No. 25 on the Colonial Department list, led by Edward Ford, a labourer of Deverill Longbridge, near Warminster, Wiltshire, an area hard hit by unemployment. The parish authorities were anxious to assist emigration and probably advanced the party's deposit money; the returns were compiled and the deposits submitted by the vicar of Deverill, the Rev Henry Goddard. Changes occurred in the party list almost up to the time of sailing; Goddard ascribed the desertions to the 'dread of a sea voyage and the apprehension of being devoured by wild beasts', which alarmed the women in particular.
This was a joint-stock party consisting of labourers from Deverill Longbridge and a late addition from nearby Erlestoke, a weaver named Robert Miles. (The Miles, Dicks and Ralph families were all related.) The emigrants had difficulty finding the means to bridge the waiting period before they were allowed to board their ship, as Ford complained in mid-December 1819: 'Having sold all that we had to sell and given notice to quit our houses and given up our labour we are distressed very much at present and shall be a great deal more so if we cannot be moved soon.' The Colonial Department was able to respond sympathetically to this appeal, because although HM Store Ship Weymouth, lying at Portsmouth, was not yet ready to receive her passengers, the party could be temporarily accommodated on board the three-decker hulk that served as her tender.
While in Portsmouth James Jennings fell ill and was taken to the Portsmouth Naval Hospital where he subsequently died. His wife and 3-year-old son sailed with the rest of the party.
The Weymouth left Portsmouth on 7 January 1820, arriving in Table Bay on 26 April. Three children of the party died during the voyage, and Ephraim Dicks senior died on the day the ship reached Table Bay. James Dicks' wife Jane died on 3 May.
The Weymouth reached Algoa Bay on 15 May. After being located, Ford's party was moved twice before finally being assigned land on the right bank of the Lynedoch River. It stayed together under Ford's leadership until 1824, when acrimony about the division of land resulted in a petition for his removal. It is interesting to note that the three parties of Wiltshire labourers (Ford's, Hyman's and James') were the only settler parties to remain virtually intact under their original leaders during the settlement's first three years.
LIST OF FORD'S PARTY
CROUCH, Richard 29. Labourer. w Sarah 30. c John 1 (died at sea).
DICKS, Ephraim 38. Labourer (died at sea). c Ephraim 16, Joseph 5.
DICKS, James 23. Labourer. w Dinah 22. c John.
DICKS, James 38. Labourer. w Jane 39 (died at sea). c Uriah 14, James 12, Joseph 10, Jonah 8, Eliza 6.
FORD, Edward 38. Labourer. w Jane 39. c James 17, John 16, Patience 13, Elizabeth 11.
HARRIS, Robert 17 (in the care of his uncle James Dicks snr).
JENNINGS, James 28. Labourer (died at Portsmouth). w Mary 30. c James 3.
MILES, Robert 27. Weaver. w Ann 20. c William 2 (died at sea).
PAYNE, Elijah 25. Labourer. w Mary 22. c Mary 1.
RALPH, Joseph 27. Labourer and naval pensioner. w Elizabeth 28. c Joseph 3, Mary (died at sea).
RALPH, Richard 29. Labourer. w Elizabeth 28. c Harriet 4, Samuel 1.
Main sources for party list
Return of settlers under the direction of Edward Ford (Cape Archives CO 6138/1,74); Muster-roll and Log of HM Store Ship Weymouth (Public Record Office, London); Special Commissioner William Hayward's notes (Cape Archives CO 8542).
Robert Harris (17), a nephew of James Dicks senior, was entered in the official return as Robert Dicks.
from THE SETTLER HANDBOOK by MD Nash page 72