Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Child Emigrants to the Cape Colony Part 4

VOICES

From the family historian’s or descendant's viewpoint, it’s fortunate that the Trubshaw debacle led to an official investigation, because the resulting report produced in 1840 gives intimate glimpses of the children during interviews conducted by magistrates at the Cape. Across a divide of over 150 years, the young emigrants speak to us in their own voices and emerge as real people, with hopes and dreams and failings, and in most cases an underlying stoicism. 


The report lists the children’s names, approximate ages, occupation and treatment by their masters. In some cases there are clues as to their origins and whether there they had relatives still living in England. Magistrates also made comments as to the apprentices’ health, appearance and general behaviour. 



CHILDREN NAMED IN THE 1840 REPORT

Paarl District:
EVETT William Henry
18½ years old; master originally a baker in Cape Town; Evett remained with him 11 months; master then became a hawker travelling through interior of the colony; Evett accompanied him on 3 journeys, found this extremely fatiguing; coloured servants of the same master ill-treated him; when master went on a similar journey Evett requested to be left behind, this was agreed if Evett provided for himself during his absence and pay master 6 rix dollars per month, which he duly did except for 2 months when Evett was ill; master was still absent at time of writing; had always been kind to Evett; has no complaint to make, but wishes to learn a trade or go back to England where he has a brother with whom he corresponds; learned to read and write before leaving England; parents dead; no religious or other education since arriving in the colony; never goes to church because no decent clothes; works in and about the village, earning a shilling per diem as a labourer. Master's name: William Henry Wernich, Paarl; absent on trading journey in interior; date of return not known.
Magistrate's comments: Youth appears to be in perfect health, strong and well grown, but very badly clothed; has no shoes or stockings, nor any means of procuring any, and .. seems most unfortunately circumstanced, associating with the coloured people of this place, and exposed to every temptation and danger of falling into their vicious, drunken habits. .. no time should be lost in removing and placing him under a master who can understand the nature and obligation of the indenture. His master bears an excellent character in this place for humanity and propriety of conduct.
PLETT George
16 years old; parents dead; learned to read and write; corresponds regularly with elder brother in England; attends church every Sunday, but receives no school instruction; sufficiently supplied with food and clothes; employed as farm servant, digging in the vineyard or herding cattle, sheep etc; wishes to get back to England as learning nothing in the colony that would enable him to get a living except as a farm-labourer; in good health. Master: Rev G W A Vander Lingen, Paarl; no complaints to make, the boy conducting himself better than previously.
Magistrate's comments: Appears healthy and well-grown and is well-treated.
TRUMBLE Frederick
15 years old; parents dead; forgotten how to read and write; receives no religious or school instruction in the colony; employed chiefly in the house, sometimes in the garden; enough to eat and good clothes to wear; no complaint to make; never goes to church.
Master: J A Beyers jnr, Paardeberg; no complaints.
Magistrate's comments: Boy appears healthy, but diminutive for his age, clean and well-clothed, seems happy.
TAPNER Thomas
13 years old; parents dead; receives no religious or school instruction; unable to read or write, forgotten what previously learned; employed watching horses grazing etc; enough to eat and no complaints to make; never goes to church.
Master: J A Beyers jnr, Paardeberg had no complaints.
Magistrate's comments: Boy appears healthy and well-grown, but ill-clothed, dirty and very much sun-burned.
STARKIE Walter
15 years old; parents living in London; cannot read or write; never goes to church or receives any religious or school instruction; has not heard from parents since leaving them a year ago; employed at farm work, digging in vineyard etc; he and fellow apprentices sleep in an apartment by ourselves; do not get enough to eat on Sundays, only breakfast and supper, but no dinner; do not like situation, work is too hard; we are kept at it from daylight till dark; has only got one sixpence pocket money since coming here.
Master: D J Vander [sic] Wagonmaker's Valley, formerly of Great Drakenstein. Four boys (see others below); no complaints to make; reason boys do not get dinner on Sundays is that we do not take dinner ourselves on that day.
Magistrate's comments: Boy appears healthy and well-clothed but diminutive for his age and not happy, I fear.
STEPHENSON George
16 years old; parents living in London; cannot read or write; never goes to church; does farm work, digging, herding cattle, cutting corn etc; has enough to eat; good clothes and bed; does not like situation, would rather learn a trade; will endeavour to get back to England when out of his time.
Master: D J Vander Merwe
Magistrate's comments: Boy appears healthy, clean and decently clothed, but small for his age.
VICKERS Benjamin
13 years old; mother living; can read and write a little; never goes to church; employed in same work as the other boys (above), digging etc; would rather learn a trade; does not like situation; gets enough to eat.
Master: D J Vander Merwe
Magistrate's comments: Boy seems in good health and decently clothed, but very diminutive, and not happy.
FARREL John
Absent. Absconded some short time previously for fear of chastisement for bad conduct.
Magistrate's comment: not seen.
GRIMES Thomas
15-16 years old; can read and write, corresponds with friends in England; learning trade of shoemaking; very kindly treated; likes situation; good clothes and enough to eat; does not go to church.
Master: B G Heydenreich, Wagonmaker's Valley. No complaints to make; he is a very good boy.
No comment from Magistrate.
TRUE Edgar
15½ years old; can read and write; learning trade of shoemaking; hasn't written to friends yet; very happy and contented with situation; never goes to church.
Master: B G Heydenreich, Wagonmaker's Valley. No complaints to make; he is a very good boy.
No comment from Magistrate.
GIBBENS Michael
16 years old; parents dead; cannot read or write; receives no religious or school instruction; works on farm as a labourer; gets enough to eat; has no complaints; should like to go back to England; I do not like the black people here.
Master: S F du Roit, Wagonmaker's Valley. 2 boys. No complaints to make; they are both good boys. (see below)
Magistrate's comments: Boys seem in perfect health and well clothed, but small for their age, evidently unhappy and anxious to change their condition.
KEEFE Michael
15 years old; can read and write a little, corresponds with mother in England; employed herding cattle, sheep and goats and all kinds of farm work; does not like being here; no complaints against master; get enough to eat; learning to spell.
Master: S F du Roit, Wagonmaker's Valley.
Magistrate's comments above.
PIPER Sarah
15 years old; parents living in England; cannot read or write; general health is good but much troubled with sores on neck; never goes to church, but hears family prayers at home; cannot speak English now; employed in nursing and house work; sleep in the same apartment with my mistress; no complaints to make.
Master: D Retief, Wagonmaker's Valley. No complaints to make; she is extremely well conducted.
Magistrate's comments: a stout, well-grown girls, but severely afflicted with scrofula in her neck; has nearly lost all knowledge of English language; appears quite happy and contented with situation.
VINE Henry
Nearly 16 years old; mother living in England; can read and write, wrote one letter to mother since leaving England; employed as house servant; goes to church every Sunday and to school every Wednesday evening; subject to fits, but in other respects in good health; gets enough to eat; ' do not like my mistress; she is constantly boxing my ears'.
Master: P F R de Villiers, Paarl. Boy is much addicted to telling lies, negligent and careless in his work, constantly breaking glasses, plates etc. Ran away twice and on one occasion he was absent two months; subject to fits.
Magistrate's comments: Boy appears unhealthy and is small for his age; well clothed and in other respects well treated.
BALLOT Sarah
15 years old; parents dead; can read and write; corresponds with married sister in London; employed as house servant; good clothes and enough to eat; never goes to church; was in the parish school of St Martin's and sent out to the colony without my sister's knowledge or my own consent; wishes to go back to sister; no complaints to make against master or mistress. Master: Doctor Muntingle, Paarl. Girl is rather idle and disobedient and does not take good care of her clothes; I believe what she says about being sent to this country without her sister's knowledge, from the contents of one of her letters which the girl has lately received.
Magistrate's comments: Girl seems in good health, though diminutive for her age; well clothed, and I believe well treated also; I think some further inquiry should be made as to the truth of her statement regarding her being sent out against her will.
ALCHIN William
15 years old; learning wagonmaking trade; parents living in England; can read and write; has written to parents; in good health and quite happy; get enough to eat, have good clothes; does not associate with the coloured people; goes to church every Sunday.
Master: .. Waldpot, wagonmaker, Paarl. He is a good boy and fast acquiring knowledge of my trade.
Magistrate's comments: Boy appears to be in perfect health, but small for his age; well clothed and I believe well treated in every respect.
MULLIGAN William
15 years old; parents dead; can read and write a little; never goes to church; employed herding cattle, sheep and goats; in good health; enough to eat and good clothes; no complaints to make.
Master: S P Gilkins, Klein Drakenstein. Four boys (see below) No complaints.
Magistrate's comments: Boy in good health but extremely diminutive for his age and has nearly forgotten his language; is well treated.
ROBINSON George
15 years old; parents dead; can read and write; never goes to church; in good health but troubled with sore eyes; employed herding cattle, and at all farm work; no complaints to make.
Master: S P Gilkins, Klein Drakenstein.
Magistrate's comments: A well-grown healthy boy but troubled with sore eyes; he is well treated.
DOGGAN Benjamin
16 years old; father living, is a soldier; can read and write, corresponds with aunt in England; employed herding cattle; good clothes and enough to eat; never goes to church; no complaints to make.
Master: S P Gilkins, Klein Drakenstein
Magistrate's comments: Boy seems very healthy, but very diminutive; well clothed and treated.
BOYCE Charles
15 years old; mother living in England; cannot read or write; never goes to church; employed as farm labourer and herding cattle; had letter from mother some time back and master answered it for him; wishes to get back to his mother.
Master: S P Gilkins, Klein Drakenstein.
Magistrate's comments: Boy appears healthy, well clothed and well treated, but very small for his age, and not contented with his condition.
GUNN John
17 years old; mother living in England; did read and write a little before coming to the colony but cannot now from want of practice; never goes to church; employed taking care of horses grazing; sleeps in one bed with two other apprentices, in an outhouse; in good health, enough to eat, but no clothes other than those he has on, and has to wash his shirt every Sunday; never goes to church.
Master: W J Louw, Gt. Drakenstein. Three apprentices (see below) No complaints of any of the boys; they are very good boys. Never gives them more than one suit of clothes at a time because they do not take good care of them.
Magistrate's comments: These three boys appear in good health, but ill grown for their ages; very badly clothed, having but one ragged suit each and but one shirt also each, which they are obliged to wash every Sunday .. or continue in their filth; they are also obliged to sleep in one bed and altogether their condition seems deplorable.
BROWN Albert
About 13 years old; parents dead; can read and write a little; am employed as a shepherd; never go to church; have no clothes but these on me; have to wash my shirt every Sunday.
Master: W J Louw, Gt. Drakenstein
Magistrate's comments: (see above)
DISORMEUX Abraham
About 14½ years old; father living in England; can read and write a little; employed as a farm labourer; never go to church; have no clothes but those on me; have to wash my shirt every Sunday.
Master: W J Louw
Magistrate's comments : (see above)
NUTTI James
About 16&rac12; years old; parents dead; can read a little and write my name; employed herding cattle and working as a farm labourer; get enough to eat and good clothes to wear; never go to church; am in good health.
Master: A J Marais, Gt Drakenstein. Two apprentices. I have no complaints to make against either of these boys, except that they do not keep their clothes clean.
Magistrate's comments: This boy seems in good health, and well clothed, and also .. generally well treated, but is very small for his age.
FOSTER Frederick
About 14 years old; parents dead; cannot read or write; do all sorts of farm work, herd cattle etc; not in good health, often have had headache; get enough to eat, and good clothes to wear.
Master: A J Marais, Gt Drakenstein.
Magistrate's comments: This boy is well clothed, and also well treated, but seems unhealthy, and very diminutive.
KELLY David
About 15 years old; mother living in England; can read and write; receive no religious or school instruction; employed as a farm labourer; have sufficient to eat, and good clothes to wear and am in good health; I have no complaints.
Master: Paul Retief, Gt Drakenstein. Two apprentices. I have no complaints to make.
Magistrate's comments: This boy seems healthy, happy and well treated.
FLYNN Jerry
15 years old; mother living in England, father dead; can read and write; receive no religious or school instruction; employed as a farm labourer; get enough to eat and have good clothes; have no complaints.
Master: Paul Retief, Gt Drakenstein
Magistrate's comments: This boy also seems healthy, happy and well treated, but very diminutive.
PAYNE Emma
About 15 years old; parents dead; can read and write; never go to church; employed in housework and nursing my master's children; sleep in my mistress's room; get good food and clothes; am in good health and have no complaint to make.
Master: P J de Villers, Gt Drakenstein. One apprentice. She is very much addicted to telling lies.
Magistrate's comments: This girl seems unhealthy and is very diminutive; I believe she is well treated.
BUCK Charles
About 18 years old; can read and write and correspond with my uncle in England; employed as a farm labourer; am well treated in every way; I go to church sometimes; am in good health, but subject to sore eyes.
Master: S J Marais, Gt Drakenstein. Six apprentices (see below) This boy's conduct is excellent.
Magistrate's comments: This is a fine, intelligent, well-grown youth, and appears in good health, well clothed and doubtless well treated.
WHITEHEAD Robert
About 18 years old; can read and write; mother living in England; I correspond with her; employed in looking after the horses and other farm labour; I go to church sometimes; get enough to eat and good clothes to wear; but my master beats me frequently with his walking-stick unjustly.
Master: S J Marais, Gt Drakenstein. This boy is very obstinate and disobedient.
Magistrate's comments: This boy appears healthy and well grown, and is well clothed, and shows no appearance of ill treatment.
FOX William
About 14 years old; can read and write; parents living in England; I correspond with them; I go to church sometimes; am employed as a farm labourer, and in good health.
Master: S J Marais, Gt Drakenstein.
Magistrate's comments: This boy is very diminutive, but apparently in good health, and well treated.
GRIFFIN Francis
About 17 years old; father living in England; can read and write, and correspond with my father; employed as a shepherd; have no complaints to make.
Master: S J Marais, Gt Drakenstein. This boy is very obstinate and disobedient.
Magistrate's comments: This boy appears healthy but small for his age.
MASON John
About 16½ years old; can read and write; my parents are living and I correspond with them; am employed as a cattle herd; have no complaints to make.
Master: S J Marais, Gt Drakenstein.
Magistrate's comments: as above
POOLE Charles
No details given
Master: S J Marais, Gt Drakenstein
Magistrate's comments: I have not seen this boy, he being absent from home on his master's business.
COOPER Thomas
About 15 years old; can read and write, and correspond with my mother who lives in England; am employed at all kinds of farm work; get enough to eat and good clothes to wear; never go to church; have no complaints to make.
Master: Pieter Marais, Gt Drakenstein. Six apprentices (see below). I have no complaints to make, he is a good boy.
Magistrate's comments: This is a fine, healthy, well-grown youth, and seems well treated.
DOUGLAS John
About 15 years old; parents dead; can read and write and I correspond with my uncle in England; am employed as a farm labourer; have no complaints to make; never go to church.
Master: Pieter Marais, Gt Drakenstein.
Magistrate's comments: This boy seems healthy, but very diminutive.
MACK Henry
About 14 years old; can read and write and correspond with my father in England; never go to church; have no complaints to make.
Master: Pieter Marais, Gt Drakenstein.
Magistrate's comments: as above.
JONES George
About 16 years of age; can read and write, and correspond with my mother who lives in England; am employed as a farm labouer; have no complaints to make.
Master: Pieter Marais, Gt Drakenstein
Magistrate's comments: as above.
STUBBS Edward
About 16½ years old; can read and write, and correspond with my mother who lives in England; employed as a farm labourer; never go to church; have no complaints to make.
Master: Pieter Marais, Gt Drakenstein.
Magistrate's comments: This boy is well grown and seems healthy.
CASEY Thomas
About 14 years old; can read a little, but cannot write; parents are living in England; employed as a farm labourer and herding cattle; never go to church; have no complaints to make.
Master: Pieter Marais, Gt Drakenstein.
Magistrate's comments: Diminutive but healthy.
ENDLY William
About 18 years old; parents are dead; cannot read or write; employed as a farm labourer; never go to church; get enough to eat, and good clothes to wear.
Master: L. Waldpot, Paardeberg. One apprentice. He is idle and disobedient.
Magistrate's comments: Well grown and healthy.

Caledon and Swellendam districts:
Following 3 children in employ of Hon. Michael Breda of Zoetendaal's Valley, Caledon:
BALDWIN Thomas
Aged 19; has been employed since he came to Mr Breda as a general farming servant at above farm; is healthy; is obedient, regular and industrious; of good moral habits; occasionally attends family prayer in the evening, but seldom goes to church; can read and write a little; reads in the spelling-book; repeats the Lord's Prayer; has never written to or heard from his father since he came out; his mother is dead; may communicate if he will; part of his pocket-money is paid him, and part put into the savings' bank; well clothed and fed, and sleeps in the kitchen on a mat; is sometimes beaten, but generally deserves it; neither party has any wish to complain; will certainly be able to obtain a livelihood when out of his apprenticeship, as Mr Breda speaks very highly of him.
ARPIN Thomas
Aged 19; born in Guildford-street, London; is employed as a shepherd by Mr Breda on the same farm; healthy but dirty and slovenly; is very idle and inattentive, tells lies and is a thief; can read and write a little; reads in the Bible every night, and attends family prayers occasionally, but never goes to church; has never heard from or communicated with his friends; may do so if he wishes; receives his pocket-money and part paid into the savings' bank; well clothed and fed and sleeps with the other boys; is corrected frequently for misconduct; Mr Breda speaks very indifferently of him; the boy confesses his conduct to be bad; is also a tailor, and may, perhaps, if he reforms; be able to obtain a good situation when out of his time.
TOBIN William
Aged 20; born in London; employed by Mr Breda as a groom on the same farm; his health is good, and he looks clean and wholesome; is very good, regular and obedient; moral habits good; can red but only writes a little; reads in the Bible most days; attends family prayers occasionally, and sometimes goes to church; has once written home, but never had an answer; can write when he pleases; receives his pocket-money and the rest paid into the savings' bank; well clothed and fed; sleeps with the other boys; is seldom beaten; does not complain of ill treatment; Mr Breda speaks very highly of him and means, when he is out of his time .. to give him wages, if he chooses to stay.
LAMBERT William
Originally apprenticed to Mr John Barry of Swellendam but placed, with the consent of the commissioners in Cape Town, with Mr Smallerge of Valsche River; he deserted from thence about seven months ago, and has not been heard of; while in the service of Mr Barry he was idle and disobedient and was sometimes corrected by Mr and Mrs Barry; on one occasion he came to me, and I brought his case before the board of local commissioners in Swellendam, who investigated the matter; and it was in consequence of this investigation that he was sent to Mr Smallerge.
BURTON Apeline
Aged 16; came from Tottenham High Cross, London; has been near four years in the employ of Mr John Barry of Swellendam as housemaid; her health is good, personal appearance respectable; is generally regular, attentive and obedient; moral habits are now good; did lie a little when first she came; reads the Bible often; attends family prayer in English and Dutch every night and morning, and goes to church regularly; well and respectably clothed; sleeps on a bed in her mistress's room; all her money is deposited in the savings' bank; will be able to get a livelihood when her time is out; works well at the needle; has written home frequently and often hears from thence; sometimes beaten by Mrs Barry, by having a box on the ear; thinks she deserves it; general treatment good and kind; no complaints to make.
BURTON Mary Ann
Aged 15; comes from Tottenham High Cross, London; has been upwards of two years in the service of Mr Thomas Barry of Swellendam as housemaid; health indifferent but when indisposed has proper medical attendance and advice; personal appearance clean; is generally regular, industrious and obedient; morals good; the family have prayer in English night and morning, and goes to church most Sundays; could read and write before she came to Mr Barry; has written several times home and has received answers; can write whenever she pleases; has 2 pounds in the savings' bank, which includes her pocket-money; is well clothed and fed, and sleeps with Margaret Watts in the nursery; has been corrected several times by Mr and Mrs Barry, by receiving a slap with the open hand on her face for disobedience and inattention; general treatment good and kind; Mr Barry complains of frequent inattention and incivility to his wife, by not saying 'Good morning and evening' etc.

 
Swellendam, Cape

2 comments:

ANDREW VAN RENSBURG said...

a common thread appears to be 'small in stature for age'. This would reflect nutritional short comings over a long period, possibly starting in early childhood. Current adequate intake would not be able to disguise past deprivation.

Mole said...

I'm sure you're right, Andrew, considering that their parents spent any available money on gin. Then when the children attempted to supplement their diet by taking fruit from orchards or stealing a piece of bread or a bit of bacon they ended up in prison. Vicious circle. Mole