Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ships and Mariners: 19th c Cape and Natal 3 Burton/Gardiner

Wreck of a Brig
The Grahamstown Journal, founded in 1831, kept everyone abreast of maritime and other news. 

In March 1837 this newspaper regretted ‘to announce that in Algoa Bay during a severe gale on Friday last the Maria parted from her moorings and in spite of every effort came ashore. No loss of life was sustained, but the vessel, we understand, is a total wreck.’

The 159 ton British-built brig, under command of Captain J Burton, was caught in one of Algoa’s notorious south-east gales on 11 March, when her windlass broke and she ended up on the rocks.* It was a fate that could be suffered by any ship visiting this Bay. Fortunately all souls were saved and Captain Burton, though not in the way he might have chosen, acquired a certain immortality by virtue of the press reference. 

In the same month, the Journal reported the arrival of Captain [Allen] Gardiner, R.N., at Cape Town, ‘with Missionaries of the Established Church, for Port Natal.’ 

Two months later, Gardiner’s young daughter Julia Charlotte Francis, who had been in declining health, died on board the brig Skerne (Captain W Rice) during passage to Port Natal. She was buried at Berea. In 1851 Gardiner would die of starvation and thirst on the unfriendly shores of Tierra del Fuego, a martyr to the missionary cause.

Death of Gardiner Sept 1851

Memorial to Julia and her father
Note that the surname was GARDINER
not GARDENER as given on this M.I.

**windlass: a winch turned by a crank or lever to wind up rope or chain e.g. anchor cable

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