St. Helena timeline: 1843

Sources are provided [within square brackets] at the end of each timeline entry, except for those sources which repeat. Recurring sources are (indicated by round parentheses), with the source citation abbreviated as shown in the following key:

  • BNA: The British Newspaper Archive, (accessed 2015-05-16, 2015-06-27ff, by subscription); transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick.
  • Jackson: St. Helena: The Historic Island, by E.L. Jackson (New York: Thomas Whittaker, 1905).
  • Lords 1849: Great Britain. House of Lords. Report of the Select Committee of the House of Lords, appointed to consider the best Means which Great Britain can adopt for the Final Extinction of the African Slave Trade, Session 1849, ordered by the House of Commons to be Printed, 15 February 1850.
  • Mellis: St. Helena: A Physical, Historical, and Topographical Description of the Island, by John Charles Mellis (London: L. Reeve & Co., 1875).
  • Old Saints: The St. Helena Regiment, "The Old Saints," on the Saint Helena Island Info web site, (accessed 2015-05-16).
  • SHF: The St. Helena Foundation, Box 103, SE-37011, Backaryd, Sweden; online at, John Ekwall, webmaster (accessed 2015-05-16, 2015-07-05)
  • SHII: Saint Helena Island Info (accessed 2015-06-28ff).
  • Slave 1847: Great Britain. House of Commons. Accounts and Papers: Thirty-Seven Volumes. (34.) Slave Trade. Session 19 January – 23 July 1847. Vol. LXVII.
  • Trove: Trove Digitised Newspapers, National Library of Australia, online at, accessed 2015-07-02.

Please note: Some articles contain language and characterizations which may have been in common use at the time the articles or stories were written, but which are no longer acceptable. Such language and chartacterizations do not reflect the opinions of the compiler or web site owner.

1843: List of Officers of the Army at St. Helena:

  • Format: Rank Name; Rank in the Regiment; Rank in the Army.
  • Lieut.-Col. Henry Simmonds; 7 Jan. 1842; —.
  • Major John Thoreau; 7 Jan. 1842; 10 Jan. 1837.
  • Captain Henry Edward O'Dell; 7 Jan. 1842; Major, 10 Jan. 1837.
  • Captain Gilbert Woollard; 7 Jan. 1842; 27 Mar. 1840.
  • Captain George Adams Barnes; 7 Jan. 1842; 30 Oct. 1842.
  • Captain Frederick Nepean Skinner; 7 Jan. 1842; —.
  • Captain William Francis Hoey; 22 July 1842; —.
  • Lieutenant James Keating; 7 Jan. 1842; 9 Aug. 1839.
  • Lieutenant Alexander Imlach; 7 Jan. 1842; —.
  • Lieutenant William Forbes Macbean; 7 Jan. 1842; —.
  • Lieutenant Frederick Rice Stack; 7 Jan. 1842; —.
  • Lieutenant David Douglas Wemyss; 11 Mar. 1842; —.
  • Ensign Robert John Hughes; 7 Jan. 1842; —.
  • Ensign Charles Richard Butler; 10 Jan. 1842; —.
  • Ensign John Smith Cannon; 28 Jan. 1842; —.
  • Ensign John Stainforth; 1 Apr. 1842; —.
  • Adjutant William Forbes Macbean; 11 Mar. 1842; Lieut. 7 Jan. 1842.
  • Quartermaster William Miller; 7 Jan. 1842; —.
  • Surgeon Michael Fogarty; 22 Apr. 1842; 27 Jan. 1832.
  • Assistant-Surgeon Henry Julian; 28 Jan. 1842; —.
  • Facings buff.
  • Agent, Sir John Kirkland.

Source: Great Britain. War Office. A List of the Officers of the Army and Royal Marines (London: W. Clowes & Sons, and F. Pinkney, 1843), pg. 318.

1843-01: St. James' Church was extensively repaired, and a new steeple and spire erected. (Mellis, pg. 32; SHF)

"Commercial Regulations of the Island of St. Helena.
    "The island is of great importance to the commercial world, situated as it is in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, as a refuge in case of distress, and as affording needful supplies of provisions.
    "Vessels of the United States are allowed to touch at this island only for refreshments, and not for commerce. By the terms of the treaty between the two nations, ratified December 22, 1815, and an order in council of July 11, 1839, no goods shall be imported into, nor shall any goods be exported from, the island of St. Helena, from or to any place other than the United Kingdom, or some other British possessions.
    "However, vessels of the United States are permitted, by authority of the Commissioners of Customs in England, to import goods, only of the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United States, at a duty of six per cent ad valorem.
    "The Hanseatic cities are allowed certain privileges not accorded to other nations.
    "Vessels of Holland are not permitted to import the goods of that country, or of any other; hence, they are always obliged to draw bills in payment of supplies.
    "Vessels of the United States being disallowed the entry of goods not of the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United States, the prohibition operates with peculiar rigor against whaling vessels calling for provisions, water, &c., after long and tedious voyages, their crews oftentimes suffering from privations and disease.
    "These vessels would, in payment, prefer to part with oil, the produce of the seas, to drawing bills at a discount, this being the only commodity they have to sell, and one which the inhabitants would most gladly buy, since British whalers are forbid by their owners from disposing of oil on any account, and the island in consequence suffers much from the want of the article.
    "Other vessels of the United States, homeward bound from beyond the Cape of Good Hope and other places, suffer similar disadvantages, and would be benefited by the privilege of selling goods not the produce of the United States.
    "Public vessels of all nations are exempt only from the port charges for water, boat hire, use of the cranes, clearance fee, and fee for time call.
    "Goods can be landed and reshipped on payment of wharfage, &c.; if from United States vessels, such goods must be bona fide the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United States."

Source: The Merchants' Magazine, Vol. III, Jan. – June 1843, conducted by Freeman Hunt (New York: 142 Fulton-street).

1843-01-06: Capture of Ventura, 129 tons; seized by the Bittern; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena, 13 Feb. 1843; proceeds of sale applied towards payment of captors' expenses; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 363; Slave 1847, pg. 81)

1843-01-13: Capture of Furia, 32 tons; seized by the Bittern; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena, 23 Feb. 1843; proceeds of sale applied towards payment of captors' expenses; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 363; Slave 1847, pg. 81)

Monthly Military Obituary. ...
  Sub-Lieutenants, Second Lieutenants, and Ensigns ... Stephens, St. Helena Regiment, drowned in the Conqueror, near Boulogne; ...(BNA: Statesman and Dublin Christian Record, 3 Feb. 1843)

From the London Gazette, Feb. 10. War Office.
  St. Helena Regiment——Joseph Hayes, Gent. to be Ensign, without purchase, vice Stephens, deceased.
(BNA: Morning Post, 11 Feb. 1843)

1843: There was an outbreak of measles at St. Helena, “causing considerable mortality.” A Court of Commissioners was established by writ of the Privy Council for the trial of offences on the high seas. "The price of labour was now increasing rapidly, in consequence of a good deal of attention being diverted from agricultural pursuits to trade." (Jackson, pg. 78; Mellis, pp. 17-8)

1843: Joseph D. Hooker, the botanist, visited the island. Of the deforestation and native flora of the island, Dr. Hooker wrote, "In 1839 and 1843, I in vain searched for forest trees and shrubs, that flourished in tens of thousands not a century before my visit, and still existed as individuals twenty years before that date. Of these I saw, in some cases, no vestige, in others only blasted and lifeless trunks cresting the cliffs in inaccessible places. Probably 100 St. Helena plants have thus disappeared from the Systema Naturae since the first introduction of goats on the Island."
Sources: Green Imperalism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and the Origins of Environmentalism, by Richard H. Grove (Cambridge University Press, March 1996), pp. 364, 432 (footnote); and, Mellis, pg. 224.

1843-03-06 to 1843-03-23: The Great Comet of 1843, first sighted on the 5th February, was observed at St. Helena between the 6th and 23rd March. Observations "were made with an altitude and azimuth intrument by Gilbert." Source: "Observations of the Great Comet of 1843," by G. Brand. Monthly Notices of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. VI, pg. 136.

1843-04-03: Capture of brigantine, unknown, 70 tons, with 390 slaves on board; seized by the Waterwitch; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena, 22 May 1843; proceeds of sale applied towards payment of captors' expenses. (Lords 1849, pg. 363; Slave 1847, pg. 81)

1843-04-05: Capture of Marie Louise, 24 tons, with 145 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 363)

From the London Gazette, April 7.
    St. Helena Regiment——Staff Surgeon of the Second Class John Wardrop Moore to be Surgeon, vice Michael Fogarty, who retires upon half-pay. (BNA: 
Morning Post, 8 April 1843)

1843-04-26: "The South Sea whaler Diana [was] blown up at St. Helena. At the time of the explosion, which was known to have been the work of an incendiary, an investigation was going on before the Island authorities regarding the murder of the captain by the second mate." Source: The Annals of Our Time, by Joseph Irving (London: Macmillan and Co., 1869), pg. 57.

  Blowing-up of the "Diana" whaler.——This vessel, while on her homeward passage to London, after four years' whaling in the South Seas, was lost at St. Helena by the powder magazine being wilfully set fire to, and there is every reason to believe that the guilty party will, before many days have elapsed, be lodged in Newgate. It appears that Mr. May, the captain of the Diana, speculated very largely in various goods, and had realised a good sum of money. Captain May's fortune, however, produced in the second mate a very great degree of jealousy, and they frequently had very high words together. Captain May was found dead in his cabin, having been shot through the head. On the watch on deck running down the staircase which led to the captain's cabin, when the report of fire-arms was heard, at the bottom, it is said, they met the second mate, who appeared greatly flurried, and upon being interrogated, replied that he had heard no fire-arms, and then hastily remarked, "I have not been in the cabin." This remark, coupled with the fact that the pistol which had caused the mischief was found full fifteen feet from the body, clearly shows that the unfortunate gentleman had not destroyed his own life. A statement of the captain's death has been brought to England. There was no coroner's inquest held, and the body was committed to the deep. With respect to the explosion, the jury who sat on the body of the steward who was killed, and who returned a verdict of "wilful murder," entertained very strong suspicion of the second mate's guilt, and at the conclusion they observed, that they believed he was the party who fired the train, he having the murderous intention of destroying the whole of the crew, excepting himself, in order to possess the captain's wealth. The Diana was 600 tons burthen, and was the property of Messrs. Bennett and Co., at Rotherhithe. (Trove: Launceston Examiner, 23 Dec. 1843)

1843-04-27: Capture of Almeida, 162 tons; seized by the Waterwitch; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena, 1 June 1843; proceeds of sale paid to captors; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 363; Slave 1847, pg. 81)

1843-05-29: An ordinance was "made and passed by His Excellency the Governor in Council on the 29th May 1843, intituled, 'An Ordinance for the Establishment of a Market in James Town, St. Helena." Source: St. Helena Trust Education Packs, 1.2 Places of Historic Interest - The Jamestown Market, 2nd ed. (St. Helena National Trust, 2013).

1843-06-01: Henry Julian, Assistant-Surgeon, St. Helena Regiment, was cashiered by sentence of General Court Martial at St. Helena. Source: Commissioned Officers in the Medical Services of the British Army, 1660-1960, Part I, by Alfred Peterkin (Great Britain: Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 1968), pg. 318.

1843-06-23: The Late Storm.——The "hurricane" of Friday week was felt all round the islands [i.e., British]; and, in fact, it appears to have extended, with remarkable violence over great part of Western Europe. The disasters at sea have been innumerable; and in very many instances vessels have gone down with all on board. The coasts are strewed with wrecks.
  One of the worst that has occurred is that of another East Indiaman on the coast of Boulogne. The Conqueror, a fine vessel of 300 tons, belonging to Mr Richard Greene, of the firm of Wigram and Green, bound from Calcutta to London, and commanded by Captain Duggan, after beating about in the channel during the heavy gale on Friday night, was driven on shore about half past ten o'clock, off Lionel, a small town on the French coast, six miles distant from Merlimont, (where the Rolhanee struck,) and almost immediately went to pieces; and every soul on board was lost——seventy eight persons, except Henry Abchurch, a boy, one of the cuddy servants. The crew consisted of about forty five seamen, exclusively of officers. There were sixteen passengers on board. ... Nine men of the 91st regiment were on their way home from St. Helena, as invalids. ... Hereford Times, Jun. 28.
Southern Australian, 30 June 1843)

Note: The Courier (Hobart, Tasmania), 30 June 1843, reported that Mr. Stephens, in command of the troops from St. Helena, was also one of the passengers lost.

1843-07-01: St. Helena.——The interior of the island presents many very romantic landscapes and much very pretty scenery.  As we rode along, I was surprised to see the immense quantity of blackberries growing. Cows and sheep, although exotic, thrive well; and the latter are a great source of revenue to the breeders in consequence of the extensive demand for them, as fresh provision, by ships touching there from the eastward of Europe. Our captain purchased fifty sheep at the Cape for 9s. a-piece, and sold them to a victualler at St. Helena, for 50s., thus realizing a profit of £2 1s. a-head, within less than a month. James Town itself presents a very humble assortment of lions; there are however plenty of shops, which sell their contents at an exorbitant price, a small public garden, a public library, and an indifferent news room, with library. The St. Helena regiment is as fine a body of young men, as, I think, I ever saw; the strength of the muster-roll is near a thousand, and out of this large body there were but fourteen in the hospital. No public-house or inn is allowed to retail any sort of spirit, and not a drop of brandy and water was procurable, but what our landlord asked us to take was in a friendly way. The band played opposite our window at guard mounting, and executed their music very well. I have seen nothing out of England so clean-looking and well-conducted as the military establishments here, and I am told that scarcely one soldier a year dies here. Canteens are the curse of the army——almost all military crime and disease originate there; the canteen holds out an invitation to drunkenness, it pollutes every thing in the man that might in due course mature into the good soldier. On the evening of our landing, I was surprised to hear the bell going for the church it being Thursday evening. Our church, situated in the middle of the town, is sufficient for all the inhabitants; it possesses a very good organ. There are two week-day services, a Thursday evening lecture, and a double service on the Sunday. I went to the Thursday evening service, and found a rather large congregation, and heard an excellent sermon. There appears to be a very active spirit of benevolence abroad, with great public morality extant through the island. There are several handsome houses inland; Plantation House, the residence of the Governor (Dallas*), is a handsome place; the residence also of a retired officer, Sir Wm. Doveton, is a beautiful place. Go where you will among the English colonies, you are sure to find the objects of John Bull's characteristic attachments. Even among the rugged hills and rocks of St. Helena are to be found the church, the race course, the cricket ground, and the objects of the chase, for pheasants and partridges have been imported, and are multiplying rapidly. One of the most singular things in the island is Ladder Hill; a flight of rope steps, 635 in number, and 14 inches apart, leads from a spot just outside the town, up to the top of a perpendicular rock, on which there is a perpendicular rock.——Asiatic Journal." (BNA: Westmorland Gazette, 1 July 1843).

*Note: Brigadier-General Charles Dallas was governor of the Island of St Helena from 29th April 1828 to 24th February 1836—making this story at least seven years old when it was published in the Westmorland Gazette.

1843-07-15: "Following the Sierra Leone Order of the 10th June 1843, the principle applied in 1838 to the West Indies, was extended to St. Helena. By the Order in Council and Proclamation of the 15th July 1843, the dollar and doubloon were rated at 4s. 2d. and 64s. respectively, and all other non-sterling coins were demonetised. Such demonetised foreign coins were exchanged for British silver, &c., by the commissariat officer to the amount of nearly 12,000l., the money being shipped home and sold as bullion. Thus by 1844 the currency of St. Helena was placed on the same footing as that of the West Indies." Source: A History of Currency, by Robert Chalmers (London: printed for H.M.S.O. by Eyre and Spottiswood, 1893?), pg. 226.

From the London Gazette.
Friday, August 4.
War Office.
St. Helena Regiment.——Assistant Surgeon John Ramsay Brush, M.D., from the 26th Foot, to be Assistant Surgeon, vice [Henry] Julian, cashiered by the sentence of a General Court Martial.
(BNA: Morning Post, 5 Aug. 1843)

1843-08-09: Capture of brig, unknown, 166 tons; seized by the Arrow; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena, 12 Oct. 1843; proceeds of sale paid to captors; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 363; Slave 1847, pg. 81)

1843-08-28: Capture of schooner, unknown, 80 tons; seized by the Madagascar; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena, 14 Dec. 1843; vessel wrecked, no proceeds of sale; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 363; Slave 1847, pg. 81)

1843-09-23: Capture of brigantine, unknown, 119 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured.
(Lords 1849, pg. 363)

1843-09-25: Capture of Almeida, 162 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 363)

1843-10-06: Mrs. Colonel Simonds presented new colours to the St. Helena Regiment the 6th of October, on which occasion a grand ball was given to the Governor and the families on the island.
(BNA: Tipperary Free Press, 16 Dec. 1843)

From the London Gazette.
Tuesday, October 10.
    St. Helena Regiment——J. Mullins, Gent. to be Assistant Surgeon, vice Brush, appointed to the 2nd Dragoons.
(BNA: The Examiner, 14 Oct. 1843)

1843-10-13: Death: At St. Helena, on the 13th October last, within a few weeks of the completion of his 90th year, Sir William Webber Doveton, Knight, an old and faithful servant of the East India Company, which he had served with honourable distinction for nearly half a century. (BNA: Newcastle Journal, 30 Dec. 1843)

Latest Army Intelligence. ...
  St. Helena Regiment——depot, Isle of Wight——Assistant-Surgeon J. Mullins, M.D., is on leave.
(BNA: Dublin Evening Packet, 31 Oct. 1843)

Monthly Military Obituary.
  Majors ... Thoreau, St. Helena Regiment. ...
(BNA: Dublin Evening Mail, 3 Nov. 1843)

From the London Gazette, Nov. 10. War Office.
  St. Helena Regiment——Brevet Major Henry Edward O'Dell to be Major, without purchase, vice Thoreau, deceased; Lieutenant Jas. Keating to be Captain, vice O'Dell; Ensign Robert John Hughes to be Lieutenant, vice Keating; Quartermaster-Sergeant John Henry Prenderville to be Ensign, vice Hughes.
(BNA: Morning Post, 11 Nov. 1843)

1843-11-29: An account of the prize money of H.M. brig Espoir, Commander Arthur Morrell, was reported as follows: "A moiety of the proceeds and of the bounty money for slaves captured on the Helena, a Brazilian brig, on November 29, 1843, to be paid to them or their representatives duly authorized to receive the same, on and after the 25th June, at Messrs. Chard's, No. 3, Clifford's Inn."—Commander Morrell, £242 10s 4d; 1st Class, £119 13s 9d; 2nd Class, £71 16s 3d; 3rd Class, £35 18s 1d; 4th Class, £23 18s 9d; 5th Class, £11 19s 4d; 6th Class, £7 10s 11d; and, 7th Class, £3 10s 9d. (Jackson, pg. 264)

1843-12: Departure of the British bark, Salzette, 422 tons, with 206 liberated Africans for Jamaica. "A great number of men showed symptoms of mutinous conduct, and threatened the lives of the Captain and Doctor, also to fire the ship ... it became necessary to arm the crew and punish the ringleaders by confining them with irons and by putting them on diet of bread and water; this had the desired effect of restoring order and discipline." Two births occurred on the passage. (Jackson, pg. 266)

1843-12: Death: In December, at St. Helena, Lieutenant-Colonel John Alexander Weight, late Commandant of the St. Helena regiment, East India Company's Service.
(BNA: Dublin Evening Packet, 17 Feb. 1844)

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