Anglo-Boer War enthusiasts may be interested in a new book covering accounts of lawyers caught up in the tumult of the Jameson Raid. Lawyers in Turmoil – The Johannesburg Conspiracy of 1895, written by Judge Owen Rogers, has been hailed as “dense, engrossing and a vivid historical account,” by Justice Edwin Cameron. Rogers has drawn on a wealth of published and archival material to present a lively, occasionally provocative, account of what took place in the dock, at the bar, on the bench and behind the scenes. He poses some interesting questions, such as: Was Kotzé as faithful to Kruger as he would have led people to believe? Did the Pretoria bar’s future leader, Ewald Esselen, belong to an anti-Kruger Boer fifth column? Was Johannesburg’s Jim Leonard QC part of the conspiracy’s inner core or an innocent latecomer? And, how should his brother, Charles, a leading attorney, who managed to evade trial, be judged? These questions are explored in this dramatic tale filled with incidents and anecdotes. The book costs R450 (including VAT), plus R65 for courier fees within South Africa. More from


Ewald August(e) Esselen, who served the ZAR as State Attorney from 1894-95, was said to have been the most talented in a long line to fill this post, with the exception of Jan Smuts. Born in Worcester, on September 27, 1858, he was the son of Reverend Louis François Esselen, a Rhenish missionary from Hofgeismar, Kassel, in Germany, and Worcester-born Catherina Wilhelmina Knobel. After completing his schooling he went to Scotland to study medicine. A staunch Boer supporter he returned at the outbreak of the First Boer War and volunteered for medical service, but subsequently took up a post as private secretary to Paul Kruger. then vice-president of the ZAR. “In time he moved from being the closest personal adherent of Kruger, to his most formidable opponent and his most dreaded critic,” states Sir Percy Fitzpatrick in The Transvaal from Within. After the war Ewald returned to Europe to complete his studies, this time in law. While in England he served as secretary to the Boer delegation to the London Convention. Back in South Africa, he was admitted to the Cape Town bar in 1995. In 1886 he was elected as a member of the legislative assembly for the Karoo town of Richmond. “He wrote in a round, school boyish hand, yet he always made a tremendous impression and people were amazed at his ordered thinking,” said George Finlay QC in Looking Back. He had a rich. eventful legal career, served as a high court judge, was taken prison during the Anglo-Boer War and led the Pretoria bar from 1895. He maintained an active interest in politics, was a supporter of the Afrikaner Bond, and later was one of the founders of the Het Volk party which advocated self-government. He married Georgina Douglas Lockhart and they had six children. He died in Cape Town on November 1, 1918.


Hutchinson, a tiny dot on the map, was once a busy little village and railway junction. It saw 200 mainline passenger and freight trains trundle trough each week carrying people from places the locals did not know, to places they would probably never visit. Still, it was fun to stand alongside the rail and wave. Then, in the early 2000s, as the South African Railways services disintegrated so did this village, which was founded in 1883 and named Victoria West Road. Fewer trains passed and Hutchinson faded into history until photographer and film maker, Eric Miller passed by and magically breathed life back into this little hamlet, which in 1901 was named to honour Governor, Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson. Eric visited the place and felt compelled to tell its story in a short film, Shunted. This proved to be a winner when premiered at the Apollo Theatre in Victoria West. Shunted, has been accepted by both the Jozi Film Festival and Encounters International Documentary Festival for showing in August and September. More from Encounters (20-30 August) and Jozi Film Fest (17-20 Sept) or


Hanover, a tiny Karoo town which was declared a magisterial district in November 13, 1876, had some interesting residents. Governor Lord Charles’s grandson, Henry Fitzroy Somerset, was the chief constable, the son of the Dean of Llandaff was a clerk and the son of the Jamaican solicitor general was the doctor. Phillip Johannes Andreas Watermeyer, who married Martha Johanna van Jaarsveld, was elected mayor and Member of Parliament until 1888. An Irishman, Charles Richard Beere was the first magistrate. Born in Dublin, in 1833, he was the son of George and Margaret Beere. His wife, Lucinda Levick Kift, was the daughter of Cork-born, Edmund Lombard Kift and his wife, Caroline Petronella (nee Heckrath), They had five children, Their eldest child, Caroline Lucinda, who was born in Port Elizabeth in 1871, married Alfred Drew and later went to work at a mission hospital in Fort Victoria, in the then Rhodesia. She was one of the seven nursing sisters who took over from Mother Patrick. Caroline died in St Anne’s Hospital in Salisbury on August 30, 1942, aged 71.


Mother Patrick (Mary Ann Cosgrave) was an Irish Dominican nun who, in 1890, at the age of 16, arrived to serve at a King William’s Town mission. Born on May 22, 1863, she was the second youngest of four children born to James Cosgrave, a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary and Mary (nee Rochfort). Both parents died from tuberculosis when Mary was young and she was raised by her Uncle John. In 1880, at the age of 15, she attended a talk in Wexford given by Bishop James David Richards, vicar of Grahamstown and the eastern districts of the Cape. She was inspired by his call for recruits for the Sacred Heart Dominican Convent which was headed by Mother Mauritia Tiefenböck. A woman of great drive and prudence, she brought the first seven Dominican sisters, from St Ursula’s Convent to South Africa in 1877. Mary Ann took her vows, became Sister Patrick and worked as a teacher in King William’s Town. Nine years later, she and four fellow sisters spent 18 months travelling by ox wagon to set up a hospital and a school at Fort Victoria (later Salisbury, now Harare).


Father Alphonsus Daignault, from the Jesuit Zambezi Mission, approached Cecil John Rhodes asking for some sisters from King William’s Town to provide nursing support to the “Pioneer Column” then being assembled by the British South Africa Company for the occupation of Mashonaland. When Rhodes called for volunteer, Sister Patrick, with Sisters Amica Kilduff and Francis Condon, both 35, of Irish stock, but born and bred in South Africa, plus two German sisters from Augsburg – Ignatius Haslinger, 25, and Constantia Frommknecht, 24, decided to go. They set off on an 8 285-mile (13 222km) journey in February, 1890, travelling first by post cart to Grahamstown, then by train and Cape cart to Mafeking. From there they departed on April 13, 1890, for Macloutsie. This leg of the journey was a long, arduous, dangerous, five-week, 400 miles (644km) trek during which several passengers became ill and some died. They travelled in the wagons driven by men like Lieutenant Edward Eyre Dunne, a parson’s son and veteran of the Bechuanaland Border Police. Said to be the handsomest man in Rhodesia, he was a rollicking, jovial, amorous Irishman full of amusing, often racy, stories, and renowned for his amorous dalliances with Boer ladies, states Joseph Woods in the A Miscellany of the Mashonaland Irish Association.


The sisters arrived at their destination on July 27, 1891, just after the country’s first St Patrick’s Day celebration was held in a roofless mud-hut with whiskey, gin and ham. They settled down to work in hard, harsh conditions. Sister Patrick was a well-liked, bright, fun loving person, with a kind word for all. She had a great sense of humour. She laughed and joked with the patients and did everything in her power to ease their sufferings. She once danced a jig to amuse a very ill and depressed fellow. On another occasion, while treating Dublin-born Sergeant-Major Foster “Wearing-of-the-Green” Lyons-Montgomery, who had been shot in the head, she quipped: “Only an Irishman could have had his head battered in and lose part of his brain without feeling it.” This greatly amused Lyons-Montgomery, himself a colourful character, widely known for his often bawdy Irish stories and beautiful ballads. A former sailor, soldier and South African detective, he later served in the Anglo-Boer War. In 1896, when the Rhodesian mission was separated from King William’s Town, some sisters opted to return to the Eastern Cape. Sister Patrick then unanimously became Mother Patrick, the first Dominican prioress in Rhodesia. After suffering recurrent bouts of fever, she died of tuberculosis in July, 1900, aged 37. She was highly revered and honoured by Queen Victoria. Rhodes attended her funeral and flags were flown at half-mast. In time several more sisters from King William’s Town went to serve at this mission.


War looks very different through the eyes of a child. Memories recorded by Ernest Gideon Malherbe, son of the local Dutch Reformed Church Dominee in Luckhoff, prove this. He who was born in 1895 and little more than four when the Anglo-Boer War broke out, states David Harrison in The White Tribe of Africa. Ernest’s father became chaplain to the commandos. Ernest recalled soldiers coming to church on a Sundays with their bandoliers and rifles. He said he would never forget the noise that the rifle butts made as they banged down on the floor each time the soldiers sat down after getting up to pray or sing a hymn. Ernest also often accompanied his father when he drove out to a commando camp to hold a church service in the veld. His father always took his Mauser and his fiddle so that they would be safe and so that he could provide music for the hymns. One day at Magersfontein the Boers made a great fuss of Ernest because they had not seen a small child for a long time. Thinking to give him a treat one of the men lifted him up and sat him on the barrel of the famous Long Tom field gun. It had, however, been standing in the blazing sun for hours and. like most small boys of the day, Ernest was wearing shorts. “I screamed because the metal was so hot that it burned my bottom. That was one of my most vivid memories of the war.” There were many more.


The historic rivalry between the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards led to a ridiculous incident during the Anglo- Boer War. After being defeated in a skirmish at Glen, near Bloemfontein, two commanding officers argued about whose handkerchief should be used to surrender, writes Major P A J Wright, OBE, formerly of the Grenadier Guards in an article entitled Historic Rivalry in the Boer War. Lieutenant-Colonel E M S Crabbe, commander of the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards and Lieutenant-Colonel A E Codrington, commander of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, who had been at Harrow together and who both had taken part in the Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882, rode out on March, 22, 1900, accompanied by Lieutenant G F Trotter, Lieutenant and Adjutant the Hon E H Lygon, both of 3rd Battalion, and an orderly, Private Turner, of 1st Cape Volunteers. All were mounted and, except for Codrington, who carried a Mauser, armed with Lee-Metford rifles. They rode towards Karee Siding finding only a few arms on three farms. As they approached Maas Farm, they sighted four mounted Boers on a ridge. “Let’s round them up,” said Crabbe. He, Codrington and Turner rode to the left while Trotter and Lygon rode to the right, in an attempt at encirclement which would end in disaster.


Almost immediately the Boers were joined by three Dutchmen who opened fire from behind some iron-stone boulders. Crabbe’s horse was shot out from under him and instantly killed. He was wounded in the arm and leg. Codrington was injured in the thigh. On the other flank Lygon, had dismounted and was running for the cover of an anthill when he was shot through the heart. Death was instantaneous. A bullet exploded through Trotter’s right elbow. Turner was wounded in the ankle. With the whole of the party either dead or wounded further resistance was useless. There was no alternative but to surrender. While lying on the ground, Crabbe and Codrington, argued about whose handkerchief should be used to surrender. Codrington refused, saying his was crimson. Crabbe maintained his was British, manufactured in England and not made to wave at Boers, however, in the end he waved it in surrender. The Boers immediately ceased fire, rode over to the British soldiers and with great courtesy bound up their wounds. A doctor treated the men on Maas’s farm. A tourniquet undoubtedly saved Trotter’s life, but his arm had to be amputated on March 25. Codrington spent three months in hospital at the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein before being invalided back to England with Trotter. This was the fourth time since the war began that Crabbe had been wounded, yet despite his wounds he attended Lygon’s funeral, He blamed himself for what happened for the rest of his life, as he had given the order for the pursuit. Lygon had been like a younger brother to him. Crabbe was back on duty after a few weeks.


Crabbe later discovered that his encounter that day had not been with ordinary Boer commando soldiers or local farmers, as he had thought. He and his men had come face to face with seven men from the TVK (Theron’s Verkennings Kommando – Reconnaissance Commando). This was a corps of 80 specialist horsemen and crack shots, skilled in reconnaissance and guerrilla attack. The unit had had been set up by Commandant Danie Theron – a man whom Lord Roberts described “the hardest thorn in the flesh of the British advance” – on the orders of General de Wet, who termed him “the most brave and faithful commander I have ever seen.”. Tulbagh-born Theron, a trained teacher and lawyer by profession, was killed in action on September 5, 1900.


Water has always been a precious commodity in the Great Karoo. Most of the early towns introduced a system of irrigation furrows throughout their central areas to bring water to gardens and vegetable patches, but this was not without its problems. In Beaufort West the waterfiskaal, (water bailiff), S Davids, approached the municipality to provide him with a gun after he was stoned by six angry residents embroiled in a water dispute. (The council, fortunately did not grant his request). Then, one day, poor old Davids was dragged out of church during the service by an angry resident to who demanded that he come immediately as gardener was “stealing” when “it was not his turn,” states Wynand Vivier in Hooyvlakte. Water for drinking purposes was another matter entirely. Residents dug wells which made use a wip (literally a whip-like device) – a long horizontal pole used as a lever to pull the full bucket of water from the well. By 1839, this method was no longer sufficient and local surveyor C L Stretch was approached to come up with plans for the construction of a dam that would suit the town council’s pocket and needs.. At that time there were 53 erven and Stretch could not come up with a suitable solution. In time, in 1851, a small dam was constructed in a wetland next to the Kuils River. This was improved in 1859 when an additional furrow, from the Gamka fountain, was built, but it was a treacherous solution. The furrow was extremely deep – up to 1,8m in places – and one evening, in 1866, on the way home Mrs Bees fell into this furrow and died, states Lani van Vuuren in In the Footsteps of Giants.


A Graaff-Reinet woman, fondly known as Aunty J, was appalled by a municipal decision to chop down an oak. She vowed to save it, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. So on the day that the “chopping crew” was due she took a chair, sat down in front of the tree and would not budge. This saved the tree, states Jack van Niekerk ( Aunty J was one of the daughters of Brussels-born Frans Karl Te Water who, aged 18, came to South Africa in search of better health. He found a job as a private tutor to a Bedford family, but did not like it, so decided to return to Brussels. On his way through Graaff Reinet he saw an advertisement for the post of town clerk. He applied and was appointed. He then bought a house which had belonged to Dr Johann Georg Heinrich Krebs, an apothecary and natural historian. He came to Graaff-Reinet in May, 1834, at the invitation of his elder brother Georg Ludwig Engelhard Krebs, who had a similar occupation. The house was originally built by Sir Andries Stockenström when he became Commissioner-General of the Eastern Province.


A British zoologist, James Edwin Duerden, came to South Africa in 1904 to take up the post of Professor of Zoology, at Rhodes University, in Grahamstown. He was the first person to hold this position and, for a number of years, was the only member of staff at the university. James, who was born in Burnley, in Lancashire, around 1869, came from a line of staunch Baptists. He married in 1893, while employed at the Royal College of Scientists in Dublin, Ireland. as a zoology and palaeontology demonstrator. His son, Edwin Noel, born in March, 1896, soon after James became curator of a museum in Jamaica, died on September 24, 1902, at the age of six. James then went to the USA, where lectured on zoology, biology, mammalian anatomy, vertebrate histology, and embryology, among others. He moved to Rhodes in South Africa to study ostriches and feathers. When the industry collapsed at the outbreak of WWI he turned his attention to wool. He worked at Grootfontein College in Middelburg in the Karoo and at Onderstepoort. He became a recognised international expert. By 1927 the Deurdin Crimp was accepted as a standard. James retired in 1932, but maintained association with Grootfontein. An annual prize, The Duerden Shield, is presented to the top student studying sheep, goats and wool.


A cool-headed engine driver was commended the Regional Magistrate, for his quick action which saved many lives, reported The Grahamstown Journal of Wednesday, May 6, 1885. According to the newspaper Regional Magistrate, Alfred Wylde, complimented John Reed, driver of the 71-down train from Grahamstown on his fast thinking, life-saving action. “His perception, presence of mind and prompt action averted what could have been a terrible calamity.” said Wylde. The points at the 24-mile siding had been shifted. On realising this Driver Reed efficiently sprang into action saving lives and preventing destruction of property. His skill allowed him to bring the engine to a stop.” On hearing of his deed an amount of £9/5/- was spontaneously collected from the public and handed to him. The Civil Commissioner said that he hoped Reed’s action would be an example to others.

Good friends never get in your way – unless you happen to be going down – Arnold H Glasgow
In July John Hund shared his memories of the Karoo and
“The Great North Road” – he now continues.


In January, 1955, I was once again able to cross my beloved Karoo. I had just graduated from the University of Cape Town, however, as I was not able to find a job offering reasonable remuneration anywhere in the city, I decided to try my luck in Johannesburg. I was armed with introductions to senior businessmen including Sir Ernest Oppenheimer so, with great confidence, but almost no money, I decided to set off. A short while before I was due to leave, I was invited to a cocktail party and there I met Robin Hancock, an Englishman who had come out by ship from Hong Kong. He was an employee of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, but he was on long leave and aching for an African adventure. For this reason he had brought with him his eight-cylinder black Ford V8 car and a huge cabin trunk of luggage, with outfits for any occasion, he said. He invited me to join him on a trip to Rhodesia. I was delighted, perhaps my luck had changed, I reasoned, so I agreed to join him! I instantly looked forward to once again crossing the limitless plains of the Great Karoo, seeing the blue mountains fringing the horizon and the curious flat-topped koppies dotting the veld. I was sure that Robin was going to find this introduction to Africa a most enjoyable experience and told him so.


We set off with the cabin truck sticking out of the boot. He told me that on board ship he had met a Johannesburg-based accountant, named Austin, who told him that diamonds were to be found lying exposed in a dry river bed in a tributary of the Orange River, near a place called Barkly West, He intended to go there and find out if this was true. It sounded exciting to me as well. I found that the road through the Great Karoo had improved since my first acquaintance with it and its substantially tarred surface made for enjoyable travelling. However, beyond Kimberley, it was all rough gravel and seemed to go on and on for ever, but buoyed up by excitement we hardly noticed the barren terrain through which we were travelling. Towards evening we reached Barkly West a tiny settlement named in honour of Governor Sir Henry Barkly and the site of South Africa’s first major diamond rush, in 1870. At one time it had simply been called Klip Drift (stony ford), however, after the discovery of diamonds, on July 30, 1870, it was renamed Klipdrift Diggers’ Republic and Stafford Parker*, an extremely colourful character, British artist and miner, was elected president. Soon after, the settlement became Parkerton, later still it was named to honour the Governor and, during the Anglo-Boer War, while occupied by Boer forces, it was temporarily called Nieuw Boshof.


Robin had been given the name of Harry Sopper, a farmer on whose property the diggings had taken place. We found when we got there that he was away for a few days, so we slept in the car looking up at the stars. There were animal sounds all around us. Fortunately it was summer, the weather was hot, and the night sky was just majestic. Next morning we asked a labourer where we could find diamonds. He pointed out a route and, as soon as we had finished our simple breakfast, he agreed to lead to the river. It was a long walk across Karoo veld, through thorny “wag-‘n-bietjie” (wait a while) bushes. The river was completely dry and fairly narrow. It had a hard rock bed with pockets hollowed out over millions of years. These pockets were full of gravel and we hoped this would be diamondiferous, but sadly not. We were latecomers to this game. What a disappointment for two would-be young fortune seekers. The area, however, was intriguing. There were old rusty cocopans, steel railway tracks and abandoned mining equipment lying about everywhere.


There was nothing to be gained just hanging about, so we soon were on our merry way again. We stopped in Kimberley to look at the Big Hole, which at that time no water in it, nothing around it and no viewing platform. From there we made our way to Johannesburg where I had set up some interviews. Robin, however, was in a hurry to move on to his next adventure. He was going to a farm outside Bulawayo where he understood he would be able to hunt crocodiles and sell their skins at a good profit. Perhaps he was right, I never found. As it turned out I was offered a good job and was asked to start immediately. I never did catch up with Robin. I never even heard from him again, yet the memories of our quest for diamonds have always remained very special to me. My job was most enjoyable. After some time I took leave and decided to visit my family in Cape Town. This allowed me to enjoy yet another trip through the Karoo and where more adventures awaited me.


A woman offered a friend and I a lift all the way to Cape Town. We could not believe out luck, but next morning when she arrived we discovered there was a catch. We had already got into the car when she announced there was just one proviso. We had to distribute pamphlets of a banned political organisation . We decided not to this, not because of the stiff penalties, but because it was against our principles. So out we hopped out, gathered our gear and asked my uncle to drive us to the well-known landmark, Uncle Charlies petrol station, on the outskirts of the Johannesburg. Before long, a man named Ednam Bernham King came along in a very fancy large American car and took us all the way to Colesberg where we booked into the only hotel, the Central. Mr King continued on towards his hometown, East London. Next morning we were up early and full of hope for a quick lift, but that was not to be. After a while, in a slight state of desperation, we took a lift on the back of a Diamond T truck. It was speed-controlled so it took us several hours of very slow, snail’s pace travelling to reach Hanover.


At the hotel in Hanover we ordered a late breakfast. We saw two men sitting close by and asked if they were going in our direction and if they could take us with them. They pulled long faces, shook their heads, and said: “Nee”, Back at the main road, we waited and waited and waited, but no vehicles came. Then, to our amazement the two gentlemen from the hotel arrived, stopped, picked us up and took us all the way to Beaufort West. We got chatting in the car and it turned out that that one of them was a farmer named Malan, and a brother of the politician Dr D F Malan, who later became Prime Minister of South Africa. We were surprised at how friendly these two turned out to be. They even bought us a meal at the Royal Hotel in Beaufort West and arranged for us to have a shower and clean up before continuing our journey. Life is full of surprises! Within short we were lucky enough to get a lift all the way to Cape Town. We sat back and enjoyed seeing the Great Karoo float by. Looking back, and considering the heavy traffic on theN1 these days. it is almost inconceivable that so few cars came along. I have great memories now of days when hitchhiking was safe, when youngsters, like us, could travel great distances at very little cost and when meeting people on the road was a pleasure.



Stafford Parker was a colourful creature. Born in Maldon, Essex, England, on March 30, 1833, he was the son of Stafford and Maria Parker. Before moving to South Africa, he had served as a sailor in both the British Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy. After that he held a huge variety of jobs. He was an artist, a painter, an auctioneer, a policeman in Colesberg and, some say, also a member of the Cape Mounted Rifles. He moved to Griqualand West and rose to prominence as commandant of the miners’ “Mutual Certificate Association”. He stationed himself at Klipdrift where he opened a general dealer store as well as a tented music hall cum saloon. He stepped onto the stage of South African history when he was elected president of Klipdrif Diggers Republic, on July 30, 1870, but his reign was short lived. His first office was a tin shanty, but later a better place was found. His Republic had a bright red flag with a Union Jack in the top left-hand corner and a white horse in the centre beneath. (Stafford was a great horse lover). The flag was hoisted daily. The Republic’s motto “Unity is strength”, subsequently became the motto of the Union of South Africa when it was established in 1910. Throughout his life Stafford insisted on being referred to as “the former president of the Klipdrift Republic”,


Parker was widely known for his distinctive and memorable appearance, He dressed extremely elaborately and in a presidential manner. His signature item of clothing was the large white top-hat – he allegedly had several – that he always wore and that made him immediately recognisable. Journalist R W Murray described him as a “swagger citizen”, and master story-teller. He held court settling squabbles about water rights, claim jumping and theft. He administered rough justice by having troublesome characters run out of town, pegged out in the sun or dragged across the river on a rope. Life on the diamond fields was rough and one had to be able to rule with an iron fist. His government renamed Klipdrift as “Parkerton” in his honour and began to gather taxes, often at gunpoint. When the British authorities arrived and declared their control over the area, Stafford and his government resigned in February, 1871, after some wrangling. He opened a pub called the Aussie Arms to entice the many Australian diggers. He later left the diggings and moved up to the then Transvaal where he again opened music halls, hotels and associated with some of the most of the colourful characters like Cockney Liz” (Elizabeth Jane Webster) and Emily Fernandes, owner of “The Red Light Canteen. He married Mary Ann (nee Sloane), fathered ten children and died in Johannesburg on March 16, 1915.