Syms Covington Sailor

Syms covington

Syms Covington (1816-1861) was a fiddler and cabin boy on HMS Beagle who became an assistant to Charles Darwin and was appointed as his personal servant in 1833, continuing in Darwin's service after the voyage until 1839. Originally named Simon Covington, he was born in Bedford, Bedfordshire, England, the youngest child of Simon Covington V and Elizabeth Brown. After Covington's trip on the Beagle, he then emigrated to Australia and settled as a postmaster, marrying Eliza Twyford there. When he was fifteen years old, Syms Covington became "fiddler & boy to Poop-cabin" on the second survey expedition of HMS Beagle, which left England on 27 December 1831 under the command of captain Robert FitzRoy. Covington kept a journal of the voyage, and in September 1832 at Bahía Blanca in South America he noted wildlife found there, including a find of rhea eggs, and giant fossil bones of the megatherium which were collected and sent to England. It is not clear if he was assisting Charles Darwin with this work, but FitzRoy's later account suggests that both Darwin and Covington worked at excavating the fossils, and on November 3 Darwin arranged some clothing for Covington.

Personal details

Date of birth
Date of death
February 19th, 1861 at age of 45


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