The first party that returned was composed of sixteen persons, in two families. One consisted of William Mayhew Young and his wife Margaret, and their seven children, six of whom were by the woman's former husband, Matthew McCoy, who was accidentally shot while in the act of discharging the Bounty's gun, when firing a farewell salute to H.M.S. Virago, in January, 1853. He left nine children; the two eldest, being married, remained with their husbands on Norfolk Island, and the next daughter staid behind with them, also. The other family that returned consisted of Moses Young and his wife Albina, and their children, five in number. Of the younger persons who then returned, the eldest was only fifteen years of age. A schooner called the Mary Ann was chartered to bring them here, and leaving Norfolk Island they reached their destination safely on January 17th, 1859, after a passage of forty-five days. A French vessel was here at the same time, and part of ther crew landed on the island a short time after the returned families arrived and staid a few hours. The return party found the houses—which were all simply built of wood, and with thatched roofs&meash;in a habitable state. A few of them had been burnt down, for the purpose of obtaining nails, with which to build a boat. This boat was built by Captain Knowles and his men, whose vessel, the Wild Wave, was wrecked on Oeno Island. They made a safe passage to Pitcairn Island, and had built a small vessel to convey them to Tahiti, where they landed, and from thence proceeded to their homes, which they reached in safety. It may not be out of place to mention here that the wife of Captain Knowles had her health completely broken through anxiety concerning the fate of her husband. She waited and lived on in the hope of again seeing him. This hope was fulfilled, but she survived his return only for a short time. This we learned a long time afterward, from a friend of Captain Knowles.
Some of the cattle had been left on the island when the inhabitants removed to Norfolk Island, and their number having increased, they caused great annoyance to the recently returned families, especially as some of the cattle were wild and savage, and the people, with the exception of the two men and a lad of fourteen, were all timid women and children. It was therefore determined to destroy all the cattle, and this determination was eventually carried into effect, but, in the opinion of most of the inhabitants, very unwisely. Although the island is too small to allow many cattle to live on it, still a few might, with great advantage, have been spared. Everything with plentiful then: there was abundance of fish and fowls (the hunting of hens' eggs formed a delightful pastime), goats and sheep; and the island abounded in the fruits which it produces, viz.: bananas of several different kinds; oranges, cocoa-nuts, lemons, limes, and citrons; chirimoyas, guavas, a kind of apple of a beautiful deep-red color called mountain apple, and water-melons. Potatoes yielded well, and yams were very productive, these being the principal food eaten on the island; indeed, all the vegetation was in the most flourishing condition. The island was, at that time, very seldom visited by ships, although from 1860 to 1863 three of Her Majesty's ships, viz.: the Calypso, the Charybdis, and the Tribune, had called in the order mentioned.