Lost and Found – in search of an old soldier


Private Calver died in 1901.  He was killed during the Anglo-Boer War and buried near Prince Albert Road station. In 1993 some researchers visited the area and because they couldn’t find his grave, reported it to be “lost”.  Help was elicited from the British War Graves Records Section of the then National Monuments Council (NMC) in Pretoria, and they reported that his grave was in the Prince Albert Road cemetery. However, no such place could be found. The grave, they said was supposed to be checked from time to time, but records revealed it had last been visited in [...]

Lost and Found – in search of an old soldier2019-02-15T15:56:19+00:00

Charles Dickens sues Cape Newspaper


Charles Dickens, in 1861, put a restraining order on the Eastern Province Herald colonial newspaper from reprinting portions of a literary work composed by applicant and protected by the English Copyright Act. Case Information This was a motion on behalf of Charles Dickens, of Gadshill House, Rochester, Kent, for a rule nisi calling upon the editor and proprietors of the Eastern Province Herald to shew cause why they should not be restrained from printing in that paper a certain work of fiction called Great Expectations, the copyright of which belonged to applicant. The publication of a portion of the [...]

Charles Dickens sues Cape Newspaper2019-01-29T14:49:33+00:00

James Edwin Duerden


James Edwin Duerden was a Zoologist; world authority on corals, ostriches and wool. He was born in Burnley, Lancashire on 7th April 1865 and died in Nottingham on 4th September 1937. He was the eldest child of a cotton-weaver and he had to go to work in the mills at the age of 12. At 30 he married Margaret Jane Howarth, a teacher at the local day school where he obtained his early education. Working in the cotton-mills by day and attending the night school of the Mechanics' Institute at Burnley, he became their first exhibitioner to the Royal College [...]

James Edwin Duerden2018-12-10T11:18:50+00:00

Michael Davitt Irish Nationalist


Michael Davitt an Irish nationalist politician and soldier was born on 25 March 1846 in Straide, County Mayo in Ireland. He was the son of a peasant farmer, but the family moved to Lancashire, where Michael started work in a cotton mill at the age of ten. The following year he lost an arm in a factory accident and was sent to school. From his 15th year he worked as a newsboy. In 18-70 he was arrested for smuggling arms to Ireland and was sentenced to 15 years' hard labour. He was released after serving 7 years. Rejoining the nationalist ranks, [...]

Michael Davitt Irish Nationalist2018-12-10T10:46:33+00:00

Theophil Wendt


Theophil Otto Frederick Charles Wendt was born on the 22nd August 1874 in a London suburb; died 5 February 1951 in Johannesburg. Conductor, composer. The son of German emigrants to England, Theo Wendt's father was not completely happy about British education and sent his son to one of the Moravian Church Schools (probably Klein Welka) in Germany. There the discipline was strict, the academic standards high, and the boy could indulge his musical inclinations by beating the drum in the cadet band and by having pianoforte lessons. By the time he had turned fourteen he was determined on a career [...]

Theophil Wendt2018-11-22T16:30:14+00:00

William Douglas Savage


William Douglas Savage was born at Gores Bridge, in the County of Kilkenny, Ireland, in the year 1833, and accompanied his parents to India. Educated in Ceylon, his great ambition was to go in for a seafaring life, but his first experiences in that line were disastrous, being wrecked in the "Thunderbolt" off Port Elizabeth in 1846. Fortunate enough to escape with his life, he proceeded inland from Port Elizabeth, where the Kaffirs were giving trouble, and he joined the Commissariat department with the forces and remained there until 1850, when the war broke out and Sir Harry Smith arrived [...]

William Douglas Savage2018-11-22T16:14:27+00:00

The Villains Wore Hats


Danzer, a renegade Xhosa, who settled with a party of his followers on the banks of the Great River, in the territory of Jager Afrikaner. There was talk of their uniting their bands, but Jager lured a number of Danzer's followers into a trap and beat them to death. [Source: Africana Museum, Johannesburg] The Oorlam or Orlam people are a subtribe of the Nama people, largely integrated after migrating from the Cape Colony (today, part of South Africa) to Namaqualand and Damaraland (now in Namibia). Oorlam clans were originally formed from mixed-race descendants of indigenous Khoikhoi, European settlers and [...]

The Villains Wore Hats2017-12-04T06:37:53+00:00

The Amazing Greens


It’s hard to believe that just less than three years ago, I knew virtually nothing of my roots, except of course occasional family hearsay. I was a high-school graduate with little more on my mind than a desire to enter the workforce, gain independence and travel the world. I’ll be honest, though – for the longest time, I was positively fascinated by said hearsay. Having received a mini-family tree as a child (compiled by my mother’s first cousin), I learned the full names of my great-grandparents and their parents for the very first time; I found myself staring at [...]

The Amazing Greens2018-10-16T12:50:18+00:00

Pickhandle Mary


Mary Fitzgerald nee Sinnott also known as "Pickhandle Mary" was born in Wexford, Ireland on the 4th August 1885 and died in Johannesburg on the 26th September 1960, labour leader, politician, suffragette, master printer, and writer, was the eldest of the four children of Thomas Sinnott and his wife Margaret Dunn, both of Irish farming families. Mary’s father emigrated to America, from where he came to Cape Town, representing the Singer Sewing Machine Company. His family followed in about 1902. Mary married John Brick Fitzgerald, a tramwayman, and had two sons and two daughters. Mary was one of the first [...]

Pickhandle Mary2018-10-16T07:26:47+00:00

Philip Allen from County Cork


Philip Allen Philip Allen was born in County Cork, Ireland before 1830 and died in Pietermaritzburg on 1st July 1865, colonial treasurer of Natal, was the youngest son of William and Mary Allen. Although an Irish insolvent, arrested for debt in Bangor, Carnarvonshire, and imprisoned in Caernarvon Castle, Wales, he received in 1852, as patronage from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the post of Colonial Treasurer of Natal. He settled at Pietermaritzburg in November that year, his wife and four children following in October 1854. The Treasury Chest robbery which took place in 1854 resulted in [...]

Philip Allen from County Cork2017-07-27T17:29:49+00:00

Samuel Patton Adams


Samuel Patton ADAMS an accountant was born on 4th June 1871 in Tully, Eglinton, Londonderry, Ireland to Robert ADAMS and Sarah MC CONNELL. He was educated at National School in Eglinton. He came to South Africa 1900 and married M. A. Armstrong of Bloemfontein on 7th June 1905. Samuel was the Vice President of the Orange River Colony Football Association and President of the Orange River Colony Referees’ Association. He refereed in both the Beckett’s Shield and the Corinthian matches in 1906 and the Corinthian Test match in Bloemfontein in 1907. He was highly commented on by T.S. Rowlandson, the [...]

Samuel Patton Adams2018-10-16T12:46:05+00:00

William Porter Attorney General


William Porter was born at Artikelly, near Limavady, co. Londonderry, Northern  Ireland on  15 th  September 1805 and was  attorney-general of the Cape of Good Hope, was the second son of the Rev. William Porter and his first wife, Mary Scott, daughter of Charles Scott, of Strauchroy, near Omagh, county Tyrone. His father had been ordained as a Presbyterian minister at Limavady in 1799; he was clerk of the general synod of Ulster from 1816 to 1830, but in that year he was elected the first moderator of the Unitarian Remonstrant synod and held the clerkship of that body from [...]

William Porter Attorney General2018-10-16T12:36:39+00:00

Alfred Philip Bender


Alfred Philip Bender was born in Dublin on 16th April 1863. He was a Jewish clergyman and professor of Hebrew, was the eldest son of Dr Philipp Bender, chief minister of the Dublin Hebrew congregation, and his wife, Augusta. The first Jewish minister to study at one of the older English universities, he graduated with a B.A. in 1891 at St John's college, Cambridge, in the first class of the Semitic languages tripos, and with an M.A. in 1894, with first-class honours. Philip was inducted as minister of the Cape Town Hebrew congregation on 13th September 1895, and immediately established [...]

Alfred Philip Bender2018-10-16T12:36:38+00:00

Marthinus Johannes Greyling


Marthinus Johannes Greyling,  'n Gebore Vrystater, district Thaba 'Nchu. Hy was 'n egte Nasionale burger van sy Vaderland. He was gekies as veldkornet in die oorlog van 1899 en het ook gedien as kommandant. Het ook deelgeneem met die Jameson inval, as vrywilliger an die Vrystaat, en was as krygsgevangene gestuur na Ceylon. Was 'n flinke voorsitter gewees van die Nasionale Tak Germiston. Die ou Sanna in die hand van Wyle M. J.Greyling in die bygaande portret was reeds in die gebruik in die groot Kaffer oorlog van ons Voortrekkers. Dwarsdeur sy lewe was hy 'n dappere held gewees en [...]

Marthinus Johannes Greyling2018-10-16T12:34:24+00:00

Williamson Godfrey


Williamson Godfrey Williamson Godfrey was born on 14 August 1875 in Mauritius and was the son of Subhan Godfrey of Durban. He was educated at Boys Model School in Durban and Bishops College in Calcutta. He also attended Edinburgh University and graduated in 1903 where he met his wife Catherine Swan of Edinburgh. He was the first qualified Indian doctor to practice in Johannesburg On his return to South Africa he worked in Johannesburg and was an early associate of Mahatma Gandhi, and with him rendered medical relief during the plague outbreak in Johannesburg in 1904. He was [...]

Williamson Godfrey2018-10-16T12:34:22+00:00

Josiah Tshangana Gumede


Josiah Tshangana Gumede was born on 9 October 1867 in Healdtown village, Fort Beaufort in the present-day Eastern Cape and died on 6 November 1946. His ancestry can be traced back to chief Khondlo, an Ngwane chief who was forced to flee Zululand. In all probability, he began his elementary schooling at the famous Healdtown Wesleyan Mission School.

Josiah Tshangana Gumede2018-10-16T12:30:13+00:00

Dirk Ligter Clanwillam


Dirk Ligter a renowned stock theif  of a singularly engaging temperament and with characteristics all his own, who became a legendary figure in Afrikaans literature. He is believed to have been born in the vicinity of Clanwilliam (or somewhat farther north) some time in the 1885, and to have been of Mozambique native and Bushman extraction. It is presumed that he died of TB in Somerset Hospital not far from the Breakwater prison where he spent some time. Most of what is known about him, based on accounts of farmers in the districts of Clanwilliam and Ceres, is to be found [...]

Dirk Ligter Clanwillam2018-10-16T12:29:22+00:00

Christiaan Frederick Louis Liepoldt


Louis Leipoldt was born in Worcester,on the 28 December 1880 and died in Cape Town on 12 April 1947. Physician, poet and author, Louis was the fourth child of Christiaan Friedrich Leipoldt (Died: 11 November 1911), a Rhenish missionary and N.G. Kerk minister, and his wife Anna Meta Christiana Esselen (Died: 24 December 1903), the daughter of the Rev. Louis F. Esselen, a Rhenish missionary of Worcester, in whose home in Adderley Street Leipoldt was born and where he lived with his parents until he was four years old. His maternal grandfather gave Leipoldt his first lessons in reading and writing, guided his general education and exerted great influence on him during his formative years. His paternal grandfather, J. G. Lepoldt, was a Rhenish missionary at Ebenhaezer on the Olifants River and at Wuppertal. Leipoldt's father was also a missionary, first in Sumatra and from 1879 at Worcester. In 1883, however, he became an N.G. Kerk minister and settled in 1884 at Clanwilliam in the N.G. parsonage in Park Street.

Christiaan Frederick Louis Liepoldt2018-10-16T12:29:21+00:00

Henry Benjamin Shawe


Mr. Henry Benjamin Shawe was born in Clanwilliam in 1864, receiving his education at the Clanwilliam Public School. He was the assistant Under Colonial Secretary for the Cape, and Lieut.-Colonel of the P.W.O.R., Cape Peninsula Rifles. He was the son of the gallant Captain Shaw, who was a firm old Colonist, and one of the 1820 Settles killed in action while fighting in the Gaika-Galeka war of 1877 – 1878, and was also a Member of the House of Assembly for Clanwilliam for many years.

Henry Benjamin Shawe2018-10-16T12:29:20+00:00

Gareth Cliff has a Cliff Hanger of a Tree


Gareth Cliff, grandson of Rev William Kidwell Cliff a founder of the Pietermaritzburg Cathedral, has with great interest and enthusiasm has discovered a sophisticated blend of prolific South African families which is a fine example of the rich and diverse cultural and social backgrounds that make up many families in our country. Gustav Preller considered being the father of Afrikaans language and literature, Naval Admiral Sir. H. Heathcote, Commandant General Hendrik Schoeman President of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek (1860-1862), Voortrekker Leader Piet Retief as well as Alfred Benjamin Kidwell the son of one of the original 1820 settlers are just some of the biological blood lines of Gareth.

Gareth Cliff has a Cliff Hanger of a Tree2018-10-16T12:50:14+00:00