Newspaper Cuttings from the Eastern Cape - B
Mr. & Mrs. Pat BALL of Walmer, Port Elizabeth, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary recently and, although the anniversary day was actually last Tuesday, the couple admitted they had celebrated for more or less the entire week. "We started the celebrations with a family lunch last Sunday," Mrs. Marjory BALL said. "And after that it was more or less continuous,"
There was also a special service at the St. John's Anglican Church on Tuesday, followed by a tea-party at the church hall, another celebratory lunch and, during the week, several informal gatherings. When I visited the home of the BALLs last week it was filled with the scent and colours of several huge bouquets of flowers and guests were just leaving after yet another tea-party "We never realised we had so many friends," Mr. BALL said. "But we've lived in Port Elizabeth all our lives so we have had plenty of time to get to know people."
The couple were married at the Trinity Church in Port Elizabeth 60 years ago and, strangely enough, it was the honeymoon which was most problematic. "In those days girls were very closely chaperoned so when you got married, the most important thing was to leave as soon after the wedding as possible so you could be alone at last," Mrs. BALL said. "As soon as we could leave the reception we got into our Model T Ford, but it went so slowly and the roads were so bad, we had to spend the first night at Coega," Mr. BALL said with a laugh. "It took us an hour-and-a-half to travel the 16 miles there. The next day we went to Grahamstown, which took us five hours." Only on the third day did they reach their honeymoon destination, Katberg.
A man who lived on borrowed time for more than 40 years died in the Provincial Hospital, Port Elizabeth this week after a long illness. He was the Reverend D. W. BANDEY, aged 72, of Grahamstown, a physicist and former missionary who was revered throughout South Africa as an elder statesman of the Methodist Church.
Dr. BANDEY developed tuberculosis in India while doing missionary work there and was invalided out in 1940. A colleague said that his condition was so bad that he disembarked in Durban. "Since then he lived on borrowed time," the colleague said.
Dr. BANDEY was born in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, Great Britain. He graduated from London University with a doctorate in physics. He taught for a while before entering the Methodist Church and in 1937 he went to India. He taught briefly at Healdtown and Kingswood College, where he was also acting chaplain. After three years in Witbank, Transvaal, he became governor and warden of the Clarkesbury Institution, Transkei. Later he went to Rhodes University where he was chaplain and part-time lecturer for 4½ years. In 1966 he became head of John Wesley College at the Federal Theological Seminary in Alice until he retired in 1973 in Grahamstown.
He is survived by his wife; Florence, and two sons, Michael, a teacher at Kingswood, and Peter, who works for an industrial firm in Natal. A private cremation will be held in Port Elizabeth today and there will be a memorial service in Kingswood College chapel on Friday.
Death Notice Classified Column
BANDEY, David. A memorial service will be held at the Kingswood Chapel, Grahamstown tomorrow [Friday], May 30th at 11 am. Donations in lieu of flowers should be sent to Rev. H. KIRKBY of the 'William Shaw Fund of the Methodist Church'
PORT ALFRED - Bunkers Hill, the only farm in the Bathurst and probably the Albany Division which has been in the hands of one family since the time of the 1820 Settlers, is about to pass out of the hands of the BANKS family. An entailment from the time of James BANKS, who arrived in South Africa at the age of two, down to Mr. Dennis BANKS and two nephews is about to be broken with the sale of the farm.
Mr. BANKS was born on the farm and subsequently went to Zimbabwe but returned to Bathurst 15 years ago to carry on the family tradition. At once he and Mrs. BANKS identified themselves with the activities of the community. They joined 'the newly formed Lower Albany Historical Society of which, until recently, Mr. BANKS was the vice-chairman. For the past five years he has been secretary and treasurer of the Bathurst Agricultural Museum committee, a position he, now relinquishes to live in retirement in Port Alfred. When Mr. BANKS took over this office from the late Mrs. Maud BLAINE the museum consisted of a lean-to under which a few old farm implements were stored. Three years ago the present exhibition hall was built and a R9000 extension has just had the roof completed. Much of the machinery is in working order and of special interest in Mr. BANKS' view is the old, steam threshing machine.
What is envisaged now by some for the edification of the children of city dwellers who come this way is an 1820 Settler farmyard scene with chickens, ducks and turkeys as well as a pig or two as a "living" section of the museum.
Mrs. Patricia Raine BARKER, one of the English women to make a professional career for herself, has died in Port Alfred, aged 98.
Born in Chichester in 1882 into the RUSSELL family, court photographers to the British and German Royal families, she had an independent turn of mind and apprenticed herself to a photographer in London at the age of 16, something almost unheard of at the time. She later opened her own fashionable studio in Queen Victoria Street.
She married Mr. Anthony Raine BARKER, of Watermill house, Benenden, Kent, who was an architect and watercolourist in the great English tradition.
She is survived by her daughter, Mrs. Felicia ELLIOT of Port Alfred and her son, Mr. Felix BARKER, the author historian and film critic of Watermill House and Blackheath, London.
There are four grandchildren, Catherine and Nicolas ELLIOT of Port Alfred and Kent and Maxine BARKER.
For war veteran Mr. Maurice Victor BELLION, who turned 90 yesterday, the number 13 has always featured prominently in his life. Mr. BELLION was a member of the 13th Infantry Brigade at the Battle of Mons during the First World War. He was also section leader of 13 men in the 13th platoon and left for the European battlefields on August 13, 1914.
Mr. BELLION recounted that he originally enlisted as a drummer boy in 1907 at the Duke of York Royal Military School, after he was rendered an orphan. He was trained in military disciplines, he said, and attained the rank of corporal before leaving for France in 1914.
Mr. BELLION described the Battle of Mons as "a group of determined soldiers putting up a stand against all possible odds". He remembered facing "waves of the enemy approaching like rotten sheep" and having to keep up rapid fire for an entire day. Mr. BELLION added that there were constant screams from wounded men and a complete lack of food for all those fighting.
When Mr. BELLION was "demobbed" in 1919, he was employed as security agent by his former colonel, who taught him to drive a motor car. In 1921 he took part in an immigration scheme for former service members and, to keep an old friend company, decided to choose South Africa as his destination.
Mr. BELLION said he arrived in Durban and found a job in the security field, "where I felt like a millionaire, earning 18 pounds a month". He later moved to Cape Town, where he married and found employment as a commercial traveller. He also lived in Johannesburg for many years. Mr. BELLION, who now lives in the Fairhaven old age home, said he had no big plans for his birthday.
A proud onlooker at the ceremony where the pilot tug, the William Weller, was handed over to the Port Elizabeth Navel Cadet Corps this week was the vessel's first South African skipper.
Captain Reuben BENN, the last of four generations of seaman, skippered the Weller "for the best part of 20 years", from when it was first brought to South Africa and commissioned to Port Elizabeth about 24 years ago. Both he and his son, John, a former navel cadet, were born a the pilot station in Knysna. At the ceremony this week Capt. BENN said that a book entitled "Timber and Tide" dealt with his family's navel history. "We BENNs have been men of the sea for so long it's quite surprising we haven't developed gills yet."
He was 17 years old when he first started his navel career as boatman to his father. "When my father died, I took over his job as pilot until they closed the Knysna Harbour."
Capt. BENN was appointed pilot at Knysna in 1954 - the last of his family to hold the job. The pilot service was disbanded as only warships used the narrow gap and the anchorage in the Lagoon He then skippered a boat in Durban, where he lived until he came to Port Elizabeth in 1959. He retired from the A. M. Clark, a diesel-fuelled "fingertip-control" vessel, nine years ago.
"I had both good and very bad days on the Weller,. It is a good ship to go to sea on, and as it is a steamer it is not difficult if you have good-quality coal," he said. Capt. BENN is proud of the Weller and with his connection with the man the tug was named after - Captain William WELLER - whom he knew well.
Capt William BENN was Port Elizabeth's port captain from 1936 to 1928, and ended his navel career as South African Harbours' Nautical Advisor. He retired in the early 1950s. The Weller is one of five similar pilot tugs built in Venice, Italy during 1958.
JOHANNESBURG - Mrs. Lettie BOOYSEN, who was born on a farm in the Peddie district and later farmed with her husband in the Hogsback area, celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday this week in Pretoria. Still agile and energetic, she has not lost her keen sense of humour. She says she has warm memories of her childhood years on the farm "Bellevue", where she grew up. She remembers in particular that she had to walk long distances to and from school every day. And "We had a lot of homework to do in those days." She and her husband left their Eastern Cape farm in 1958 to settle in Pretoria. When he died in 1971, she went to live with her only daughter, Hester, and Hester's husband in Lapa Munnik Park, Pretoria.
Mrs BOOYSEN keeps busy with sewing and needlework and helping in the house, She reads a lot, particularly newspapers. "My eyes are giving me a little trouble," she admits. "The doctor says my sight is failing a bit and he can't do anything about it, but that is to be expected, I suppose at my age. The big day in her life was on Wednesday when she celebrated her 100th birthday with her proud daughter and son-in-law, here grandchildren and five great grandchildren and other relatives. The event was also a celebrated by the residents of Munnik Park, who came to add their congratulations.
Grahamstown's City Engineer, Mr. Steve BOSMAN, died in the Settlers Hospital yesterday after a short illness. He was 56.
Mr. BOSMAN was appointed City Engineer in May 1976. Almost immediately he was assimilated into the community through his enthusiastic and active interest in outdoor sports, particularly motorcycling.
He was responsible for setting out the Moto-X course on Mountain Drive. He was also a keen mountaineer, hiker and photographer and was a vintage car enthusiast before he switched to motorbikes.
Born in Cape Town, Mr. BOSMAN went to the Observatory Boys' High School and then joined an accounting firm. He is survived by his wife, Betty, son, Hugh and daughter Kay.
A funeral service will be held in Grahamstown tomorrow followed by a private cremation.
Mrs. Sarie BOTHA, the grand old lady of Somerset East and the most senior resident of Huis Silwerjare, home for the aged, turned 94 this week. She is believed to be the most senior past pupil of Riebeek College in Uitenhage which she attended in 1902-1903.
Aunt Susie, as she is known to many, is a much loved personality. Her husband, Mr. Philip BOTHA, died in 1963, a few months after their golden wedding. He was for 20 years a member of the Divisional Council and for the last 10 years, served as its chairman, an office previously held by his father.
Mrs. BOTHA's son, Mr. Pierre BOTHA, served two terms a Mayor of Somerset East and has taken an active part in public life for many years. Daughter Suzanne, Mrs. MAASDORP, is sister-in-charge of the Somerset East Blood Transfusion Department.
Mrs. BOTHA, who has not been in good health lately, still takes an active interest in handcraft and her eyesight and memory are remarkable. She has seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, two of whom share her birthday.
Newspaper cuttings from the Eastern Cape.
Source unknown - 1973
The BOWKERs, who were among several 1820 Settler families in the Eastern Cape, fortunate to be given a land grant in the attractive and sought after Albany district, found their homesteads bitterly besieged during the numerous Kaffir and Frontier wars of the last century.
The homestead at Thorn Kloof, the well-known BOWKER farm in the Grahamstown district, which now belongs to Mr. Francis BOWKER, was destroyed during the War of the Axe in 1846-7. The farmhouse had formed a valuable laager and refuge for other neighbouring members of the BOWKER family during these Kaffir Wars, as it was best suited for protection purposes.
Several other farmhouses, belonging to the BOWKERs, were burnt down in this period. Today there are few BOWKERs left in the Albany district. This large and respected family, with a long line of distinguished personalities, has now scattered to various parts of the Eastern Cape and South Africa. The adventuring lust was evident among the BOWKERs from the early days.They were an independent family.
During the diamond and gold rushes of the second half of the last century, several BOWKERs tried their luck at finding a fortune. Other members of the family, not content to stay still, ventured outside South Africa, some going as far as Kenya to farm and settle. Farming has always been the main occupation of the BOWKERs, and they have been efficient, model farmers. Thorn Kloof is a fine example.
Thorn Kloof also contains a lot of history. Next to the main farmhouse, built in 1935, stand two others built about the middle of the last century - the one being rebuilt on original walls of even earlier date. These old buildings are full of valuable Africana, portraits of BOWKER ancestry, old hunting trophies and relics of peace and war on the frontier.
Other direct descendants of Miles BOWKER, the Wiltshire landowner who led his party of 23 which arrived at Algoa Bay aboard the Weymouth in early 1820, today farm at Schoombee, near Middelburg, and at Cathcart and Bedford. Miles BOWKER had 11 children - nine sons and two daughters.
They and their descendants were to play a key role in the early colony's growth. They made their impression in agriculture, administration, politics, science and war. The present head of the BOWKERs is Mr. Duncan BOWKER, a prominent sheep farmer, of Doornberg, Schoombee. He is a descendant of the eldest son of Miles BOWKER, John Mitford BOWKER, a prominent figure in the Eastern Province before his early death of pneumonia in 1847.
John Mitford BOWKER worked for the welfare of the Settlers during the Kaffir Wars, when the British Government failed to give adequate assistance. Mr. Duncan BOWKER was named after his grandfather, Duncan CAMPBELL, who made the move from the Albany area to farm near Middelburg. He married a daughter of William Dods PRINGLE of that well-known settler family, and was 94 when he died.
Mr. Francis BOWKER is a descendant of the Hon. William Monkhouse BOWKER, MLA, the second son of Miles BOWKER. William and his younger brother, Miles Brabbin, showed their quick assimilation to a South African way of life - they were young men in their late teens when they made the voyage on the Weymouth - by marrying OOSTHUIZEN sisters, daughters of a friendly Dutch wagoner who transported the BOWKER family to their first farm, 'Oliveburn', which was soon rejected for Tharfield. This is regarded as the original BOWKER homestead in South Africa.
Tharfiled, stepped in tradition, now belongs to Mr. Thomas Guard WEBB, of Bathurst. The house in which the WEBBs stay was built in 1835, and not much has been changed since then, as it was built in stone. The farm is situated in the undulating countryside between the Riet and Kleinemond Rivers, near the coast. The WEBB family acquired it in 1925. It is at Tharfield that Miles BOWKER and his wife are buried. The small cemetery is still there.
Sheep and cattle farmer, Mr. Eric BOWKER, is the head of the Bedford branch of the family. He and his sons farm at Alstonfield. Mr. Eric BOWKER is a descendant of Septimus BOWKER, so-named because he was the seventh son of Miles BOWKER. Septimus was 81 when he died in 1895.
The BOWKERs at Cathcart are closely related to the Thorn Kloof BOWKERs, for they also descend from William Monkhouse BOWKER. His grandson, Meyrick Brabbin BOWKER, inherited the farm Dunskye, at Cathcart in 1913, after the death of his father, Miles Meyrick BOWKER who had previously run the farm.
There are two BOWKER families now owning farms in the Cathcart district. John is the head of Dunskye and Julian of Oakdene. Four of the sons of Miles BOWKER were members of the Cape Parliament. The Hon. Thomas Holden BOWKER, MLA, the forth son of Miles, was probably the most famous. He stood for presidency of the Free State in 1863, but was beaten by Jan BRAND.
Holden was also a commandant during the Kaffir Wars, and the founder of Queenstown. He designed the hexagonal layout of the town as a defence against the Kaffir attacks. BOWKER's Kop in Queenstown is named after him. Holden inherited Tharfield after the death of Miles BOWKER, at the age of 74, in 1838. However, he was not all that interested in farming.
He became known as "Compensation BOWKER" because of his efforts to get compensation for settlers who lost possessions during the Kaffir Wars. More recently this tradition of public life was carried on by the late Mr. Tom BOWKER. MP for Albany from 1936 until his death in 1964, aged 74. His brother is the well-known Grahamstown golfer, Mr. Reg BOWKER, who at 82 still plays every weekend. Mr. Tom BOWKER's son, John, farms at Glen Ovis at Carlisle Bridge. This branch of the family is descended from John Mitford BOWKER.
One of the best stories concerning the BOWKERs is that of the lost family silver, which had been missing for 138 years. It was bundled up hastily in a tablecloth, straight off the dinner table when the family fled from the invading Xhosa hordes in the Kaffir War of 1835. Four of the sons of Miles BOWKER buried it in an antbear hole - and never found it again.
Since then, several BOWKERs have enlisted the help of witchdoctors in an effort to trace the spot where the missing silver was buried, but all to no avail. The incident happened when the BOWKERs still farmed at Tharfield. At first the 70-year-old Miles refused to leave, and it was only when his sons threatened to drag him away bodily, tied to a horse, that he reluctantly took refuge in the church at Bathurst along with the other families of the district. Miles BOWKER was the first settler to introduce merino sheep to South Africa from England. However, they were unsuited for the area at Tharfield and were moved to the north in the valley of the Koonap River.
The Hon. Bertram Egerton BOWKER, MLC, the fifth son of Miles, was the first of the BOWKERs to leave Thurfield and farmed in the Koonap region. He did well and this encouraged several of his brothers to follow his lead. Of Bertram's 12 children, only the youngest son, Gordon Cross BOWKER, carried on the family name and the succeeding generation. However, he emigrated to Kenya.
Other families with close ties with the BOWKERs are the ATHERSTONE and Mitford BARBERTON's from the marriage of Miles BOWKER's two daughters, Anna Maria and Mary Elizabeth. The ATHERSTONEs were a well known Albany family, one of the famous members being Dr. William Guybon ATHERSTONE
who lived in Grahamstown.
The Mitford-BARBERTONs are descended from the BARBER family. Two brothers, Ivan and Raymond who now live at Hout Bay in the Cape were the authors of several historic books on the 1820 Settlers, including the history of the BOWKERs. Many BOWKERs descendants inter-married with other noted Settler families, like PRINGLE,CURRIEs and WHITEs.
The charming homestead on Glen Avon which was built by Robert HART round about 1825 and which is now occupied by his direct descendant, Mr. R.C. BROWN, his wife and family. The house was built of stone and roofed with imported Welsh slate. It has been restored under the supervision of a well-known Port Elizabeth architect and furnished with antiques appropriate
to the period. A wing has been added to the house but is perfectly in keeping with the original structure. The veranda railings are those put up by Robert HART. They are of iron and are set in lead.
The old mill at Glen Avon, Somerset East, must be one of the very few mills of its type left in South Africa. It is still in working order and is used for grinding wheat and stock food. The wheat incidentally, which is grown on Glen Avon is used for baking the family bread. The mill machinery, which was made in Leeds, England in 1861 and the grinding stone, which came from
Scotland and is of Aberdeen granite, were transported to Glen Avon from Algoa Bay and over the Zuurberg Mountains by ox wagon some time in the 1800's. The wheel is 20 feet in diameter.
The grave of Robert HART is on the estate and a Presbyterian church, erected in 1850, which is now used as a coloured school. The estate is about three miles out of Somerset East.
Sixty members of the Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Graaff-Reinet Historical Societies gathered at Somerset East to visit old homes and other places of historical interest. They visited mainly the farm homestead Glen Avon, the family home of Mr. & Mrs. R.C. BROWN, which was developed by their ancestor, Robert HART in 1825. Other sights were the Old Drostdy, in Cape Georgian architecture, Gill College and a large bungalow, the reputed shooting lodge of Lord Charles SOMERSET, after whom Somerset East is named.
The visitors were entertained at Bester's Hoek caravan park by the Somerset East Publicity Association. Mr. C.M. BURTON, the organising secretary of the Port Elizabeth Historical Society described the outing as 'most successful and worthwhile.'
The ornate Gill College in Somerset East, which was the first university in the Eastern Cape. The original buildings were erected in 1867 and are now used as a library for the school, which housed about 300 senior girls and boys. Gill's tomb is also located on the grounds of Gill College. The gracious Drostdy or old Pastorie (manse) was built in 1825. It was used by the Methodist church in 1828 and later became a Dutch Reformed Church Pastorie, and served this purpose until well into this century. It is now privately owned.
The old Mill House in Paulet Street, Somerset East is owned and occupied by Mr. & Mrs. J.H. OLIVIER. The house is exactly as it was when it was built in 1825 and still has the original yellowwood floors and staircase. The stone walls are about 30 inches thick and the roof is of the original slates.
The oldest member of the Drostdy Park Bowling Club, Mr. Bill BURGER, was given a special party by members of both the Drostdy Park and Uitenhage Bowling clubs at the weekend to celebrate his 90th birthday. Although no longer an active bowler, Mr. BURGER is still a keen member of the club. He has in the past been president of the club several times and also the winner of many senior trophies.
Mr. BURGER also claims to have been the youngest artisan ever to have joined the South African Railways. He became a coach builder apprentice in 1905, at the age of 12. When the Railways was told that he did not have a Std. 6 certificate he was asked to leave, but he stayed on and eventually retired more than 30 years ago. He was born in Murraysburg in 1893.
He is also the oldest member of the Uitenhage Moths, having served in the First World War in the South West African Rebellion. Mr. BURGER has lived in Uitenhage since 1944. He has two children and four grandchildren.
New interest aroused over Bleak House, EP Herald, 1970.
A report in a recent issue of the Herald's weekly supplement on Bleak House, which is located on a place of ground to the north-east of the Fort England Hospital, once known as Mesopotamia, has attracted the attention of Mrs. E.M. BUTT of Kenton-on-Sea. According to Mrs. BUTT, her grandmother was Hanna Christina WILD and it was her father who originally built the house. However, because of the shortage of labour and material in those days, he was unable to complete it, hence the half-finished appearance it always presented.
In the house some years ago a mural depicting an English hunting scene was discovered on a wood partition and this was donated to the Albany Museum by the McCARTHY family who then owned the place. This painting, said Mrs. BUTT was the work of Abraham WILD.
Mrs. BUTT, as a member of Charles NEILSON's family, remembers having frequently visited people living in the house and having seen the painting while it was still in occupation. The McCARTHY's, according to her, were then only cultivating the large area of ground surrounding it. There was apparently two Abraham WILD's, father and son and it was Abraham senior who
built a small two-bedroomed house on another property he owned and named Gooseberry Farm. It was from this house, which was later enlarged. that she and her late husband, Charles BUTT were married.