Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ships and Mariners: 19th c Cape and Natal 2 Scorey

 HMS Jupiter leaving Cape Town
 bound for India with the new Governor-General of India,
Lord Auckland, aboard; 21 Dec 1835*
see footnote link for zoomed version

The volume of shipping at Table Bay continued to increase throughout the 1830s. A traveller arriving in 1831 found no less than thirty English ships in port apart from those of other nations and the usual smaller craft. 

Many mariners were therefore simply passing through and it was by sheer chance that a moment in their personal history would be captured in local newspapers. For descendants of the men who commanded the coastal vessels, settled - as far as mariners ever do - and had families, there's more hope of finding references and records. An example of a Cape master mariner whose career can be followed quite closely using a variety of sources is James Scorey - his full name was James Pyboul Scorey, Pyboul being his mother's maiden name.

The Scorey family were of Eling, Hampshire for several generations from the mid-18th c and possibly before. The son of John and Elizabeth Scorey, James Pyboul was baptised 15 April 1792, Eling. He arrived in the Cape Colony in the 1820s, marrying Ann Robinson in Port Elizabeth 24 August 1829. The Government Gazette and local shipping columns show that he was master of the schooner Flamingo, trading between the Cape and Algoa Bay. He retired in 1834 thanks to the success of Scorey's Hotel. 

An indication of the status of this hostelry is that the Governor, Sir Benjamin D'Urban, stayed there when visiting Port Elizabeth in 1835. On this occasion, Sir Benjamin gave permission for the rock on which Cape Receife lighthouse was to be placed, to be called D'Urban Rock.
The inhabitants made a grand party for His Excellency to celebrate ... the naming of the lighthouse rock. They went out there on horseback, the distance being about eight miles, though a party of young ladies and gentlemen made it a good deal more, having been lost for several hours in the bush and among the parallel ridges of sandhills.**

Captain James Scorey of Port Elizabeth advises in September 1837
 'that some of his Debtors are leaving the Colony without discharging
their respective Accounts...'

After Ann's death Scorey (practically on his own deathbed) married Maria Rebecca Robinson (his late wife's niece) on 4 Feb 1847. The South African Commercial Advertiser reported on 23 June of that year: 

DIED at his Residence at Rondebosch on the 21st inst Capt. Jas. Scorey,many years resident at Port Elizabeth, in the 56th year of his age, deeply and sincerely regretted.

Cape Receife Lighthouse today

* zoomed view at http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/drawings-watercolors/circle-of-thomas-william-bowler-hms-jupiter-5259453-details.aspx?pos=6&intObjectID=525945
** J J Redgrave: Port Elizabeth in Bygone Days

SCOREY One Name Study: http://www.one-name.org/profiles/scorey.html

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