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Alexander Forbes (1792 - 1834)

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Alexander Forbes
Born in Longford, Leinster, County Longford,
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married in Albany, Grahamstown, South
Descendants descendants
Died in Albany, Gordonia, Cape Province, South Africamap
Forbes-923 created 7 Feb 2013 | Last modified
This page has been accessed 468 times.



Alexander Forbes was a member of Parker's party on the ship 'East Indian'. An official list gives his family party as: Alexander Forbes (b. 1793) Occupation Farmer; Edward Forbes (b. 1790) Occupation: Shoemaker (brother of Alexander); Spouse: Harriet (b. 1793); Children...Alexander (b. 1818).

The implication is that Alexander's first wife Elizabeth and their son John had died before 1820. Edward's daughters Jane b. 1816 and Harriet b. 1819 also seem to have died before 1820. Edward's wife was Harriet McDowell.

This biography was auto-generated by a GEDCOM import. It's a rough draft and needs to be edited.


ID: F72E78C7-CB3C-45CB-AFCA-B0A0B79D277F
ID Number: MH:IF161
Longford, Leinster, County Longford, Ireland.


ID: 556E41F2-06A9-4B45-8282-35E01B81ECCF
ID Number: MH:IF162
24 DEC 1834
Farm "Waaiplaats", Trappe's Valley, Albany, Bathurst District, Cape Colony.
Murdered by Xhosas at start of 6th Khosa uprising.

Record ID Number

ID Number: MH:I111

User ID

ID: 64B8BF82F73ED44CA81346FF3A70E5F435A0


ID: 09224EA3-A2D9-4E94-8B7E-248E57C0DA20
ID Number: MH:IF163
Farm "Waaiplaats"


1 _UID BE60943CB30ED611840500A0CC3C369693E0
Alexander Forbes was born of Protestant parentage in Longford, Longford County, Ireland, in1795. A batchelor and Shoemaker by trade, he sailed on the "East Indian" with William Parker's Party together with his brother Edward and his wife Harriet (nee McDowell) and their three children. They were all settled on 100 acre farms allocated to them on the lower County of Albany, Bathurst District,Cape Colony.Alexander's immediate neighbour was Percival Trayne. They built houses, bought catle and planted crops.
Alexander married Jane Thomas, aged 16, on 7/9/1826 when she signed the marriage certificate with a simple cross due to her young age. They had six children.
Alexander was murdered on Christmas eve, 24/12/1834, in front of his wife, Jane, who was pregnant at the time with John Alexander, visitors Mrs Mahoney and a young girl only 6 years old. This was the start of the 6th. "Kaffir Wars" (now known as the Border Wars). Jane and her children fled into the bush where they hid until morning whilst the Xhosas ransacked and then burned their homestead. They were rescued bya group of commandos consisting of the sons of Miles Bowker and taken to Grahamstown. Alexander was buried on a farm called "Waaiplaats". The present whereabouts of his grave is unknown. A memorial stone lies in St. John's Church, Bathurst and he is also mentioned on the 1820 Settlers Memorial in Grahamstown.
Further notes :-
In 1820 as Independant Settlers Alexander along with brother Edward & family left Longford for Cork (150miles) where they sailed on 12 February 1820 with William Parker's party, and arrived Simons Bay30 April 1820, aboard 'The East Indian'. On 16 May 1820 continued onto Saldanha Bay where they disembarked.They were not happy with the land granted to them at Clanwilliam so were given the option tomove to Albany where the main body of settlers were. 31 families of Parker's party moved to Albany under the direction of Scanlan, Latham & Francis where they were located at the Kap River, the Assegai Bush River and the Nazaar River respectively. Alexander was granted land by decree by Queen Victoria in the Bathurst area to farm - the farm being called 'Waaiplaats'.Records of the Magistrate, Albany Matrimonial Court held 7 September 1826.Appeared before the Board the following persons:Alexander Forbes - is 30 years of age, born in Ireland, living in Grahamstown, belonging to the Prostestant religion, not married before, no other engagement, not related to each other;Jane Thomas - 17 years of age, born in England, living in Albany, belonging to the Prostestant religion, not married before, no other engagement, produced consent of parents.The Court resolved that they should be united in Holy Wedlock when the Banns for their intended marriage should have been proclaimed three successiveSundays in the usual manner.�Alexander was seized and stabbed to death in the 6th Kaffir war on his farm on 24 December 1834 in front of his wife and 5 children (pregnant with the 6th), the house wasburnt down. Jane and the children were taken to Bathurst.The following from Alastair Stone Jul 2002:taken from 'the chronicle of Jeremiah GoldswainIn the year 1834 when I think of that eve it grieves my Hartsore when the blacks came on us that dwelt in the east to burn and to murder and to drive of our beast when theas savages first in our borders they came they seased Mrs Frobes that dwelt on the plain poor Alick he ruen the caues to inquire they stabed him to the Hart and set his House all on fier to think of her Loss of greaf and payn Six fatherless babes andher House all in flames no fou and no Clothing and they Kaffers all in site and nought but they woods two sleap in all night' Left movable and immovable property. Death Notice signed (withan X) by his widow Jane Forbes and filed 2 June 1837.On 23 November 1847 at Grahamstown the following land was granted unto The Estate of the late Alexander Forbes a piece of land, containing 422 morgen situated in the Division of Albany,being a portion of the Location of Scanlans Party allotment No.2. Bounded on the North East by the Cap River, South East by allotment No.3, South West by land of Mr Greathead, and North West by allotmentNo. 1 belonging to Percival Freyne.This was transferred to S Cawood Snr on 14.6.1861 (No. 217)-Deeds Office Transfer 217/14 June 1861. The Title Deed to the tract of land granted to Scanlan's Party was originally (Nov1823) made out in the name of the head of party, William Scanlan. The deed was cancelled in 1845, so that separate title deeds could be made out in the names of the five individual members of the party who were entitled to shares of the land.Alexander Forbes's title was dated 23 November 1847. Cawood Brothers of Grahamstown subsequently bought all five shares of Scanlan's Party; four shares were transferred in Dec 1859, and the fifth - Alexander Forbes's - in June 1861, after the complications of reopening his estate had been sorted out.NB a second DN was signed by son John Alexander Forbes and filed 9 Oct 1860. At this time all the children, except Henry who had died, were married and living in Aliwal North, and anxious to appoint an Executor Dative to negotiate the saleof the landed property in Lower Albany.Name is engraved on the Cenotaph with SA War Graves Board.'In Proud Remembrance of Settlers called to Service of their Country and who lost their lives in the Frontier Wars -1834-1835, 1846-1847, 1850-1853. In many cases their final resting place is known only to God'.Forbes River: Forbes, Alexander 24 Dec 1834...
"Note also that the term 'East Indiaman' was used fairly loosely and could refer not only to ships of the English East India Company (EIC) but also to the trading companies of other nations, such as the Dutch, Danish or French companies, and also, more generally to any ship trading to the east."
No. 52 on the Colonial Department list, led by William Parker, a merchant of Cork, Ireland, who had at various times been engaged in the sugar trade in the West Indies, farmed in Ireland and held a government post in London. A virulent anti-Papist, Parker managed by outrageous impertinence and importunity to obtain the patronage of Charles Grant, the Secretary for Ireland; Sir Nicholas Colthurst, the Member of Parliament for Cork; and the Earl of Rosse and Viscount Ennismore. He even approached the Prince Regent for approval of his schemes. His 'exorbitant demands and absurd pretensions', backed up by threats of the influence he could bring to bear in high places, created major difficulties for the Colonial Department and, later on, the Cape authorities, and more than justified the Acting Governor's opinion 'that this Individual is suffering under a degree of mental derangement'.
Parker first proposed to undertake the supervision of the entire body of emigrants, and when that suggestion was turned down, he offered to take 500 'starving Irish poor' to the Cape under his direction, in return for a grant of land at Knysna and various official appointments, both civil and military. The Colonial Department showed exemplary patience under a wordy bombardment of letters and personal visits from Parker, and courteously reiterated that he would be allowed to take a party of 100 families from Ireland according to the conditions laid down for the emigration scheme, but no specialarrangements could be made for him. In spite of that, Parker's demands continued; he asked for and was refused, among other things, 500 hammocks and seven and a half tons of old sails for his settlers, and a full supply of arms and ammunition, including 100 000 musket balls. Since the scheme made provision for a clergyman to accompany a group of 100 or more settlers, he informed the Colonial Department that he had engaged the Rev Francis McCleland to minister to his party.
By late October 1819, however, Parker had not yet provided a detailed list of the party, and had fallen out with his Irish agent who was responsible for recruiting labourers. He was told that his place in the emigration scheme could not be reserved for him indefinitely, as there were many other appllicants 'perfectly prepared and equally anxious' to go.
In mid-November a list of the proposed party was finally submitted, and the sorely-tried Colonial Department lost patience at last when it was seen that nearly two-thirds of Parker's prospective settlers were from London, not Ireland. This not only disrupted shipping arrangements but defeated the Department's intention to devote a substantial share of the emigration grant to Irish poor relief. Parker was told that his English contingent - 'a body of persons hastily collected in London of whom you can know but little, and who are in many cases the very persons whose proposals to emigrate have already been considered and rejected by Lord Bathurst' - might proceed to the Cape, but would be treated as a separate party. (In the event this threat was not carried out: the English and Irish sections of the party were embarked separately at Deptford and Cork, on the transport East Indian, but were otherwise administered as one unit.) Permission was withdrawn and then grudgingly reinstated for the Rev Francis McCleland to accompany the Irish settlers and 'receive a moderate stipend for the discharge of clerical duties'.
There was a further hitch over Parker's belated payment of the deposit money before the East Indian finally left Deptford for Cork late in December 1819 with 48 men of the party and their families on board, under the temporary direction of DP Francis. The transport sailed from Cork for the Cape on 12 February 1820, after 27 more men (including Parker himself) with their families had embarked, making up a total of 75 men.
As it was finally constituted, this was a mixed party which included a number of different sub-groups. In the Irish section were Parker himself with his nephew William S Parker and several indentured servants. An independent group of 11 small farmers and artisans had applied to emigrate as a joint-stock party under the leadership of Wiliam Scanlan, a shoemaker and sergeant in the Longford Yeomanry, and when their application was rejected they had enrolled with Parker's party. This group comprised James, John, Laurence and Moses Armstrong, Alexander and Edward Forbes, Foster, Frayne, Fullard, Matthews and Scanlan himself. The balance of the Irish contingent were 'free' settlers who had paid their own deposits and in some cases that of one or more servants: John Archer paid for one manservant and SE Shawe for three. The Rev Francis McCleland, who had at one time proposed to form his own party, was given a free passage as official clergyman but paid the deposit for a manservant.
Four unmarried women are known to have embarked with the Irish contingent: Ann Daniel, mother-in-law of Samuel Shawe, Elizabeth Coyle, a would-be missionary who had been engaged by Parker as governessto the children of the party, and two maidservants, Bridget Murphy (employed by Parker) and Mary Robinson (employed by McCleland). The three younger women were all listed as the 'wives' of unmarried male settlers to avoid payment of separate deposits.
As Lord Bathurst had perceived, the English section of the party included the remnants of several small groups that had been rejected by the Colonial Department. DP Francis, Joseph Latham, Thomas Seton and Thomas Woodcock had all made independent applications to emigrate, Latham and Woodcock with joint-stock parties and Francis and Seton with indentured servants, and Robert Holditch had tried to obtain an official appointment as surgeon to the settlers, before joining Parker. (A second medical man was recruited in England for the Party - John Addey, with his servant John Wolgrove. However, they did not sail in the East Indian but in her consort, the Fanny, which was short of a medical officer.)
The majority of Parker's own indentured servants - about 20 men in all - appear to have been recruited in London, where he was living from September to December 1819. His Irish servants were probably last minute recruits who filled the gaps left by deserters while the East Indian lay in Cork harbour.
The voyage to the Cape was a turbulent one. Quarrels at once erupted among the settlers on board, and by the time they reached Simon's Bay on 30 April 1820, Parker had drawn up official complaints against McCleland and Seton and had attempted to have Elizabeth Coyle certified insane.
It was the intention of the colonial authorities to locate the Irish settlers separately from the main body of English emigrants, and land had been allocated in the Clanwilliam district for the parties under Parker, Synnot, Ingram and Butler. On 16 May 1820 their transports, the East Indian and the Fanny, sailed from Simon's Bay for Saldanha Bay where the settlers were to disembark. Parker had made a preliminary reconnaissance overland and refused to accept the location that was offered him; instead, he demanded a grant of land at Saldanha Bay where he proposed to found the harbour city of NewCork. His demands were not met, and his refusal to take further responsibility for his party resulted in its subdivision under elected leaders. The Irish parties in general were dissatisified with their land at Clanwilliam, and were given the option of removing to Albany to join the main body of settlers. Thirty-one families of Parker's party, under the direction of Scanlan, Latham and Francis, chose to move to Albany, where they were located on the Kap River, the Assegai Bush River and the Nazaar River respectively, while others obtained colonial passes to enable them to seek work in Cape Town. By 1825 only six families of Parker's party were still in the Clanwilliam district.
William Parker himself was given a free passage back to Britain in 1822, but the authorities' relief at his departure was short-lived: he subsequently carried on a vituperative campaign, in print and in Parliament, against the Cape government and, in particular, the Roman Catholic colonial secretary, Colonel Bird, which culminated in Bird's dismissal.
ADDEY, John 28. Apothecary. �ALLISON, James 18. Painter. �ALLISON, James 44. Turner and army pensioner. w Ann 39. c Sarah 15, John 12, Margaret 10, Mary 8, Joseph 3, Anne 1. �ARCHER, John 21. Land surveyor. w Jane 21. c John. �ARMSTRONG, James 28. Weaver. �ARMSTRONG, John 30. Shoemaker and army pensioner. w Catherine 27. �ARMSTRONG, Laurence 28. Shoemaker. w Anne 25. �ARMSTRONG, Moses 26. Farmer. w Jane 25. c Samuel 6, William 2. �BAKER, George 46. Machinist. w Ann 47. c Richard 16, George 13. �BARBER, William 20. Farmer. w Anne 25. �BARRY, John 42. Mason. w Margaret 36. c John 16, Michael 13,Eleanor 9, Johanna 8, William 7, Jehu 5, Mary 1. �BARUK, Ralph 25. Apothecary. �BLYTHE, Nathaniel 25. Clerk. �BOUCHER, Charles 22. Fisherman. w Mary 22. �BYRNE, Patrick 30 Labourer. �CLARKE, George 24. Labourer. �CLARKE, Thomas 38. Labourer. w Ann 38. c Joseph 15, Anne 13, Elizabeth 8, Susannah 5, Harriet 4. �CONN, William 26. Victualler. �COONEY, Simon (or Samuel) 22. Labourer. w Margaret 18. �COUGHLAN, Cornelius 20. Labourer. �COYLE, Elizabeth 21. Governess. �DANIEL, Anne 49 (mother-in-law of SE Shawe). �DICKASON, Robert 45. Cabinetmaker. c Amelia 13, Frederick 11, Alfred 9, Henry 6. �DOUGLASS, William 39. Bricklayer. �ELLA, Peter 33. Farmer. w Effie 30. c Elizabeth 6, David 3. �FOLEY, John 40. Carpenter. w Barbara 33. c Mary 10, Joanna 8, Thomas 5. �FOLLIOTT (or FULLARD), John 24. Farmer. w Eleanor 23. �FORBES, Alexander 27. Farmer. �FORBES, Edward 30. Shoemaker. w Harriet 27. c Alexander 2. �FOSTER, James 21. Farmer. �FRANCIS, David Polley 36. Gentleman. w Anna 28. �FRAYNE, Pierce(or Percival) 23. Wheelwright. �FRYER, Richard 25. Shipbuilder. w Elizabeth 20. �GRUNWELL (or GREENWELL), Thomas 30. Labourer. w Ann 30. c Edward 6, Thomas 5. �HARE, John 34. Master baker. w Hester Agnes 28. c William 7, Martha 4, John 2. �HAWKES, George 21. Ropemaker. �HAYES, John 40. Quarryman. w Mary 34. c Robert 16, Michael 13, Anne 12, Mary 10, Jeremiah 5, Catherine 3. �HOLDITCH, Robert 30. Surgeon. w Mary Murly 22. c Harriet 4, Charlotte 2. �HUNT, Thomas 35. Carpenter. w Sophia 25. �JOBSON, John 21. Labourer. w Sarah 20. �JOHNSON, James (or John) 28. Labourer. w Margaret 27. �KAVANOUGH (or CAVENOUGH), James 24. Cooper. �LAKER, James 28. Smith. w Sophia 21. c Ann 1. �LATHAM, Henry 20. Carpenter. �LATHAM, Joseph 30. Gentleman. c William 16. �LEARY (or O'LEARY), Timothy 24. Butcher. �McCLELAND, Francis 24. Clergyman. w Eliza 20. �MATTHEWS, Bevan 21. Carpenter. �MOORE, John 20. Labourer. �MOORE, William 21. Weaver. �MOSS, John Pinnill 42. Farmer. �MURPHY, Bridget 20 (servant of William Parker). �MURRAY, James 48. Gardener. w Sarah 40. c Richard 16, George 13, Mary 10, Margaret 8, Martha 6, Sarah 4, James 2. �NELSON, Matthew 32. Sawyer. w Elizabeth 31. c Harriet 12, William 6, Elizabeth 2. �NORMAN, William 36. Labourer. w Jane 33. �NOWLAN (or NOOLAN), James 21. Carpenter. �PAGE, William 16 (servant of Thomas Seton). �PARKER, William 42. Merchant. w Eleanor Alice 39. c Mary Townsend 16, Ann d'Esterre 13, Thomas Somerville 9, Lucia 6, William d'Esterre 4, Norcott e'Esterre 1. �PARKER, William S 20. Gentleman. �POTE, Robert Augustine 34. Farmer. w Margaret 34. c Charles 10, Agnes 7, Harriet 5, Ann 2. �QUINN, John 30. Labourer. w Mary 26. c. Anne 10, John 8, Jane 6, Elizabeth 3. �QUINN, John 40. Labourer. w Mary 27. c Michael 8, John 6, Catherine 1. �ROBERTS, William 29. House carpenter. w Sarah 24. c John 1. �ROBINSON, Mary 24 (servant of Rev Francis McCleland). �ROSS, Mary 17 (in the care of Richard Ross). �ROSS, Richard 24. Carpenter. w Elizabeth 24. c Colin 2. �SCANLAN, William 40. Shoemaker. w Hannah 34. c William 16, John 13, Charles 11, Thomas 8, Hannah 6. �SETON, Thomas 44. Late Capt, Madras Establishment, w Sarah 22. �SHAWE, Samuel Edward 32. Gentleman. wAnn 23. c Edward 1. �SHELVER, Jonathan 26. Wheelwright. �SMITH, John 41. Labourer. w Mary 31. c John 13, Jane 11. �SMITH, Thomas 18. Tailor. �STONE, Charles 23. Gardener. �STONE, James 22. Gardener. w Charlotte 22. �TAYLOR, John 20. Farmer. �TILBROOK, George 27. Labourer. w Ann 22. �WALSH, William 22. Labourer. �WALTER, Abel Alleyn 31. Gentleman. w Jane 30. c Abel 2, George. �WHELAN, William 42. Labourer. w Mary 40. �WOLGROVE, John 34 (servant to John Addey). �WOODCOCK, Robert 37. Merchant. w Susannah 36. c Samuel 7, Charlotte 4.
*CLARKE, James. �*WATSON, William 26.
Main sources for party list �Agent of Transports' Return of settlers under the direction of William Parker (Cape Archives CO 6138/2,71); List of Scanlan's proposed party (Public Record Office, London,CO 48/45,971); List of settlers who have arrived in the ship East Indian from London and Cork (Cape Archives Co 4446); Special Commissioner William Hayward's notes (Cape Archives CO 8547).
GB Dickason's list of Parker's party in his study, Irish Settlers to the Cape, includes six children whose names were omitted from the Agent's Return. They are: Jane 4, daughter of John Armstrong; Elizabeth 4, daughter of Laurence Armstrong; Harriet 1, daughter of Edward Forbes; Maria Norman 9; George Scanlan 2; and Ann 1, daughter of James Stone. No confirmation of their presence at the Cape has been traced, and they have not been included in the party list as given here.
*Two seamen from the East Indian joined Parker's party at Saldanha Bay: James Clarke and William Watson, a ship's carpenter who arranged to change places with one of the settlers, Anthony Wolmsley. Wolmsley remained on the ship and Clarke went ashore to marry a settler girl.
Further reading �GB Dickason, Irish Settlers to the Cape (Cape Town, AA Balkema, 1973);�G Churchhouse, The Reverend Francis McCleland (Pretoria, Human Sciences Research Council, 1976);�DE Rowse, 'William Parker and the Somerset administration', unpublished MA thesis, UNISA 1981.

Data Changed

31 Jul 2009

Prior to import, this record was last changed 15:07:45 31 Jul 2009.


ID Number: MH:F26
ID: CA35BA8523E2E2409EE7023ADBBA9AAD0200
1 _UID 2F60943CB30ED611840500A0CC3C369604F0
ID: 456E356C-1A33-4EDD-AE58-C5741FBF271F
ID Number: MH:FF20
7 SEP 1826
Albany, Grahamstown, South Africa.
ID Number: MH:F55
ID: 6BBC0AF755468342A0707F183970DFF1A89E
29 NOV 2010 17:28:49 GMT+-0
1 _UID 3160943CB30ED611840500A0CC3C36960610
ID: 8379A270-BD83-48B4-8315-2F3852642D2C
ID Number: MH:FF32
30 SEP 1780
Templemichael, County Longford, Ireland


  • Source: S1 Record ID Number: MH:S1 User ID: 666E7D22-5091-42B1-B1DC-B43CB02A21FA Author: Hendrik (Hank) Gerrit van de Weg Title: GEDCOM File : Family van de Weg 23Jan2002.ged Note: 66 Blenheim Road, CONT Farningham Ridge, CONT PINETOWN. 3610 CONT 27 31 709 1812 CONT Data: Date: 26 FEB 2002


Thank you to Hank van de Weg for creating WikiTree profile Forbes-923 through the import of Family H G van de Weg 2.GED on Feb 6, 2013.

Click to the Changes page for the details of edits by Hank and others.


Part of Parker's Party 1820 settlers group, departed Cork, Ireland 12 Feb 1820, On board the East Indian. Alexander was a shoe, boot maker.


  • Geni 1820 settlers research group, of which I am part.

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