Grahamstown Journal 1884 09 September
Monday 1 September 1884
With the deepest regret we have to announce the decease in England of Mr. William Attwell RICHARDS, the senior partner of the firm RICHARDS, SLATER & Co., and of the Capetown firm of Messrs. W.A. RICHARDS and Sons. Mr. RICHARDS feeling the need of change and rest, had gone Home for a holiday in June last; and letters had been received from him, which gave the pleasing intelligence that some symptoms with which he had been threatened had passed away, and that he was quite fit for a return to business again. On Saturday however a cablegram was received stating that he had been taken suddenly ill, and that the illness was of an alarming nature. This morning we learn that the attack, which was apoplexy, has proved fatal, the patient never having recovered consciousness from the commencement of his illness till his death. Mr. RICHARDS was only 55 years of age, and might to all appearances have looked forward to the enjoyment of the fruits of a busy and successful career for many years to come. He will be sincerely lamented by a large circle of friends and acquaintances, and his early death is a heavy affliction to his bereaved widow and family.
THE FUNERAL OF MR.GEO. WOOD JUN.
The town has shown the sense of the loss it has sustained in the death of a leading citizen. The vast crowd which yesterday attended, embracing all ranks and classes, showed in how great respect the memory of the late George WOOD Jun is held by his fellow citizens, and showed also that his services as a public man extending over many years were appreciated. Another feeling there was which induced many to attend [sic] Mr. WOOD was a friendly man and a kindly man, and either by advice or by more practical gifts, given unostentatiously, had won the good opinion of hundreds who perhaps did not pay much attention to political matters. This accounts, perhaps, for one of the longest funeral processions ever seen in Grahamstown. Many entered the residence in Market-square to see the coffin, which was placed on a stand in a small room and almost hidden from view by a profusion of beautiful wreaths, one of which was presented by Mr. R.W. MURRAY of the Cape Times. The coffin was made of oak finely polished, and with silver handles. At three o’clock it was placed in the hearse and the procession formed. The pall-bearers were Hon. S. CAWOOD, Hon. William AYLIFF M.L.A., A. FRASER Esq, S. JOHNSON Esq, M.L.A., R. AYLIFF Esq, J. WEBB Esq, J.P., G. WHITE Esq and C.H. HUNTLY Esq, C.C. and R.M. The chief mourners following immediately behind the hearse were Mr. George Alfred WOOD, only son of the deceased, Mr. T. HOOLE and Mr. W.S. BELL, sons-in-law, the brothers Messrs. John WOOD, Henry WOOD, Joseph G. WOOD M.L.A., Ben WOOD and Alfred WOOD. Then followed the relations, each carrying wreaths, then the long procession, including all the Judges, the Bar, the Revds. FISH, EDWARDS and MATTERSON, the Press, and representatives of all the institutions in town. The Mayor and Town Council preceded, and the procession at the outset passed between two lines of the Volunteers and Artillery, who, after the procession had passed, fell in and followed. Hundreds of people who did not follow after the procession crowded the side-walls. To give an idea of the length of this funeral, it may be said that when the head was passing St.George’s Cathedral the last of the line of carriages was crossing the bridge in Bathurst-street. The Pro-Cathedral was crowded during the service, which was conducted by the Rev. Canon ESPIN and the Rev. Mr. TURPIN. A hymn was sung by the choir, the congregation joining in. The procession reformed and moved to the Wesleyan cemetery, in which is a spacious vault for the members of the WOOD family. Mr. TURPIN here read the prayers, assisted by Canon ESPIN, the lid of the vault was raised and the coffin deposited on one of the tiers. The mourners entered to place wreaths upon the coffin, which in a few minutes was hidden from view by these floral offerings. The great assembly then broke up and quietly dispersed.
The Telegraph writes:- We received a private telegram yesterday conveying the information that Mr. George WOOD Junr. expired at a quarter to one o’clock yesterday afternoon. The sad event cast a gloom over many families in this town, as Mr. George WOOD was well known and highly respected here. In Grahamstown he was rightly accounted as one of the worthiest citizens of the place and universal regret is experienced at his decease. Mr. WOOD was the eldest son of the Hon. G. WOOD M.L.C., and was at the time of his death about 55 years of age. The cause of his death was paralysis of the brain, but Mr. WOOD had been ill for nearly three months. He was one of the most useful of our fellow colonists whether in matters pertaining to commerce, agriculture, or municipal or social questions. He had been one of the leading citizens of Grahamstown for upwards of 20 years and was the first Mayor of that city as well as a member of the Legislative Assembly. In addition to these important offices, Mr. WOOD filled several offices in connection with the Church and was a vestryman at the time of the cause celebre in which the Dean of Grahamstown filled so prominent a part. As a commercial man, Mr. WOOD was highly respected, being one of the well known and old established firm of George WOOD & Sons, and subsequently WOOD Bros. Latterly he took up the business of an auctioneer, in which he was successful. Mr. WOOD was of a disposition both conscientious and charitable, and was a great friend to the farming interest of the Colony. He was of great use in the position of President of the Albany Farmers’ Association, and encouraged by every means in his power those farmers who endeavoured to foster improved breeds of livestock. Mr. WOOD was useful not merely as [obscured] but as a politician. When the celebrated retrenchment committee of the House of Assembly was appointed in 1866 Mr. WOOD’s advice, experience and suggestions were invaluable. At his suggestion several important measures of financial reform were considered and adopted, with the result that the finances of the country were placed on a most satisfactory basis. Mr. WOOD was a man of undoubted ability which he brought to bear on all public matters with which he was associated. He leaves a large family, one of his daughters being Mrs. BELL, wife of an eminent [solicitor] of Grahamstown. We close this brief notice with expressing our regret at the death of this useful colonist and worthy citizen, and adding the following words which singularly enough form part of a letter written by a merchant of this town to a friend in the city, who had informed him of Mr. WOOD’s illness: “I regretted to hear of the intelligence. Mr. George WOOD is a man of splendid parts; bold, outspoken and fearless. If he had an opinion he was not ashamed to proclaim it. Oh that we had a thousand such men in the country!” Little did the writer imagine he was writing of one who in eight and forty hours would be no more.
Tuesday 2 September 1884
MARRIED on the 2nd inst at Christ Church, by the Rev. M. Norton, Farncombe Lovett, eldest son of H.F. BILLINGHURST, County Manager of the London and Westminster Bank, London, to Florence Eveline, second daughter of Hy. DIXON Esq of Grahamstown. No cards.
This morning at Christ Church the marriage was solemnized of Mr. F.L. BILLINGHURST and Miss Florence DIXON. The pretty little church contained a large number of visitors, including many friends of the bride and bridegroom. The ceremony was conducted by the Rev. M. NORTON, assisted by the Choir, Miss NORTON kindly acting as organist. The bride appeared charming in a handsome dress of white satin, trimmed with Maltese lace and French flowers, wax wreath with a [40?] fall. She was attended by her three younger sisters dressed in white Indian and white satin, trimmed with Brussels lace with French coronets, and who assisted to make the bridal party an unusually attractive one. The best man was Mr. FRASER. At the conclusion of the ceremony the wedding march was played, and the guests were driven to the residence of the bride’s parents, where suitable toasts were proposed and responded to. A large number of handsome presents were on view. At half past ten the happy pair left by train for Port Elizabeth, and handsful of rice were thrown into the carriage.
Wednesday 3 September 1884
WILLIAM ATTWELL RICHARDS
The intelligence of Mr. RICHARDS’s sudden and untimely death following so closely upon that of another prominent Grahamstown citizen, Mr. George WOOD Junior, has caused very great concern and regret amongst the wide circle of friends by whom he was esteemed and beloved. Mr. RICHARDS was a school fellow with the late Mr. WOODS and, like him, descended from the old settler families who have done so much to make the Eastern Province what it is. His father, who was one of the Colonists of 1820, was engaged in farming near the Fish River mouth when the disastrous war of 1835 occurred, and he had to flee to Grahamstown for refuge, his whole property having been seized or destroyed by the Kafirs. The heavy calamity proved too much for him to bear up under, and he sickened and died, leaving his young widow with a little family of children of whom William Attwell RICHARDS was the eldest. Mrs. RICHARDS, who is a sister of our esteemed and still vigorous fellow citizen Mr. Brook ATTWELL, after some years was married to Mr. Robert GODLONTON, and this circumstance was a fortunate one for young RICHARDS, who found a second and most affectionate father and friend in his new relative. The youths of Grahamstown in those early days received their schooling from a Mr. PAYNE, whose school was situated on Settlers’ Hill. It is a striking illustration of how death has been busy of late in our midst that five of the lads who were schoolfellows together at the school just named, Mr. RICHARDS, Mr. G. WOOD, Mr. B. ROBERTS, Mr. W. HAW and Mr. N. HOWSE have passed away within a brief space of time. On leaving school William RICHARDS was taken into the Journal office, and under Mr. GODLONTON’s care he acquired a thorough knowledge of the printing business, and developed a character remarkable for industry, intelligence and enterprise. In due season he became a member of the firm, and was instrumental in extending its operation, widely and successfully. As the Colony extended, it became the policy of those who had founded the Journal to establish other newspapers in various localities. The Friend of the Sovereignty, afterwards the Friend of the Free State, was the first of these new enterprises; and the E.P. Herald, Watchman, Uitenhage Times, E.L. Dispatch, Free Press, Diamond News and others followed in due succession. These offshoots from the parent stock soon became fully rooted, without sensibly impairing the vigour of the original enterprise: and thus their success does credit to the business capacity and foresight of the firm by which they were planted. In ’64 the Colonial Parliament was held at Grahamstown; and a fresh proof of Mr. W.A. RICHARDS’s perseverance and skill was shown by the punctual preparation of the proceedings and other papers which were daily required to be printed and got ready. The strain thus caused on the resources of a provincial printing office in those days was great, and it was no light task which fell on Mr. RICHARDS, who had undertaken to see the work through every night without delay or hindrance, so that it might be printed off in time for the next day’s sittings. He was successful in this arduous task, but it may have somewhat damaged his constitution, for he dated from that time frequent attacks of insomnia. Shortly after this time he removed to London, where in connexion with the firm he established the Empire newspaper. He had long, however, had a desire to obtain the contract for printing for the Colonial Government, which may be described as the blue ribbon of colonial business, and this he was fortunate enough to secure in 1881, and from that time took up his residence in Capetown. He threw himself into the multifarious details of this task, and the establishment of a new business, with his usual application and vigour, at a time when perhaps his constitution rather required rest from the labours of an unusually active business career. That he succeeded in conquering all the difficulties of an undertaking in which his progress was closely watched, and in which it had been supposed that success was impossible for a newcomer, is known to all; but the effort told rather heavily upon his health and it was in order to obtain a period of relaxation and change that he left the Colony for England a short time since. The voyage and subsequent holiday proved of much benefit, and he himself reported to his family and to friends that he was nearly recovered and should speedily return to work. The decree of Providence ordered otherwise, and it was while on a visit in Devonshire that he was suddenly stricken with apoplexy, under which he rapidly sank, and expired without ever having recovered consciousness. He was only 55 years of age, and might naturally have looked forward to a long period of quiet enjoyment in the afternoon of his busy life. Though shrewd and sensible in his views on political and municipal affairs, he had not taken any active part in these matters, further than that he was for a brief period in ’62 a member of the Town Council of this city. In his private life he was genial and playful, a kind and true friend and a lively companion. He early became a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and continued a loyal adherent and a liberal supporter of it all his life. Mr. RICHARDS was married in early life to a daughter of the late Mr. MATTHEWS of Salem; and he leaves a numerous family to lament their bereavement, made specially painful by the fact that the beloved husband and father was called away from life in a distant land, and without the power to leave a parting message behind. Their sorrow is shared by a wide circle of relatives and friends, to whom he was dear, and who will long cherish his memory in their hearts.
Friday 5 September 1884
THE LATE MR. W.A. RICHARDS
It is with great regret (writes the Argus) that we hear of the death of Mr. W.A. RICHARDS of the firm W.A. RICHARDS & Son, Government Printers. The sad event was awfully sudden. On Saturday morning Mr. W.H. RICHARDS received a cable message to say that his father was seriously ill, and that the worst was apprehended, and this was followed by a message stating that he was dead from apoplexy, and was never conscious after the seizure. It is some small consolation to the family therefore to know that Mr. RICHARDS passed away without pain. Mr. RICHARDS was as widely known as any colonist that could be named, especially in connection with his many newspaper enterprises. From the original Grahamstown firm there were several offshoots, both here and in England, the deceased gentleman being ever active in setting his hands – colonist-like – to undertakings, he latest of which was the Government contact held by the firm. The old Grahamstown firm was RICHARDS, GLANVILLE & Co. of the Journal, from whom sprang the London firm of GLANVILLE & Co, projectors of the paper now publishing as the Empire, in which Mr. RICHARDS maintained an active interest, making several journeys to England on the business of his firm in the colony. The Eastern province Herald and the late Diamond News were amongst the colonial journals in which Mr. RICHARDS had an interest: while indirectly it used to be said that the Journal “young men” were to be found settled in one capacity or another all over the Eastern Province. Mr. RICHARDS last and greatest venture was the Government printing contract, in which he succeeded Messrs. Saul SOLOMON & Co, who had held it for many years, and it says something for his buoyance of resource that he was ready to invade the Western capital, import a complete printing establishment, and set up his works for the purpose of carrying out a five years’ contract. The worries of this great undertaking undoubtedly hastened his end, as he had gone to England partly for some relief from business cares. In private life he was greatly liked. He was a prominent member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, and his loss will be greatly felt by his fellow members.
The Middelburg papers record the death under the most painful circumstances of Mrs. HAY, the wife of Mr. George HAY, the contractor for the post to Steynsburg. It appears that about a fortnight ago the unfortunate lady became insane. Whilst in this state she had to be constantly watched by some member of the household. On the morning of Wednesday Mr. HAY went outside for a short time and on his return was horrified to find his wife hanging from the top of the bedstead with a piece of cord round her neck. She was not quite dead when taken down, but all attempts to restore animation proved fruitless. Much sympathy is felt for Mr. HAY (who is a comparative stranger in the district) and for his family, who are thus so terribly afflicted.
Wednesday 10 September 1884
THE LATE CAPT. COXWELL
A movement, which we are sure will be met with very generous support at the Cape (writes the Times) has been set on foot by Mr. G. Tyrrell GILES, 2 Paper Buildings, Inner Temple, London, and other gentlemen, on behalf of the widow and children of the late Commodore of the Union Ship Company, who, we regret to learn, are left in necessitous circumstances. There can be little doubt that by this fact being made known to many of the friends and acquaintances of the deceased officer, and especially those who owed their safety and comfort to his courtesy and efficiency, they will be only too glad to afford assistance. Captain COXWELL was in the Union Company’s service for over 25 years, and for seven years was Commodore of the Fleet. During his whole service he had no accident to ship or passenger arising from his navigation, while his attention to his duties and the passengers was attested by the popularity of the ship under his command. He was in ill health for the last few years of his life, and underwent a serious operation more than once. During the last year, being unable to go to sea, he was in receipt of half-pay only. The expenses arising from the above cause and a large family have left a provision of little over £80 a year for widow and six children. The Chairman and Directors of the Union S.S. Company have headed the fund with a subscription of one hundred guineas, and twenty five pounds towards the general funeral expenses. They have also consented to inscriptions being solicited by means of the agencies of the company, while Mr. HART, the Secretary, has testified to the urgency of the case by kindly rendering his personal assistance. Subscriptions in Capetown may be handed to Mr. E.W. STEELE, the acting agent of the U.S.S. Company, by whom they will be duly transmitted to Mr. GILES, for the purpose of being placed in the hands of the executors of Captain COXWELL’s will.
Saturday 13 September 1884
DIED at Grahamstown on September 11th, William BARNSLEY Sen, in his 70th year
Estate of Federick Mouncey GILFILLAN of Grahamstown
NOTICE TO CREDITORS
The undersigned hereby gives notice that all Persons inebted to the above Estate are required to pay the same forthwith at his office, Grahamstown, otherwise legal proceedings will be instituted for recovery.
Thos. H. COPELAND
For Self and Co Trustee
Grahamstown, 11th Sept. 1884
Tuesday 16 September 1884
DIED at Glen Ovis on Friday 11th Sept 1884, Donald Lorraine, only son of Clement and Ina CURRIE
Wednesday 17 September 1884
MARRIED at St.Michael’s Pro-Cathedral, Grahamstown on the 17th Sept 1884, by the Rev Wharton B. Smith MA, Ebenezer James STARKEY to Alice Mary, third daughter of Stephen ASHINGTON of this city.
This morning Mr. E.J. STARKEY BA, Assistant Master of the Grahamstown Public School, was married to Miss Alice ASHINGTON. The ceremony was conducted by the Rev. B. Wharton SMITH at the Pro-Cathedral. The newly-married couple leave for Capetown for their bridal trip. The boys had a holiday in honour of the occasion.
Thursday 18 September 1884
DIED on the 27th August last, at the Residence of his stepson, Michael ADENDORFF, in the Orange Free State, John TROLLIP Senior, aged 86 years. Deceased was one of the British Settlers of 1820
DEATH OF MR. THOMAS WEBSTER
(Diamond Fields Advertiser)
Mr. Thomas WEBSTER, perhaps better known as “Fighting Tom”, died at his farm near Kimberley at 8 o’clock on Friday evening last week. Within a short time of his death deceased was in pursuit of his ordinary farming avocation. WEBSTER’s name is a household word wherever European colonists of any nationality whatever are to be found in South Africa. In common with many others he came to the Fields in the early days, and made money by plodding industry. He afterwards suffered from reverses, as many others suffered, through the share crisis; but for some years past he had been carrying on farming operations close to Kimberley. We had the pleasure to visit him a few weeks ago at his home, and found him the same genial, public-spirited man he has always been. Taking the liveliest interest in all that concerns the welfare of South Africa, he still attended to his ordinary business with diligence. He was in Kimberley on the day previous to his death, and appeared to be in his usual health and cheerful frame of mind. His death will cause a feeling of sorrow throughout the country, as in his death the colony loses an upright man, and one who was ever ready to help forward any undertakings for the benefit of his neighbours or the country generally. In the early days of the Free State, and in the [obscured] of Orange Sovereignty, deceased became a Commandant, and at the taking of Thaba [Bosiu] he was one of the first who passed the krantz. Commandant-General JOUBERT, who was in command at the time, complimented him for the able manner in which he and his followers scaled the krantzes. During the disturbance at Timi, Mr. WEBSTER was again to the front, and with the burghers distinguished himself in such a way as to call forth the admiration of the present President of the Free State. In fact the Free State Government gave him a free farm in acknowledgement of the very valuable services he rendered during the war in the conflict of the Free State with the Basutos, when men of pluck and intelligence were hardly to be found as leaders. Such was the respect and confidence in which he was held by the men composing the Free State command that they would follow him in any enterprise, however dangerous, when they would hesitate to follow men of their own nationality. One of the sorrows of the latter part of the deceased’s life was the impending troubles which appeared to threaten the country from the unhappy relations which are becoming so estranged between the English and Dutch colonists. We [obscured] and respectfully sympathise with Mrs. WEBSTER and members of the family in their sore bereavement.
It is with regret that we (Herald) hear of the sudden death of Mr. Matthew BERRY, at his house, New Brighton, on Thursday last. Mr. BERRY was well known in this colony, and was the founder of several good hotels, with which his name was for years connected. He was for some time inspector of roads; and took a deep interest in all connected with the Divisional Council.
Saturday 20 September 1884
After 25 year’s service under the Colonial Government, Mr. J. DELL, the Sub-General Manager of the Cape Government Railways, observes the Cape Times, is about to retire on a pension. Mr. DELL is able to boast that during the whole period he was Traffic Manager not a single life of a passenger was lost on the system under his control. Mr. DELL will be much missed on his retirement, for during his long term of office he made a large number of friends, whose best wishes will follow him wherever he may go.
Monday 22 September 1884
MARRIED on 22nd Sept 1884, at St.George’s Cathedral by the Very Rev. F.H. Williams DD, Dean of Grahamstown, George HIND to Angelina Maria, third daughter of William PARKINS Esq of this city.
This morning at the Cathedral the marriage was celebrated of Mr. Geo. HIND and Miss PARKINS. The Dean officiated, and there was a large crowd of friends present. After the ceremony the wedding march was performed. We wish the newly married couple every happiness.
We regret very sincerely having to record the death of Miss NIGHTINGALE of Alexandria, at the early age of 21 years. The cause of her death was very distressing. The young lady, as we recorded at the time, was left in the house one evening with an infant, the remainder of the family having gone out. It was a cold night; and Miss NIGHTINGALE was standing by the fire, when her dress caught alight. She rushed into the bedroom to get a blanket, but as the only one convenient was over the sleeping child she would not remove it. She then unfortunately ran out into the open air, where the wind fanned the flames, and she fell to the ground insensible. So she was found on the return of her friends, and though everything was done that could alleviate her pains, the injuries received have proved fatal.
Thursday 25 September 1884
DROWNED IN MUIZEBERG VLEI
The following is from the Cape Times of the 22nd:- The body of Mr. ATKINSON, of Claremont, was on Friday morning discovered in the Muizenberg Vlei, where it appears the unfortunate man had been bathing. Early in the morning the deceased, whose health had been for a few weeks past by no means good, set out in a trap, accompanied by two youths in his employ, for Muizenberg. Arrived there, he ordered the horses to be outspanned and, undressing himself, prepared to dive in the water. Before entering the water, however, he called the two youths and sent them to inspan the horses, which they immediately proceeded to do. They were away for about an hour, but on returning failed to find the deceased. Seeing his clothes on the edge of the Vlei, they began to be alarmed for his safety, and communicated their suspicions to a German who was passing by. Search was forthwith made, and before a few minutes had elapsed the body of the deceased was seen lying in about two feet of water near the edge of the Vlei. Assistance being forthcoming, the corpse was removed from the water, and every means of resuscitation tried, but without avail, life having been extinct for some time. There was a large cut on the forehead, and it is supposed that the deceased, in diving, must have struck his head against a stone, thereby rendering himself insensible, and so have sunk. The body was at once conveyed to Claremont, where it was taken to Mr. THOMAS’s, the chemist. Strange to say, at the very time when the body was brought into the shop, Mrs. ATKINSON, who had not heard anything of the accident, was purchasing some articles, and the shock she received on hearing of her husband’s death must have been terrible. The body was examined by Dr. STEVENSON, who gave it as his opinion that the deceased must have been seized with a fit while in the water.
THE LATE THOMAS WEBSTER
We take over from the Friend the following interesting account of the death of Thomas WEBSTER, who died at Boshof on September 5:
Thomas WEBSTER was the son of Thos. WEBSTER, one of the youngest of the 1820 Settlers, and the eldest of thirteen children. He was born in December 1825. In the Kafir war of 1846, when only 21 years of age, he had already so distinguished himself as to have obtained the command of a party of burghers; and in that capacity he took part in many battles and skirmishes against the enemy. On one occasion during the war of ’46 he and John GREYLING, having been deserted by the rest of their party, were surrounded by the Kafirs, and had to defend themselves against overwhelming odds. GREYLING, being severely wounded, urged WEBSTER to retreat and leave him to his fate, but this WEBSTER firmly refused to do, and stood by his helpless comrade until a relief party came up and rescued them both.
When the war of 1850-51 broke out he was in business at Fort Armstrong, near the Kat River settlement, at which Fort or Station there were a few families of white Colonists. The Hottentots having risen in rebellion against the Government, assembled around Fort Armstrong and called upon the small band of white men (thirty in number) gathered there to surrender. Having placed themselves under the command of WEBSTER the colonists refused to come to obey this summons, and defended themselves successfully for a while; but eventually finding their ammunition and supplies nearly exhausted, and cut off as they were from all help, they were forced to come to terms with the Hottentots. The men were allowed to march out with their arms, leaving their families, however, behind under a solemn promise of protection from the Hottentots, and a guarantee from the resident Missionaries, THOMPSON and RENTON (who even during the rebellion continued to exercise great influence over the Hottentots) that their wives and children would be safe. These thirty men then commenced a night march towards Whittlesea, which they reached after a tedious journey lasting several days, during which they had to endure several hardships, dangers and privations. On reaching Whittlesea they were welcomed with cheers by the people of the village as a valuable addition to the defensive force of the place.
Almost immediately after their arrival the Shiloh Hottentots also revolted, and joined the Kafirs of Sandili, Mapasso and Kreli, who poured into Shiloh by thousands for the purpose of thence attacking Whittlesea. Shiloh is distant from Whittlesea barely two miles, and the latter place was soon surrounded by a large body of Kafirs, who during a period of fourteen days regularly attacked the village every morning at the break of day, but were as regularly beaten off by the brave Settlers, until at last their ammunition was exhausted; and it would have gone hard with them had not a party of Cradock burghers, under command of Mr. NELSON, come to their relief, bring[ing] with them a large supply of lead and gunpowder. This reinforcement did not come a moment too soon, for even whilst the fresh supplies of ammunition were being distributed, the enemy, under cover of a troop of cattle which they drove before them, commenced a most determined attack upon the village. The burghers, however, stood their ground, and now the mighty horde of savages were finally routed and driven back to Shiloh. In all these attacks upon Whittlesea, and especially in this last decisive fight, Thomas WEBSTER, his father, and six of his brothers took a prominent part. On the day of the arrival of the “Cradock Bricks”, as they were called, these, together with the “Whittlesea Fire-eaters” and a party of Fingoes, organised a commando to attack Shiloh. That station had, before the revolt of its Hottentot inhabitants, been entrenched by a party of sappers and miners under the direction of Capt. TYLDEN of the Royal Engineers, whilst the church, standing on a square in the centre of the town, had been fortified by a brick wall, properly loopholed. When the Hottentots, who had on previous occasions proved themselves faithful allies to the white man, joined the Kafirs, these trenches and fortifications were turned by them against their former friends and masters. The leaders of the force that marched to attack Whittlesea were Captain TYLDEN (afterwards Major TYLDEN, who fell in the Crimea in the battle of Inkerman), Thomas Holden BOWKER and Thomas WEBSTER.
As the force approached the town the Hottentot sharpshooters opened fire, and struck down many of the Fingoes; but the column moved leisurely forward, with the three leaders at its head. Thomas WEBSTER repeatedly urged the captain to give the word to charge, as the ranks were being fearfully thinned by the showers of bullets from the trenches, but TYLDEN replied “Be patient, WEBSTER, be patient, the time has not arrived yet.” Presently, losing all patience, he raised his hat, and waving it over his head, shouted “Follow me” and rushed forward, followed by the entire force, driving the Kafirs and rebels before them out of the trenches and into the Church Mission house and other fortified spaces. Then commenced the attack, which on account of the Fingoes retreating with the loot taken by them from the houses, did not prove successful. The enemy, however, did not venture resisting a second attack, but vacated the place the following day. Among the killed on the side of the Colonists was John WEBSTER, a cousin of Thomas WEBSTER, who was shot in the forehead whilst in the act of firing at a loophole in the wall round the Church. During the armistice of some fourteen days, proclaimed by Colonel SOMERSET, Thomas WEBSTER conceived the plan of going down to the Kat River to arrange for the release of the families left behind at the retreat from Fort Armstrong. He started in the company of Mr. John THOMPSON, son of the Rev. Mr. THOMPSON, passing through Shiloh on his way. Arrived at Philliptown, where the women and children were under the charge of the missionaries, it soon became evident that WEBSTER had fallen into a trap, for though young THOMPSON was perfectly safe, being the son of their missionary, Thomas WEBSTER had by this time, owing to the active and prominent part he had taken in the war, excited the vengeance of the Hottentots against him. They surrounded the house in which he was, and he escaped only with the greatest difficulty, at great risk of his life, having scarcely had time to greet his wife. He was hotly pursued for some distance, but eventually succeeded in reaching Whittlesea in safety. Subsequently these families were escorted to Shiloh and delivered safely to their friends by the rebels, who, had it not been for Thomas WEBSTER’s interference, would, as a reward for thus keeping faith with their foes, have been fired upon as they were leaving the village. Whilst these events were taking place in and around Whittlesea, the kafirs having on one occasion swooped down on the cattle of the Fingoes, a sally was made from Whittlesea and the cattle recaptured. A long fight ensued within sight of the village, and eventually, when it was thought that the Kafirs had been driven back, W.G.B. SHEPSTONE, the Fingo commandant, dispatched one of his lieutenants to what he supposed to be a party of Fingoes, to order them to fall back. He started off accordingly, rode to within a hundred yards of the supposed Fingoes, and shouted “you are to retire”, when to his surprise they began firing at him. They were a party of kafirs and rebel Hottentots. Very soon his horse, receiving a slight wound – as is supposes – began to buck, and pitched the lieutenant over his head, when with shouts of “Vang hem! Vang hem!” (catch him) the enemy rushed upon him. At this critical moment, when the Kafirs were only twenty or thirty yards from their intended victim, a single horseman rode up, and firing one shot, from the saddle, called upon the young Englishman to lay hold of his stirrup, and thus bore him out of danger, neither the rescuer nor the rescued receiving a scratch, though the bullets fell around them like hail. The young lieutenant was Robert JEFFERSON, now of Aliwal North, and his deliverer was Thomas WEBSTER, who when standing some distance away firing long shots had seen the mistake, and immediately mounted and rode to the rescue. How many Victoria Crosses, to say nothing of Cheap and Muddy Glories, have been bestowed in later days for deeds not half so valiant as this!
At the battle of Imvani, near where Queenstown now stands, the Fingoes, panic-stricken by the vastly superior numbers of the Kafirs, had bolted, leaving the few white men to the mercy of the savage hordes who came yelling down towards them. Thomas WEBSTER, putting spurs to his horse, galloped beyond the foremost of the retreating Fingoes, jumped off, and drew a line with his ramrod, and then, with rifle ready declared that he would shoot the first man who attempted to cross the line. This had the desired effect. The Fingoes knew he would keep his word, and halting as they came up, returned singing a war-song to the scene of battle, where they materially assisted in routing the enemy.
WEBSTER was present at all the great fights during the war of 1851, and aided in driving the Kafirs from the Amatolas, Waterkloof, Blinkwater, the Imvani, Lower Kei and other strongholds. For those services he was rewarded by being given the first choice of a farm of the Eastern frontier of the Cape Colony. He had also the first offer of the appointment as Chief of the Mounted Police, but thinking his friend Thomas Holden BOWKER better deserving of the post, and that it should have been offered to him first, he declined the honour, which was eventually conferred on Walter (afterwards Sir Walter) CURRIE.
It was said in the Colonial wars that if WEBSTER jumped from his horse and fired from the ground he never missed his shot; and Thomas Holden BOWKER and other friends of his used to declare that to their knowledge, during 1846 and 1850-51, he had killed with his own hands no less than forty of the enemy. He always rode a yellow horse, and whenever the rebel Hottentots saw this horse they used to throw themselves flat on their faces, crying out to each other “Pas op! daar kom die geel paard!” (Look out! There comes the yellow horse!”
So much to illustrate the early career of WEBSTER during the troublous days of “The War of the Axe” and “Umlangeni Rising”. To describe his subsequent deeds of valour and during the Basuto wars of 1865-67 would be to write a history of the Free State.
Saturday 27 September 1884
DIED at Grahamstown on the 25th Sept 1884, Mrs. Thomas MILLER Sen, aged 90 years. Deceased was one of the British Settlers of 1820.
Messrs. John and James MILLER wish to express their heartfelt thanks to the Friends and Neighbours for the very great kindness done by them to their Mother during their absence from town.
Monday 29 September 1884
DEATH OF MR. W.A. RICHARDS
We take the following from the London Times of the 2nd September: “On the 28th August, at St.Bartholomew’s Hospital, William Attwell RICHARDS, of Roseneath, Sea Point, Capetown, died very suddenly, aged 55”
The Empire of the 5th September has the following remarks:
It is our mournful duty to report the sudden death of W.A/ RICHARDS Esq of Capetown, which took place in London on Thursday, August 28th. The deceased gentleman, who was on a visit to a brother-in-law, residing at Finchley, left that place for the City on Thursday morning in his usual health. He spent the morning in writing to relatives and friends at the Cape. Having finished his correspondence for the outgoing mail, he proceeded to Crosby Hall to take luncheon with Captain GRIFFIN. He had hardly finished the repast when he complained of being unwell. Capt. GRIFFIN soon perceived that the illness was of a serious character; medical aid was promptly sought, and the highest skill brought to bear upon the case. But alas! it proved unavailing. All his relations residing in or near London were summoned to his bedside, but he was never conscious of their presence. He died after only a few hours’ illness. The funeral took place on Tuesday. The former part of the service was conducted in the Wesleyan Chapel, Finchley, by the Rev. Mark Guy PEARSE of Bristol, who for many years had been an intimate and much-valued friend of the deceased gentleman. The service was simple and impressive, and the short address delivered by the rev. gentleman profoundly affected the congregation which had assembled on the solemn occasion. The service in the chapel having been concluded, the remains, followed by his sons, Joseph and Alfred RICHARDS; his daughter, Mrs. PENFOLD; his sister, Mrs. BALLS; and by Mr. BALLS, Mrs. Joseph RICHARDS and other friends, were conveyed to the New Southgate Cemetery, where the Rev. M.G. PEARSE again officiated. Many letters have been received by his son from influential firms in the City with which Mr. RICHARDS had extensive business transactions, and the writers speak in the highest terms of his character, and express their deep sympathy with the bereaved family.