RE: [St.H.Fam.Hist.] Update on Richards Caswells and Wades etc
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I am sure that there are many who read the posts as I do. However, there has been no info forthcoming about my surname interest. I read in the hope that someone will have info for me and do not want to take the risk of repeating info on the list.
My great aunt PHOEBE ISABELLA HOPKINS was apparently born on the island during 1890. Her father was ? HOPKINS . PHOEBE arrived in South Africa as a young girl and lived with her cousin EDITH ANNE HOPKINS (my ggmother) in Pietermaritzburg, Colony of Natal. PHOEBE ‘s uncle was GEORGE S. HOPKINS who resided in Pietermaritzburg.
Have you come across any HOPKINS on the island during 1880 to 1900?
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of jamesteebee
Sent: 05 November 2006 03:30 AM
Subject: [St.H.Fam.Hist.] Update on Richards Caswells and Wades etc
Is it just you and me who read this forum? Not a single post in the
best part of three weeks! Anyway, hello, too, to any other forum
readers out there.
Everett , I have been doing a little reading, mostly re-reading -
more thoroughly the second time - the information on line regarding
the history of the island. It has been a useful exercise and my
thanks go to those who have made the information available.I have
also had some new information from my aunt who has, in the past,
been in contact with the archivist on St Helena . Before I go into
this, however, I wanted to ask you whether you have been in touch
with the archivist. I think it could be the simplest way to get the
information you are looking for, especially since you are just
looking, at present, to tie Thomas Richards the jeweller in with
Elizabeth, who could have been the daughter of one of his three (as
of 1814) sons. I think it's worth looking into. In some ways, I
think that looking for ancestors on St Helena is probably easier
than elsewhere, certainly easier, for example, than in South Africa
where my great-grandmother Sophia married, her son, my grandfather,
was born and where, too, my father was born.
Anyway, this is the new information I have, and I am, of course,
interested to hear if this ties in with anybody else or if anybody
can back this up: Sophia Richards's mother was Harriet Wade who, it
transpires, was the daughter of Sarah Wade born 1846, which would
have made her 16 when she had Harriet, and John Alexander - this
seems to have been a very popular combination of names on SH-
Caswell born in 1841. Harriet, then, was illegitimate, though it
appears, and here we could be completely off track, that Sarah and
John cohabited and had a large family together. We don't know about
Sarah's parents, however, John Caswell was ths illegitimate son of
one Mary Ann Caswell who died a spinster at the age of 52 in 1870
and a certain John Mohammed, described as an East Indian. Mary's
date of birth would be 1817/18, which would tie her in very neatly
with the presence of a soldier James Caswell who a ship's list,
published on this website, shows arrived in 1813. Of course, this
does not mean anything, and it would certainly be almost too neat a
tie-in to be true, but stranger things happen. I have also been in
contact with a lady whose mother was a Wade and who believes there
is a family connection. She tells me that she has not found a Wade
earlier than 1814. Unfortunately, we have not, as yet, discovered
anything about Harriet's husband, James Richards, since there
apppear to have been three men of the name on the island at more or
less the same time. We also know that Harriet was a laundress.
The above concerns names and dates and, as such, tells us little,
however, it does raise questions: was it common for couples to raise
families out of wedlock at that time?; why would there be an East
Indian on the island in the 1830/40s? were there Malay soldiers in
the garrison? or was he just a sailor who arrived, had a liaison
with Mary Ann and then sailed off again, John Mohammed, perhaps
being a generic name for an East Indian?
One thing that has become apparent to me through reading the little
material available on line, above all the posts on this forum, is
that no few soldiers married the native, ex-slave girls. My reading
of SH newspapers and websites, in general, tells me that relatively
few of the names on the 1814 census are preseent on the island
today - with notable exceptions such as Greentree (the oldest name
on the island today?) and Yon. I conclude that those names on the
island today which were not given to slaves by there owners e.g.
Plato, Scipio, Constantine( ?) and which do not belong to planters
belong to soldiers who over the years married local girls. Then, of
course, there is the question of temporary liaisons between the
same. Janisch, in his compilation of news from the records, refers
to 1824 and to 'the vestry having recommended a Tax on Free Blacks,
the governors point out that they cannot recognise any distinction
of Colour in legislation and that in the case of hundreds of
individuals it would not be an easy matter to determine whether they
ought to be classed as Whites or Blacks.' This would suggest that
mixing had been going on for generations, yet from my reading, it is
clear that in the 1700s, at least, there were laws prohibiting
contact between Europeans and 'Blacks' - I do not remember the date,
but one planter or soldier was tarred for having a relationship with
a slave woman and was then to be shunned by the white community and
considered 'nothing more than a black.' I would be interested to
read more about this matter. Dr Schulenburg?
Regarding the name Yon, something I raised in a previous post, I
have found a reference to Worrall's slave man from 1786. Janisch
reports a story to illustrate the legal double standards of the
time: Worrall had ordered his slave, Yon, to steal sheep for him.
Yon was sentenced to death, fortunately, he was reprieved, while,
since evidence from a slave against a European was inadmissible,
Worrall was acquitted. Where, though, does the name, perhaps the
most common on the island today, come from? Some names I have come
across in my reading are mysterious - Dullisear, O'bey - and I'm
curious to know if they are ethnic names, that is, do they come from
the countries of origin of the slaves? More generally, I am curious
to know what,if anything, was kept up, for any time, of the
traditions and customs of the countries of origin of the slaves.
There must, at least, while slaves continued to arrive from the East
Indies and Madagascar and for some time afterwards, have been some
things which remained and formed cultural ties separate from the
imposed language and culture of the white man.
I will post more questions soon, in the meantime, I look forward to
comments. I would also like to hear from descendants of Saints who
settled in Cape Colony - in particular, Port Elizabeth - and Natal .
I get the impression that, for a time, at least, the Saint Helenians
formed small, but recognisable communities in Cape Town and PE and
fell, naturally, somewhere between the European and Coloured*
* The Cape Coloured and Cape Malays shared a good few of their
ethnic origins - European, Malay, Indian, Madagascan - with the
Saints, though the former were Afrikaans speakers and through their
Hottentot and Khoisan ancestors had a direct connection to their
land. The Saints would have had a sense of linguistic community with
the (white) English-speaking settlers.
It would be nice to see a livelier discussion, but I know we are few
in number - though, and this consoles me, more than I had originally