Grahamstown Journal

Grahamstown Journal 1884 05 May

Monday 5 May 1884

BIRTH at Grahamstown on the 2nd inst, the wife of the Rev. E. LONES of a son.

A Fraserburg correspondent of the Cape Times writes:-
During the past week the village of Fraserburg has been much stirred sorrowfully by the death of Mrs. HEMMING, the wife of R.C. HEMMING Esq, which took place on Wednesday the 23rd inst, at the comparatively early age of 38. The deceased lady was not only highly respected by the people of Fraserburg as the wife of Mr. HEMMING, but was much thought of and loved on her own account. Coming to Fraserburg some 22 years ago as Miss SCHREINER, she shortly afterwards became Mrs. HEMMING, and her whole married life was passed in our midst – a life as far as we outside know it of gentle goodness but full of great sorrow, caused by repeated family bereavements, she having been called upon to follow no less than eleven children to the little Fraserburg graveyard. No doubt these repeated heavy blows were the active agents in bringing about that disease of the heart from which she suffered so much the last two years, and especially during the last month, and which terminated fatally and suddenly on Wednesday last. When the last call came, Mrs. HEMMING was travelling some four hours’ distant from Fraserburg, on her way to a farm in the country for a change of air, accompanied by her brother and sister, Mr. and Miss SCHREINER, of the Diamond Fields, on whom the sad duty devolved of bringing the remains back to the village.

Tuesday 6 May 1884

A correspondent writes: This little country village notwithstanding the hard times is well to the front in enterprise. Mr. R. DICKASON has just erected a steam mill, and we believe the engine and machinery are from the establishment of Messrs. GEARD and Son. and gave entire satisfaction on the trial days. This mill supplies a long felt want. We congratulate Mr. DICKASON on his venture, and hope his best expectations may be realised. We have also to chronicle the successful start of a “Military Weapon Rifle Club” with about 20 members. At the trial match some good shooting was done. We believe the first prize shooting will take place on Saturday, but are open to correction on that point. The club is under the Captaincy of Mr. Thomas N. JAKINS, with Mr. Thos. BARNSLEY as President. We wish for it a long and pleasant career of usefulness.

Wednesday 6 May 1884 [sic]

The Queenstown Free Press greatly regrets to announce the death of Mrs. BLAINE, wife of Captain BLAINE C.M.R., stationed at Lady Frere, which resulted from an accident, the lady having been thrown from her horse a few days since. She was buried on Saturday last in the Queenstown Cemetery. The deceased lady had a large circle of friends, both here and everywhere she was known. On Saturday afternoon last, subsequent to the funeral of Mrs. BLAINE, Trooper CLIFFORD, who was stopping at Beaumont’s Hotel, mounted his mare to water her at Hulley’s Drift. Something appears to have excited the animal, which turned restive, and her rider was thrown on the stones at the Drift, and on assistance arriving he was found to be unconscious, and was at once removed to the Frontier Hospital, where he died on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday 8 May 1884

DIED at East London on Saturday May 3rd, Emma, the dearly beloved wife of James Brodie HELLIER

We regret to have to record the decease of the above named lady, the wife of Mr. J.B. HELLIER, Protector of Immigrants, who has for some time past been residing at East London. For a number of years after their arrival from England Mr. and Mrs. HELLIER resided in Grahamstown, where they were greatly respected, and still have a large circle of friends who will deeply sympathise with the bereaved husband and family in their affliction. Mrs. HELLIER was a lady of great natural abilities, and very much beloved; and was in former days active in connection with the Wesleyan Church. Her health however has long been in a declining condition, and of late much anxiety was felt by her family. She passed away to a better world on Saturday last, we believe without its being anticipated that her end was quite so near.

Saturday 10 May 1884

BIRTH on the 9th May, the wife of Arthur JUDD of a son.

BIRTH at Frances-street, Oatlands on the 8th inst, the wife of William YOUNG, Builder, of a daughter.

A correspondent of the Argus writes from Worcester under date May 5th: The whole town was this morning thrown into a state of excitement by a rumour being circulated that Mr. Robert BURTON, our lately appointed Chief Constable, had committed suicide. Great sympathy was felt by everyone, he being a thoroughly respected and steady young man, so peculiarly suited to the appointment, and respected by all who knew him. On investigation it appeared that before breakfast this morning he must have been suffering from a disturbed mind, for he left his [home] in his night clothes without slippers, and went to a near neighbour, whom he implored to protect him, as he said that there were persons who sought to take his life. With some persuasion and humouring he was brought to his residence; and in the dining room, where the table was laid for breakfast, an effort was made to talk him out of the idea which seemed to have taken hold of him. He apparently quieted down, and those who assisted one by one left him, until only one neighbour stayed on, who, at the suggestion of BURTON’s sister-in-law, was also rising to leave when suddenly, and before he could be prevented, the unfortunate man seized a knife from the breakfast table and cut his throat. The gentleman present – a very delicate and sickly man – seized his arms from behind to try and prevent him doing further injury to himself; but Mr. BURTON being a particularly powerful young man, it was useless, although Mrs. BURTON succeeded in wresting the knife out of his hands, cutting her own in the attempt. The knife fell on the floor, and although the blood was pouring out of the wound he had inflicted, and the gentleman who had hold of his arms tried until exhausted to prevent him, he succeeded in getting again hold of the knife and proceeded to inflict further gashes on his throat. Help was shouted for, and soon came, but the unfortunate man became exhausted and prostrate from loss of blood. Dr. CLARKE was most fortunately at the adjoining house and rendered immediate assistance, doing what was required under the circumstance. Fortunately the jugular vein was not severed, but the injuries are of such a dangerous nature that Mr. BURTON is not expected to recover.

Monday 12 May 1884

Mrs. G. BRITTAIN died at Woodstock last week (writes the Argus) from the effects of eating black mussels, sold at Woodstock. Mr. and Mrs. GOODWIN, Messrs. TYLER and McCANN, of the same place, are lying in a precarious condition from the same cause. At this time of the year shellfish are generally poisonous, persons should be careful, and those selling them should be prohibited from doing so.

Wednesday 14 May 1884

DIED at Grahamstown on Sunday the 11th May 1884, Mrs. PAYNE Sen, aged 57 years.

Friday 16 May 1884

Mr. WENTWORTH Sen, one of the Settlers of 1820, who though close upon 80 years old is still, we are glad to know, fresh and vigorous, calls to mind a severe storm and heavy rainfall which occurred on June 10th 1820, shortly after the settlers had got to their destinations. The storm gave them plenty of inconvenience, and trouble to keep their tents from blowing away; but it is interesting as an instance of heavy rain falling in this season of the year, and allows us to hope that we may still have a good downpour before winter’s cold fairly comes on.

Friday 23 May 1884

BIRTH at Grahamstown on the 22nd May 1884, the wife of P. AMM Jun, “Ettrick”, of a daughter.

A sad case of drowning occurred here (writes the Budget) on Monday afternoon last. On the forenoon of that day four men, named JUADE, CALSON, ROSSENGER and MICHAELIS, went out to sea n a boat to fish, and were on their return just before sunset. When on the bar, by some means or other, the boat capsized, and all the occupants, being the four men and a little boy (step son of JUADE) were precipitated into the sea. JUADE and his son at once struck out to swim ashore, while the other three held on to the boat, which was gradually being washed towards the East beach. The sea being rather rough, the boat was turned over several times before reaching the shore, when it was found that MICHAELIS was lying dead in the bottom of the boat underneath the seats, having apparently been washed there by the sea. Assistance soon arrived, and everything was done that skill could devise, but the deceased was quite dead, and beyond human help. An inquest was held before the Coroner (G.C. BAYNE Esq R.M.) yesterday, and a verdict of “drowned through the accidental capsizing of a boat” was returned. The deceased was a single man, and a native of Germany.

Monday 26 May 1884

BIRTH on the 23rd May 1884, the wife of J.B. GREATHEAD M.B.(Edin) of a daughter.

There is no change in the condition of Mr. GODLONTON’s health either for the better or the worse. While his mental powers continue clear, his bodily strength is completely gone. His family are of course assiduous in their attentions. Mr. Durban GODLONTON came up last Tuesday and has been sitting up with his father night after night. Mr. GODLONTON is 89 years of age and 8 months and has passed through the most stormy years of colonial history, himself being a prominent figure in all important events. Thanks to an iron constitution and a temperate life he has lived through all to a venerable old age.

Tuesday 27 May 1884

The death of young MARRAN, who with two other brothers assisted in supporting a widowed mother, is universally regretted (writes the Cathcart Chronicle). The unfortunate lad was riding downhill in the Transkei, and probably his horse fell – pitching him on his head – and injuring his brain. No one saw him fall. Mr. WHITFIELD was a short distance behind. When he overtook him, young Warren was lying unconscious. He remained insensible seventy hours, and then died. The doctor who was with him pronounced the case a hopeless one as soon as he saw it.

A Cape Infantryman, named McLELLAND, attempted on Friday night to get into a house at DE BEERS, where a coloured woman named Jennus was. After being repulsed from the door he attempted the window, and was shot by a revolver, and died at the hospital on Sunday. The woman and a coloured man with her have been arrested for murder.
A horrible murder took place at Christiana. A man named MURPHY, late an overseer here, remonstrated with his employer, and during a quarrel between the latter and his wife, the employer struck him on the head and shattered his skull.

BIRTH at Aberdeen on the 19th May 1884, the wife of W.C. IRVING of a son.

Wednesday 28 May 1884

The Somerset Advertiser records that Mr. David WATSON, of Zuurberg, died suddenly on Wednesday last. He was working in his garden, and on returning to the house he said to his wife “I feel queer”. Immediately after he fell back and died in the chair. He was buried on Saturday.

Friday 30 May 1884 [all columns in issue surrounded with black mourning bands]

THE HON. ROBERT GODLONTON died this morning at a quarter past one. So gradual had been the decay of his strength during the past fortnight, and so little sign of immediate dissolution was there, that most members of his family were sleeping at the moment. His son, Mr. B.D. GODLONTON, who was watching by him at the time we have mentioned, perceived that the end had somewhat suddenly arrived, and before he could call anyone to the bedside his venerable father had passed away. For the previous two days, however, it had been manifest that he was in a dying state; he had not uttered a word, and hardly showed any sign of feeling or motion. So calmly and gently terminated the career of (we may safely say) the most honoured citizen of this Colony, and one whose ability and patriotic spirit, as evinced in his services in the Press, in Parliament, and in the general relations of life, raised him to the rank of the foremost man among the Settlers of 1820. We cannot attempt today to give anything like a sketch of Mr. GODLONTON’s long and important biography, but will hope to present it to our readers tomorrow. We have been requested to make known that the funeral of the late Mr. GODLONTON will take place on Sunday afternoon next, at 3 o’clock; and it needs no invitation either on our part or that of his family to bid those who admired and loved him to be present on the solemn occasion.


This title oft in classic days
Adorned the honoured elder’s fame.
We’ll wreathe it, like a crown of bays
Around an ancient Settler’s name.

He is not dead. He doth but sleep
Although he lies in well-earned rest;
And o’er his mausoleum weep
A throng of those who loved him best.

He lives upon the muster roll
Of noble colonists. He speaks
In words which owed him life and soul
The records of past days and weeks.

He has paid “nature’s debt”. OUR debt,
Our obligation, who can guess?
Honoured his tomb; more honoured yet
His monument – South Africa’s Press.


We have to record the death of a man whose name for several years has been a household word amongst Volunteers. Lieut. and Adjutant George YOUNG, of the 1st City Volunteers, died last night after an illness extending over two months. His system was undermined by severe exposure when at the front in Basutoland, and from the effects he has succumbed. In 1875, when the Volunteers were formed in Grahamstown, Mr. YOUNG, who was an experienced soldier, immediately took his position as Adjutant. Since then he has devoted his untiring energies to the encouragement of Volunteering, and to his great knowledge of drill and tactics much of the efficiency of the Volunteers has been due. He has repeatedly won the praise of commanding officers for his practical knowledge, and for the faculty he had of imparting his experience to the men. He was also engaged by the College and Public School as drill-instructor, in which capacity he gained the esteem of the boys. During the Gaika and Graleka wars he was employed by Government as recruiting officer, for which he was admirably suited. He was, however, no feather-bed soldier, and in 1881 he took command of the second detachment of 1st City Volunteers ordered to Basutoland. His command was marked by soldierly capacity. He took part with his detachment in the capture of Vitte Koppe’s on 13th February. On the 22nd March the detachment took part in the fight at Beleka, when Col. CARRINGTON was wounded. The 1st City and P.A.G. then held the post of honour on the front face of the square. On the 24th March Lieut. (then Captain) YOUNG was in command of a cattle-lifting expedition, and on the 11th April took part in the fight at Paquano’s Kop.
The funeral of the deceased will take place tomorrow afternoon, when he will be buried with military honours. The B.B. of the Masonic Lodges will also attend in regalia. The B.B. of St.John’s Lodge are requested to meet at the lodge at a quarter past three tomorrow afternoon. In consequence of the funeral tomorrow there will be no competition in connection with the Military Weapon Rifle Club.

A Cape Infantryman named Charles McCLELLAND died in the hospital on Sunday evening from a bullet wound in the left breast. A coloured woman named Maria THEUNIS, and Adam ADAMS, a Cape man, are in custody charged with the murder of the deceased.

Saturday 31 May 1884

BIRTH at Kimberley on the 26th inst, the wife of A. EDKINS (of GODLONTON & EDKINS) of a daughter.

DIED in his 90th year, at his residence, Beaufort House, Grahamstown, this morning (May 30th 1884) Robert GODLONTON, a Settler of 1820, the recognised “Father of the Press” in the Eastern Province of the Colony, and for many years an honoured Member of the Legislative Council of the Cape of Good Hope. Friends at a distance will please accept this notice.
The Funeral of the late Hon’ble Robt. GODLONTON will leave his late residence, Beaufort-street, on Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock. Friends are respectfully invited to attend.

Mr. GODLONTON was born in London in the year 1794. While he was yet an infant, his father, who had the reputation of being an unselfish and truly religious man, died. His mother also died when the youth had attained the age of 12; and he was then cared for and educated by a married sister, who was still living when he visited England after an absence of 38 years, in 1858. Having to fight his way in the world, he was at a comparatively early age apprenticed to the trade of a printer in one of the largest London offices. The late Mr. Thos. STRINGFELLOW, who was subsequently C.C. and R.M. at Fort Beaufort, was employed in the same establishment; and in 1819-20, upon the scheme being mooted for sending out a number of emigrants to people this Province, the two friends, who by this time had been married, resolved to leave their native land and make the serious venture. BAILEY’s [sic] Party was the one to which they attached themselves: and on their first arrival they shared the hardships of the pioneer Settler’s life on a location. That these were of no trivial kind will be gathered from the fact that Mr. GODLONTON has often told the story of occasional walks with a companion or two from the Fish River mouth over the roughest hills and bush-paths into town, to get a few loaves of contractor’s bread, then considered an epicurean luxury; with which prize they would walk home again, to share it with their families and friends. The hardships and uncertainty of location life, as soon as Government rations were no longer forthcoming, caused Mr. GODLONTON to remove to Grahamstown. After he had been resident for a short time in the settlement he accepted a post in the Civil Service as a Clerk in the Magistrate’s Office, and the Revenue Department of the Eastern Province, under the various Magistrates of the early days of the settlement, especially under the late Capt. CAMPBELL, whose confidence he fully obtained; and who entrusted him with most of the responsible duties of the office. One of the chief of these was the collection of taxes, or the then called “opgaaf” in this portion of the Colony, a duty attended with both difficulty and serious responsibility, involving, as it did, the collection of taxes based upon the pastoral wealth of the farmers, and collected from the rural population, and this by visitation from farm to farm. On these expeditions his only safe was his wagon box, and his honesty the only security the Government could obtain. When in this office he had offers of promotion in the service, but preferring a life of greater independence, he declined these offers which no doubt would have raised him to the highest position in the service, to embrace one far more congenial to a man of literary tastes. In the meantime the Journal, then known as the Grahamstown Journal, had been launched by Mr. MEURANT in Dec. 1831, Mr. GODLONTON being one of its principal contributors. It was in order to share an interest in this adventure, of which he subsequently became sole proprietor, that Mr. GODLONTON relinquished his position in the Civil Service. The reputation which the Journal secured, and the services it rendered to the Settlement at that period, are matters of historic record. In those critical times, when the colonists were maligned both from Home, and by those in the colony who were ignorant of the real facts relating to the condition of the Frontier, Mr. GODLONTON, aided by his Journal as well as by several volumes of which he was the author, dauntlessly and successfully vindicated the reputation of the Settlers among whom his lot was cast. The influence thus gained led to his being chosen as one of the two elective members (Mr. COCK being the other) to represent the Eastern Province under the first form of constitutional government that was granted to the country. In this responsible and difficult position Mr. GODLONTON more than maintained the confidence reposed in him. From the outset of his political career he took a prominent part in laying the foundations of our subsequent progress. During the excitement of the anti-convict agitation, Mr. GODLONTON’s pen and character had considerable weight in determining the issue. For his services on these and other prominent questions he was more than once publicly thanked, and received more substantial acknowledgements in the shape of valuable testimonials in the shape of plate, which are now cherished as heirlooms by his family. Upon the colony having its constitution developed by an increase of elective representation, his ability and experience at once suggested him as an indispensable man, and he was returned without difficulty – a position he continued to hold during the whole of his political career. While thus serving his country he gained the entire confidence of those in high authority, to whom he ever gave ready support, without in any way compromising his independence and honesty of purpose. Some of those authorities frequently and gladly availed themselves of his able and willing services on [agencies] and commissions, involving a large amount of time and labour, which he unselfishly underwent without fee or reward. In 1858 Mr. GODLONTON with his family revisited his native land, after an absence of more than eight and thirty years. His renewal of old associations and friendships was very gratifying and, but for the English climate not agreeing with his constitution, his stay would probably have been prolonged for a more considerable period than the three years which he spent there. During this visit Mr. GODLONTON largely increased the circle of his friendships, and many of those which he then formed in England have lasted to the present time. Socially, throughout his whole career, he endeared himself to the very large circle of friends and relations to whom he was connected, in a variety of ways known only to those who have been the subjects of his generosity and his love; but alike to those of his family and to others, he exhibited a large-heartedness that obtained for him that reputation for thorough unselfishness which will ever cling to his honoured memory. It is impossible in this short sketch to deal with details of such a long and useful existence; but all in public or private life who knew Mr. GODLONTON will remember him as a kind friend and useful citizen. His genuine piety adorned his Christian profession, and gained for him the confidence of all engaged in religious work, while his steady adherences to the ordinances of the Wesleyan Church, with which he became associated early in life, led to his appointment to all its lay offices, which he filled with great fidelity. Especially did he devote his time to the instruction and superintendence of the Sunday Schools; and many still living bear their testimony to the help and encouragement they received from him as their teacher. He was a hearty supporter of the Missionary work, and the kind hospitality he dispensed to those engaged in it was with him at once a duty and a pleasure. Many a missionary toiler among the aboriginal tribes of this country was encouraged in his work by the kind word and help of this true friend. The support he rendered this cause, both by his gifts, his influence and his pen, gave evidence of his faith in the good results that should follow the labours of the self-sacrificing men engaged in this arduous undertaking. Of late years Mr. GODLONTON had retired from the prominent position he had so long occupied in public life, and from editorial duties; but in his retirement he enjoyed the blessing of a vigorous old age, and the unaffected respect and attachment of his fellow citizens, and of colonists at large. Advancing years dealt very gently with the venerable patriarch of our Settlement, and permitted him almost to the last to enjoy his daily exercise, and the inexhaustible delight of reading. Thus imperceptibly he drew nearer to the close of life; and the years whose flight gradually exhausted his strength and activity yielded him a continually increasing harvest of love and honour from all who knew him. In thinking of his latter days we are reminded of the beautiful lines with which our great moralist has illustrated a happy old age:-
“But grant the virtues of a temperate prime,
Blest with an age exempt from scorn or crime,
An age that melts with unperceived decay,
That glides in modest innocence away,
Whose peaceful day benevolence endears,
Whose night congratulating conscience cheers;
The general favourite, as the general friend,
Such age there is, and who can wish its end?”

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