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The 1820 Settler Correspondence
 as preserved in the National Archives, Kew
 and edited by Sue Mackay

Additonal Information

This is pre 1820 information mainly taken from actual images of UK parish registers and other primary sources which I have personally researched. Further information about the settlers and their families once they reached the Cape can be found at

Sue Mackay

BOWLES, Richard - Extra Data


(see correspondence of William MENEZES)


Grahamstown Journal 2 June 1863:

DIED at his residence Kariega on the morning of the 25th May, Richard BOWLES, aged 86 years. One of the Original British Settlers of 1820, born Dova [sic, should be Dover]. He died as he lived, trusting on the Lord. Oh, reader, that your end may be like his.


Canterbury Cathedral Archives


Possible baptism:

Richard the son of John BOWLES and Sarah his wife of the parish of St.James, Dover born on the 26th day of November 1780 was baptised on the 19th day of April 1781 in Zion Chapel, Dover.


Richard BOWLS, widower, married Elizabeth AMOSS, widow, on 8 November 1819 in St.James the Apostle, Dover, Kent.

Both made their mark

Witnesses: Jno. GREEN and Ann GREEN (X)

[John and Ann GREEN were also settlers in MENEZES' Party and Ann married Richard BOWLES after Elizabeth's death]


There is a good deal of conflicting information about the AMOS/BOWLS saga. The story in The Settler Handbook is that Elizabeth TAYLOR was married to a soldier named AMOS(S) who was supposed to have been killed. She ‘married’ Richard BOWLS and had a daughter Esther, and then her husband re-appeared, so she went back to him and had further children under the name AMOS. When she became a widow in truth she and Richard married in Dover, immediately prior to emigrating.

In fact Edward AMES married Elizabeth TAYLOR on 1 January 1803 in St.Martin, Cheriton, Kent. (See notes for Henry AMOS.) They had several children together before Edward AMOS was lost at sea on 24 October 1810. His ship, the HMS Texel, had foundered between Newcastle and Yarmouth and all had been rescued by the HMS St. Patrick. However, the St. Patrick itself then foundered off Calais. The men were rescued and made prisoner by the French. Judging by baptism dates, Elizabeth was pregnant with daughter Sarah AMOS at the time. Within 16 days the news of the shipwreck and consequent POW status was printed by Lloyds in its Marine report. Edward did indeed return and he and Elizabeth had at least two more children, the first being “John Henry” Edward Taylor AMOS, who was baptised on 18 July 1813. By this sequence of events, the shipwrecking of Edward AMOS could not have been the prompt for any events leading to the birth of baby Esther, which had already happened four years earlier.

The Muster Roll of HMS Weymouth (ADM37/6145 (National Archives, Kew) lists Richard BOWLS and Henry AMOSS as adult male settlers, Elizabeth BOWLS as an adult female settler, and Esther BOWLS as a settler child along with Charlotte, Rebecca, Thomas, Sarah and Edward AMOSS (with those spellings). Esther married John OPENSHAW in Grahamstown on 1 April 1822 by Licence, and the Matrimonial Court Minutes give her age as 17, so she was older than listed in The Settler Handbook. She married William MISSELBROOK by licence in Fort Beaufort (Cape Archives) on 29 December 1838 and her age is given in that licence as being 32, placing her birth around 1807. It also gives her place of birth as Dover.


There is a baptism for 20 July 1806 in Ss.Peter & Paul, River, Kent (Canterbury Cathedral Archives) for an Esther BOWLES, daughter of Richard and Esther BOWLES. The vicar may well have mixed up the Christian names of the mother and daughter. Richard BOWLES was listed as a widower when he married Elizabeth AMOS in 1819 but no previous marriage has been found.


See also 1826 correspondence of William SHEPHERD, where Richard BOWLES requests a daughter, son-in-law and two children living in "Crab Oak", Dover to join him. The contact is given as Henry HERBERT. There is a marriage of a Henry HERBERT to a Mary TAYLOR in River, Kent in 1821, with the baptisms of two children, Ann and James, in 1822 and 1823. Mary TAYLOR may have been Elizabeth TAYLOR's daughter, born just prior to her marriage to Edward AMOS, and subsequently brought up as a sister to Edward and Elizabeth's children. The map of Dover here shows St.Peter and St.Paul Church, River, very close to Crabble Mill, so "Crab Oak" may have been in this area. Three further children, Elizabeth (1826), Mary Ann (1829) and Sarah (1831) were born in River to Henry and Mary HERBERT, after which it seems they did emigrate to the Cape. This is borne out by the Death Notice (Cape Archives) of their daughter Harriet, which says she was the daughter of Henry HERBERT and Mary Ann AMOS. It therefore seems certain that when Richard BOWLES requested permission for a daughter and son-in-law to join him he was actually referring to his stepdaughter Mary, the eldest child of Elizabeth TAYLOR.

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