campaign in the Hinterland had been appointed Commander at Fort Frederick and, with his genial personality and kindly hospitality created goodwill and co-operation between the military and civilian population.'
In 1835, the first church in Port Elizabeth was being built by the Bethalsdorp ministers. It was completed in 1828. The Anglican Church of St. Mary's was also started in 1825 and completed in 1832.
By that time there was a Resident Magistrate and a Harbour Master, also a Post Office and Customs House (in a small hut)