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Symons Brown Families

Later I received via my wife, a document prepared by her cousin Merryl Howell (nee Symons) who had studied the Symons/Brown families who go back to the 1820 settlers.


 Robert Miles married Ann Dicks in England

GGG grandparents maternal side of Edith Brown (Granny Symons)

 They came from Erlestoke, a small village near two Wiltshire towns of note

a)  Towbridge which became a manufacturing centre famous for fine woollen clothes.

b)  Devises, an old market town well know for its corn, cattle and pig market.

 Robert himself was a weaver and would be alarmed that machinery was rapidly taking the place of hand weaving. Materials were now woven in “factories” where conditions were so bad that working in them was often attended by great misery.

 Departure was on Friday 7th January 1820 at 4.30 p.m in the “Weymouth” and joined the Ford’s party. They paid 10 pounds and among the emigrants were a few friends. They landed in Algoa Bay (Port Elizabeth) between 16th and 20th May 1820.

 Their first child William arrived on 23rd May 1820. They were allocated land at Greenfontein near the Kowie River, Port Alfred. He married Margaret McPhail (1826-1903). They are our GG grandparents.

 Later Robert and a few others had a disagreement with their leader Ford and without changing their allotment (near Hilton) they joined Cock’s Party. Stephen Brown came out on the “Weymouth” in Cock’s Party.

 Robert and Ann’s 3rd child Susannah married Stephen Brown, a farmer.

They are our G grandparents. Stephen was a farmer and they settled at Vaalkrantz near Cathcart. They had 8 children – 5 boys all farmers in the Cathcart area and still farmed by Browns and 3 girls. Their second child Edith married our grandfather Robert Symons.



PATERNAL MOTHER                                            DIED      /  /1944

 She was descended from the 1820 settlers the emigrants who were all from England. The Napoleonic Wars had ended in 1915 and life was not too good in England. No jobs, poverty etc. Settling in South Africa (a British Colony founded in 1656) and buying and owning cheap land was a pleasant temptation for young families.

 G-G-G Grandfather Stephen Brown married Sarah Hillman in 1815 in Chelsea, England. They sailed in the “Weymouth” with William as 1820 settlers and joined Cock’s party. This was Stephen’s second marriage (first wife’s name unknown). He had two children Nathaniel and Sarah. Nathaniel joined himin South Africa later.


 1.                  William born 29th February 1816 in Chelsea England

2.                  *** Edward born 20th October 1820

3.                  Harriet born 1822

4.                  Hon Thomas Hillman Brown born 1822

G-G-G Grandfather Edward Brown married Charity Hobbs (daughter of Phillip and Charity Hobbs) 

He farmed at “Reed Fountain” +/- 10 miles from Port Alfred


 1.  William born  15th January 1848 married Elizabeth Emma Miles (buried Hilton, Cathcart District)

2. Stephen Brown born 1849 married Sussanah Catherine Miles @ Hilton. Settled on the farm Vaalkrantz near Cathcart. Both buried at Hilton.

3. Susannah born 17th August 1851 died@ 19 months 185.

4. John Edward born 21st August 1853 married Alice Jeanette Miles settled @ “Craigcross” Farm, Cathcart.


 Susannah died after her daughter Edith Brown who died in 1944. There is a photo of 4 generations at Vaalkrantz where she lived with her son Martin.


 1. Oswald Ernest Brown married Adelaide Marshall had 4 children. Lived at the “Dales Farm” Cathcart.

2.  Edith Brown married Robert Symons a widower lived for years at Buffalo Villa, Buffalo Road, KingWilliamsTown.

3.   Arthur Lawrence married Harriet Gibbons had 6 children lived “Glengotha Farm” Cathcart District

4.  May Brown married Emil Schaefer they had 2 children.

5.  Percy Edward married twice. 1st to Athlie Dell they had two children. Then married Ethel. Lived at “Stanmore Farm” Cathcart District

6.   Sidney Allan Brown married Margaret Gibbons they had 4 children, Percy, George*, Ralph and Mollie. They farmed at “Ellington”, Cathcart.

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