Early PitcairnersEarly PitcairnersEarly
Early PitcairnersEarly Pitcairners

Friday October Christian

Friday October ChristianOriginally named Thursday October, he was the eldest child of Fletcher and Maimiti, born October 29, 1790, the first baby born after the settlement of Pitcairn Island.

It was Thursday October, with two others who, in February 1808, ventured out in a canoe to greet 'Topaz', an American sealing vessel commanded by Captain Mayhew Folger, the first ship to call at Pitcairn since the mutineers sought sanctuary there in 1790. The captain reported being highly surprised to be greeted in the English language by these young men.

Thursday changed his name to Friday October in 1814 when the time on Pitcairn was amended; it had been incorrect since 1790 when the mutineers failed to allow for crossing the international date line. This coincided with the visit of two ships, HMS 'Briton' and HMS 'Tagus' (definitive 15 cent stamp). The likeness of Friday October is based on the drawing made by Lieut. J. Shilliber of the 'Briton'.

In March 1831 the little Pitcairn community was transported to Tahiti (on the 'Lucy Anne' - see definitive 30 cent stamp), and kindly received by the Tahitians, but they did not feel at home. They had no immunity to infectious diseases and many fell ill. "Friday October was the first to die, and during the next two months there were to be ten more deaths, before the disheartened and homesick community were returned to their island home," - on the 'Charles Doggett' (see definitive 35 cent stamp).

He left a son, also named Thursday October, who lived to a ripe old age, thus causing a measure of confusion to students of Pitcairn lore.

Moses Young

Moses YoungBorn Sept. 30, 1829, to Polly, daughter of Friday October and Edward, son of Edward Young of the Bounty, Moses was a young man of 27 when in 1856 the Pitcairners, now numbering 194, were again removed from their home, this time to Norfolk Island.

Most were well satisfied with "the greater household conveniences, the larger educational privileges, [and] the easier access to and communication with the outside world" but a few remained homesick for Pitcairn.

In 1859 "two families comprising Moses and Mayhew Young with their wives and twelve children (10 of whom were girls) reoccupied the abandoned settlement of Pitcairn Island" - just in time to stop it being annexed by the French. The returning settlers found their houses in poor repair and their gardens overgrown - "it was a Robinson Crusoe existence for the little group and especially for the children." Under the leadership of Moses and Maynew they prospered and five years later were joined by a second group of returning settlers. Moses died of old age in 1909.

The stamp design is based on an engraving which appeared in 'The Graphic' of 22 November 1879, made to commemorate the visit to Pitcairn by H.M.S. 'Opal'.

James Russell McCoy

James Russell McCoyBorn Sept. 4, 1845, son of Matthew and Margaret McCoy, and great-grandson of both Fletcher Christian and William McCoy.
Raised on Pitcairn and transported to Norfolk  with the rest of the community he returned to Pitcairn in 1859 with his mother, by then Mrs Mayhew Young, and his 5 sisters. As a lad of 14 he and his sister Sarah started a school for the younger children and he shouldered adult responsibilities at a very early age. It is no surprise that he was "first elected Magistrate in 1870 at the age of 25, and for the next 37 years was executive head on no less that 22 occasions."

A ship's captain described him as "able and energetic and as having much more of the Englishman in his features, colour, manner and tone of thought than any of the other men now on this island of the original stock." He had lived for some time in London and Liverpool, and had revisited Norfolk in 1872 where he was confirmed in the newly built St Barnabas' Chapel. "Autocratic though he often was, he provided the firm rule that Pitcairn needed", and he was respected for his personal courage and example.

In 1900 when a captain was about to run his ship and slowly smouldering cargo on the rocks of Pitcairn, McCoy is said to have piloted her three hundred miles to Mangareva where he successfully beached her, still burning. Exploits such as this are still remembered. He died in 1924.

The stamp design is again taken from a likeness made at the time of the 'Opal's' visit.

Rosalind Amelia Young

Rosalind Amelia YoungDescribed in the 'Graphic' article as "Miss Young, organist of the Island," Rosalind was a gentle, talented person.

Born in 1853, she was only three when her family sailed to Norfolk, and she returned to Pitcairn as a ten year old when her father Simon Young led a further four families back home in 1864. Rosalind had a lively intelligence and always regretted leaving behind the educational opportunities of Norfolk.

This did not stop her helping her father teach the younger children in the school, and in 1894 her celebrated book "Mutiny of the Bounty and Story of Pitcairn Island 1790 - 1894" was published. This, now rare work, is an invaluable contribution to our knowledge of the Island's history. To quote its introduction:
"The present work is written by a native of the island, and one who has practically spent her whole life on the island, a few years of her childhood only having been spent on Norfolk Island. While her lifetime does not cover quite one-half the time covered by the history of the island, she had access for many years to one at least who remembered events that occurred before the beginning of the present century. The author's father was the second oldest man of the community at the time of his death, in September 1893, and was a grandson of John Adams, one of the mutineers of the Bounty, whose death took place in 1829.    She has thus had the best of advantages for obtaining a correct knowledge of the island history."

In later years she married David Neild, a New Zealander, and died in 1924.

(Quotations and information have been taken from :- Mutiny of the Bounty and Story of Pitcairn Island by Rosalind Amelia Young, The Pitcairnese Language by A.S.C. Ross and Guide to Pitcairn Island - 5th edition.)

Early Pitcairners

        07 March 1994        5c, 20c, $1.80, $3.00                                 Mint and CTO        $5.05
                                                                                                          FDC                       $5.55

Technical Details

        Release Date:                    07 March 1994
        Tablet Values:                   5c, 20c, $1.80, $3.00
        Artist:                                Jennifer Toombs
        Printer:                              House of Questa Ltd
        Process:                            Lithography
        Paper:                               CA Watermarked
        Stamp Size:                       28.45 x 42.58 mm
        Perforation Gauge:            14 per 2 cm
        Pane Format:                    50 (2 x 25)
        Mint and CTO:                 $5.05
        First Day Cover:               $5.55