Newspaper Cuttings from the Eastern Cape - C
EP Herald, 26 May 1983
Writing family history at 99 years
Mr. & Mrs. George CARTER were popular Uitenhage residents during the years that they lived there when Mr. CARTER was magistrate. It was from there that he retired, but he was much in demand throughout the Second Word War as relieving magistrate.
Widowed in 1964, Mrs. CARTER now lives in the Bedford Cottage Hospital where she is the oldest resident. But she has many friends a few years her junior and because she was born and bred in Bedford, she feels much at home. According to her niece, Miss Lynette FITCHET, Mrs. CARTER is now trying to write up the family history.
One of the little things she told her niece was that her FITCHET grandfather was a member of the Gordon Highlanders and was stationed at Port Elizabeth's Fort Frederick. Mrs. CARTER's mother arrived in a sailing vessel at the age of nine during the second half of the 19th century,
Mrs. CARTER is now getting excited at the prospect of reaching her century next year and spends a great deal of time writing letters. Her only daughter, Mrs. Molly JOUBERT and her husband George were in Bedford for Mrs. CARTER's 99th birthday celebration recently.
Mrs. CARTER has four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
EP Herald, 17 May 1984
Bedford woman is 100 today
Mrs. Ruby CARTER of Bedford celebrates her 100th birthday today with a party at the St. Andrew's Anglican Church Hall in the town. Mrs. CARTER was the third baby to be christened in the church and the first girl to be enrolled at the Assumption Convent in Bedford.
Mrs. CARTER née FITCHET, married a magistrate and left Bedford to move to various towns during her husband's career. When he retired, however, they moved back to Bedford. Ruby CARTER is writing the history of Bedford.
She has one surviving daughter and many relatives and friends who have travelled from all over South Africa to celebrate her birthday with her.
Mrs. CARTER lives at the Bedford Cottage Hospital and attributes her long life to "good Christian living".
Thanks to an elephant and illness, the honour of naming Port Alfred fell to an eight-year-old girl, Letitia COCK, granddaughter of William COCK, builder of Richmond Villa, the landmark now known to all as "Cock's Castle".
The ceremony took place in 1860, and 86 years later Miss COCK remembered the occasion vividly. Her reminiscences of the castle and the event, apparently written in Kimberley in 1946, are published in the most recent issue of "Toposcope", journal of Lower Albany Historical Society. She said that Prince Alfred, a cadet in HMS Euryalus on a world cruise, landed at Port Elizabeth on, August 6, 1860, and was to visit Port Frances to rename it after himself. "He came as far as Grahamstown and wanted to shoot an elephant, but Captain TALTON and the Governor, Sir George GREY, said he could not do both things - he couldn't go to Port Frances and christen it and also shoot an elephant and reach his ship in time."
So the notabilities all descended on Richmond Villa (apparently it was nicknamed Cock's Castle by a later Governor, Sir Bartle FRERE) as guests of William COCK. "My grandmother was lying dangerously ill at the time... I was the only other female by the name of COCK and so I had to christen Port Alfred. I remember two piles being driven into the river before work commenced. Someone broke a bottle of champagne and I had to say 'Port Alfred'."
Many genuine christenings took place in the drawing room of Cock's Castle and Mrs. COCK reserved a particular basin for the holy water. "Whatever was over my grandmother put on her rose trees." On a sofa in that drawing ream Mrs. COCK died in 1875, her husband following her three months later. The house had been their home since 1856 or 1857.
William COCK, leader of Cock's 1820 Settler Party, is described as one of the most energetic and enterprising of the settlers. Letitia once asked him whether it was true that he'd changed the course of the Kowie River in his efforts to turn it into the major port of the Eastern Cape. Modestly he replied: "My dear child, I am not an engineer, I am only a commercial man and just supplied the money". He sank about £75000 into the unsuccessful venture.
Lower Albany Historical Society, with a membership of 258 and six museums and libraries in its area, is described by its chairman, Major-Gen T. G. E. COCKBAIN, as "one of the most flourishing historical societies in the country". The current journal, the society's 18th, runs to 108 pages and contains many articles of interest, including "Piles of Stones in the Veld", the text of an illustrated lecture by Prof Guy BUTLER, president of the society. It was edited by Frank EVANS.