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The 1820 Settler Correspondence
 as preserved in the National Archives, Kew
 and edited by Sue Mackay

Additonal Information

This is pre 1820 information mainly taken from actual images of UK parish registers and other primary sources which I have personally researched. Further information about the settlers and their families once they reached the Cape can be found at

Sue Mackay

OSLER, Benjamin - Extra Data


Leader of OSLER's Party


Devon and Cornwall Record Society


Benjamin, son of Edward and Jane OSLER, baptised 29 March 1775 in Falmouth, Cornwall (born 12 February)


Cornwall Online Parish Clerk


Edward OSLER, mariner, married Jane DREW on 19 July 1758 in Falmouth


Benjamin OSLER married Jane SAWLE by licence on 9 April 1797 in Falmouth


Baptisms for Falmouth, Cornwall, children of Benjamin and Jane OSLER:

Joseph baptised 12 August 1798 (born 16 July)

Susanna baptised 1 January 1800 (born 15 November 1799)

Benjamin baptised 29 May 1801 (born 5 March)

Jane baptised 22 August 1802 (born 1 August)

Stephen Sawle baptised 24 October 1804 (born 27 September)

Mary Ann baptised 18 June 1806 (born 25 May)

Amelia baptised 26 December 1807 (born 28 November)

Julia baptised 21 March 1810 (born 1 December 1809)

Eliza baptised 21 August 1811 (born 29 July)

Sarah baptised 22 November 1815 (born 21 October) - residence, Falmouth: father merchant

Philippa baptised 8 April 1818  (born 11 March) - residence Budock: father, merchant


Benjamin's correspondence mentions 10 children, but only four are listed in The Settler Handbook (Stephen, Mary Ann, Amelia and Elizabeth), confirmed by the muster roll of HMS Weymouth (ADM37/6145 National Archives, Kew). In his correspondence with the Colonial Office Benjamin wrote "My family consists of a wife and ten children, my own age 44, my wife 45, two children above 18, two between 18 and 14 and the remaining six below that age, all healthy and capable of work. Three or four of the youngest I would leave with their friends at home until I was established, the others would accompany me..."

The Settler Handbook says "Joseph RICHARDS, who according to the sailing list emigrated with a wife and two children, described himself in 1822 as a single man; it is conceivable that 'Sally RICHARDS' on the sailing list was actually Susannah OSLER, and 'Sally' and 'Phillis', aged 3 and 1, her two youngest sisters. It was not uncommon for single women among the emigrants to be listed as 'wives' of unmarried men to avoid paying separate deposits.' 


The eldest son Joseph, according to many online trees, died in Trinidad, West Indies in 1816, which would account for Benjamin saying he had ten children in 1819.

Susannah is known to have emigrated with the settlers as she married John Parkes COLEMAN shortly after arrival in 1820.

According to E. Morse Jones's Roll of the British Settlers in South Africa, Benjamin junior (born 1801) came out to the Cape in 1825. However, he must have returned to the UK. A Benjamin OSLER married Mary Ann HUNT in Falmouth on Christmas Day 1830 (the witnesses being Jane OSLER and Amelia OSLER) and this Benjamin is listed on the 1861 census as having been born in Falmouth ca 1800

Jane was a witness to her brother Benjamin's wedding in Falmouth in1830. On 16 September 1833 she married Joseph TOY in Camborne, Cornwall (her brother Benjamin was a witness). The family later emigrated to America.

Stephen Sawle is listed in the settler returns and went to the Cape. His Death Notice (Cape Archives) shows that he died in Simon's Town on 21 October 1867, aged 63 years and 24 days. 

Mary Ann is listed in the settler returns and went to the Cape. Her Death Notice (Cape Archives) shows that she died in Simon's Town on 20 March 1855, aged 48 years and 10 months.

Amelia is listed in the settler returns but returned to the UK. She was a witness at her brother Benjamin's wedding in Falmouth in 1830. On 10 November 1832 she married Gilbert WILLIAMS in Falmouth (her brother Benjamin was a witness) and she died in Falmouth September quarter 1867, aged 59.

Julia married James HENRY in Simon's Town on 20 February 1844.

Eliza married John JORDAN in Simon's Town on 9 April 1838 (

Sarah married a James WATSON from Scotland and their first child, James, was born in Woolwich, district of Greenwich, June quarter 1841 (mother's maiden name OSLER). She appears on the 1851 census for 14 Raeburn Place, Edinburgh with two further children, Julia and Sarah. The family moved to Australia and her gravestone is in Old Ballarat Cemetery.

Philippa married William COGILL in Simon's Town on 23 September 1844.


Google Books has an extract from The Story of the Toys, by Mary Harris Toy Dodge, which was written by a daughter of Jane TOY (nee OSLER). It gives quite a lot of family information.

"My grandfather OSLER died at Simons Town, after some years' residence there. My grandmother returned to her English home, but most of the children, being married and settled in business at the Cape, made their homes permanently there, and their descendants are now living mostly in Simons Town and in Cape Town. After my grandmother's return to England, she taught for a time at a school for girls; but later came to Camborne and made her home with her daughters who were in business there. Her home was with my mother till her departure for America."

Jane OSLER (nee SAWLE) died June quarter 1842, district of Truro, Cornwall.


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