In 1820 William Kidson, born in Staindrop, Durham in 1784, and his wife Anna Maria Parke, born in Saffron Weldon, Essesx in 1788 arrived in South Africa on the La Belle Alliance as part of the Willson Party, along with 5 children.
Mary Anne born 1808, Amelia Russey born 1810, Frederick Dodd born 1816, Emma Whitcombe born 1818 and baby Thomas born 1819.
A son William Parke born in 1812 had died in London in 1814. Thomas died in July 1820 very soon after arriving in the Bathurst area.
The La Belle Alliance landed in Algoa Bay (now Port Elizabeth) in June of 1820 and as they were such a large party had to camp out and wait a few weeks till they took the long trek to the Bathurst area.
The Willson party was allocated a piece of land north-east of Bathurst called Beaufort Vale (see the map in the photo section) They arrived there by ox wagon on July 11, 1820
Life was extremely hard and the crops the 1820 Settlers all tried to grow were not suited to the Eastern Cape and most failed.
There was discontent as Thomas Willson did not fulfill his promises and he soon left to return to Port Elizabeth and the leadership role was taken over by Rev William Boardman.
Another 6 children were born to William and Anna Maria.
Joseph Parke was the first Kidson born in South Africa in 1822, followed by John William in 1824, Fenning Parke in 1826, Elizabeth Hannah in 1829 and Anna Maria in 1831. They all lived to adulthood and went on to produce an enormous amount of descendants who are in South Africa and also scattered around the world.
They moved moved to Grahamstown before 1841 and William set up shop there as a general and wine merchant and also an auctioneer.
Anna Maria died in 1843 and William in 1864 both in Grahamstown. They are buried in a joint grave in St John's Church in Bathurst.
The Kidsons have been an extremely prolific family - I have well over 1500 direct descendents of the 1820 Settler couple.
Much of the research I did myself but also have used information from many of the paper Kidson trees out there done by Kidsons of my mothers and grandparents generations. Please email me with corrections and additions.
I have written a book on our Kidson History - please email me should you have interest on a copy.