Thursday October Christian I

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Thursday October Christian
Thursday October Christian.png
Thursday October Christian (I)
Born (1790-10-14)October 14, 1790
Pitcairn Island
Died April 21, 1831(1831-04-21) (aged 40)
Papeete, Tahiti
Spouse(s) Teraura
Children Joseph John
Charles
Mary
Polly
Peggy
Thursday October Christian II
Parents Fletcher Christian
Mauatua Maimiti

Thursday October Christian (14 October 1790 – 21 April 1831) was the first son of Fletcher Christian (leader of the historical mutiny on the Bounty) and his Tahitian wife Mauatua. He was conceived on Tahiti, and was the first child born on the Pitcairn Islands after the mutineers took refuge on the island. Born on a Thursday in October, he was given his unusual name because Fletcher Christian wanted his son to have "no name that will remind me of England."

Thursday married into his parents' generation. At age 16 he married Teraura (Susannah), who had been Ned Young’s original consort, and was past 30 then. The ceremony was carried out with a ring that had belonged to Ned Young.

Negotiating with the British[edit]

When the British frigates Briton and Tagus arrived at Pitcairn on the morning of 17 September 1814, Thursday and George Young paddled out in canoes to meet them. Both spoke English well, and gave a good impression to the officers and men of the ships as they met on the deck of the Briton. Their demeanour helped persuade the two captains that John Adams had created a civilized society, and did not merit prosecution for the mutiny. The ships stayed only for a few hours, and sailed away later that evening. This was when the only surviving portrait of Thursday was drawn.

Captain Philip Pipon, commander of the Tagus, describes Thursday as being "about twenty five years of age, a tall fine young man about six feet high, with dark black hair, and a countenance extremely open and interesting. He wore no clothes except a piece of cloth round his loins, a straw hat ornamented with black cock’s feathers, and occasionally a peacock’s, nearly similar to that worn by the Spaniards in South America, though smaller."

Pipon refers to him as "Friday October Christian," because they had discovered that the islanders' calendar was off by one day. The Bounty had crossed the international date line going eastwards, but the mutineers had not adjusted their calendar for this.[clarification needed] Thursday soon went back to his original name, but the Pitcairn Islands stamp that shows his picture identifies him as Friday October Christian.

Death in Tahiti[edit]

Along with a number of other Pitcairners, he migrated to Tahiti in 1831, but having no immunity to the diseases of the island he died on 21 April. At that point he had been "the oldest and perhaps the most respected of the first generation of native born islanders." Eleven other Pitcairners died in the same epidemic. Deprived of leadership, the group left Tahiti on 14 August 1831 to return to Pitcairn. His wife outlived him by 19 years. Thursday's third son was Thursday October Christian II (1820–1911).

For many years Thursday's house was the oldest building still standing on the island, until it was demolished on 12 March 2004 because of termite damage.

Ancestry[edit]

Literary references[edit]

Thursday's life story was written by RM Ballantyne in The Lonely Island; or, The Refuge of the Mutineers (1880). He also appears in Charles Dickens' The Long Voyage (1853).

Thursday October Christian is also mentioned on the Rasputina album Oh Perilous World.

External links[edit]