Chapter I - LEAVING ENGLAND
I was born in Gloucestershire, England, in the year of our Lord,1810, the 5th day of November, being the eldest son of Isaac andElizabeth Wiggil. My mother's maiden name was Grimes,of whom I know but little, nor do I know but little of my father's family. Hewas a Millwright and Carpenter by trade, and in those days he was considered afirst-class workman.
I remember very little of England beyondgoing to school and learning the first rudiments of education, until I wasabout eight years of age. At that time, on the 12th day ofJuly, 1819, being the last day of the session of Parliament, Mr. Van Sittart, leading cause of the embarkation for Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, of more than fourthousand souls.
Mr. Van Sittartis reported to have said among other things, "The Cape is suited to mostof the productions of temperate climates; of the olive, mulberry and vine; andother fruits; and persons emigrating to these settlements would soon findthemselves very comfortable."
Long before this emigrationwas talked about, my Father had thought of going to America,but did not quite make up his mind to leave England until the scheme wasproposed. Accordingly, he settles his business, and prepared to leave the dear homeland,his family then consisting of his wife and four children, namely: Eli (myself), George, Joseph, and Elizabeth.
Good-byes were said,farewell tears were shed, and they embarked on the "KennerseleyCastle", which sailed from Bristol in December, 1819, arriving at CapeTown in March of 1820, and in April anchored in AlgoaBay, and disembarked on the following morning at the town which was only afishing village.
Upon landing, the settlerswere disappointed to find their destination fully one hundred miles from thecoast. They had left Englandwith very little knowledge of this new home, but they were full of courage,these hardy pioneers, full of hope for the future. Times were hard in England, andvisions of a new land, of a freer life, cheered them; but their hearts sank asthey sat on the baggage, among the sandhills,awaiting the conveyances, which were to take them to their new homes.
The large wagons, however,in due time made their appearance, drawn by spans of fourteen or sixteen oxen.A novel sight, indeed, to the settlers. These wagons were provided by theGovernment, at the cost to the emigrants, a debt which was afterwards mostconsiderable, as were the charge of rations for several months. In fact, theBritish Government of that day behaved with the greatest liberality to theyoung plantation.
On the 18th of April, the forst, or "Chapmans"party, commenced their inland journey in ninety-six wagons, from AlgoaBay,afterwards known as Port Elizabeth,then a small village numbering thirty-five souls. The head of the company towhich my father belongs was Mr. Samuel Bradshaw. In this company were thefollowing men, their wives and families; Richard Bradshaw, Isaac Wiggil, S. Burt, Trmmas Brant,William Nuth, Joseph king, Henry King, Phillip King,Samuel Bennett, Thomas Baker, Joshue Davis, and JohnGibbons.
They were located in aplace called "LemonValley". Thesettlers called it "New Gloucester", after the city my father camefrom and a lovely spot it was. We felt forlorn as the wagons moved off and leftus and our luggage on the grass, under the open sky. Our roughly kind Dutchcarriers wished us goodbye, and maybe they wondered what become of us.
When we had watched themout of sight, we looked around us; no shelter of any kind; grass, trees andflowers. We must take root and grow, or die where we stood; but we werestanding on our own ground, and it was the first time many could say so. Butnight was coming on, and we must prepare; so tents were pitched, fires kindled,bedding unrolled, supper cooked; and then to retire, and thus, the life of thesettler began.
Many wild animals swarmedthrough the forests, such as elephants wolves,jackals, hyenas. Game of various kinds was also abundant. Many kinds ofantelope bound over the plains. Ostriches ruffled their pretty plumes, birds ofbrilliant hue sang among the trees. The children were happy, the new sights andsurroundings interested them. The cares and fears of our parents did nottrouble us. We picked flowers, searched for wild fruits, and the boys manytimes ran headlong into dangers unknown to ourselves and our elders.
We found wild grapes, thevines up and over trees fifty and a hundred feet high; the wild fig; the myrtleapple; wild plums; the Cape gooseberry, a berry in a pod or a sheath. TheMimosa trees exude a sweet gum, which we boys used to eat. The trees are fullof thorns, and are used to make corrals with, the thorny branches put closetogether, they make a good fence.
Chapter II -Making New Homes
I will now try to describethe valley. It was called "Lemon's Valley", because in it were foundsome lemon trees. Also grape vines, being remains of a Dutchhomestead. We traced a water ditch. Also the ruins ofa house which had been built of mud and destroyed by fire. A threshingfloor was also discovered.
Young as I was, I thoughtthis valley the prettiest place I had ever seen. Rising hills and mountains allaround, covered with trees and wild flowers. A serpentine river flows throughthe center of the valley, on its banks grew the wild date, fig, and othertrees, mostly the Mimosa, the flowers of which scent the air for miles around.
When a few weeks hadelapsed, the settlers began to think of building houses. They divided thevalley into lots, and each man took a lot which pleased him, until all weresatisfied. They built houses of rushes, weeds and wattle, and daub, none ofwhich was wind proof or rainproof.
My father built his houseupon a high ridge, of a strong material. He cut stout, posts in the forest,carried them on his shoulders from two to four miles away. He planted Heplanted the posts firmly, filled in between them with wattles, which I helpedto carry. The roof was covered with sawed timber, sawed in an old-fashionedsawpit. When the house was finished, it looked very neat. It was two storieshigh. In this house my brother Elijah was born. When the house was built,attention was turned to breaking the ground up which commenced in good earnest.Many plowing by moonlight. Gardens were soon made,fields were plowed, and wheat sown, but alas! The wheat got the rust, and wasno use for flour. They then grew barley and other grain, which was used forbread. Vegetables of all kinds grew well, such as pumpkins, corn, beans andpeas. The Government1 still supplied food rations to the settlers,without which we would have suffered.
It was during this time apainful accident occurred to me. My father borrowed a sled to do work with. A sled and six oxen. My brother George and myself were sent to return them. George was leading the oxenand I was driving and flourishing the whip. Then I thought I would lead, andlet my brother ride, but before I could get to the head of the oxen, theybecame frightened and started to run; they ran over me; the sled cut my leg,laying the bone bare. It was done so quickly, I did not know I was hurt until Ifound my shoe full of blood. The wound was three inches in length. I could notwalk, so George put me on the sled, and we turned back home again. It wasseveral weeks before I could be out again and to an active boy of ten years,this was a great trial. I wanted to be out, for weboys were always busy. We used to hunt for wild bees' nests,the honey was very acceptable to eat without bread.
Chapter III - The New Settlement
The time soon came whenthree Commissioners arrived in our colony to appoint the settlers' homesteads.Thus they spread out, four, five, and six miles apart; built better homes, andwere more comfortable. They still had to go eighteen or twenty miles forrations, which was quite a labour until they got somecattle, which they did by saving an ox-occasionally from those given to themfor beef. By so doing, every man soon had two yoke of oxen. They first usedsleds, and the block-wheeled wagons. They finally thought of buying wagons fromDutch settlers, who had been in the colony for years.
They then began to makeroads from one settlement to another, which was easily done, the country beinglevel. The principal road was one to Bathrust wherethe rations were given out; this consisted of flour, rice, live sheep and oxen,and rum. When it was brought to the settlement and divided, it was quite asight. Many were eager for the rum, which caused many a drunken spree. I do notknow why the Government thought rum a necessity.
At the mouth of the River Kowie, was quite a town. Bathurst was appointed by the BritishGovernment to be the seat of Magistrate, which was called "The Drostdy". At the Kowie, alarge Custom House was built, also Government officers. All this gave work tothe tradesmen and mechanics among the settlers. Under the direction of Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin, all theseworks were done. He was Acting Governor in absence of Lord Charles Somerset. Onhis return, he upset all that Sir Rufane had done, tothe great dissatisfaction of the people.
He moved the Government to Grahamstown,and the seaport to AlgoaBay.Vessels occasionally came to the Kowie to unloadtheir cargo, and c little business was still transacted, but they finallyabandoned the Port, and went to AlgoaBay,which became a flourishing place. The town was named PortElizabeth by Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin, in memory of his young wife, who died just beforehe came to the Cape. He built an obelisk ofbrown stone to her memory, which still stands on a square overlooking the bay,called "The Donkin Reserve". The countryaround Bathurstand the Kowie is of a park-like aspect, and verybeautiful.
Chapter IV -Struggles of the New Settlers
By the year 1823, thesettlers had got plenty of cattle through exchanging with the Dutch people, whowere glad to get clothing and other articles in return for oxen and wagons.Many settlers turned their attention to trading, taking loads of merchandiseinland, among the Dutch, and trips sometimes lasting six months. Before thiswas done, the Dutch wore clothing made of skins. When they saw the pretty dressgoods, they were willing to pay almost any price for them,,which enriched the traders. They often paid in homemade soap,and ostrich feathers.
Great FishRiver was the boundary line between the settlers and the Kaffirs.The country being well wooded, the Kaffirs used to hide in the dense bush andpounce out on the settlers cattle, and may suffered from their robbery. Theyoften killed the herders and drove off the cattle. Often have the farmers foundtheir cattle corrals empty in the morning, and the iron dragged off the plows,with which the Kaffirs made spears, called "Assegais". At last atreaty was made that they would not cross the river, but the Kaffirs oftenbroke the promise, and did much stealing.
The settlers were earnestand energetic in their first attempts to make Albany an agricultural district. Just as theyhad for their lands in good order, their garden planted, then came the greatflood of 1823, which swept through all the settlements, sweeping all that camein their way. Even washing the plowed ground away, as deep asthe plow went. Many houses were washed away. One man made a hole in thewall of his house to let the water out, and only letthe river in.
The early struggles andprivations of the settlers appealed to the hearts of British humanity, who werenever appealed to in vain. Contributions, numerous and hearty, came from Eastand West India joined in aiding the MotherCountry. The amount reaching several thousand pounds.Boards of relief were formed, and many cases of painful distress came beforethem. They were thus helped to start afresh, although some got more than theirshare.
Chapter V - MyTravels with Edward King
In the year 1823, a youngman by the name of Edward King came to stay in my father's house. He had comefrom Englandin our party. He had just returned from a trading expedition among the Dutchfarmers, and when he was ready to be off again, he induced my father to let himtake me along with him, to help with the wagon and oxen. My father gave hisconsent and we started. In Grahamstown we stayed afew weeks, working at hauling firewood. Then we started for Wilshire, carryinggovernment supplies for that place, which was about fifty miles from Grahamstown, in the heart of Kaffir-land.
We left Grahamstown,crossing Bothas Hill, which was very steep and rocky.Our road lay for miles through thick bush, the trees covered with runners andvines. A peculiar tree grows in abundance, called "Speck-boom" by theDutch, known in Englandas "Elephant's Food." The leaves are small, thick and juicy and verysour. The wood of this tree is spongy and porous, of no use as timber or fuel.The elephants are fond of it as food.
The Government had thisroad made. The first place we reached was a farm called "Herman'sKraal", on it was a military fort. Oh, how tired I was with that day'stravel. My limbs ached. I could not sleep. I was up early the next morning takingthe oxen out to graze. I saw for the first time a new fruit, which grew on akind of cactus, called the "Prickly Pear". With this fruit I had apainful experience. Each leaf is covered with small thorns, which rub off assoon as touched. This I did not know. Childlike, I pulled the fruit and beganto eat but soon was in great pain, the thorns sticking in my hands and mouth.The fruit has a thick skin, when that is peeled off,the flesh is firm, full of seeds and of delicious flavor. When I learned how tohandle them, I enjoyed many a feast. They are hard to eradicate, every leaf,when touches the earth, puts out rootlets, and thus starts a new plant coveringacres of land. The more they are cultivated, the less thorny they are.
Fort Wilshireis on the bank of the GreatFishRiver.There are two rivers of that name, one being the Little Fish River, finallymerges into one. We traveled through dense FishRiverbush, from Herman's Kraal to the river. In the bush we saw many wild elephants,but they did not molest us. We crossed FishRiverat Double Drift, so called because an island divides the Drift, or Ford, intwo. Here, at night we watched the elephants come down to drink. We left theriver and ascended a very steep hill, from the top of which we had a fine viewof the country for miles around. On both sides of this hill winds the river.The country is park-like in scenery, open spaces and clumps of tees. Atwenty-mile travel from here and we reached FortWilshire,named in honor of Colonel Wilshire, of a British regiment who helped drive theKaffirs out of these regions in 1819. Rev. Henry Dugmore,in his Reminiscence, gives a graphic description of this place. I havebeen much interested in reading it, as I visited it as a child.
When the Government heardof the commercial talents of the settlers, they consented to foster it by aPeriodical Faid, to be held at FortWilshire,where the traders and Kaffirs could meet to exchange wares. That was indeed atime of excitement, for both parties. The parties had beads, buttons, and brasswire. The Kaffirs were there in thousands from mountain and glen, bringing withthe, their articles of exchange, being ox-hides, ferns and gum, from Mimosatrees, and sometimes elephant's tusks. Here were seen long lines of women withbundles on their heads, babies on their backs, until a crowd was assembledunder the tress which surrounded the fort, and bartering began. A tremendouslot of talk took place and many could not understand each other. Strangelanguage was spoken, and sadly perplexed were the traders at times, before allwere satisfied. If a photographer had been there, a curious picture would havebeen taken of that motley throng. Fashions among the Kaffirs change from timeto time, and this caused a loss to the traders. The women are as particularabout their head turbans and skin mantles their bead and button trimmings asthe Europeans. This fair was good for Grahams-town merchants and the settlers,but did not aid in the civilization of the Kaffirs, for greed and unprincipledmen smuggled guns and ammunition in with the merchandise, and with theseweapons the Kaffirs fought against the settlers in the terrible ruinous warswhich soon followed.
Chapter VI - MyTravels with Edward King
When we left FortWilshire,we took the road to FortBeaufort, a town abouttwenty-five miles from here. It is on the KatRiver,a large stream flowing between banks fringed with willows and other largetrees. From FortBeaufort,we returned to Grahamstown, crossed the FishRiverat .Fee Kraal Ford. Here were prickly pears in abundance, but I did not touchthem. We passed Herman's Kraal again, and finally reached Grahamstownsafe and sound. Here we stayed at a blacksmith's named William Bear. EdwardKing left me here and went to see my father, and on his return told me he hadpermission of my father to take me with him on another expedition. I afterwardlearned this was false.
While in Grahamstwon, I had an experience I never shall forget,which I will relate here. I was herding the oxen in Captain Somerset's Kloof (Canyon), when a most terrific thunderstorm came on.The thunder rolled, the lightening played around my feet. I took shelter undera large tree, not knowing then that it was the worst thing I could have done. Rainfell in torrents, flooded the ground, filled thestreams and rivulets. It was with great difficulty that I got the oxen andmyself home. Such violent thunderstorms are frequent in South Africa,lightening often setting fire to houses or barns, and killing men and animals.
Well, in due time we wereoff again on our journey, taking with us three passengers, Mr. and Mrs. Mittenand a Mr. Dale, who were on their way to CapeTown. The first time we camped was on the farm of aMr. Nel. It must have been a very old place; themanure in the sheep corral was about 8 feet deep. The Dutch seldom clean outtheir corrals, and, in consequence, it collects and gets higher and higher;they keep brushing it up with minosa tree branches,until the sheep or cattle stand on a mound 8 or 10 feet above the ground.Sometimes these corrals take fire, and burn or smolder six or seven years.
We were now in SomersetDistrict. The road at times was dangerous. I well remember one very ugly place.The road was excavated on the side of a mountain, and on one side was a deepdefile several hundred feet deep. The road being very narrow, a slightdeviation would have caused the wagon and all to have gone over the side andbeen dashed to pieces. The farmers in this district were rich in horses, cattleand sheep, lived in ease and luxury. At this time all the Dutch were slaveowners.
We passed many finehomesteads, gardens, and orchards of luscious fruits of all kinds. Grapes in abundance, from which they made large quantities ofbrandy and wine, also raisins. The houses had large cellars, in whichwere stored barrels of wine and brandy.
When we reached the Fall River; we stayed afew days with a farmer named Peter Dutois. Here Mr.King made a change in wagons, receiving six oxen as well. While on the farm Ihad an experience not to be forgotten. As usual, one day, I took the oxen outto graze, crossing a small dry creek only full of water when it rained. Thisday I stayed out a little later, darkeness came onsuddenly, and I could not find the crossing. Wolves and jackals began prowling,and barking all around me. I was fearful they would eat me up. I kept mycourage up as well as I could, knowing the wagon road was below me. I kept ondown until a cow that was left out that evening going home happen to be on ourroad. She took the lead, my oxen followed her. I followed them, until wereached the house. I was truly thankful to the cow and to my Heavenly Father'sprotecting care.
From here on we traveledover extensive plains, known as the "Karoo", covered with a small shrub,bearing yellow or pink flowers, and no grass. Cattle and sheep live on thisshrub. There is very little water. We would go about thirty miles withoutseeing a drop. Hundreds of ostriches, guinea fowls, wild turkeys, and othergame birds live on those plains. Antelopes called Hartebeests,and springbok by the thousands. Lions were also plentiful, and it is on theseantelopes they lived. At last, these plains came to an endand was halted at a creek, a tributary to the SundayRiver.A desolate, wild, no Habitation is sight. Willows and Keri wood grew on itsbanks. This tract of country belongs to the District of Graaf-Runet.Graaf Rienet was a Dutchtown one hundred and fifty miles from Grahamstown.This district contains the highest mountains in SouthernAfrica, called the "Compassberg",its altitude being 10,250 feet above the level of the sea.
We left the SundayRiver,travelling through a pretty country, stopping at manyfarm houses to do a little trading. This country also abounded in game of allkinds. We finally came to a rugged chain of mountains called the "QuartBergen" or the "Black Mountains".They extended through the whole colony from Cape District to Grahamstown. We halted at a farmhouse built near an openingin the mountains, as I always wanted to see all there was to be seen. It washard work climbing up, but harder work descending, so precipitous was its wide,one misstep and I would have fallen headlong and been dashed to pieces.
The road from this placewent through the Fort. A river also runs through, which drains the country formany miles. It is a curious stream, at some places it disappears under a bed ofsand, to reappear further on, a swift stream. As we passed through this Poort or Pass, I saw hundreds of large baboons leaping overthe huge rocks, -looking down on us and barking. Thousands of Conies, orjackrabbits were sitting on the rocks, sunning themselves. Other wild animalsof this region are wolves, tigers, porcupines, wildcats, and anteaters.
We next came to a farmowned by a man named Knott. We stayed one day there and were treated verykindly. After we left this place we traveled for days through these mountains,following the river which threaded its way, winding this way and that way,those rugged rocks frowning down on us. At one place the rocks were overhangingand we traveled under them with the baboons and rabbits in close company. Theriverbanks were fringed with trees of various kinds. The country inhabited byDutch farmers, not the wealthiest.
One night we camped with nohouse in sight. In the night there came a heavy snowstorm. Snow was six inchesdeep. Our cattle were turned out, so we could not move for two days. Then Mr, King went on foot in search of help, and found afarmhouse quite near the wagon. He got oxen and drew the wagon to the house,and engaged a Hottento to hunt our oxen. He soonfound them and we continued out journey another day. We now found the wintercoming so severe, the oxen being poor and weak, wedecided to stay here awhile. The Dutchman kindly let us live in a part of his house ,we boarded ourselves and were very comfortable. Mr.Mitten being a carpenter and Mr. Dale a shoemaker, they both worked for theDutchman. We stayed here two months, riding around and visiting wilh the neighbors, sometimes trading with them.
Chapter VII - MyTravels with Edward King
A short sketch of thisdistrict may be of interest to some readers. The division was formed in 1786andnamed after the then Governor of the Cape, VanDe Graaf, and his wife, Rienet.Before this time, however, it had been traversed by the colonists in search ofwater and pasturage, and some had" established themselves there. Theyfound it inhabited by straggling tribes of a diminutive people, called bushmen, who existed on small game, killed with poisonedarrows, also eating ants and locusts and honey. They possessed neither flocksnor herds, never cultivated the soil, and never built houses. Their habitations being clefts of rocks. The pioneers of civilizationfound these people very troublesome, stealing sheep, killing the heardsmen, often murdering whole families.
In spite of the degradedconditions of the bushmen, they possessed a talentunknown to other tribes. They very skillfully.madepictures on walls of the caves. Many of their drawings are still to beseen on smooth faces of the cliffs, representing wild animals in variousattitudes, the colors never fade. They were true artists. They are now anextinct race. The Dutch waged war on them and the few that remained merged intothe Hottentot race.
The Division of Graaf-Rienet, when originally formed, was computed tocontain 50,000 square miles, but it was greatly reduced by other districtsbeing formed, which took in parts of it. Colesburg,Beaufort, Gradock, Somerset, and part of Uitenague, being thus formed. Its entire area is now estimated at8,000 sq. miles, with a population of 9,000 souls.
Chapter VIII -Lost Cattle
After staying about twomonths on this place, Mr King and myselfstarted off on foot in search of our Oxen, which had strayed away. We traveledfor miles, and meet no one. At night we reached a farmhouse. I was indeed glad,for ! was so tired andhungry. The houses are far apart in this part of the country, on account ofscarcity of water. These people treated us kindly, gave us good supper and agood bed. The Dutch people are very hospitable. They will take in any strangerfor weeks, and never charge for their board.
Well, we left those kindfriends the next morning, continuing our weary search for the Oxen, but oursearch was in vain. Night came on, and no house in sight, so we lay down,hungry and tired, but not to sleep much. Wolves barked and howled around us.Mr. King had an English fowling piece with him, but did not use it.
In the morning we startedoff again, wishing we had some food with us. I found some marrow bones on theroadside, we broke them open, but there was no marrow in them. We were glad tofind water to quench our thirst. Wild melons grew here, but too bitter to eat.Well, we continued our journey, footsore and tired, and to our joy, at lengthreached a farm house in an isolated spot up in the mountains, where one wouldthink it impossible for any one to live. We found a place of refuge for thenext twenty-four hours, which we much enjoyed. We went back to the wagon by adifferent road, passing farmhouses all the way, having no suffering. No traceof the Oxen could be found. Then Mr King sold hiswagon to Mr. Mitten, and Mr. Dale, also a few Oxen. The lost animals were neverfound by us. I do not remember what he got for his wagon. I only remember twoor three watches.
While we were staying hereI saw a sight I never shall forget. This Dutchman had a slave boy aboutfourteen years of age. He had a sister on a neighboring farm, and he would runaway to her. One day they brought him home, and to punish him he was tied to awagon wheel, the wagon turned on its side, so that the wheel would turn. Everytime the wheel turned, the boy came round, a man with a large strap in handwith a buckle on one end, would give him a cut. The blood would run at everystroke, so that the wheel was covered with blood. They then took him off,rubbed salt into his wounds, and set him to leading the Oxen, which were plowing;tied his hands fast to the plow so that he could not run away.
After this painful scene,Mr. King and I started off on foot, travelling threedays, passing homesteads, with their orchards of oranges, lemons, figs andother fruits. At night we were kindly received by the people of these farms.The third day we reached a farm where lived a widow and from her Mr. Kingbought a wagon and fifteen Oxen, and one horse, some cows and one bull. Hestarted off with the wagon drawn by eight Oxen, leaving the loose stock for meto drive, tiding the horse. The horse was so lazy I could not get him along, soI dismounted to get a switch to help him along. While doing so, he started offat full gallop, with me running after him for a mile, he finally outran me, andI never saw him again. I retraced my steps to where I had left the cattle, they were nowhere to be seen. While I hunted forthem Mr. King was going on and on, till out of sight. I found the cattle over arise, got them back to the road, and followed the tracks made by Mr. King'swagon wheels. His tires were full of large nails. When I came up with him hewas in a fix. In coming to a small river, the Oxen, having no leader, had madea wrong turn, and brought the wagon on a barrow bank between the river and themountain. It was impossible to get the wagon out without unyoking the oxen andbacking the wagon out, which we did. We were within a mile of a farmhouse. Whenwe reached it we halted for the night. During the night the bull ran away andthe dogs stole the meat. The next day Mr. King went on with the wagon, leavingme to walk and drive the loose stock.
I followed the track of hiswagon. Among the many tracks I knew his, by it’s having great nails on thetires. I once picked up the tar bucket, which he had dropped, carried a littledistance, found it too heavy. I hid it under a bush and left it. Two daystravel brought us to G. Knott's again, to my surprise, for I had understoodKing to say he was taking me home. We were traveling for days in Swellendam District. We stayed at Knott's for some time andmade arrangements to leave the loose cattle there, in his care. Then Mr. Kingand I started with the wagon, back to the brandy and dried fruit to take backto Grahamstown. We often suffered for want of water.One day we camped at a deserted house. The people had gone and left many thingsin it. Among them was a small barrel of vinegar. While Mr. King was off insearch of water I enjoyed the vinegar, drawing it out of the barrel with areed. After leaving this place we traveled on for several days, passing afarmhouse now and then. At one of these farms a man took pity on me, as I wasbarefoot. He ordered me a pair of shoes made, for which I was very thankful.One day the wagon struck a large tree, which tore off the cover and bows withsuch force it scared him, Mr. King, so much he threw his hat off one side,while he jumped off the other, then he blamed me for it. We were now among richfarmers, who had plenty of everything. Extensive vineyardsand orchards. I saw pear trees fully fifty feet high. Wheat grew well.Farmers had their own gristmills.
Instead of King's buyingbrandy as he intended here, he sold his wagon, and oxen, and bought horses. Hemounted me on one, himself on another, and started off to different farmhouses.I had never ridden before, so got very tired and sore. I finally told him Icould sit no longer, and I would not go any further. He then told me to go to aDutch farm we had passed about forty miles from there. I walked back fifteenmiles and stopped to rest and told the people where I was going, all alone, andon foot, they would not let me go, saying it was not safe for me, as there werelots of lions, in that part. The lady made me tidy and when I was washed andclean, I felt better. She gave me a comb to dress my head with. I felt more athome than I had for a long time. I helped the boys do their work such ashoarding stock or making gardens. It was in winter when I got there and Istayed with these kind people until spring, and in all those months I neverheard anything of Mr King, Untilone day a messenger came, saying I must go to a neighboring farm where he wouldmeet me. He had deceived me so many times I would not go to him the first time.He then sent again, with such fair promises to take me home to my parents thatI went back with the Hottentot man he had sent forme. We walked fifteen miles. The people at the farm were very sorry to partwith me. They gave me plenty of food, enough to last several days. Their namewas Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Strydom, QuartbergenDistrict.
Chapter IX -Home Again
When I saw Mr. King Ihardly knew him, he had been very sick. He had been in a section of the countrywhere the people were very poor. He had had to live on white ants and game.These ants are about half an inch long. Their nests are under ground, about thesize of a bushel basket. This nest is full of eggs, which the natives eat likerice; they call them "Race Mera", (RiceAnt). It is a destructive insect, eating vegetables, also cotton and leathergoods. A man may be rich today and poor tomorrow through the ravages of thesevoracious ants.
I found Mr. King andanother man prepared for a long journey with horses and provisions. He said hewas going direct to Grahamstown, so that my hopes ofgetting home were once more raised.
Well, we started in thedirection of Grahamstown, toward which place wetraveled for two weeks, then turned off in anotherdirection, crossing immense plains of Karroobush. Ostriches roam over these flats. We rode from house to house, buyingostrich feathers, then at the first opportunity Mr. King would sell them eitherfor money or goods; then we would go on and buy more.Thus we traveled for months. I cannot remember when the other man left us.These people of whom we bought the feathers were very rich farmers. One day Mr.King heard of a trader being in the neighborhood named William Kirtson, of Willson's party ofsettlers. We were anxious to meet him. He was glad to see me, for my father hadtold him if he should happen to find me in any of his travels to bring me home.I was overjoyed to see one who had so recently seen my father, from whom I hadbeen parted so long. I was willing to go home with him, but Mr. King was not sowilling to part with me. He tried to keep me out of the man's way, once, bytaking me with him to swim, and various other dodges, but it was of no avail.Mr. Kirtson was determined to have me, and hardly letme out of his sight until ready to start for home. Mr. King then had to let mego. I have never seen Mr. King since. I heard of him many years later; he wasthen making large broad-brimmed hats for the Dutch people in the district of Swellendam.
I started for home with Mr.Kirtson from the great QuartbergPort, before described, being two or three hundred miles from Grahamstown. We had to call on many Dutch farmers on ourway, to gather up stock that he had bought on his way up, consisting of sheep,cattle, and goats, also Dutch soap, tallow and hides. While on my way home myeyes became sore, and I was blind for a week.
How glad I was to once morebehold Grahamstown, My dear mother came to meet mewith my little sister in her arms. I had been separated from them for over ayear, and had much to tell them of my adventures and hardships. During myabsence my father had moved into Grahamstpwn, hadbuilt a windmill, and was living in the lower story. I soon began helping myfather with his work, going to the forest to cut timber. He was then makingplows.
While in the forest oneday, a young man came up on the hill and called to my father and told him themill was on fire. We hastened home to find the mill a mass of ruins. My motherhad gone to Grahamstown on business. It was built onan eminence overlooking the town, about a mile distant. It was a windy day. Itwas supposed to have taken fire from coals left, and shavings from father'sworkshop blowing onto them. By this fire my father lost all he was worth, histools, furniture, and all he had. After years of labor and toil he had to beginafresh.
My father moved his familyinto Grahamstown, where kind friends gave him a houseto live in, rent free, until he could help himself again. The house was an oldartillery barrack, built before the town was laid out. It stood in the middleof a street. My father had to work a year before he got things comfortablearound him again. He then got a piece of land granted to him, with a waterright on this land. He built a gristmill. The water proved too weak to work themill without depriving other people of water for home use, so he built anotherwindmill in the same Kloof, and between the two hedid good business. He also worked at his trade, making wagons and plows andother work. I had a narrow escape from death at this mill. While working at thewheel, the props gave way, and began to swing around. To save myself I tried tostop the paddles. I held on as long as I could, then fell, unhurt. I was thensixteen years of age. Just as we were again in comfortable circumstances, mymother took ill and died, In the year 1827. She lefteight children, I being the eldest. Five sons and threedaughters.
Sometime after the death ofmy mother (1827) I left home for the purpose of learning the wagon-makingtrade. I heard of a good tradesman living in Long Kloof,or Georgetown.I started for that place, which was eighty miles from home. I had traveledthirty miles when I met a man named John Rogers. He persuaded me to stay withhim. He lived in a forest. He induced me to stay with him, by offering bigwages, to help him saw timber. Wages were to be thirty-five shillings permonth. I worked for him for six months, then I lefthim and worked for a Dutchman at same work for same pay. I worked for these twomen for a year, and never received one-month's pay, or its value. This forestwas called Peiter Retief’sBush, on the ZuurbergenMountains. At the end ofthe year I returned home with three tanned sheepskins, and black silkhandkerchief. Very little for a whole year's work.
Chapter X - MyMarriage
I remained home with myfather for some time after this, occupying my time in sawing timber in forest,by cutting tall trees down to make a sawpit, and saw them into lengths. Wewould stay in the forest sometimes for weeks. The timber trees are black ironwood,white ironwood, Myrtle wood, Stinkwood, Olive wood, red and white milkwood, yellow wood of two kinds, and many other trees.Sneeze-wood has a peculiar pungent odor, when it Isbeing worked, it makes one sneeze. It has enduring properties, much used forposts, lasting for years. When burning a kind of oil runsout. Stinkwood is a kind of mahogany used for making furniture. It isvery durable and pretty grained. It is taken to England in large quantities andused there in making gun stocks, takes a fine polish.
About this time my Fathermarried his second wife, her name was Mary Sayers. She had recently come from England withher sister. She had four children, and at the time of writing, three of hersons are living, are married and in good circumstances, names are Moses, Aaronand James.
I continued to work with myFather until I was twenty-two years of age, and had mastered my trade. I thenmarried a young lady of name of 5usannah Bentley, daughter of Francis ParrotBentley, one of the 1820 settlers. They came from Yorkshire, England.She was the eldest daughter. Reverend William Shaw married us. William Shaw wasa Methodist minister, who came as Chaplain with the Salem Party. All of myFather's family were members of the WesjeyanMethodistChurch. After my marriage in 1831 Istarted in business for myself in Grahamstown; hadtwo apprentices. We had all the work we could do in making new wagons. Food wascheap, beef was one penny per pound, and all othereatables cheap accordingly.
On the 7th day of December1832, our first child was born. We named him John, hewas baptized by Rev. William Shaw. Our second child was born on October 14th,1934. We named her Sarah Ann, she died in November,1835 in Winterberg.
Chapter XI - TheKaffir War Breaks Out
Everything went well withthe Settlers until 1835. The peace was suddenly broken by a Kaffir Rebellion.The aspect of the British Settlement just one week before the war began, was pleasing indeed. It had recovered from its earlydifficulties. Humble but comfortable dwellings were to be seen. On the greengrass, happy children played, innocent of impending danger. Cattle and sheepgrazed on the hillsides, or along the streams in the valleys. In the fieldswere seen men and oxen, plowing. Axe and hammer resounded from forest andforge. All were busily engaged. Prosperity had crowned their labors. They hadno regrets for leaving their homeland and scant earnings. Manywho had arrived in poor health, had become strong and well. Pure fresh air andout-of-doors toil, had given them a new lease on life.
But alas! This peacefulscene was rudely disturbed, and in fourteen days, the work of fourteen yearswas annihilated. Forty-four persons were at once murdered, 369 dwellingsdestroyed, 261 robbed, 172,000 cattle carried off. These natives had no causefor a quarrel, The Governor had commenced negotiationswith the various tribes. All Chiefs had expressed satisfaction with the newlaw, except Tyali. The enemy gathered a large forceof 10,000 men and entered the Settlement in the night of 21st of December, whenthe happy Settlers were preparing for their Christmas feast. The Kaffirs rosealong the line of thirty miles of frontier, without attracting the notice ofthe Missionaries who labored among them.No warningwhatever of their intentions reached the Settlers. And they actually boastedthey would drive the white men into the Sea. And build their huts at AlgoaBay, and by the 26th ofDecember they were already in the vicinity of Utinhage.
So sudden was the invasion,many hairbreadth escapes took place. One lady was preparing Christmas puddingwhen her husband rushed in, caught her in his arms and ran for dear life, toher surprise. He thrust her on a horse and galloped off. His houses werehandsome and costly. His homesteads on three farms were burned. All his cattleswept away. He was thus bereft of his riches in one night, without warning,even a change of wearing apparel for himself or family. Many others were in thesame condition. Of all the Settlements but three remained, in these the farmershad taken shelter. In eight days, a large body of these Natives returned toKaffir land with their booty.
On 1st of January, a meeting was held at ChunueMission Station. The Missionaries, in fear, failed to be present. The Chiefsdictated a letter, which Rev. Weir penned, with "overtures forpeace". Proposing to abstain from hostilities until theycould get an answer to a demand for a compensation for wounding a man named"Klo Klo",charged against Colonel Somerset and other grievances, all without foundation.This insolent document was dispatched within ten days after the rebellionbegan, after they had laid waste to a thriving and prosperous community.
The news of this invasionreached Capetown by express, and was a surprise tothe Authorities and Public there, and energetic measures were at once taken.Colonel Smith was dispatched, reaching Grahamstown insix days. Martial law was proclaimed over two border districts. FortWilshireand Kaffir's Drift Post, on FishRiver were evacuated.These places were burned. Seven thousand people left destitute. Lamentations ofthe widow and fatherless filled the land.
"The ear-cry echoingwild and loud, The war-cry of the Savage fierce andproud, Had burst like the Storm, the thunderclowd O"er Africa'sSouthern Wilds."
Chapter XII -The Kaffir War
Rev. H.H. Dugmore in his reminiscences gives a graphic description ofthis time. He was in Kaffirland on a mission Station,and had heard no rumor of the war. The people on the Station were afraid tomove from the place, as they knew the natives were plundering the Trader'sStores. Night after night they saw the burning homesteads of LowerAlbany lighting up the horizon. They could only imagine what wasgoing on down there. Week after week passed, with no newsfrom the Colony. The old Chief who was protecting them, at last said,"Ahuscha Mlunga! Inhomandi Ingravelengi, Capabile bonki". In English,— "There are no white menleft. No Commando makes its appearance, they must beall finished up".
At last the silence wasbroken. Troops of Natives were seen hurrying in one direction. The while upper basin seemed alive with cattle. A panic hadseized the tribes occupying the country between them and the Great Place of that notorious old Chief, Eno. He escaped disguised in the robe of one of his wives.Had this attack been followed up, it would have confirmed peace, and shortenedthe war.
During the war, my wife'sbrother, John Bentley, was killed. A young man by the mane of Thomas Shone hadleft Grahamstown with Government stores for Bathurst, when the warbroke out, he had not returned. His parents became alarmed, thinking he hadgone to their farm ten miles from Bathurst,when the war broke out, and would be there alone and likely killed. Theyprevailed on my brother-in-law and a man by the name of Chippenfield,to go in search of him. So they started with a cart and six Oxen belonging to Shone's father. On the way they left the cart and drove theOxen, as they knew Shone had a wagon. The young man, Shone, was safe in Bathurst, so they startedback to Grahamstown, which they never reached. Whenseveral days had elapsed, and they did not return, a party went out in searchof them. About twenty men. About fifteen miles from Grahamstown, in a settlement called WaayPlaats,here they found the yokes and straps. Searching farther, they found John'sbody, pierced with Assegia wounds, his whip lay byhis side. He had crawled into a bush to die. "Assegia ——A slender Javelin or spear of the Bantu ofSouthern Africa."
Chippenfield's body was never found. Coffins hadbeen token along, so they put his remains, (badlydecomposed) into a coffin and buried him there, taking his hat home to his poorMother. It was full of holes, it will never be knownhow they met their deaths.
A peculiar incidenthappened in connection with poor John's death. One night his Mother heard hisvoice saying, "My mother, oh, my mother" .It may have been the very moment he was killed.
I stayed at Grahamstown until peace was proclaimed, doing militaryduty, and working at my trade. When the war was over, I went to Bathurst to live on myproperty there, where I remained two years. In 1837, I left Bathurst to go with my father to fulfill acontract he had made with the Government, to get five hundred sneeze-woodpoles. They had to be twelve feet long, and eight inches square. Also some timber for barricading one side of FortBeaufort.Well we had a great time getting this timber, searching the forests far andnear to get the trees required. Before we had finished the contract, the orderwas countermanded, the work on FortBeaufort being abandoned.The poles were used then in building Military outposts. While I was thusengaged, my little daughter, Sarah Ann, died. I then left Bathurst and went to Winterbergand joined my brother George. He had married and settled there, and had athriving Blacksmithing business. I worked at wagon making in his shop for abouta year.
Chapter XIII - IGo as a Missionary to Bechuanoland
Some time before I left Bathurst, I had an engagement to go to the Bechuana Country, beyond the Orange River, as AssistantPreacher with Rev. John Edwards of the MethodistChurch.I gave up my business and made preparations to go. I made a Wagon for thepurpose, which the Society engaged to pay for. When I was ready to start, thewhole affair was countermanded by the Society, so I sold the Wagon, and startedto work again, but I was disappointed, I had long wanted to go on such a missionto preach to the heathen. I could not settle to work properly.
One day there came to mybrother's farm, a Mr. Rev. Green, stationed at FortBeaufort.He said he had a letter from Mr. Edwards asking him to see me and ask me if Istill desired to preach to the Bechuanas. I said Iwould think about it. Soon after this, George and myselfwent to Grahamstown with a load of produce on twowagons. The roads through the mountains were very rough and steep. One hill,called the BlinkwaterPass, was very dangerous.I have known wagons to stick on this hill for days. Here one of our wagonsupset, and broke the tent all to pieces. We had to stop and repair it. I metRev. Edwards in Grahamstown, and agreed to go withhim to the Bechuana Country. He paid me one year's salary.My brother George and myself made a flying visit to Bathurst, and from thereto the Kowie, where my brother's father-in-law lived.Mr. Joseph King. We returned to Grahamstown, got ourwagons loaded with new goods, and started for home. A Mr. Philip King went withus. We went a different rout to avoid that fearful hill.
At a place called Bushheck, we sent a boy to a wayside house to buy somewine. A little further on we camped about sunset.While sitting on our bed, some money rolled from my pocket, and as I picked itup, I thought of my pocket-book, which I had put in the wagon chest, as Ithought, but it was not there. We searched the wagon all over, but in vain.Just before I missed the book, two persons had passed us. Mr. King said,"They may have picked it up, let us go and see". So we went to theHotel. I did not want to go thinking it a forlorn hope, but he insisted, and wewent. The proprietor said he had seen no one there with a pocket book. I askedhim if a man and woman had been there. He said, "Yes, they are in thatroom, and we found them both drunk." Mr. King felt like searching them,but Mr. Wilkie said he could not do so without awarrant. But Mr. King rolled the man over like a log, and found in his pocket,my pocket-book. It had my name in it, a gold ring, and several bank notes."Here it is, I'll be bound," said Mr King.They had spent about thirty shillings in liquor and groceries, also wearingapparel. The shopkeeper gave the latter to me, and we resumed our journey home.
I began to prepare for myjourney to the Bechuana Country. In one sense of thework, it was the worst move I ever made. My brother George stayed there and gotrich with selling wagons to the Dutch who were now moving away from the Colonytoward Natal.They had become dissatisfied because the Government freed their slaves. Theymoved in hundreds and wagons they would have, at any price. Abolition ofSlavery was proclaimed in 1834, from which period the slaves were indenturedfor four years.
This act of humanity was acredit to England, but theinjury inflicted on the slave-owners of the Cape,was great, by the manner in which it was effected. Thesum of twenty million sterling was granted. A fairappraisement was made of the 35,745 slaves, the average valuation of eighty-fivepounds. To add to the injustice of the act, the money was made payable in London, by which afurther reduction was made, through the necessity of employing agents. Manyfamilies were ruined, and sold their claims in the Colony at a loss. Somerejected the paltry sum awarded them. This wrong, with the insane policyintroduced to supercede that of Governor C. Urban, drove its victims to seekpastures now beyond the Gariep and to Natal.
Chapter XIV - WeJourney to Our New Home
Having settled my businessin Winterbera, I started for my new sphere of Labour, Ihad a wagon and eight oxen. My wife and children, John and Jemima accompaniedme. Our first stage was to FortBeaufort, to collectthings for the journey. My brother Joseph went with me thus far. When I left FortBeaufort,I traveled through the Kroomie Bush on the Cradockroad. We halted the first day on KagaRiver,the property of Sir Andreas Stockenstroom, who wasthen Lieut. Governor of the Frontier. A Trader camped with me that night, andnothing would do but I must let him have my wagon, and wouldn’ttake No for an answer. I thought perhaps I wouldn't need it when theJourney was over, and as I had sold my Oxen in this way to my brother Joseph. Ifinally consented, promising to send them back by first chance. This trader'sname was Mr. Bell He paid me in Merchandise from his wagon. We journeyedtogether until I we reached the Baavian's River, andcamped at a farmhouse. From here we traveled over DaaaaboersNek, a rough, rocky hill. We crossed the Tarka River, where lived a Dutch farmer, named Lombards. All this district was inhabited by rich Dutchfarmers. We crossed the Storm-bera Spruit, and traveled on until we reached the Oranae River, across a flat country, mostly Karoo. The river is beautiful and wide, water as clear ascrystal, three hundred feet wide, its bank fringed with trees, mostly willows.We crossed the ford called the Sand Drift. Another day's journey brought us tothe Caledon River. This river is not so wide, butdeep and dangerous. Many accidents have occurred through its sandy bed andbanks. Is is treacherous when in flood, and sandshifts, leaves holes unknown to travelers. In later years, a floating bridge,or pontoon, carried wagons over.
This country was uninhabitedby man, much game abounded. Also the Lordly Lion. We passed Mission Station,which belongs to the French. The Missionary's name was Mr. Rowland. Large rocksabound here. We camped alongside one of enormous size. They appear to haverolled off the Mountain. That night our dog began to bark. I looked out of thewagon, and in the moonlight I saw a Lion, about fifty yards away. The nativeboy awakened, cracked his whip, the lion just walked leisurely away, and wewent to
The country was now very pretty,many riverlets and streams, and clusters of trees.Lots of antelopes and ostriches range these parts. We met some men who told mewe could reach Thaba UchuStation that night, if I drove hard. One of the men took the whip, and fromthat moment, the whip and his tongue were never still one minute. On the sidesof the road for miles were kaffir gardens and fields.It was moonlight. At midnight, we arrived at the Station where the Rev. Mr. Ciddy was stationed with a tribe of Baralonas,or Bechauanas.
In the morning Mr. Ciddy welcomed us to the house, as it was Sunday, I was forthe first time, a Congregation of natives. Mr. Ciddypreached to them in their own language. I then saw what was before me. The Thaba Unch Mission, Takes itsname from the mountain of that name, near which the village stands. Mairosi was the Chief.
They build substantialhouses or huts, with verandas and porches all around them, under which theystow their grain, in earthen jars, holding four or five bushels. They also makebaskets of grass. Around the verandas hangs a screen made of reeds. Their dressand ornaments are similar to the Natives in the Colony. I stayed with Mr. Ciddy for a few days and then started for my station. Twodays travelling brought me to Mr. Edwards's Station,through country bounding in game.. A large party of Native hunters passed us,each one carried an umbrella made of Ostrich feathers. Large packs of dogs werewith them, greyhounds, to assist in the hunt.
We halted at noon, near ariver into which an Antelope, called a Weldebeeste,plunged, he was full of spears. As we returned from the river, on nearing thewagon, we saw my little girl, Jemima, with a bone in her hand, which she wasstill picking from her dinner. We were startled to see a large eagle dart downand grab the bone from her hand, and fly away. It frightened the children soshe screamed. We next camped near a gigantic rock, as big as a house. I hadrolled down from the mountain. The scenery was grand, plenty of grass andwater. Lions were plentiful. We passed a mission called GriguaStation, Lishusni, of Green Cliffs, presided over byRev. E.H. Garner. At last we reached our destination and very thankful we were,but to our disappointment, found Mr. and Mrs. Edwards away on a visit. We wereshown the house I was to occupy. We lost no time in unloading the wagon andtaking possession, and as we thought, comfortable for the night. But alas!There was no rest for us. It was an old house, thatched with reeds. We put thechildren to bed, they soon awoke, screaming, their mother went to see what wasthe matter, and to her horror, discovered hundreds of hungry bugs devouring thepoor little things. I never saw bed-bugs so numerous in all my life.
This station is high in theMountains, giving an extensive view of the country for miles around. A mountainstream ran past the dwelling house. Mr. Edwards' house was very large. Chapeland house under one roof, roofed with reeds. The house was whitewashed andcould be seen from a great distance.
By the next Sunday Mr.Edwards had returned, and in the evening he said to me, "Who do you thinkis the best man tonight, you or I" . He persuaded me to preach, being myfirst attempt in the Dutch language, and was quite an effort, as I had neverbefore spoken on Spiritual things in public. I did fairly well, the peopleunderstood me better than did Mr. Edwards when he first came among them. I tookfor my text, 11th and 12th verses of First Chapter of St. John's Gospel, whichreads thus: "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not, but asmany as received Him, to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even toall them that believe on His name."
Now began a busy life forme. I taught school every day. We opened the school with
singing and prayer. Whennot in school, I was busy making doors and window frames, mantel places, andgarden gates for the Mission buildings. Every other Sunday I had to preach atthe Karrana Station, twenty-five miles distant, along, lonely ride. The interpreter's name was John Pinnar,a Griqua, had been in employ of the Society for yearsas a school Master. He could read Dutch fluently. It was from this man Ilearned to speak and read Dutch better. He was very fond of me, would watch formy coming, and have the kettle boiling. I carried tea with me. He liked to helpme drink it. He would crack his long whip which would echo for miles, theNatives, hearing this, would come from all directions to meeting. I would standunder a large Olive tree, and they would sit on the rocks around. I preached inDutch and John would interpret it into their language. When I was not there, hepreached himself. After meeting, I met the Church members in class, and thenstarted for home. It was generally dark when I got there. When on the roadonce, I had a terrible fear of meeting a lion. I felt one was very near. Peoplesaid there was surely one, near, for me to feel that way.
At the end of six months, Ifelt I needed a change, and told Mr. Edwards so. He said if I liked I couldmove to the Korrana Station, which plan suited me. Atthe next District meeting I was appointed to preside there.
Chapter XV - MyWife Visits the Colony
About this time my wifeleft home to pay a visit to the Colony, (in the year 1829) She traveled incompany with Mr. H. Gamier, and a French Missionary, named Lemus,who were going to the Colony. She took the two children with her. I accompaniedher a few miles beyond Thaba Nuha.I hated to part with my family, but my wife expecting to be soon confined, wasfilled with a nervous fear to be ill among the natives, so planned this longjourney of six hundred miles to Bathurst. She arrived there safely, and on the12th on May, my second son was born. She had him christened, " JeremiahFrancis." She was weak and poorly for a long time, and while there,measles broke out, and the two wagon boys took it, and on the road home, thetwo children got it, and a weary time she had. The farmers on the roadside wereafraid of infection, and shunned the wagon. By the favor of the Lord, theyarrived home safe, after an absence of five months.
But I must return to whereI parted with her. I then went to my new station, but I first had a journey totake to the sand River, to see if the Emigrant Dutch who had taken this placefrom the Korranas, would give it up, but they weresettled, and would not give it up on any terms whatever. The Sand RiverDistrict, was of Park like appearance. Minosa andother trees dotted its surface. It had once been occupied by a tribe of Mantatees, but a warlike tribe called Zulus, had massacredmany of' them and driven the rest far back. I saw their bones bleaching in thesun as I traveled along.
I now moved to the newstation, Mirametsue, and commenced to build thehouse. I planned four rooms and furnished two before my family returned. I wasliving in these two rooms, when I had some visitors, a French Missionary, Mr.Dumas brought two gentlemen to see me. These men were members of the Society ofFriends, called "Quakers", whose names were Walker and Backnouse. They were traveling as far over the world asthey could, visiting missionary stations, and preaching their doctrines, alsowriting and sketching scenes of their travels, and distributing tracts. It wasthe first time I had ever met Quakers, and their quaint talk interested me. Sostrange to hear the "Thee and Thou" Mr. Dumas had brought some foodas he knew my wife was away. We had dinner and I found them intelligent,well-informed men.
John Pinnarcracked his long whip, which brought the Natives to hear them preach under theOlive tree. They spoke in English, I in Dutch, and the interpreter in Koranna. Thus they were understood. They both preached.They also preached at Mr. Edward's Station, he was away, but his helper, Mr.Bingham, entertained them. Mr. Walker said in the course of his remarks,"Your teachers can tell you how to walk, but they cannot walk in the paththemselves," on which Mr. Backhouse said, "You mean they cannot'walk' in the path for you." We slept that night at Mr. Edward's Station, (Ihad ridden over with them), made a good fire, and chatted late into the night.In the dining room there were two lounges, they were to occupy, and uponretiring, Mr. Backhouse being the shortest man, got possession of the longestsofa, and would not give it up, so Mr. Walker who was tall, had to be contentwith the short lounge. This caused us some merriment. Next morning they left,and I went home. I never saw them again. Their visit was a pleasant break inthe monotonous life among the Natives. They sent me from England, a copy oftheir book, a history of their travels to all the missionaries, but I never gotone.
Soon after this I had thejoy of welcoming my wife to her home. I was away at LishuaniStation when a man came to tell me she had come: I did not expect her so soon.However I returned to find it was true, and very glad I was to meet my dearwife and the children, and to see the new baby, after so long a separation.
I now went to work andfinished my house, with the needed material my wife brought up. It was a snughome, containing a dining room, bedroom, a kitchen and small study. Roofed withcourse grass, bound on with strips of rawhide. An old man who had been myservant in Bafhurst came back with my wife, and Ifound him of great help. He was very faithful.
This Station was surroundedby picturesque scenery. On one side a huge mountain rises: its sides werecovered with large rocks, which rolled from its summit from time to time. Onerock was thirty feet in height. We could get out wagons in between these rocks,when we went for timber, which grows on the mountain. Natives also built theirhuts among the rocks. Korranos build huts of bamboo,which grows here from ten to fifteen feet high. They plant them in the ground,bend tops over, and cover with mats made of rushes. They can pull these hutsup, roll them up, and place them on pack-oxen in their frequent moves from onelocality to another.
They are rich in cattle andhorses, and live on milk and meat. They never cultivate the soil. When I wasthere, they lived in a neighboring Kloff, a differenttribe of mixed Natives, who raised a little produce. The Korranasaround my Station had lost some cattle, and accused these people of stealingthem, and unknown to me, they attacked them one night, plundered and killedmany. They fled for shelter into the Mountains. One day a man came to my houseand begged me to go with him to a cave in the Kloff,which I did. I rode my horse as far as I could, and then walked. The rocks werefull of bullet marks. I finally reached the cave and found it full of woundedmen. I washed and dressed their wounds, prayed with them and returned home. Mywife was relieved to see me again, she had been anxious during my absence.
I had got home comfortableand was happy in my work, when the next District meeting was called. At thismeeting was Rev. Mr. Shaw, who was General Superintendent of the WesleyanMission in South Africa. The meeting had decided to have a Gristmill erected atthe Plaatberg Station, being the center of a wheat-growingdistrict. As there was plenty of water there, it had to be a water mill. Mr.Shaw asked me if I would build it, as they had already decided it was not fot for me to say "no". I hated to leave my homewhere the people had become attached to me, but I consented. Mr. Shaw promisedme a yearly remuneration over and above my salary. I was succeeded by a Mr. J.Hartley, a man I had known well in Grahamstown. Iwaited until he arrived to take charge, stayed with him a week, introducing himto the methods of work there.
Before leaving the station,I wish to say a few words about the Korannas. When Iarrived there, Isaac Faibosh was the Chief. He diedof consumption. He was succeeded by his brother, GertFaibosh, Before this their Uncle John, was chief. Hewent on a great hunt for wild game. One night they saw a huge lion near theircamp. John said, "I must either kill the lion, or move camp." Theysaddled their horses and gave chase. When they came nearer the lion, theyfired, and wounded him. John rode up to the lion, who instantly turned andchased him, sprang on the horse and lacerated him with claws and teeth. Alsowounding the brave John, from which he never recovered, dying a few daysafterwards. His followers say they never had another Chief like him forbravery.
I left Miranetsu,and went to view the Mill-site at Plaatberg. Rev.James Cameron, Chairman of of the district, residedhere. After a few weeks at Plaatberg, it was decidedI should go to Grahamstown to fetch materials tobuild the mill with.
Chapter XVI - IAm Removed From "MIRAMETSU" Station
I now began to prepare formy journey to Grahamstown. I first went to Thaba-Nuche, to get a span of Oxen from Mr. Diddy, so I left Plaatberg onhorseback alone, although it is customary in the Cape to have a young boy toride with a traveler. The Dutch call him an "After Rider" It was adistance of thirty miles over a plain, I halted at a river called "Leun", on Lion River. After a rest, I went to catch myhorse, but he, being a spirited animal, would not stand still for me to put onthe saddle. I tried in vain for more than half an hour, finally gave up, andshouldering my saddle, drove the horse before me, at intervals trying to throwthe saddle on his back. I walked along in darkness, until I overtook a wagon.One wheel had broken and the man was trying to mend it. I was tired and hungry,so stayed with him until morning. He had no bedclothes, but lent me an oldwagon sail, black with age and full of holes. It was winter, and frost severe,and I had hard work to keep from freezing. Morning was welcomed by me. I sooncaught my horse and covered the six miles to Mr Giddy's where a good breakfast refreshed me.
I arranged about the Oxenand returned to Plaatberg. In due time he sent theOxen and we were soon ready for our Long journey, travellinga road through a country new to me, on the banks of the GaledonRiver, through clusters of Mimosa and Olive trees, until we reached the OrangeRiver. At the ford called the Buffel's Via Drift, theriver was in flood, too high for us to cross, so we went down the stream aboutfour miles to a Dutchman's place. He took our wagon to pieces and took it overa piece at a time, landing it on a big flat rock in the riverbed below thebank, where we put it together again, but before we had got It completed, therecame a fearful thunder storm. The Dutchman left me to my fate, and I had a bigtime. I had to get the wagon up the steep sandy bank. The rain had soaked thesand, which gave me no foothold to the poor Oxen. I had to dig a trencheighteen inches deep on the upper side, to keep the wagon from upsetting, and Iheld to a rope. We finally struggled up on the bank. I had an experienceddriver with me. This Ford is where the Crow River empties into the OrangeRiver.
Well, on we rolled until wereached Buffalo Valley, and Hot Spring. The springs were strongly impregnatedwith sulfur, and near boiling hot. This place was the first discovered in theyear 1805, It was then used as a hunting ground and pasturage in dry seasons.It was inhabited by Bushman, Buffalo and Lions.
In 1819, we have the firstwritten account of this territory from the pen of the amiable Colonel Collins,who was ordered to visit and report on the country beyond the northern boundaryof the Colony. It was then circumscribed on the northeast by the Zuurgerg River. This Officer was accompanied by Sir AndreasStockenstrom. On the third of February theydiscovered a stream, coming from the north, to which they gave the name of"Caledon", in honor of the Governor of theColony. They also discovered another stream and as there were no inhabitants totell them what it's name was, they named it in honor of Sister H.G. Grey,Grey's River, it became corrupted by the Dutch into Kraai,or Crow River.
The Pioneer colonist whofirst dared to settle in this wild country was one G.F .Befiudenbout,who made his home at a place he called Groen, orGreen Valley, in 1823. Other parties soon followed. PetrusDe Vet, who planted his household first in Buffalo Valley, I became acquaintedwith, and he told me it was at that time a swamp, a mile in length, full oftall reeds. He found in that swamp, a conical shaped mound, which he opened andmade the water flow freely. He made a ditch and used it to irrigate his lands,and for household purposes. The stream was was strongenough to turn a small water wheel. When I saw it, it was a bed of turf,spongy to tread on, the water had drained out, andcattle ate the reeds off.
The Valley contained aboutfourteen thousand acres of fertile soil.The springsissue from two eyes of fountains, 78 feet in diameter, and 22 feet in depth. Mr DeVet's place is two milesfrom the Orange River, so named in honor of "William, Prince ofOrange". On it's banks now stand a thriving town called Alvial North. The springs supply water to baths andsanitarium, so it has become a great health resort.
But I must proceed on myjourney. Five miles from here we halted, while camped, two Dutchmen rode up andasked where I was from, and where I was going. I told them my purpose was totake a certain road to Grahamstown, one I had nevertraveled, as I wished to see the country. They said it was not safe for me togo on that road, as it was infested with lions. I took their advice and tookanother road, leading over the Stromberg mountains, a rough, rugged country,but rich in Orchards and cornfields, and sheep, owned by Dutch farmers. Wecamped in this district, on the farm of a very obliging Scotsman, named John Kargon. On we went until we reached a steep stony hill,called Donker-hoek Pass. Meaning Dark Valley. Overthis we passed in safety, travelling over a flatcountry dotted with mimosa thorns, until we reached KlasSmits River. After crossing this River we stayed at Haslope Hills, where resided Rev. John Ayliff.Here we stayed over Sunday. We never traveled on Sundays. Two days more broughtus to Winterberg, where we visited with my wife'sparents, and my brother George, for a week. We hired a wagon to take us to Grahamstown. My brother-in-law, Tom Bentley, going with us.We went by way of Fort Beaufort and Fort Brown.
Chapter XVII -The Journey Home From Grahamstown
On my arrival in Grahamstown, I found the order for the mill had beencountermanded. All I had to do was to gather up the goods for the Station, andmy own supplies, which took me two weeks. My brother-in-law went to Algoa Bay for a load of goods, and my old servant man wentwith him to see the Sea, as he had never seen it. On their return I was readyfor the fourneyhome. When we got to Blinkwater Hill, I had to sendfor my brother Joseph to help with his oxen. I found wagons there ready tostart for Plaatberg. One was Rev. J. Bingham's onwhich I loaded some timber, a new plow, and a wheelbarrow my father had madefor me.
In a week I was off, myfather going^with me, also my brother-in-law, Georgeand a young lady named Harriet Pote, who went ascompanion to my wife. I left my son John with my brother George to attendschool and to my great regret he did not get much schooling, as he was keptherding sheep, and helping about the house.
From the top of the firsthill we ascended, after leaving my brothers, we got a good view of his farm andsurrounding country. His farm and one joining it was called KaalHoek, owned then by my father and named by him,"Pinkeet Valley" after a place inEngland, where he lived. The tops of the great Winterberg mountains are seen from a great distance inclear weather, from ninety to one hundred miles, very often white with snow.Four Rivers take their rise in these mountains. The Koonap,The Kat, the Swart Kei, and the Taarka, Thesemountains are covered with forest, many timber trees. A tree worthy of noticeis called the Kaffir Boom" or Bnal tree. Inearly spring these immense trees are thickly covered with clusters of large redleaves, of a leguminous nature. They bear pods two inches in length, containingsmall beans of a scarlet color. These trees are numerous in Kaffiraria,and admidst the green foilageof other trees, present a gay appearance.
Rain is frequent amongthese mountains. A misty rain continuing for weeks, when in the Valley belowthe sun is shining. Flowers, ferns, and creeping vines abound, grass is coarseand rank, The road to the Valley is very steep and rugged. Long grassy Valleysdescend to Taarka River, which river we crosshalf-a-dozen times before we lose sight of it. English and Dutch farmers residein this District, there are few trees, and sheep dung, cut in blocks from thecorrals, or Graals, (as Natives call them,) is usedas fuel, and a fierce heat it makes. Wheat growing and sheep and cattle raisingare the occupations.
We traveled this valley forfifteen miles, turning to the tight, crossing TarksRiver, and ascending Tafelberg Nek,a rugged and difficult read of eight miles. In the vicinity there is a schoolfor Native people, called Haslope Hills, founded bythe Wesleyan Society. In the center of this valley stand two remarkable hills,called Table Mountains, with precipitous sides and flattened tops. Only one isaccessible at one point. The granite rocks stand out on their sides in hugemasses. To look at them from a distance, they appear detached from the mountainchain. They are devoid of trees, and look barren and desolate. I visited Mr. Ayliff and then camped on a level plain, while here rainbegan to fall heavily, which made my father impatient, and wish he had notstarted for we could not move for two days. He was alright when the rain hadceased, sun shone out, and we were on our way again.
We passed many prettyfarmhouses, and reached Perm Hoek, which is a steep,romantic pass. When over this Pass, we entered the country about which I waswarned by the Dutchmen. As we were a larger party I ventured, and saw no Lions,but found it a fine well-watered country. Our wagon once got into a swamp, andin extricating it, broke the tongue. We soon replaced it by a new one, andproceeded on our journey, after being nearly devoured by the mosquitoes.
When we reached BuffaloValley, we found the Orange River in flood, no bridge, no pontoon, no means bywhich to cross. So we turned down the river for ten miles, where Messrs Holdenand Holden had a pontoon, but found it out of order. The current was so strongit had broken the rope which drew the pontoon across. Timbers washing down thestream had come in contact with these ropes. Various means were used to try toget those huge cables but in vain. A large boat lay there, which we decided torepair and use, but when it was ready, the water had subsided, the ropes weregot over, and we crossed in safety after a detention of four weeks. Wagonsfrequently lay at these rivers for many weeks.
I left my father here, hehad seen the famous Orange River, and wished to return home. Three weeks afterI left my father ana1Mr Holden werenearly drowned. The river was running strong, they had taken a wagon across andwas returning when a fresh current reversed the pontoon, throwing father andMr. Holden under the pontoon in the water. They still clung to the cable, andhand over hand they reached the shore. It was a miracle they were not drowned.When I reached the Caledon it was also in flood. Wewere here detained a week. My money gave out, and as I stood meditating on thesituation, at my feet I saw a shilling. I picked it up, and scratching aroundin the ground, found six more, in silver, with which I bought the food we werein need of.
A Dutchman had a boat, hetook our wagons over, piece by piece, which was a dangerous undertaking in suchdeep water. Willows, which were thirty feet high, had only their tops visible.We landed all safely, and got them on an eminence as we thought, out of danger.It took us three days to get all over. Just as we had got all over the Riverrose several feet higher, and if we had not moved off the bank in a hurry, thewater would have washed us all away.
We went on our way, heavyrains continuing day after day, until the road was all mud. The wagons at timeswere a mile off the road to escape the mud. Many a time we had to dig out thewheels, which would be sunk up to the hubs in mud. This continued until we werewithin a day and a half from Rhaba Nuhu. We were weary with the hard work of pulling threewagons out of the mud and mire every few miles. When we reached a small ravineat sunset, we wished to cross it to a rise on the other side, before dark, butI saw a storm gathering the clouds seemed to rest upon the earth. Two of thewagons had crossed when it became dark and rain fell in torrents. So I told thedriver of the third wagon not to attempt to cross that night. Contrary to myorders and unknown to me, he made the attempt, and got the wagon into themiddle of the stream, which now filled the ravine. The wagon was left there. Itrained all night, and the next morning it had disappeared. During the night thewater had taken the wagon and all its contents down stream. Our servant girlhad wanted to sleep in the wagon that night, but my wife would not let her. Thenoise of rushing water would not let us sleep.
In the morning the stormhad abated and the stream had lowered so we all went to seek the missing wagon.A quarter of a mile down we found the running gear caught by a chain to a rock,a little farther on, we found the plow sunk in a hole in the bed of the river.I returned to my wife, and left George to search for the other parts. Hesearched for two days, and gathered all, which was strewn a distance of eightmiles down the river. A month afterwards, a Dutchman found the wheelbarrow.
I had to dig my wagon outseveral times before I reached Thaba Nuhu. I shall never forget that experience, or how I satunder an umbrella, lit a fire on a flat rock, and boiled water for a cup oftea, that terrible night. This was in the summer of 1841.
When I reached Thaba Nuhu, I found arrangementshad been made that I should stay there and help MrGiddy. I first went to Plaatberg, to get ourfurniture and effects. The first thing I was required to do at Thaba Nuhu was to convert into adwelling house, a large building erected by a Mr. Archabell,he being the first to organize this station. I had to go to the forest at the Horrcna Station to get timber to do this with. It was fortymiles away. I went on horseback, leaving George to come on with the wagons. Forfour days I was in the Mountains cutting timber. On Sunday, Aug. 14th Ipreached to the Natives and on Monday rode to Mr W. Shepstone's Station, "Unpuhuani".It had just been attacked by a Mantata Chief, called"Secuchanagali". He made the attack atbreak of day, surprising the Atation people, whosuccessfully repulsed them. Two men were killed. I left here on Tuesday,visiting "Lishuani" on onmy way to Mr. Hartley's Station, which I reached on the 18th of August. Mr.Hartley was proud to show me a filed of wheat he had planted in a Kloof. I arrived home on the 20th of August, in time totake the Services the following Sunday. Was busy all this week writing lettersfor "Nuerache", Chief of the,'Baralongs, in connection with the recent Nautata invasion.
On Sep 17th, mybrother-in-law started for Winterberg in company withMr. Bingham, to get a load of timber. During this time natives around Plaatberg were in an unsettled state. On the 13 of October,1841, my daughter, Sarah Ann was born. Was baptized by Rev. R.Giddy.The nurse, Mrs. Dennison came fifty miles to care for my wife. She stayed withus more than a month. On the 26th I preached in the Bechuanatown, to about sixty souls, from the Gospel of St. Mark, and in the afternoon,to a goodly number of Bastards. I hope not in vain. On Monday we committed tothe grave, the body of Peter Links, a Grique. Duringthis month my two children took ill with a fever, which kept them in its gripfive weeks. I stayed on this Station from the 3rd of September, 1841 untilOctober 1842.
Chapter XVIII -I Say Goodbye to Bechuanaland
The following letter wasreceived by me in May 1842 from Rev. J.Cameron.
May 1st, 1842
I have placed you at thedisposal of Rev. W. Shaw, General Superintendent of Wesleyan Mission in SouthAfrica, but should he decline employing you in the Albany District, I now writewith the concurrence of my brother, to inform you that your engagement with theBechuana District, will terminate at the end of thepresent year. I remain, dear brother,
Yours truly, L. Cameron Mr.Eli Wiggill, "Thaba Nuhu" Station.
This letter was a surpriseto me. I worked until the end of the year. I then bought a span of pretty blueOxen, from a Mr. Pretorious, who lived at the Nudder River, paying for them 27 pounds. With these Oxenand a wagon, I and my family left "Thaba Nuhu" and my mission among these Natives ended. I hadperformed my duties while there, faithfully, preached the word of the Lord as Ithen understood it, and left with regret.
1 camped the first day onmy friend Mr. Pretorious1 farm, at the NudderRiver. I helped to mend a wagon for him then on we went, passing many Dutch andEnglish farms, over a flat, treeless, country, abounding in game. We touched atPhillipois, at London Mission Station, situated inthe midst of a splendid farming country, This station was named after therenowned Rev. Dr. Phillip, Superintendent of London Mission Station in SouthAfrica. He was always in hot water with the colonists, through depreciating thewhite people, and praising the Hottentots and Kaffirs. He was eventuallydrowned at a Mission Station called Hankey, near PortElizabeth. He and his son-in-law were in a tunnel he had made to take water tothe village of Hankey, and while in there, the waterrushed in and drowned him. He spent over forty years in the South AfricanMission.
In fording the OrangeRiver, we came in contact with a large boulder in the middle of the river, buta good driver took us through in safety. Here we found a company of soldiers ontheir way to the Free State. The next day we reached the village of Colesberg, where we stayed over Sunday, and attendedService in the Dutch Reformed Church. On Monday we started, and met anothercompany of soldiers. ,We camped with them and while there, a heavy thunderstorm broke over us; the wind blew half the tents down, the Camp was one sheetof water. Colesburg is on the HarroCountry, nearly on a level plain, covered with small shrubs.
Soon after leaving Colesburg, we reached the farm of an Irish man named Montogomery. My wife was very sick, so I stayed thereseveral days. Mrs. Montogomery was a Dutch woman,clever with medicine, and she doctored my wife, and she was soon well. We thencontinued our [ourney through Dutch and Englishfarms. When two days' journey from the Winterberg, Iheard my father was in the vicinity, repairing a water wheel for a Mr. Wright.I called to see him, but was informed he had finished his work and gone home.We were glad to reach the end of our long journey at last, and meet ourrelatives in the Winterberg.
Chapter XIX - ISettle in Winterberg
I found my father in the Winterberg. He had rented his farm to a man named Bloake Bear, but he prevailed on the man to give up thefarm to me, provided I would divide the growing crops with him, which I agreedto do. I took it for a year. 1 finished the house my father had partly built.There was also a windmill and a water mill. I built a work shop and went intobusiness, wagon-making and blacksmithing. This was in 1843. I lived here twoyears, very happy and comfortable. I still belonged to the Wesleyan Church, andoften preached in the neighborhood. Often at Fort Beaufort and Kat River.
Here an accident happenedto my son John, which ! now record. One day, I sent my wagon with the boys forsome timber. I went on horseback to see them safe over BlinkwaterHill. As I stood watching them coming up the hill, my son John was walkingbehind the wagon, he turned to look at me, and while doing so a log rolled offthe wagon, which struck him on the back and bend of the leg. It tore the fleshoff, leaving the bone bare. This was on the 5th of December, 1843.1 put him onmy horse after binding my handkerchief around his leg, we were five miles fromhome. Good care and attention soon cured his leg.
We had some enjoyablepicnics in the forest, when I would cut wood for use in my workshop. One day Iwas working at the bed-planks of a wagon, had turned it on its edge, to takeoff a little, to make it fit. Just as I had got off the wagon a gale of windsprang up, and blew the wagon bottom over. It hit me over the left eye, andknocked me senseless to the ground. A neighbor, a Mr. William Bear, bled me asquick as possible, carried me to the house. In a few days I was around again,but I feel the efforts of it to this day. This accident happened on July 2nd1844. My daughter, Margaret Alice was born here, on Oct 11 and was baptized byRev. C. Holden.
Things went well with methrough the years 1844 and 1845. I had plenty of work and I was comfortable andhappy. In Jan 1846 rumours of war began to spreadthrough the frontier settlements, making the farmers very uneasy. At lastorders came from the Magistrate of Fort Beaufort, for the farmers to go intoforts and camps for protection. I moved my family into a Fort called Post Relief.Here we were put under Martial Law, done soldier's duty, recievingrations from the Government. The was did not affect us much, but was moresevere in the lowerAlbany Districts, where somefierce balHHes were fought, and many people werekilled. At Bums Hill Station, a battle took place on the 15th of April, 1846.The Savages succeeded
In capturing and destroying63 wagons out of 123, with which the force was encumbered. This was thebeginning of a long series of attacks upon different places. All commuications with the Colony was cut off. Hundreds ofhomes burned, and thousands of cattle and sheep driven off, and many liveslost. This war of 1846 , is known as the War of the Axe, from this incident. A kaffir stole an axe or hatchet, he was sent to Grahamstown, handcuffed to a Hottentotfor security. The Natives were so enraged at this, they rose in rebellion. Somefollowed the Kaffir and Hottentot, caught them nearFort Beaufort. They found it difficult to liberate their countryman, so theycut his hands off at the wrists, and pierced him to death.
While detained at PostRelief, my daughter Rosanna Maria was born, on Aug 31, 1846 and baptized byRev. G.Smith. I was in Post Relief a whole year,working at my trade and attending to Military duties. My brother George hadformed a camp eight miles from Post Relief. In this camp were forty men, amongthem, my father; his home was in Bathurst, but he was in Winterbergon business at the time the war broke out, so he was kept from his family foreight months. He acted, while there, as miller for my brother George, who had awind-mill. The Kaffirs did not rise in any force in Winterberg,but it was not considered safe for any to return to the farms until peace wasproclaimed in 1847. I then returned to my farm in KaalHoek, where I stayed a year. I then thought I wouldlike a place of my own, I was tired of paying rent. So I went to the Stormberg and bought a place from a Dutchman near Feodore's ranch. My father rented the farm I was on to aMr. John Austin who built an accommodation house on it.
I moved my family andeffects to Feodore's Ranch, but not one of theDutchman came to take up their farms. We felt entirely alone in a wilderness.To make it appear worse, the grass for miles around had been burned off, and asfar as the eye could reach, was nothing but this black country. I stayed justthree weeks, long enough to open a fountain, and partly build a reed house.Strong winds blew all the time I was there. Game was plentiful. Mybrother-in-law, Francis Bently accompanied me, also ablacksmith, for I entended to open a wagon-makingbusiness. I found muself alone, no neighbors nearerthan twenty miles, so I concluded to leave the desolate place.
My brother Joseph wasliving in the Stromberg Mountains, and to his farm I went. Whijethere, snow fell to the depth of a foot all over the country. I sold the rightto my farm ro Francis Bently,and left him there. As soon as the roads were fit to travel, I started for Winterberg. Roads were s;veepand rocky. At Winterberg I stayed three weeks, andthen went on to Bathurst, where we had left my little daughter Jemima with myfather. He would have rented his farm there to me. I did not like the looks fo the place, so I went on to Fort Beaufort, and hired ahouse from an old lady named Mrs Salt, about whomthis story is told:
"She was at the Battleof Waterloo, and used to search the bodies of the dead soldiers for valuables.When I came to occupy the house, I found she had let it to some one else. Ithen rented another, made it cozy and comfortable, lived in it three weeks andthen left because we never felt happy in it. I was troubled by something, orsomebody, we didn't know what.
My father-in-law, Mr Francis Bently, had a peice of land in Kaal Hoek, so I went to Winterberg tosee him about buying it. I walked, as my horses were there, some twenty miles.On my return to Fort Beaufort, I gave up the house, giving in all I had done toit, thankful to get rid of it. With my own wagon and team, I moved to Winterberg, taking my quarters on my new land.
It was a pretty, park-likecountry. I lived in my wagon until I built a "hurtebeest"hut, a square house, made of poles, bending tops over in bow shape, and ccvered with grass from the ground to the top. In thishouse I lived until I errected a large house,containing four rooms, and a small bedroom, for my father, when he visited me.I also built a shop which was attached to the house. The whole building formingthe shape of the letter L. Also many outbuildings. A good man by the name ofDuff, helping me. I spent two happy years in this peaceful home.
In this peaceful home,another daughter came to gladden us, born on the 6th of May 1849, christenedFrances Amelia, by Rev J. Ayiiff. During this time Imade several wagons to order. I had from eight to ten cows in milk, my ownwagon and Oxen, also riding horses, and mnay apleasant visit we made to our neighbors. I was thus fixed when rumours of war again unsettled us. This was in December,1850. I was then making a wagon for a Mr Stanton, hetook it away unfinished. I sent some wagon wood and unfinished wagons to FortBeaufort, to a friends care. Rumours of war reachedus from time to time, until Christmas time, when we had orders to get intocamp, as there was no time to lose.
Wagons were hastily packedwith all we could load on them, leaving much furniture in the house. With sadhearts we bade good-bye to our pretty home, never to see it again. We went asfar as my father-in-law's place, and found them preparing to move next morning.A large crowd had collected there to all start togeather,so I stayed with them.
As there was a fiddleramong them, they decided to have a good time, so they danced and made merry,but I was too sad to join them. My heart was full of anxiety. One of the wagonsbelonged to a Bastard named DuPrez, he lived on afarm of mine, working it on the half. This man and his son drove a wagon intocamp. We made a start in the morning. On the way we met hundreds of Fingoes, fleeing from the Kaffirs. The Kaffirs and Hottentotsthought to drive the English and Fringoes out. Fingoes were a tribe of Natives despised and oppressed bythe Kaffirs. We were glad to reach Post Retief, towhich people were flocking from all directions for protection.
Chapter XX - TheWar of the Axe
Jacob DuPrezhelped unload my wagon, then went back to his farm and brought my share of thepotatoes he had planted. He appeared loyal when he left me, but instead ofgoing to his farm, he joined the Hottentot rebels atKat River.
On Christmas day, 1850,commenced the work of bloodshed and death. The Hottentots joined the Kaffirs.Small camps did not feel safe. The Kaffirs were in overwhelming numbers. Mr Bear did not feel safe In his small camp, and sent tothe Post for an escort to guard them to the Post. Twenty men set out on thisexpedition, among them my son John, who was but a boy, but ever ready on suchoccasions. They got there safe, and on their return journey a wagon wheelbroke, which Caused a delay, which delay, probably saved their lives, as theyheard afterwards. The enemy were in ambush in a pass on their road, ready topounce on them. When they did not appear that night, the enemy abandoned theplan. The first attack on the Post Retief was made onJan 1st 1851, in the night between twelve and one o'clock. That night thousandsof sheep were run off, which were outside the walls. A wagon was returning fromFort Beaufort in charge of four men, John Edwarts,James Holt, John Austin and George Bibbons. On theLower Blinkwater, this wagon was attacked andplundered. John Austin and George Gibbons were killed, James Holt was wounded,but managed to make his escape to Fort Beaufort. John Edwards escaped unhurt,and reached his home in Post Retief. The wagon andits load of ammunition, were in possession of the enemy. On the 7th of January,the Kaffir Chief, Hermanes, made an unusually boldattempt to surprise the strong Millitary Post of FortBeaufort. After a short and sharp struggle, they were defeated with heavy loss.The Arch-traitor, Hermanus was killed.
During a lull in the war,some of our men went out to their farms. No sooner had they gone than theKaffirs appeared in hundreds, and began to drive off the cattle which were outgrazing. A company of our men went out to try to prevent them, and a skirmishtook place. In the for-most of this was my son John. The Kaffirs drove off thecattle. Not one of our side was wounded or killed. Francis Bentley had all hecould do to keep John from rushing into death in the scrim-age. I lost ten cowsand a span of Oxen.
A settler, Named Joseph Albison, nearly lost his life on his way to the Post fromhis farm. One night six men came into camp over the rugged mountains on foot.One of them being Cloake Beare,then eighty years old. He lived to be a hundred years old. The enemy now tookthought of another plan, which was to turn off our water supply. Then place anold cannon on the hill above us. The only damage it did, was to wound somecattle. Oh, how the bullets flew over the Fort, bounding onto the Zinc Roofs.While one party was firing on the Fort, another lot would be threshing thefarmers wheat out with sticks, women and children helping. We could see themcarrying it away in sacks, on wagons. Farm after farm they plundered, what theycould not carry off, they burned.
Fruit was ripe in immensequantities. Many feast they had, in our orchards, while we were longing forsome in the Fort. While our water was turned off, a heavy thunder storm came,during which we caught lots of rain-water off the roofs, so the enemy's idea ofstarving us ojt, failed. These scrimmages betweenthem and our people kept up until the 8th of Feb 1851, when thousands fo the enemy were seen on the mountains around us, andrumors reached us of their attack on a Farmer's Camp, called Smith's Camp. Theydrove every animal from this place, so they could get no word to us, how theyhad fared. So we sent seven men to find out, among them was my brother-in-lawFrancis Bentley, and my son John, who was always among the first to vol untesr in such expeditions,although to young.
Five days elapsed, and notidings of our boys, made us very anxious, especially as we had seen the enemyreturning to Smith's Camp.
One day our anxious eyesperceived a large body of men coming over the mountain towards the Post. To oursurprise they sent a man to us bearing a white flag. Mr. James Sewtman, our Magistrate, also bearing a flag of truce,started to meet them. He told him they had four white men prisoners, and whilethey were parlaying about the affair, a large company of men were seen comingfrom another direction. We feared they were foes, but to our relief, found theywere friends, under Captain Pringle. Having heard we were hemmed in, they hadcome to our assistance.
After this company hadarrived, my wife and my sister Elizabeth, and a servant man, went up to wherethe two men were talking, so anxious was the mother to hear news of her boy.When the Hottentots saw her coming, some of them knew her, and called to her tocome on, they would not hurt her. She was a ver/brave woman, and got them to take her to where the prisoners were. Oh, how badshe felt when she saw John, stripped of nearly all his clothing. He wassurprised to see his mother. He had been a prisoner two days, in constant fearof death. She begged them to let her have him, and after a lot of parleying,they consented to let the prisoners free, if the English would give up someHottentots they had captured, in exchange .
While they thus parleyed, atroop of white men were seen approaching, so they were afraid of an attack, andtold them to go. It was explained to my wife that he was not held as a prisonerhad been given his liberty, if he would promise not to take up arms againstthem again.
This he refused to do, andso was held until his mother came. This he refused to do, and so was held,until his mother came. He had ridden his mother's , a fine mare, which sheasked to be given up to her. "No, No, Missus", said they, "Youhave your boy, be satisfied." She begged them to be kind to her horse, asshe said goodbye to her faithful animal.
My son told of theircapture and treatment. On their way back from Smith's Camp, they saw a man in ahollow, and he called, to them, saying he wished to talk to them. Four of themwent up to see what he had to say, and while they charted, he appearedfriendly. Suddenly a whole swarm of Hottentots surrounded them, unarmed anddismounted them, and took them prisoners, with the intention of killing them,but because some of the Hottentots knew my son they prevented the Kaffirs fromdoing so, by surrounding them so thickly the Kaffirs could not get at them.They threatened to tell their chief, but the, "We do not care, he is notour chief," The Kaffirs would grin at their prisoners, over their shoulders,and call them, "Satana."
Chief among those whoprotected them was a Hottentot man, named "Dudriech", who at one time was in the employ of mywife's parents. Finally the Hottentots took them to an empty Dutch house, andkept the Kaffirs out. "Dudriech" especiallyguarding John, saying, "We know his father, he has often preached to us,he is a good man, he has never done us any harm. We will not kill him, as wewant him to make wagons for us."
All this time a party ofthem was trying to take Smith's Camp. They succeeded in capturing their sheep.John said they brought the sheep to the house, and would kill them in a cruelmanner, fall onto them like a pack of wolves, and throw their assegais intotheir bodies, and see them run about in pain.
Grapes were ripe, so theyfed him mutton and grapes. They tried to set fire to Smith's Camp, and failed.John felt safer in the Dutch house than in the Camp. He hoped his mother didnot know of his capture, he knew how she would feel. "Dudrich"gave him a leg of mutton to take to his grandmother when he was released. Howthankful I was to see them home safe and sound. The next day Smith's Campjoined ours for protection.
Chapter XXI -The War of the Axe
While we were hemmed in atPost Relief, my brother George was having his troubles, which [will relate. Helived near the Koonap Heights, on a stream called,"Braambush Spuit".Here he had built extensive workshops, and distilleries. He had vineyards andorchards of Orange and Lemon trees, and other fruits. He had a large dwellinghouse, also grist mills and cellars full of brandy and wine. He had built alarge three-story building, intended for a mill. When he heard rumors of comingwar, he made it into a fortress. Two lower stories were made of of rock. He loop holed a wall around the roof. It stoodabout forty yards from his dwelling house. He also built two block-houses, andwas prepared for an attack. He had just got In a year's supply of groceries.All his tenants and neighbors came into camp with him.
It was not a good place fora camp, as the enemy could come within a hundred yards before they could beseen. This place was surrounded one Saturday night, by thousands of Hottentotsand Kaffirs, who slept that night in George's vineyards. At break of day,Sunday morning, they attacked the camp. The people ran from the dwelling houseto the mill in their nightclothes. All my brother saved from his home was a boxcontaining money and papers. His wife's mother was lying ill in the house, andwas carried to the mill.
The enemy took possessionof the block-house. The Hottentots servants joined the rebels, and helpedplunder the house. Took all they wanted and then set fire to the building.People tried to drive them off, by shooting from the tower, but they were toosecure. Two men were wounded, William Whittle, in the neck, and Charles Roperin the leg. The heat and smoke of the burning house nearly suffocated theinmates of the mill.
The next morning the enemyhad decamped. There was no tea or coffee in the mill, so George went down tothe burnt house, and hunted among the rubbish. He found a little coffee, whichwas very acceptable. The heat and smoke of the burning house made the cattlefrantic, and they broke out from where they were corralled. The enemy drovethem all away. A party from Post Retief, on hearingthe shooting, went out to reconnoitre, and they sawthe Kaffirs loaded with plunder. It made us feel uneasy about my brother untilwe received word of their safety, from those sent to their relief from ourPost.
A few days after this, arescue party with wagons came from the TarhaDistrict, which conveyed most of those who had taken refuge in the mill, tothat district. My brother went with them and upon his return to his farm, foundthe enemy had robbed it of nearly everything. New wagons had been exchanged forold. New wheels had been taken from the shop and old ones left in their place.Barrels of liquor taken. Water mills fired. The body of Mr. Curtis was found inthe ruins. My brother then formed a camp, and held his ground until the war wasover. Occasionally losing cattle.
Fort Armstrong, agovernment village, was occupied by the traitors, and here they carried alltheir plunder they took through the months of January and February. February 22a big battle was fought. Major-General Somerset had sent word for the Burgherforces of Winterberg to meet him, and his men to routthese people. The Burger forces assembled at Post Retief,several hundred strong, and at day break, on the 22nd of February, they startedto meet the General. On the way, near a place called Balfour, they wereattacked by an overwhelming force of the enemy, in this scrimmage they lostseveral men and horses, and while thus engaged they heard of the report ofcannon and knew the General had reached Fort Armstrong. Our men rushed throughand joined him there.
This Fort was a naturallyfortified place, surrounded with precipitous rocks in the shape of a horseshoeon an elevated eminence on the river. It was quite a village, containingseveral trading stores, as well as a Government Fort and a large tower and aBattery, built star-shaped, with the angles loop-holed. The enemy occupied thisfort as well as the Tower and Battery. The General first demolished thebuildings by shell and shot, and set fire to it. At last they surrendered,hundreds escaped, men women and children. The prisoners were marched to FortHare, and from there to Capetown to work on Publicworks.
My son John was with thePost Retief part, not with-standing his recentadventure he returned unharmed, and told us all about this siege. How thesoldiers looked through the loads of plunder and found many articles of value.He brought home some books, mostly Bibles and religious books. John found hisUncle George's spy-glass and razor. He also brought home some silverware. TheSettler's most valued and precious articles were thus scattered. He also foundhis Mother's mare, but it was in poor condition. When all was over, thesoldiers had a feast on the good things they found. Dead men lay all around,for wild beasts to devour. Wagons were all taken to Fort Hare, where theirowners claimed them.
We then had a great timefor six or seven weeks, and many of us ventured our to our farms. The fieldswere full of pumpkins . I went one day and gathered a wagon load. I found myfarmhouse unmolested, and found a bee's nest full of honey in my garden. I andmy two sons went one day to cut a load of firewood. Before we had time to put onw stick on the wagons, Kaffirs drove off the oxen, and weall ran home as hard as we could, for about two miles, thinking we would all bekilled. That was the first and last time I ever ran away from Kaffirs orHottentots. The next day I borrowed some oxen and fetched in my wagon. Thereason we escaped to easily was that a party of men were after the Kaffirs.
I now finished some wagonsand st>fd one to get aspan of oxen, a company of Highlanders in charge of Captain Bruce, took chargeof Post Reitef. They were the 74th Regiment. To giveroom to the soldiers many farmers moved back to their farms, but I stillremained at the Post, making wagons, and cutting firewood for the troops. Theyusually sent as escort with me. Bruce put things in order according to hisnotions. He built a Look-out on a hill, called by some, "BruceFolly".
I lived in a house that hadbeen partly burned, which I repaired and roofed. In this house my son, Josephwas born, on the 3rd day of November 1852, baptized by Rev. W. Shepstone, at Kamastown,Queenstown District. Soon after this the war ended. All the farmers werenotified to make out lists of their losses and as compensation, were givenfarms. These farms were in the country from which the Ametembuhad been driven, Mapassa, being the Chief. This wasat the suggestion of Mr Thomas Holden Bowker. It was situated on the KomaniRiver, a fertile and well watered tract.
A town was laid out by SirGeorge Cathcart, and named Queenstown. This land wasparceled out and granted free to numerous applicants. No farm exceeded threethousand acres. The Grantees promising to ever be ready to defend their county.
Chapter XXII -Move to Queenstown District
Having no land of my own, Idecided to apply for a farm in this new Territory. Accordingly, ! and my familystarted for this place in January 1858. I had my own wagon and Oxen. We calledat Kmas Town and visited a friend of mine namedStephen Trollipe. Here I met Mr. Warner who had longbeen a missionary among the Amatemba or Tambookies. He and his family had taken refuge at KamasTown, and were now returning to the new town, so we traveled on together.
Arriving at the town-sitewe found a party of men put there to patrol the country. Among these men therealready were May Newton, John Staples, several of his sons, a Mr. Eva and hissons, Mr. Ridgeway and Mr. James Jennings. We were there several weeks waitingfor the township to be surveyed.
The town was laid out on afarm once owned by Mr. Warner and his sons. Their farmhouse was burned in thewar. Mr. Robinson was the surveyor. I had the honor of turning one of the firstsods. It was laid out in Hexagon shape, being thus better defended. It was thena frontier town. I was there long enough to have my choice of a farm. I chose afarm at the head of the Komani River, in what is calledthe Bongolo Basin. In this basin were eight goodfarms. My farm had been a mission Station, the house had been burned, but thewalls still stood firm, so I rebuilt it. The place was well supplied with woodand water.
Near the homestead was a Kloof, in which grew many lovely trees. The mountain wasalmost covered with forest. I chose a farm adjoining mine for my brotherElijah, with which he was well pleased. I bought a town lot in Queenstown, forwhich I paid five pounds. It was on a corner. I built a house on my lot andhelped many others to do the same. Stores were soon built and the town grewquickly for people flocked to it from all over. Business men and farmers. Somecame to it from Whittlesea. Churches were soon seenrearing their spires heavenward. My sons, John and Jeremiah, were working thefarm.
The first night they spentthere, a heavy snowstorm came, and they were nearly frozen. It was the heaviestever known in the district. It lay from twelve to eighteen inches deep. Itmelted quickly and caused a flood, which did considerable damage.
The next spring I movedonto my farm. We raised good crops, enough for our use and to sell. I made thehouse comfortable. A strong stream of water flowed past the house. On thisstream I built a small Grist Mill. My brother called his farm, "AloeGrove" . These mountains grow tall Aloes which bear spikes of red flowersabout two feet in length. From their leaves come the "Bitter Aloes"of commerce.
My farm I named"Rockwood". I had plenty of work making wagons, as I was well knownas a good workman. The boys worked the farm. I let a part of my farm to a mannamed William Davis, on which he grew a splendid crop of oat hay. This hestacked on my farm. One night a grass fire which was raging on the next farm, spreadon to mine, set his stack on fire and burned it all up.
When we first moved to thisfarm, we found many human bones in the Kloof, as afierce battle had been fought there.
My brother-in-law, FrancisP. Bentley had bought a portion of my farm in exchange for his house and lot inthe town. Into this house I now moved. Queenstown was now a town of about onehundred houses, its residents prosperous and happy. In it I lived two years.Then word came that we were to move to our farms, which 1 did.
While I lived in town mydaughter Jemima was married to a carpenter by the name of George Ellis. Ifinished my house of four good rooms and a storeroom. My brother-in-law havingbeen granted a farm of his own, John and I bought his portion back, and soonafter John married and lived in the house built by his uncle.
On the 24th of May (theQueen's birthday) of each year, we all had to muster in the town and beinspected by a Resident Magistrate. The owner of every farm had to pay amoderate quit-rent yearly. We did not get title-deeds until we had lived on ourfarms three years, if we left them before that time, we forfeited all rights ofthem.
Queenstown District isunsurpassed as an agricultural and stock-raising district. Good grass andwater. It is now studded with good farmhouses and rich vineyards and orchards.The farmers are all prosperous. No Kaffir Wars to disturb for twenty yearspast. Many of the natives in the vicinity are also in good circumstances.
I may mention here anaccident that happened to my little son Joseph. He was playing in the Mill andclimbed up to feel the flow (as he had seen me do), when the water wheel caughtand flung him under it. He was thrown into a corner, where he crouched untilthe wheel was stopped and he crawled out, wet and frightened.
Chapter XXIII -Famine Among the Natives
It was while we lived on"Rockwood" in the year 1852 that a famine took place among the nativeTribes. A Prophet arose, who tried to agitate another war. This man's name was"Unlan-gini". He counseled the people tokill all their cattle, with the exception of two Oxen, one white and the otherblack, which they tortured to death. These Oxen represented the white and blackpeople. Whichever one lived the longest would be the victorious party. ThisProphet also commanded them to destroy their crops. He made them believe thecattle would tise again. They could hear their hornsrattling under the ground.
His influence extendedamong all the tribes except the Tamboohies. Theyslaughtered their cattle in the thousands, ate and feasted all they could, andburned the rest. My son traveled through Kreli'scountry afterwards, and saw piles of bones and streams of fat.
This Prophet sentmessengers from Kreli's people to the remotest partsof the country, to Moshesh and Faker. The latter didnot see the wisdom of such a step.
The Governor, watching theprogress of this extraordinary delusion, calmly and quietly strengthened allthe Military outposts. The Kaffirs were divided into two parties; believers andunbelievers. The folowing graphic description onthese events is from the pen of a Mr. A.Kennedy.
"Whether the Chiefshad communicated the secret of the intended war to their subjects, I am unableto say, but their demeanor evidently, showed that they were acquainted with it.Always proud and haughty in their bearing to the white man, their pride andhatred now increased. With their skin robes, called Karosses,folded around them they stalked majestically along, scowling at any whiteperson they chanced to meet, with malignant hatred in their eyes.
Fat and saucy from hisunusual feasting, in high state of excitement with the thought of the impendingstruggle, and of the fine fat herds of cattle which he believed were soon togladden his longing eyes, it was at this time you might see the Kaffir in hisglory.
I was then living near astore at which they traded. This place was like a Fair. The Kaffirs broughtcattle and goats, also hides for sale. With the proceeds of these, theygenerally bought cotton blankets, which were gradually taking the place oftheir shin robes. It was amusing to watch these fine fellows trying on theirpurchases. Models for a Statuary, with muscles fully developed, they threwthemselves unconsciously into the most graceful attitudes, holding the blanketsin their extended arms, by the corners, they would stand a moment, then throwit over their shoulders, wrapping it around them tightly, in folds, repeatingthis operation several times until satisfied with the fit.
After all this excitementcame the reaction. A Kaffir's food consists of Indian corn, (which they call mealies) Kaffir corn, pumpkins and sour milk, with anoccasional feast of beef or goat's flesh. They had destroyed their cows,neglected to cultivate their lands, and starvation now stared them in the face.I shudder now as I recall the dreadful scenes of misery witnessed during thissad time.
They wandered over themountains in search of edible roots. The favorite was the roots of very youngmimosa and other trees. Today can be seen depressions in the earth, made whenthese were dug up. This kind of food rather hastened their fate, for it broughton dysentery, and they became living skeletons. Numbers of them died, and theirskulls and bones were scattered over the veldt. They would doubtless all haveperished, had not the Government interfered, and saved a great many of them.They were told to come to the commissioners and be fed, and when strong enough,work would be provided for them. The Ciakas came toFort Brownlee in great numbers. Many of them died on the way. I have seen themdrop before my door, their journey over, and food in sight. Many were too weakto partake of much nourishment, and at first were fed sparingly. As theyrecovered they were sent to the Colony to work.
A Kaffir Is naturallygenerous. Give one a piece of bread or tobacco, and he will share it with hiscompanions, but hunger makes him selfish. I have seen natives snatch bread fromtheir starving children's hands, and I have heard in one or two Instances ofwomen devouring their own infants. The truth of the latter I cannot vouch for.But this is too horrible to dwell upon.
No less than one hundredthirty, to three hundred head of cattle were destroyed by the Prophet's orders,and what was the object of this wanton destruction? It was this: The Chiefsthought by getting the people to destroy all their living, it would cause themto rise against the British colonies, drive them out, and live on their cattleand provisions. In this they were sadly disappointed. By the wisdom of SirGeorge Cathcart in strengthening all outposts andmission stations and trading stations with men and provisions, they wereprevented from their objective, and a war was averted, and this misery andstarvation followed.
Chapter XXIV - IHear About "MORMONISM"
In the year 1857 all thenewspapers of South Africa were filled with stories of a strange doctrine beingpreached in Capetown by men from America. It wasmaking a stir in that City, and a few had accepted and been baptized. One storywas to the effect that a man had been baptized who was so wicked his sins madethe water so heavy as it flowed past a water wheel, it had broken several ofthe cogs, and other absurd tales. They were called "Mormons", a name,which appeared to me a strange word.
I was still, and had been amember the Wesleyan Church for over thirty years. When I read of them Iremarked to a friend, "They must have been sent of the Devil to try anddeceive the very elect, if it were possible." The next thing we heard,they were in Grahamstown. Stirred up that town,speaking, preaching and people mobbing them, but making no converts. From therethey went to Fort Beaufort, and baptized several families, I was acquaintedwith, A Mr. Clark and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd and Mr. Thomas Parker andhis wife. They were met with great opposition, brickbats and rotten eggs beinghurled at them. They held meetings in the home of Mr. Parker and one night amob attacked the house, broke all the windows, and tried to break open thedoors. One of the missionaries whose name was William Walker, had a carriage.This the Mob took and threw into the Kat River. I never heard that it was everrecovered. William Walker was one of three men who had come from Utah with thenew religion. The other's names were Jess Haven, and Leonard J. Smith.
They traveled from place toplace preaching and distributing tracts in Dutch and English language. Nextthing I heard was that they had reached my brother George's place in the Winterberg; he had received them kindly, listened to theirteaching, and read their tracts. My Brother was a very shrewd andsteady-thinking ma. He compared their teachings with the scriptures and foundthey corresponded well with the New Testament doctrine, so he came to . theconclusion it was worth studying, one of his neighbors said to him, "Ihear you have got a new religion among you." My brother replied, "Ithink it is the old religion that Christ and his Apostles taught revived."
One of these Mormon Preachersmade his home with my brother for several weeks, preaching and explaining hisdoctrines to all who would listen. Such was the news brought to me by those whohad come up from Winterberg.
I thought it strange for mybrother had never before thought much of Religion. Soon after this I was inQueenstown. One day I met my brother and Mr. Walker. He had brought the Elderseventy miles to see me, as I had been a Preacher, he wished to hear my opinionof the Mormon Doctrine. I took them home with me, and as we rode along thoseeight miles, we conversed on this religion so new to me.
When we arrived home I wentaround to all the neighbors, inviting them to hear Mr. Walker preach. A fewcame from curiosity, to hear if what they had heard from the papers was true.This discourse was principally of Baptism, which much impressed me. He alsotalked on Divine Authority. His language was so plain any schoolboy could haveunderstood him.
Next morning a neighbor,Mr. Staples, came to see Mr. Walker. He asked a great many questions, and thensaid, in regard to Baptism: "Well, it is the old controversy that has beengoing for years in different Churches."
Mr. Walker and my brotherstayed on with me several days, the time was spent in investigating Mormonism.I asked many questions, all of which were answered satisfactorily. Mr. Walkergave me a copy of "The Book of Mormon", a book translated from GoldenPlates by their Prophet, Joseph Smith. This record was shown to him by anAngel, being an account of the ancient inhabitants fothe American Continent called "Nephites".Its pages were full of interest and all its doctrines in strict accordance withBible truths. A book called "The Voice of Warning", by Parley P.Pratt, interested me greatly, nay, it astonished me. It is a warning to allpeople, rich and poor, high and low, Kings and Queens and Clergy.
William Walker had been apersonal friend of Joseph Smith and so could tell us of his noble character,pure life and cruel murder. He said they had not come to Africa to quarrel withanyone, but they had a message to deliver to the people, and they determined todo it well.
At last they had to leaveus. Soon afterwards I rode down to see them, and again conversed on Mormonism.Mr. Walker, my brother and myself rode over to Fort Beaufort where we stayed ata Mr. Porker's house. He was in Ironmonger. There we held some good meetings,and I first heard the Mormon's hymns sung. While here my brother was so good asto pay some debts I had been owing there since 1857. Sometime before this I haddreamed that he had done this very thing.
I bought some books andpamphlets from Mr. Walker. He wanted to baptize me while there, and said he wasfirmly convinced I believed, but I told him I would investigate further. On theway to my brother’s, our conversion was "Mormonism" all the way. Thishappy visit had to end, and I returned to Queenstown in company with mybrother-in-law, Francis Bentley. My mind was full of this wonderful religion,and as I rode along, I seemed filled with a light and knowledge, whichillumined every page of the Bible, as text after text flashed into mind. Onarriving home my wife said: "I believe you are converted to Mormonismalready".
Every leisure moment I had1 devoted to the books. I found that although they were written by differentauthors, they never contradicted each other. They bore the same testimony, thatGod had once more spoken from the Heavens after a long night of darkness, tothe young man, Joseph Smith. The truth of the "Apostasy" and consequenterror of all Christian Churches, was so forcibly shown me in Mr Pratt's works. Hitherto I had believed the Bible to bethe pure unadulterated word of God. Now I was plainly shown how it had beenthrough so many translations that it was liable to be in error. Many parts ofit are missing. The Churches of the day did not believe in any new revelations,and as I read in the Doctrine and Covenants, which book contains allrevelations given to Joseph Smith, I felt the truth of the work.
The Roman Catholics claimthat all their Popes were inspired men, and yet they only take St. Peter'swritings as inspired. The more I read of these things, the more I studied, themore convinced was I of their truth of this Gospel that had not been taught onearth for some seventeen Centuries, and was now restored to earth. I was stillattending Wesleyan meetings, occasionally, preaching. I felt the Holy Spirit,and talked and prayed with such power that the people thought I had got theRenewal of the spirit of the early Methodists, but I advanced nothing new tothem, only preaching from the same old Bible. Little did they know where I hadgained such knowledge from.
I could not help telling myfriends and neighbors of Mormonism, and thus I gained their ill-will. My wifefelt very bad to have our friends treat us coldly. So I put all the books on ahigh shelf, and decided not to read them any more. But the thoughts they hadstarted would not be quieted. At last I pulled the books down again, and oncemore began to read them. I found them more interesting than ever, and the Lordopened my eyes to see every truth they contained. Just at this time came alonganother Elder, named John Wesley. He had been a local Methodist Preacher in Capetown, had joined the new faith and become a Missionary,and traveled with William Walker. From him I received more light, and boughtsome more books. Thus a whole year had passed in studying Mormonism, so I didnot come to a hasty conclusion. There seemed something noble about the name ofChurch. It was called "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-daySaints."
Chapter XXV - IEmbrace the Everlasting Gospel
I was now settled inQueenstown, working at my trade, still investigating "Mormonism"Among my friends was a Mr. Robert Wall, and many an earnest talk we had. He hadbeen a great Bible student, but the Bible now appeared like a new book to him.He wondered why he had not seen it before in this light. All he had ever readin explanation of the Bible was put in the shade by these books. His friendscalled him a deluded fanatic. His brother-in-law, Mr. Henry Talbot heard theGospel from him, and accepted the truth. When Mr. Talbot's wife heard of it,she told of a dream that she had had many years before. She dreamed of a newreligion not them in Africa, "but" said she, at the time, "Whenit does come, you will join it." which he did.
My daughter Jemima'shusband worked at this time in the shop with me. Of course I talked to himabout Mormonism, and to get away from the subject, he moved to a place called Lisseyton, near Queenstown, to instruct the native boys inhouse carpentering. They would have employed me also, but I was in their eyes abad man, deluded by the Mormons. My son-in-law helped to build a large housethere, built on an ironstone foundation.
I was fully decided to jointhe Latter-day Saints, and as there were no Elders in Queenstown, in Feb 1858 Imade a journey to the Winterberg with my wife andfamily. The headquarters of the Church was at Port Elizabeth, but there was enElder at Kat River, named John Green. He came to my brother's home and baptizedmyself, my wife and daughter. So on the first day of March 1858 I became amember of the only true and living Church on the earth, knowing it was restoredthrough the Prophet Joseph Smith, never to be taken away. The little stone wasto roll until it filled the whole earth. Joy filled my soul as I was confirmeda member and ordained a Priest of the Church.
After a week's glad visitwe returned to Queenstown, called at Lesseyton on ourway. Now we learned what it meant to be shunned by our friends. Many came todebate with me, but found I had the best of them, so they would leave me. Onepreacher said: "It is no use to talk with you,
for you know the Bible fromend to end." The Wesleyan Minister in Queenstown at this time was Rev. H.H Dugmore.
In this year I sold my homein town and moved to the farm. My sons John and Jeremiah had kept it in a goodstate of cultivation. My son-in-law- was still at Lesseyton.One day my wife and I rode over the mountain to see him, and found him veryunwell and dissatisfied with the work there, so I told him if he liked, hecould come and live on my farm, and find work among the neighbors. This he did.I put up a small house for him and his family.
He now began to take aninterest in my religion, reading the Book of Mormon. The Book of Alma took hisattention. Elder John Wesley was in Queenstown District and held services in myhouse every Sunday. His preaching finally convinced George Ellis of the truth. InJune 1858 an order came from Utah that all Saints should be re-baptized, and asElder John Wesley was at my house, he baptized us all in the river that runsdown Rockwood Kloof. I was re-baptized and ordainedan Elder. On that day were baptized my wife, Susannah Wiggill,my daughter Jemima Ellis, her husband George Ellis, my daughter Sarah Ann,Margaret Alice, Rosanna Maria, and Frances Amelia, on the first day of June1858.
I continued working at myfarm and my trade, holding meetings on Sundays. Henry Talbot and family visitedus this year. In November 1858, the following persons were baptized in Bongolo by Elder Henry James Talbot Jr. :: Jeremiah FrancisWiggill, my son, TobertWilson, William Wall, and William Watson. In Queenstown Branch I baptized CharlesFancott, Catherine Fancott,Lavinia Ann Talbot.
Robert Wall was quite anelderly man. He once wrote to me in a faultfinding spirit on the Doctrines ofthe Church. This was before he moved into the Bongolo,onto a farm adjoining mine. I did not visit him much then, because he was beingvisited by a Church of England Minister. Soon after this he was taken sick, andas the doctors gave up all hope of his recovery, I went over to see him. I reada portion of Scripture to him and then prayed for his recovery. That the Lordwould bless and heal him. On another occasion I asked if I should administer tohim and anoint him with oil, and then lay my hands upon his head in accordancewith the Apostle James injunction, that we find in his Epistle, 5th Chapter and14th & 15th verses. He answered "Yes". So I did and he felt muchbetter. I visited him many times after this, reasoning and explaining to himour doctrines, Until he expressed a wish to be baptized, as he fully believed.When Rev. Green called, he told him not to call again, as his neighbors visitedhim regularly.
We sent for hisbrother-in-law Mr. Talbot, and his son who lived fifty miles away He wascarried from the house to the water, and baptized on the 6th of November 1858.After the baptism and confirmation, Mr. Wall seemed perfectly happy. Hedeclared the Olive Oil he took inwardly prolonged his life, for he livedsixteen days after his baptism. He died happy, and requested to be buried inthe Bongolo, as he did not want anything to do withthe religions in error, so I buried him on my farm. He was fifty-four yearsold, nearly fifty-five. He died on the 22nd day of November. He was born inEngland on the 1st day of Feb 1804. Rev. Mr. Green made a great fuss about mytaking a sick man out of his bed to baptize him in cold water, thus causing hisdeath. The letter written to me by Mr. Wall is as follows.
Queenstown, November 18th,1858
Most Respected Friend:
With painful regret, I haveto observe the difference of opinion on things over which sinful man has nocontrol. You may believe me that I am struck with astonishment. If it was uponworldly matters of business, of injuries sustained, there might be reasons. 1would entreat of you to examine the case, with your own conscience, and thenpoint out to me , where, and by what, I have wounded your feelings. Men in thisage of the world, are noted for learning, and we are told that the day willcome when they will deceive the very elect, and as we very well know, that eventhe angels in heaven are not to know our Maker's secret will, it behooves ustherefore, to be careful and watchful, not to be led to and fro by everywhirlwind. We do acknowledge our Church to be a fallen Church, full of errorand traditions of men. We know we support hireling priesthood, and are far fromthe true and ancient Church.
But we also believe thatAlmighty and all Powerful God, still exists, who, in His own good time willcall to account all Nations of the earth, and until them we may expect to seethe conning craft of men in every form. Now in reference to the sect called"Mormons", I must acknowledge that I have found great pleasure inreading their books, to my great edification. I therefore, after a carefulstudy of their books, pronounced them good, so far as being a true copy of thetrue and Ancient Church. Having read their books I have a great desire to seetheir works also, before coming to any conclusion, which, if not true, would bedenying my Maker. - Robert Wall
N.B. Orson Pratt says thatJoseph Smith was ordained an Apostle by Peter, James and John. He testifiedthat Peter, James and John were ministering angels.
Chapter XXVI -Preaching the Gospel and Preparing to Emmigrate
About this time I wascalled upon to attend a Conference at my brother George's. Just as I was readyto start a man came to our house. A Mr. Hayward. He had come from Orange RiverColony, and was on his way to his brother-in-law Mr. Talbot's farm, a distanceof sixty miles. Our Conversation on the way was "Mormonism". Heagreed with many of the principles, especially baptism for the remission ofsins. We stayed two days with Mr. Talbot, and then all three started for Winterberg. The road leading over an undulating countrycalled "Bontebok Flats", was very beautifuland picturesque, all unoccupied government land. It is very cold in winter, butgood grazing in the summer, almost destitute of wood, and plenty of water.
After riding thirty milesover the plains, we came to a mountain road, eight or nine miles long, partlythrough a forest, known now as the "HogsbackRoad". On this read a severe thunder storm overtook us. We were in aperfect deluge. I had a good waterproof coat, but the others were as wetas if plunged in a river. At the foot of the hill we came to an accommodationhouse, where we were soon dry and comfortable, and we stayed all night.
Next morning we startedriding through the Kat River settlements, visiting MrJohn Green finally reaching brother George's. Mr. Hayward here left us for Grahamstown. Here we found Mr. Joseph Raoph,an Elder from Grahamstown, making four Elders in theConference. We had two days meeting and settled the business, had a good time,feeling that at all times the Lord was with us.
After conference we startedfor home, calling again at Mr. John Green's where we baptized a young daughterof a Mr. George Prince. I stayed at Mr. Taibot's twodays and while there I visited an old friend of mine, Mr. William Morris. I hadknown him years before, been a local preacher with him. During the Two lastwars, he and I had been hemmed in the Military Post together.
Well, we talked many hourson "Mormonism" . I asked him for a Bible, but he did not have one,all his books having been burned. I told him never mind, I could do withoutone. I explained Mormonism to him from memory, and I don't think I ever hadsuch a flow of language, passages of scripture coming to my mind with suchforce. He asked very few questions, just sat and listened. He told me of thetalk in Queenstown, about Tobert Wail's baptism,saying I was Liable to be arrested. I told him what I had done was at the man'surgent request and his family's desire.
I eventually arrived homesafe and sound. Some time after this came a great flood. My wife and I went toQueenstown, and a thunderstorm detained us over night. It brought the riverdown in torrents. I watched wood and sheaves of wheat floating down the stream.I went home next day and to my surprise found my farm nearly washed away. Mystack of wheat was all gone, some of it I had seen in the river at Queenstown.My son Jeremiah was at home with the children. He told me a huge cloudburst inthe mountains and water rushed down the glen at the back of the house like atidal wave. When near the house it spread into a sheet of water about eighthundred feet wide, carrying everything in its wake. It washed my lands away, infact, my farm was left in a pitiable condition. The children had been in a sadstate of fear. The storm quite altered the aspect of the Kloff,moving large rocks and uprooting giant trees, which I suppose would be ahundred years old.
I now began to feel that Imust gather with the Saints, and to reflect on pulling stakes and departing forZion. Mr. Talbot had sold his farm, and the flood had worked havoc with mine. Ibegan to think it was time I was selling it. I soon found a purchaser, a Dutchman, named Botha, who paid me one thousand and twentypounds in bills, payable at so many months after date. Until I vacated thefarm, Botha lived in a small house on the farm. WhenMr. Talbot sold his farm he moved to Queenstown, and while there he and Iarranged to divide the meetings between us. Sometimes he would come to preachin Bongolo, and I would go to Queenstown,
Once I was preaching therewhen Rev. R. Giddy came to hear me preach and ask questions. I referred him tomany passages of scripture he knew were there, and asked if he believed them. Iknew he believed what I said. Some in the room thought he was almost persuaded.At the conclusion, he asked for some books and tracts. I gave him all I couldspare. He He had come in to a Wesleyan conferencefrom his station in the village of Colesburg. We hadbeen old friends and brothers in the Wesleyan Ministry for years, and I alwaysconsidered him a good honest man.
Mr. Talbot soon left Queenstownfor Port Elizabeth. I and my family following him in the month of April 1860.We left George Ellis at my brother George's to do some carpentering work.Passing through Fort Beaufort and Grahamstown on ourway. When in the neighborhood of Sundays River, our oxen got astray in a denseforest, were lost two days, so here we had to stay. After a great deal ofsearching we managed to find all of them. Twenty-four in number.
We arrived in PortElizabeth on May 14th 1860, where I was appointed President of the Branch ofthe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This branch contained aboutforty members. We held meetings in Mr. Talbot's house twice on Sundays, andonce through the week. I was well employed in acting as a teacher, visiting thesick and poor, and other Church duties. After holding our meetings in Mr.Talbot's house for awhile, we hired a place, which we fitted up as ameetinghouse. It was very comfortable and we got the people more united.
Before I came to PortElizabeth a Mr. John Stock was President of the Branch. While he was Presidenthe and some others bought a small vessel called the "Unity" This Brigwas bought with the view of transporting the Saints. On her return journey shecalled at England, and there a Captain Rich took command of her. He was amember of the Church. He brought the vessel safely back to Port Elizabeth,bringing with him his wife and his children. The "Unity" was themused as a Coaster between the Ports of South Africa. On one occasion she took acargo at Table Bay, for Algoa Bay, and she was neverheard of afterwards. She is supposed to have foundered and all on board werelost. It was a heavy loss to the owner, Captain Rich's widow applied for herhusband's salary and money owing him, but it was in vain, which caused her tofeel bitter against John Stock. He was a man of enterprise, carried on a largeTanning business with a Mr. Slaughter.
When John Stock left forUtah, this affair about the Brig was not settled, which caused a lot oftrouble. He was not a bad man, but had kept the Saints together a long time,and was very good to the poor. He returned to Africa afterwards, and settledthe business satisfactorily.
I was soon Joined by meson-in-law, George Ellis, who got work at his trade. It was on the 9th of August,I860, that I wrote my first letter to the Liverpool Office in England, as tothe state of the Branches of the Church in the Eastern Province.
When Mr. Talbot's sonThomas, came down from Queenstown, he brought me the money for my farm.Unfortunately, it was all in Queenstown Bank Notes, so I could not get themdiscounted in Port Elizabeth. He also brought word that my son Jeremiah did notintend sailing with us for America, but would follow another time. This madehis mother feel very bad, as she had already bid her daughter Sarah Anngoodbye. She had married a young man by the name of Charles Staples. To oursorrow, he took no interest in Mormonism, and thus she was prevented from goingto Utah. One comfort was, he was a good man, and they loved each other dearly,Our eldest son John, was also staying in Africa, so my wife felt she could notleave another child. She accordingly made up her mind to go up to Queenstownand bring Jeremiah down, and also take my notes to Queenstown to be changed.
Thomas Talbot took her upwith a cart and a pair of horses, which belonged to me. On the way one horsecaused them a lot of trouble. My wife's friends were very glad to see heragain, and being a woman greatly beloved by all who knew her, and widelyrespected. One dear friend of hers was a Mrs. John Weakly. This lady was muchgrieved when we embraced Mormonism, and she told my wife if she would not go toUtah, she would give her a life-long home. But my wife thought more of herreligion than to give it up for anything, however costly.
Well, she visited all herrelatives and bid them a final good-bye, feeling sad because they would not seethe truths of the religion she loved. She went to the bank with the notes, andafter a lot of trouble got them changed into gold. They first demurred, as theyhad heard it was to take us to Utah. When she had got the money, she visitedher father. He was then eighty years old. She persuaded Jeremiah to go downwith her, and they both reached Port Elizabeth in safety. She also brought withher a little girl, a relation of hers had given her to take care of.
While she was absent, Iengaged our passage, paying part of the money. The vessel's name was the"Race Horse", of Boston, Mass, U.S.A. Captain John Searles. I also paid passage of my son-in-law and hisfamily, and son Jeremiah. My son-in-law had very little money and was in verypoor health.
While in Bongolo he dreamed someone had paid all their passagemoney, which "someone" •happened to be me. Jeremiah had left all hisproperty, consisting of wagons and oxen, unsold, in charge of his brother Johnin the Bongolo. My brother, Aaron Wiggill,happening to be at Port Elizabeth at this time agreed to buy the cattle, to payin eight months, turning over his wagon to his uncle and brother to sell forhim, Jeremiah sold his oxen for one hundred and fifty pounds. Uncle Aaron couldnot get the money in Port Elizabeth, as he was not known there. A man whom heknew, named William Swift, promised to get the money and bring it over, but notone farthing of this money did my son ever see, through this man's dishonor. Ifhe had taken my advice, he would not have lost this money.
We were in Port Elizabetheleven months. I worked at my trade and attended to Church duties, so the timepassed pleasantly. We lived in a pretty part of the town, close to the Harbour, overlooking the Ocean, where we could see theships passing. One Sunday there was a Southeast wind blowing which lashed thewaves to fury. They were mountain high. In the bay was a ship called ""The Hero". She was an American vessel, having on board a cargo ofoil. This vessel was thrown about by the waves like a cockleshell, until hercables broke and she was driven on the sandy shore, where she became a totalwreck. Her anchor was afterwards washed up by the waves and picked up on thebeach, where it was embedded in the sand.
During our stay in PortElizabeth, Queen Victoria's son, Alfred, visited South Africa. When his shopcame into the Bay, there was great excitement. The long jetty was carpeted forhim and his group to walk on. He was a fine-looking boy of sixteen years ofage. The whole town was decorated. Several triumphant arches were erected forthem to pass under. All the shipping in the bay was illuminated. He stayed inthe town a week, looking around, accompanied by the Governor, Sir George Grey.Then he went on a trip through Grahamstown, FortBeaufort and Queenstown, through the Free States to Port Natal. While he was onthis tour, his ship, the "Eurylus", lay inthe Bay and was open to inspection. Myself and part of my family went on board.It was fitted up in magnificent style. His cabin was like a splendid parlor.The band was playing and many were dancing. The Engineer took us all throughthe Engine rooms, and I was much interested in the machinery. The shop stayedin the Bay two weeks, and then steamed away to Port Natal, to receive thePrince on board. This was in July I860.
By February 1861, we werenearly ready to leave South Africa. I had been waiting for Elders from Utah totake over the Branch, but as they were detained in England, I could wait nolonger. I left the Church in charge of Elder Slaughter until they arrived.Their names were Elders Dickson, Sutherland, Fotheringham,M. Atwood, and John Stock.
Chapter XXVII -We Set Sail For America
On the twentieth day ofFebruary, 1861, we bade the Saints and friends at Port Elizabeth farewell, andboarded the Barque "Race Horse". Ourcompany consisted of myself and wife, and three children. Mr. Henry Talbot, wifeand large family, his son Henry jr. , wife and child, making in all thirtysouls.
It was late afternoonbefore we weighed anchor and sailed out of the Bay. (AlgoaBay) By the time the shores of Sunny South Africa had gone out of sight, thevessel began to roll, and every one of us was glad to lie down. The distress ofsea-sickness kept us all down quite a while. I was sick more or less the wholevoyage. Our fare was good, we ate at the same table as the Captain. He was avery good man, his son was the second Mate. The only thing I relished was rawoats, which fell from the oat hay which was on board to feed the sheep. Thesheep were for table use. We found we had made a mistake by not laying in asmall stock of delicacies, which seek people could relish. The first to recoverwas young Thomas Talbot, so he made himself useful in taking care of the youngladies, helping them on deck every day to get the fresh air. This caused ourCaptain to give him the title, "Doc Talbot". Young Robert Wall wasalso very kind to the ladies and children.
Mr. Talbot had brought alittle Kaffir boy along with him, named "Gogo".He had rescued him from starvation during the famine. This boy caused lots offun among the sailors. The Captain gave him the work of feeding the sheep.
When the seasickness wasover, the young people began to enjoy life on board ship. The Captain's son wasvery sociable with them. Many a pleasant evening we spent in dancing, singingand music. The Captain and Seamen of the wrecked ship, "Hero" were alsowith us, going home. The Captain's name was Hussey. On the first of April,there was fun on board. "Whale!" was shouted, and everybody ran tothe side of the vessel to see nothing. We did see Whales occasionally. AlsoPorpoises and flying fish.
We passed the wreckedvessel, the "Benguela", near the BermudaIslands. The "Race Horse" was a clipper ship, and a fast sailor. Wesometimes met with contrary wind, and next would come calm, when we would driftout of our course which made us feel impatient. All went well with us untilwithin two weeks travel of Boston, when we encountered a severe storm, lastingtwo days and nights. The waves rolling mountain-high, would break over the shipin a mass of foam, sails were reefed, and we were driven before the wind, atthe rate of ten or twelve knots an hour. The ship rolled and pitched, we beganto think our end had come. The Captain had two small cannons on board, asornaments. One of these broke loose and rolled about the deck, smashingeverything in its way, until it jammed itself in a tight corner. Then thesailors lashed it to a mast. The wind was intensely cold. We were in the GulfStream, in the Gulf of Mexico. The Sea there is much warmer. Oh how glad andthankful we were when that terrific storm was over.
We were soon near ourdestination, where a Pilot came on board. He brought papers and news of the warin the United States, between North and South. The Battle of Bull Run hadalready been fought. The Pilot took charge of the vessel. As we neared theHarbor, four o’clock in the morning, we came in contact with the Schooner"Fennore" . The "Race Horse" losther bowsprit, the head of her foremast, and all above, while the "Fenmore" sustained little damage. We were then sixmiles outside of Boston Light, where we remained until a steam-tug arrived totow us in to Harbor. The tug towed another barque atthe same time. The Captain said this was the second accident that had happenedto his vessel in Boston Harbor after the Pilot had taken charge.
We arrived in Dock on the19th of April 1861. The Captain was kind enough to allow us to stay on boarduntil we could find quarters, so we stayed a week. The Captain had a pigkilled. That meat tasted good to me. as my appetite had just returned. We badegood-bye to our kind friends of the "Race Horse", and entered theCity of Boston to find new ones, which we very soon did. When the Saints of theBoston Branch heard of our arrival, the President and others came to the shipto meet and welcome us. Some people, hearing we were from Africa, stared at us,surprised to see that we were white, like themselves, ignorant of the fact thatSouth Africa was settled by people from England in the same way America was.
The President of the EastBoston Branch, telegraphed to New York of our arrival, M.V, Jones sent back amessage that we were to stay in Boston and make ourselves comfortable, until anEmigrant Ship, which was expected from England had arrived. So I hired a largehouse in East Boston, which sheltered our whole party. We bought stoves, and aswater was laid on in pipes, in every room, and good water it was. Provisionswere cheap. We stayed in Boston nearly five weeks.
When we first landed thewhole city was in excitement enlisting soldiers for the war. Recruiting parriesin all directions, flags flying, bands of music, more especially the fife anddrum, The weather was fine, and we made jaunts every day to see the places ofinterest in and around Boston. The first place my wife wanted to see was"Bunker Hill", she being much interested in History. Many things wereseen by us for the first time, such as Railway trains, machine shops,Dock-yards. I had been a great reader, so knew of them from books. At the timewe left Africa, there were but two short lines of rail in South Africa, one at Capetown, and the other in Natal.
We enjoyed our stay inBoston, often meeting with the good Saints on Sundays, hearing the Gospel andSinging the lovely hymns. One I loved much was called "O My Father"telling of our belief in a pre-existent state. I here transcribe it. It waswritten by Eliza R. Snow, a gifted pietess, who was awife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, she was a highly educated and gentle lady,beautiful in face form and manners. The author of many lovely hymns and poems.
O MY FATHER
O, my father, thou that dwellest
In the high and glorious place!
When shall I regain Thy presence,
And again behold Thy face?
In Thy holy habitation
Did my spirit once reside;
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured near Thy side?
For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth,
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends, and birth;
Yet oftimes, a secret something
Whispers, "You're a stranger here,"
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.
I had learned to call Thee "Father
Through Thy spirit from on high;
But until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heavens are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare.
Truth is reason, truth eternal
Tells me I've a Mother there.
When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on High?
Then, at length when I've completed
All you sent me here to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.
When we arrived in NewYork, we found the Company had already started for Florence, so we took a housein Jersey City and waited a week for another company. People were very kind tous. We had a look around New York, through the assistance of N.V. Jones, we gotour English money changed into American money. The end of the week saw us againon the cars, on another stage of our journey for Zion.
We passed through Chicagoand Hanniball, Now began the trouble with our havinga black boy with us. Some colored men, seeing him, accused us of having aslave. They tried to get him away. We then dressed him in girl's clothes,putting on him a huge sunbonnet, to hide his black face. At the Chicago Railwaystation, some men were determined to have him. This caused quite a disturbance.One lady of the company hid him beneath her crinoline, until the men hadsearched all the cars, and we had no more trouble, and finally reached St.Joes. In a few hours we were on board the Steamboat, "Omaha",steaming up the River Missouri. There were about eight or nine hundred souls onboard. Too many to be quite comfortable. I engaged cabin passage for my wife,as she was not very well. Getting very weary with her long journey. She couldnot stand the confusion on the deck. I took care of my daughters in a cozycorner on the deck. We were nearly three days on the river, detained severaltimes on sandbars. The Mate on the boat was the biggest swearerI had ever heard. His wicked words fairly made me tremble.
The scenery along the banksof the River was very pretty. We were glad to reach Florence. It had beenraining heavily. There was not a dry spot on which to place our boxes. Thegirls went on board again, and were nearly taken off. The signal was given forthe boat to start, and they had to run to reach shore again.
Chapter XXVIII -Traveling to Utah
Wagons were at the Landingto take us to the settlement. We found it almost a deserted town. Nearly allthe houses had been moved away to Omaha, as that City had just been laid out.We were taken to an old barn, where we stayed two days. I then looked about thesettlement and found a small cottage, into which I moved my family, and we weremore comfortable. We stayed here three weeks waiting for our wagons to befitted up. There were stores there at which we bought goods and provisions forthe journey.
Florence is a very prettyplace. The country around is undulating and park-like. Good water and grass.While here, two of my children were married. My son, Jeremiah to one of Mr.Talbot's daughters, Pricilla, and my daughter Margaret to Thomas Talbot.
When I got my new wagoninto my hands, I made it very comfortable, putting in side boxed, covered itstent with two covers and a carpet. I paid eighty dollars for the wagon. I hadsix oxen, two cows and one calf.
We were then organized intoa company. Homer Duncan was our Captain. He and several other Elders werereturning from a mission to England. In our company also traveled Elder CharlesPenrose, Jacob Gates, a family named Russell, MrJames Dwyer, the Luffs, the Stratfords,and very happy times we had together.
After we were organized, westarted off, and camped about a mile from Florence, near a small forest. Intothe forest I went, as it reminded me of a South African Bush. I cut a stouthickory stick to take on our journey in case we needed a pole. While campinghere, Mr. Talbot sr. was chosen Chaplain for the company.
1 must record a sadoccurrence, which took place while in Florence. A lady and two sons were in ourcompany. Just before starting, these two boys went to the river to bathe, andboth were drowned. The grief of that poor mother was terrible to behold. Theywere buried in one grave, where so many faithful saints have found a lastresting place, as this place was the home of the saints on their way to Utahfor years. Many companies having to winter there.
We left this camp on thelast day of June 1861, and now commenced our long journey of a thousand miles.We traveled many days over a beautiful rolling country, good grass and water,but very little wood. Miles and miles we traveled until we reached "WoodRiver", where there were many trees. Between the streams of water, grasscovered the plains, two feet high, waving full of seed.
A man with a handcartstarted with us, but he soon tired of his job, sold his cart, and traveled withone of the wagons. As we traveled along, I thought of the brave handcartcompanies that had walked all those weary miles. Many meeting death on the way.Faithful and true, they sang as they traveled on, that cheering hymn, writtenby William Clayton, called "All Is Well"
"Come, come ye Saints,
No toil nor labor fear,
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear
Grace shall be as your day".
They were on their way to aplace of rest, far away from mobs and enemies, who had so cruelly murderedtheir beloved Prophet Joseph Smith; where they could worship God according tothe dictates of their conscience.
At Wood River, a wagonbroke down, belonging to a man named Charles Dean. It was an old wagon and onewheel gave out. I helped Captain Duncan repair the wheel and set the tire, andwe journeyed on. I had sometimes to be out all night guarding cattle, which wasvery unpleasant when grass was up to our knees, and wet with dew. We passedmany trading stations, at one of which I bought a Buffalo Robe.
At "Loop ForkFerry", there was a village called "Columbia". Here large boatstook our wagons, fifty in number over, one at a time, which took us all day.Charles Deans wagon had to undergo more repair. We camped under cottonwoodtrees. Somewhere in this vicinity we met a train of wagons going to Florence tofetch emigrants. The Church sent wagons regularly to meet them. I haveforgotten to mention that we were an independent company, that is, we all ownedour own wagons. With these wagons were some missionaries on their way toAfrica, among them Mr. Henry Talbot's son, John, who had come to Utah a yearbefore. They camped with us one night. John telling his parents a great deal aboutUtah's manners and customs.
Next day we separated,their train going east, and ours west. On and on we traveled, until we reachedPlatt River, Nebraska, for two weeks or more we traveled along its banks. Theroad was level and smooth and not much wood for fuel. We used "Buffalochips" or dry cattle dung, an Antelope was killed and its flesh muchappreciated. Wild grapes and currents grew along the banks of the river. At aplace called Ash Hollow, we were visited by a number of Indians, who camebegging. The Captain collected a number of articles from the company, withthese they went away satisfied.
We next came to some heavysand ridges. The oxen could not pull the wagons through the sand withoutdoubling the teams. The ridges extended for ten miles. It took us all one dayto travel that distance. All along this sandy road lay broken wagons, loosetires, and one stove. Wagonloads of good useful material could have beengathered on the plains in those days.
We were all anxious to see"Chimney Rock", a tall, sandstone formation, which could be seen formiles around. This was a romantic part of our journey. Low cliffs or buttesalong the road, and these curious shaped masses rising from them formed ofloose gravel and hard grains of earth. I think this land must have been at onetime covered with water, which, as it dried away, after earthquakes andconvulsions of nature, corroded; parts of the earth's surface, and left theharder parts standing, also washing the sands down in those heavy ridges. Wecould see great mountains. In the distance which appeared to have plenty ofpine-trees on their sides.
Still ascending we finallyreached the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Here we passed "IndependenceRock", a huge perpendicular boulder of iron-stone granite. On its sidesmany travelers had carved their names. We now came to a pass called Devil'sGate, through which flows a beautiful stream known as the Sweetwater River.Here we camped and I had to mend a broken axle. The Devil's Gate is a verynarrow glen. Its sides rise up perpendicularly for hundreds of feet. On themargin of the stream grows trees and shrubs. Some of our party walked throughthis glen meeting the wagons on the other side. We camped here one night, thenjourneyed on 'till we reached Green River. It is a very wide stream, its bankswooded with cottonwood and birch.
A mile from here we campedin a grove of cottonwood trees, as we had plenty of fuel we built tremendouscampfires. The next place that comes to my mind is the Military Post of Fort Bridger,named after the famous old trapper, Jim Bridger. This place is well wooded andwatered. We were now one hundred and fifty miles from Salt Lake Valley. As weascended the Rocky Mountains, good water became scarce, and we would have totravel long distances between camping places.
In some places our road layon a ridge with the valleys on each side. Sometimes we were on a level plaincovered with sagebrush. I now recall Bear River, a beautiful stream, its waterclear as crystal so we could see the pebbles and rocks in the bottom.Cottonwoods grew on its banks.
Our road now lay betweenred sand hills, descending until we reached Echo Canyon, and here I saw themost romantic and rugged scenery I ever saw in my life. On either side risesteep cliffs, in most fantastic shapes imaginable, composed of rocks andpebbles, cemented together. Three of these columns close together are called"The Witches". It takes its name from sounds echoing and re-echoingamong the rocks. It is twenty miles in length. Through it runs a creek of clearwater, its banks lined with willow and other trees. Wild hop vines climb overthe trees, as they were ready for picking, great bunches were gathered.
This canyon joins anothercalled Weber Canyon, through which runs a rapid stream called Weber River. Onthe river we struck the first Mormon settlement, called Hennifer.In Weber Canyon is the curious formation of Rock called "The Devil'sSlide" . After leaving the settlement we turned off and traveled for sixmiles up the mountains of the Wasatch Range. Here we camped. Mr. Talbot and Ithought we would go ahead of our wagons and so we started on horseback. Wecamped with another company that night between Little and Big Mountain. Nextday we rode down Emigration Canyon, where thoughts of the Pioneers filled ourminds. On merging from this canyon, the valley came into view.
Our hearts were full of joyto see before us the City of the Saints, and to know our toilsome journey wasover. We entered the City and found an old friend from Winterberg,South Africa, Mr. Charles Roper, living in the seventh Ward. We stayed with himthat night and next day met our company on Emigration Square in the EighthWard. Captain Duncan invited myself and family to stay at his house until wecould look around us and see what to do. He made us very comfortable forseveral days.
When William Walker heard Ihad arrived, he came to see me and spent one day showing me all around theCity. We had a good journey across the plains. One death and two births wererecorded, and several minor accidents. The young people had many pleasantevenings in dancing, and so was completed our journey to Zion in September1861.
Chapter XXIX -Settling In Utah
After staying with Captain Dupcan a week, I hired a house in the Seventieth Ward, inwhich we lived until after the October conference, which Conference we muchenjoyed. There we saw for the first time that great man, President BrighamYoung, and other leading men of the Church, and we heard many inspiring sermons.Meetings were held in a building on the Temple Square, as the Great Tabernaclewas not then completed. The foundations of the Temple were then being laid.
After the Conference Iheard of a house for sale. It was thus I heard it: Some Saints had come to theCity from Fillmore, Millard Co. A friend of theirs was living on his ownproperty in the Fifteenth Ward. His name was Paul. They were anxious to havethis man return with them to Fillmore, so they prevailed on him to sell hisproperty. Mr. Paul, hearing I was on the look-out for such a place, came to seeme and we made a bargain. I paid him my new wagon and two yoke of Oxen, whichenabled him to start right away with his friends.
The house consisted of fourrooms, and on the lot was an apple orchard, quite near the Jordan River. Healso let me have some hay, which helped feed my cow I had brought across theplains. I worked at my trade all winter, taking for pay, bacon, potatoes,flour, pumpkins, and whatever I could in the shape of provisions, for there waslittle money in Utah at that time.
We welcomed the spring. Iplanted my land with vegetables and sugar cane. My sons-in-law, George Ellisand Thomas Talbot, moved to Kaysville, twenty-five miles north of the city. Iwent to visit them and did not like the place at all. I returned to the cityand decided to settle there.
During the summer mychildren gave such glowing accounts of Kaysville, saying they knew I could makea living there, that my wife thought we had better try it, as she did not likeour home in the city. It was near the Jordan and very damp which did not agreewith her health. I let my house to my son Jeremiah, and moved out to Kaysville.The garden stuff was a help to him.
Our neighbors were nearlyall Welsh people. Next door to us lived the Ashtons,and across the street the blind musician, Thomas Giles, who used to play theharp. In this Ward lived old Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd, from South Africa. My sonJeremiah moved our furniture to Kaysville with his wagon and team, passingthrough the settlements of Bountiful, Centervill, andFarnington on the way, catching several glimpses ofthe Great Salt Lake.
I tried to hire a house butdid not succeed, and finally heard of a farm for sale. I went to see it andbought it for four hundred dollars. It was a small farm of thirty acres, allfenced, with a brush fence. It had on it a small log house. It was situatednear where my children lived on Holmes Creek. I took possession of the farm atonce, paying a wagon and oxen as first installment, the rest to be paid inwheat, which was already in the ground, but the crop proved a failure,
I got work to docarpentering and other woodwork. The next spring I sowed wheat again butinstead of reaping one hundred bushels, I reaped nearly twenty, as it was a dryseason and water scarce. In the banks of the creek near the house, was abeautiful spring of very good water. We had also plenty of oak-brush for fuel.
Owing to the crop failure Ihad no means with which to meet the debt on my farm, so I sold my house and lotin city for an old wagon and yoke of oxen. My son Jeremiah took the wagon and Iworked the oxen awhile and then let them go in part payment for the farm. Iborrowed a little wheat of my kind neighbors and got a little in payment forwork I had done. When I had settled this payment I was left without wagon orteam to work my land with .
To have to depend onneighbor1 for a lift to city or elsewhere became very disagreeableto myself and wife. She was determined to have a team, so I traded her cookstove to a neighbor for a pair of mules, also giving some silverware she hadbrought from Africa. We called the mules Dick and Pete, but they were too lazyfor anything, so that before it was time to plow I had to make another change.I traded them for a yoke of oxen and a plow. I was then ready for work in thespring. I reaped this year a good crop of wheat and cane (sorghum), out ofwhich we made molasses. We also had a good cow, keeping us in milk and butter.I got a little work to do. I now added another room to my house.
In July 1862 my daughterRosanna was married to Mr. Charles Talbot, leaving but two children at home,Joseph and Frances. Many happy hours we spent in our humble log house.Sometimes a cottage meeting was held in our dinning room, sometimes a dance, asit was the best house on the Creek. My wife was very neat and clean and alwaysmanaged to make her home pretty and attractive no matter how humble they were,or how poor our circumstances.
With our molasses we boughta stove. On this farm we lived three years. In 1864 I rented my farm to myson-in-law Thomas Talbot and moved to Salt Lake City to work at my trade. Inthe fall I was preparing to return to my farm, but my wife did not want to goback to Kaysville, so I rented my farm to my son Jeremiah. I was fortunate toget a good job of work at carpentering for Mr. Woodmansee,who kept a store.
In the spring I went towork for the firm of Naylor Bros. Blacksmiths and Wagon makers. They paid mefour dollars per day. A young man named William Lowe also worked for the samefirm, and in November of the same year, 1862, he married my daughter Frances.He was an Englishman, came to Utah in 1862 from his birthplace, Isle of Wright.My wife and I were both pleased for our youngest daughter to have such a goodhusband as he proved to be. He was industrious, honest and upright, and asplendid Blacksmith and horseshoer. He soon bought anice home in the eleventh ward on the end South St. Between seventh and eightEast, which he improved, making it cozy and comfortable.
About this time I concludedto stay in the City, and as my son Jeremiah wished to buy my farm, I agreed tolet him have it, in preference to a stranger, for the same amount as I paid forit, four hundred dollars. He was to pay me in installments, just as he couldmake them.
Just about this time Ireceived some money from my father's estate. He was Isaac Wiggill,and died at Htenhague, South Africa, 1863. Some of mywife's wealthy relations in Yorkshire, England had died after we left SouthAfrica, and left fortunes to her father's family. She was left out of thewills, because she had become a Latter Day Saint. She never complained aboutthis, as she loved the true and everlasting Gospel better than she lovedearthly riches.
With the money from AfricaI bought a piece of land costing me four hundred and fifty dollars. It had nohouse on it, only a few fruit trees. I had at this time a light wagon and ateam of horses, as I had my son Joseph haul some building materials on to mylot, such as tock, brick and clay. A Mr. Whitney engaged to build for me, buthe failed to do this.
In the meantime my sonJeremiah came to the City and laid the foundation of one room, also the joists,and there it had to be left until spring, when MrWhitney built the house. I dug and planted the garden, but when everything waslooking nice and green, grasshoppers came and devoured all. They did the samething the following year. The third year I succeeded in raising a good crop ofbarley vegetables and fruit.
Chapter XXX -Life In Utah
I lived happily in thishome until Aug 1869, when my wife sickened of dysentery and died, agedfifty-six years. She died in the full faith of the Gospel, after a union offorty two years. She had no desire to live longer, longed to go and be at rest.Her youngest son Joseph was not at home, he having gone on a trip to Bear LakeValley with his brother-in-law William Lowe. My wife said, "Give him mylove." She said she was going to her sister and her mother. She wassurrounded by four daughters and one son, and three sons-in-law. My youngestdaughter being constantly at her bedside. She loved to wait on her mother.
Never was a Mother lovedmore devotedly by all her children than she was. Never was there one moremourned and missed. She passed peacefully away, leaving us to morn a faithfulloving wife and mother, a true friend. A brave, courageous woman. At herrequest, her body was taken to Kaysville by wagon, a sad journey for us oftwenty-five miles. She was laid to rest by the side of her little Grandson,Nephi Talbot.
My son-in-law, WilliamLowe, was called in July of that year to settle in Bear Lake Valley, and he hadtaken my son Joseph with him. He had a good wagon and team and took all histools with him. He bought a place for four hundred dollars, with a small houseon it. While he was there he partly built a shop, he then came back to fetchhis family. On reaching Kaysville they heard of the death of their mother, andI have been told of the terrible grief of Joseph, he was almost heart-broken.He would not leave Kaysville, so William came on to the City alone. His wifewas so full of sorrow over her mother's death, (it almost killed her) , shedreaded to go to that far off country, so William decided not to take her. Hethen went back to Bear Lake, gathered up his tools and goods, returning to theCity, and went to work at his trade again, never going back to Bear Lake. Hebought the place from a man named Johnson. It was situated between Fish Havenand St. Charles. His description of the Country there was very fine.
After my wife's funeral Ilived with my daughter Frances for three months, as she was alone, her husbandbeing at Bear Lake . I stayed on with them after his return and then made up mymind to return to my home and marry again. A lady from Africa accepted my offerso we were married, and I brought her to my home in October 1869. Her name—H.Hollis.
At this time my thoughtsturned much to South Africa and my relatives there. I thought I might be ableto persuade my brother George to return to Utah to gather with the Saints.Speaking of Africa to my son-in-law, he thought he would also like to see thatcountry, his wife needed a change, she fretted so much about her mother. Shelonged to see her mother's sister. I was glad when he consented to go with me.
He owned a small propertyand a wagon and team which he sold to good advantage. They had only one child,the eldest died. I consulted my wife and she was perfectly willing I should go.She was comfortably fixed and had her own four sons with her.
My son-!n-Iaw was very fond of the ocean, and he thought a sea voyagewould do us all good. My children did not like my going so far away from them,but I had made up my mind fo go, so I telegraphed tomy son Jeremiah to bring his team to the City and take our luggage to theKaysville Station, as the Railway only extended thus far.
We left the City on Sunday.12th Dec 1869, going as far as Kaysville, where we bade goodbye to othermembers of the family. The baby was eleven months old and she was not anytrouble. At Ogden we changed cars. By the 17th of Dec. we were in Chicago, thenon again, "till we reached Niagara Falls, where we halted for an hour. Itook a walk to see the beauties of that wonderful work of nature. The foaming,restless water below the Falls made my dizzy as I walked on the suspensionbridge.
Once more we took thetrain, crossed the Bridge onto the Canadian side of the River, and soon reachedToronto, a beautiful City. We stayed here over Sunday, found lodging with avery nice widow lady, glad to feel we had given her a little needful help. Wehad a look around the City. Many fine Churches and buildings. Also homessurrounded with shrubbery and lawns.
On the 20th of December weleft Toronto for Ottawa, reached that City on the afternoon of the same day.Here lived Mr. James Lowe, one of Williams brothers. We soon found his houseand received a hearty welcome. Mr. and Mrs. Lowe did all they could to make ourvisit pleasant. Mrs. Lowe being especially kind and attentive to me. They werein good circumstances and had a comfortable home. He being a Master Builder. Hehired a cutter and took us all for a sleigh ride over the St Lawrence River,where we saw men sawing great blocks of ice out.
The Government Buildingswere handsome, standing on an eminence overlooking the City and the OttawaRiver. From here we could see the country for miles around, most of it coveredwith forest. Sugar maples abound in Eastern Canada. Acres of land were coveredwith stacks of lumber ten and twelve feet high. The weather was bitterly cold,causing tears to flow from our eyes unbidden, especially the baby's.
We spent a very happyChristmas and New Year with these kind friends. Their table was spreadbounteously with many good things to eat, which we much enjoyed. They had nochildren, and wanted Fannie's baby, but she could not be spared. James was oneof the three brothers who left England for America. When Lewis and Williamcrossed the plains to Utah, he settled in the east.
We bade goodbye to them onJanuary 3rd , 1870 and steamed off for New York. When we reached the St.Lawrence River it was so rough and boisterous we could not cross that night.The water was raging like the ocean, the wind lashing the waves to foam. Wetook lodging that night at a Hotel, and next morning the River was quite calmand we crossed in safety to the Village of Ogdenburg.
The track was now throughpretty park-like country, through villages and past farmhouses. A nice streamran alongside the railroad for some miles. On its margin was piled up hugeblocks of ice, which had been thrown up by the freshet.
Our road now lay along theHudson River, a wide and deep stream, containing many islands. The sceneryalong its banks was truly beautiful. The cliffs reaching down to the water’sedge. Trees and flowers growing between the rocks. Here and there a gentleman'sstately mansion, in the distance a village with a church among the trees couldbe seen occasionally. On the River were seen crafts if various kinds, as weneared New York, the bluffs were higher and steeper, and the road sometimesrunning between huge rocks and many tunnels. On the height grew trees ofvarious kinds. Truly picturesque scenery.
Before entering the City wepassed iron foundries and brickyards. Arriving in New York on the 5th ofJanuary 1870. Carriages were at the station to convey passengers to varioushotels. One of these we engaged to take us to a Hotel, where we stayed onenight. Next morning we found it too far from the docks, so William and Istarted to find more convenient lodgings. Finally we saw a house that had aroom to let. This room we engaged for a few days and had our luggage removed toit.
In the evening we went toour room. In the front was a little Grocery store. While William and I were outthat evening, my daughter was there alone. She noted several ill-looking mencorning in and out and talking mysteriously to the man and woman of the house.The woman got to asking questions about where we were going, . of my daughter.When William and I got back she told us about the fearful sensation thesethings had caused to come over her. She imagined they thought we were wealthypeople, traveling about, as the man said to us, "Why don't you stay in NewYork and spend your money?" She felt we would all be robbed and murdered,so we had no sleep that night, and decided to leave next morning. When we toldthem of our intentions they became very angry, and threatened to keep ourboxes. We paid for night’s lodgings and hurried away. The woman gave vent tofoul abusive language as she banged the door on our backs. We were relieved tobe free from the place, and took lodgings at the Centennial Hotel, near CastleGardens. Here we were very comfortable for a week.
In looking over the papers,William saw notice of a vessel sailing for Capetown.We went to the Agent, who took us to see the ship. We saw the Captain, WilliamAmos, and Mate Mr. Macleod. She was "The Deodorus",a barque of Dundee. All her crew were Scotch. Theyagreed to fix up cabins for our accommodation, as they did not take passengers,We paid twenty-five dollars each for our passage.
We had a good look aroundNew York, and on the 19th of January, we were towed out of the Harbour by a tug, passed Sandy Hook and the Light House,out to sea. Our cabins were comfortable and table fare was good. The cook, JohnSmith, said as he was fixing up the stove, "We will not need this manydays, we will soon be in warmer water". And so we found it. We all gotvery sea-sick, but my daughter caught a severe cold which caused her to have asevere earache, and for awhile she was very ill.
A curious thing happenedwhile we were on this ship. My daughter used to hear beautiful music andsinging, in female voices, and as she was the only female on board, this was agreat mystery. It sounded like sweet heavenly music, wafted on the breeze froma distance. Night after night she listened to this music when in mid-ocean.
When crossing the linethere was great fun. A sailor impersonated Neptune and had fun with all who hadnot crossed the line before. The Captain shut himself up in his cabin andescaped Neptune's clutches. The heat was intense and we were unable to staybelow deck long. The Captain strewed sand on the upper deck to keep our feetfrom sticking to the tar which boiled from between the deck boards. We werebe-calmed for a week. We were very glad to sight the top of Table Mountain. Wehad it in view all one day before seeing the shores of South Africa , and thatnight we saw the Light House flash.
Instead of the Captain'swaiting for a pilot to take him into Harbor, he tried to take his vessel inhimself, and in the morning he found he had almost run his vessel on the rocksnear Sea Point. He had to turn around quite a lot to get his vessel headed forTable Bay. When the Pilot came on board, he scolded the Captain for trying toenter the Bay, he also spoke to me, and when I told him I was a settler, hesaid "You are just in time for the Great Jubilee Celebration of thesettlers landing."
We anchored in Table Bay onthe 24th day of March, 1870. The Captain went on shore at once and we went withhim to take our first look at the Historical City of Capetown,for although I had lived in South Africa for over forty years, I had never beenthere before. I had read much about it. We rambled about Capetown'till we reached the Old Oak Avenue, on which is situated the BotanicalGardens, and Government Buildings. Also the Library and Museum. On this Avenuethe baby took her first steps. Her mother put her on the ground and she walkedalone. The motion of the vessel had prevented her from trying her feet before.
The stately old Oaks alongthis Avenue were planted in the early days of Capetown,and are well preserved. Seats are placed all along the Avenue. It is a pleasantplace to sit and rest. In the gardens grew many kinds of trees and shrubs. Aplantation of young forest trees interested me. In it I recognized many ofthose trees I used to work in making wagons. Some Eucalyptus trees were verylarge. These are commonly called in Africa, "Blue Gum".
In the Library were fortythousand volumes presented to it by Sir George Grey, Governor of the Colony in1861. In the Library grounds stood a statue of this good Governor. We had ourdinner in a restaurant, which we enjoyed. We returned to the ship in theevening, and next morning William and I started out to find some friends wholived at Morobray, a suburb of Capetown.On the way we were overtaken by a Dutch man with a wagon. We inquired of himthe residence of Mr. George Rook. He said he could show us, so we got into hiswagon and had a ride into the village. He stopped in front of a store.
We went into aWheelwright's shop, and in the course of conversation with the workman we toldhim we were from America. A boy, who had been listening to us, ran home to hismother and told her there were men there from America and she sent him back tobring us to her home, and to our surprise, we found she was a Latter-day Saint,Her name was Mrs. Penfold. She sent her boy with usto Mr. Rook's house. Our way led through Avenues of pine trees for about amile. Mr. Rook was very glad to see us and made us welcome. We madearrangements with him to come to the jetty and take our luggage out, as we hadto stay a week in Capetown to wait for a steamer totake us on to Algoa Bay.
We went to Rondesbosch by Station but missed the train and waited forthe next, which threw us late in reaching the docks. As it happened, theCaptain was late in leaving the city so we were in time to go out with hisboat. We spent a week in Mowbray. It is surroundedwith forests of pines planted by early Dutch Settlers.
Table Mountain and therugged hills joining it was a romantic scene. Many canuonsor Kloofs, run into its side. One day we climbed oneof these, ascending to quite a height. We crossed a rocky ridge and descendedthe next Kloof, admiring the various trees andshrubs. Here were growing wild berries, brambles of various kinds, capegooseberries, and wild grapes. All these reminded me of my boyhood days, in theforests around Grahamstown, We waded through grassand bushes, finally coming to a fountain of clear water. In former days thiswater was led out for irrigation purposes, a water dyke led to a large cementdam. This we reached by following the furrow through a tangled mass of grassand weeds through the forest. The cemented bank was oval in shape, about thirtyfeet long and twelve feet wide, and abo ut three feet deep. In this bank were growing trees fullythirty feet high.
A little below this we cameupon the ruins of a mansion, the blue coloring of the walls still visible. Itstood on a slop and around it was the remains of a once magnificent park. Ithad been terraced and some old trees were still standing, such as chestnuts andwalnuts. This mansion was built by one of the early Dutch Governors, as acountry residence. At the time of our visit it was owned by a widow lady named"Kreewogen" . A good carriage road led fromthe house to the main road, about a mile in length, through a pine tree forest.
From this we emerged ontothe outskirts of Rondes bosch.We were very tired with our long walk.
On the slope’s of TableMountain grow that beautiful tree called Silver Trees. Leaves are of a silveryappearance, covered with fine hair smoth enough towrite or paint on. It is a peculiar fact that in no other part of the world arethose trees to be found. They will not thrive if planted in any other part ofAfrica. After a few year's growth, they die. Many people lose their lives inclimbing up Table Mountain. A thick mist comes up which prevents them fromseeing the path, and they fall over the steep precipices. Rondesboschis one long succession of gentlemen's homes, and its beautiful scenery makes ita most desirable place to live. A railway runs through it to the town of Wynberg, about eight miles from Capetown.
On Sunday we held a meetingat Mr. Rook's place, Inviting Saints and friends to meet. I took pleasure indescribing Utah and her people. Salt Lake City and surroundings, as well asexplaining the principles of the Gospel. We sailed from Capetownin the steamer "Prince Bis-march", CaptainStoats in command. We visited the "Deodorious",to get our remaining luggage, and bade the Captain goodbye. We were soon on ourway to Algoa Bay, calling at MosselBay, or Alival South. High Mountains obstruct theview.
We took in a cargo ofbrandy, as the Oudtshorn District is famed for fruitand vineyards. We landed in Port Elizabeth the third day of April 1870. Ihunted up an old acquaintance of mine, by the name of Mr. Charles Grubb, astevedore. Mr. Grubb could not accommodate us, as he had some friends in hishouse. He took us in his buggy to Mrs. Rich, Captain Rich's wife. She was gladto see us and directed us to the home of a Mr. Human who rented a room for us.I knew the house as it used to be Mr. Slaughter's tannery when I lived in PortElizabeth in I860.
Mrs. Rich lived on the roadalong which passed the freight wagons. We asked her to keep a lookout for thename of Wiggill on the wagons, as each one had theowner's name painted on the side. She saw the name on a wagon and told us ofit. The wagons were loaded with wool, so we started to town to look for them,and after considerable walking, found the wagons being unloaded.
I asked the Native manwhere his Master was, so he pointed him out. I went up to him and asked him afew questions. He did not know me. He was my brother Elijah's son Henry. Withhim was a Mr. Abraham Wild, whose father I knew years ago. They told me thatFrancis Wiggill, Henry's brother was also in the Bay.We soon found Uncle George, and was willing to take us up to Queenstown in hiswagon. He had it fitted up comfortable, not forgetting the ladder for us toclimb up and down from the wagon on. We thought ourselves fortunate in findingour relatives in Port Elizabeth, which helped us on our journey.
We spent one day lookingaround the town. We went up on the hill along Cape road, many fine residenceshaving been built since I left Port Elizabeth, also a fine park known as St.George's Park. The streets up to the hi I! are very steep. From there we have afine view of the Bay and the shipping and the sea for miles. We saw theHospital. There were many new cottages just erected. While in Port Elizabeth Iwrote letters to Utah.
On the 9th of April we leftPort Elizabeth, and went as far as the Zwart-KopsRiver, eight miles from the town, where we camped. This river rises in themountains near the town, of Uitenhague twenty milesfrom where we camped. The Ford is about five miles from the mouth. It ebbs andflows as far as the Ford.-.Land bars obstruct the bay at its mouth. A very longbridge crosses this river. We traveled over the same old road that the settlersof 1820 took.
Chapter XXXI - IVisit South Africa
Heavy rains detained us atthis river until the llth of April. I will now try todescribe the country in this vicinity. A steep hill runs parallel with theriver. On this eminence are many comical shaped mounds, covered with a closegrowth of brushwood of very dark green color. These mounds are called by theDutch "Kops", or heards, and their being sodark looking give rise to the name "Zwart",meaning black, "Zwart-kops". At a distancethey look black. These hills run for miles.
Among the trees grow aloes,some very tall. Also a kind of cactus, called "Milky-Euphorbia" Itgrows to a height of thirty feet, branching out like huge candelabra, the trunkand branches are three-square. All up the angles grow springs and tiny flowers.Any cut on this tree causes a milky juice to exude, it thickens on exposure,very much like rubber. This cactus decays rapidly and falls down. It is of nouse as fuel or timber.
We had hard work gettingthe wagons up to the top of this steep hill, made slippery with the rain. Onthe top of this hill, Mr. Wild turned off to the Salt Pans, to get some salt.His wagon already had a heavy load on. We went on and camped near a farmhousewhere the wind blew so strong it was with difficulty we could get a fire toburn long enough to cook any food. Mr. Wild overtook us here with his salt.Then on we went, traveling down to a lowland where the wind was not so strong,going through a dense forest, finally reaching Sunday's river, crossing on thePontoon, or Ferry Boat. This brought us to the road leading off to Grahamstown. The Pontoon is large enough to take on board awagon and twelve oxen.
At this place were campedseveral wagons containing wild beasts on their way to Port Elizabeth to be sentto England. The animals were Zebras, lions and some other kinds. We traveled toa higher plateau now, commanding a view of the country below us. Coming to awayside Hotel, we found it kept by an old acquaintance, Charlie Fancott and his wife. They invited us to dinner. Afterdinner he took me in his buggy to see his father-in-law, Charles Talbot, whowas much surprised to see me. Maybe he thought, like some others, that once inUtah, no one was ever allowed to leave again. He kept me 'till midnight,talking on Utah, his brother Henry being there.
We were up early nextmorning and joined the wagons in time for breakfast. Four day's traveling fromhere brought us to Grahamstown. A few miles before wereached Grahamstown we passed through Howesous Poort, named after a man1 knew well as a boy. It is a long narrow gorge, between two high mountains. Atthe head of this gorge is a large wool washing establishment. The road was madeby convict labor at Government expense. When I was a boy the distance from hereto Grahamstown seems so long, now it seemed no timebefore we reached the town.
On Main or High street Irecognized many of the buildings, although great changes had taken place. Mymind was filled with thoughts of boyhood days as I traversed the streets, alongwhich my dear parents had walked. I thought of my dear mother and of how manysteps I might have saved her tired feet in those better days. Boys are so oftencareless and thoughtless of their mother's comfort. She and my sister layburied in Grahamstown Cemetery. I felt like astranger and did not know any one I met. We1 had a letter and aparcel to deliver to Mr. Dixon from his son in Utah, the poor old man was toofeeble and infirm to open the letter. After the visit William and I went towhat was called Wiggill's Kloof,where my father had had his watermill. We had no time to visit the old spot. Wehad to hurry back to the wagons, which were ready to start. We had camped onthe cricket ground, near the cemetery.
We started late in theafternoon crossing the Grahamstown road, course flat,going over Botha's Hill and along the Queen's Road, aroad excavated out of the precipitous sides of the Mountain. These mountainsare covered with a dense mass of brush-wood. In fact it is a part pf Great FishRiver Jungle. Among these shrubs grow a spreading plant called in Dutch————"Wacht-een-beetje", meaning in English,"Wait-a-bit", and rightly named, for it is covered with strong hookedthorns. If a dress or anything catches on them it means waiting a bit inearnest. Its roots are like cork, light and porous, about twelve inches around,and striking very deep. It bears clusters of scarlet blossoms and very largelong pods, covered with short thorns, beans large as broad-beams. They grow inpatches about two feet high.
The scenery along the roadis romantic indeed. At the foot of a hill, two or three miles along, we crossedBrack River. We ascend this hill and come to a levelplain, covered with pretty flowers and vines. Five or six miles brought us toFort Brown, on the Fish River. Here we gathered prickly Pears, a new fruit tomy son-in-law. We next crossed the Koonap River/ andclimbed the hill called Koonap Heights. We left FortBeaufort to the right, and traveled as far as Kat River. From here we soonreached the new Katberg Road, which is cut through aforest. In many places excavated out of solid rock, in others built up in masonwork, some hundreds of feet, at the heads of canyons running down themountain-side. We then descend a number of long bare ridges, along a cut road.Or dug way, until we reach the level. Here I found an old acquaintance namedJohn Armstrong, who was real glad to see me. We had a long chat over old times.This farm is called Busby Park, and is now owned by a Mr. Busby James. Hisbrother-in-law, Michael Langfleld keeps a Hotel onthis farm.
We next reached the villageof Whittlesea in a heavy storm of rain. Stayed therehalf a day. When we reached the Zwart Kie River, we were detained with rain. We were afraid the Klass Smits River would beflooded, but we were able to cross it. From this place I sent a native boy toinform my son John of my arrival. The next day he came to meet us with hisbuggy. Just halfway between Queenstown my daughter and child and myself In hisbuggy. We went through Queenstown to Bongolo, wherewe were received with great joy by my brother Elijah and family. They neverexpected to see me any more from the far-away land of America, among theMormons. It was decided that we stay with my brother for the present.
Chapter XXXII -My Visit in South Africa
My brother Elijah thought Ihad come to stay with him for good. He never gave it a thought I would everreturn to Utah. Everywhere I was greeted with the question, "You are notgoing back to Utah again, are you?" . To which I would answer, "1 amgoing back in two
years time. I have not seenanything in Utah to hurt or frighten me. I am perfectly satisfied with myreligion and with the lives the Latter-day Saints live in Utah, when they liveup to their religion. Our Leaders live honest, upright lives. Had it notbeen for that, I would never have left Africa."
The day offer we arrived,my son took me to Queenstown where I visited my sister Mrs. Jane Watson, andmet many old friends. The descendants of the 1820 settlers were preparing toattend the Jubilee in Grahamstown. My old friend Rev.H.H. Dugmore was one of the principal speakers atthis Jubilee held in May 1870. He had traveled extensively and being of a keenobserving nature, and a splendid memory, he had many incidents and anecdotes ofsons and daughters of the 1820 settlers who assembled at that Reunion. If I hadbeen in Grahamstown I would have attended it, but Idid not feel I could undertake another long journey.
After a few days rest myson-in-law and I took a trip to see my brother-in-law Francis BeVitley and my brother Joseph Wiggill.They lived in the Storm-berg District. A village had been recently formed neartheir farm named "Dordrecht". Their farm iscalled "Blauw-Krantz". They were all welland glad to see us. This country did not look quite as desolate as it did whenl was there in 1846. My sister-in-law showed me a white rose-tree that my wifehad planted. This was a rose from the one we had in our garden at Kaal-Hoek. She had brought the pieces to Bongolo from there. It is an uncommon variety, smallblossoms in clusters, with a very sweet scent.
My brother-in-law, hearingI was anxious to visit my brother George, lent us each a horse for the journeyand we started on our ninety-mile journey. At the Zwart-KieRiver we visited an old friend of mine, Mr. Joseph Ralph, who was a member ofthe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He could hardly believe hisown eyes, to see me, but was very glad to have us stay with him that night. Heused to visit my house often in the Bongolo, andattend our meetings, being a faithful Saint.
The next day we came to thehouse of a Mr. Edward Goddard. He received us kindly, he and his good wife madeus welcome, and we slept that night with them. This farm is called"Bottle-Gat", meaning a very hot fire. Leaving Mr. Goddard's we tooka bridle path across the spurs of the WinterbergMountains until we came to the Main Road, thus saving ourselves eight or ninemiles. It was a well-known road to me, over numerous grassy ridges, until wereached a plateau overlooking the Koonap RiverValley. From this height it took us an hour to ride to my brother's house. Hewas glad to see me after an absence of ten years, and we had many things totalk over, we being of the same faith.
After two or three daysvisit, William and I took a ride to Kaal-Hoek, whereI once resided, to see a Sister who lived there. When we returned to George's,William seemed anxious to return to his family, so he started back, arriving atMr. Armstrong's late that night. William had heard of a Mr. Alford, a distantcousin of his, living in the neighborhood. He called on him, and he toldWilliam news of his relatives in England.
1 stayed a few days longer,preached at his house on Sunday. When I was ready to leave, my brother-in-lawaccompanied me. His name is H. Hoilis. We called onan old friend, Mr. James Sweetnam.
Arriving in Bongolo safely, I found William busy repairing and paperinga cottage on my son John's farm for his family to live in. I turned in andhelped him. I made two new doors and a dining table. Some time after this mybrother Aaron Wiggill was passing throughQueens-town, asked if I would not go with him to his farm in British Kaffraris, which I did, traveling through a country new tome. I was glad to see the town of King Williamstown. It is a nice town, builton rolling ridges near the head of the Buffalo River, which rises in the Amatola Mountains near the town. On these mountains is thefamous Perie Bush, a thick forest. The Buffalo Riverempties into the sea at the Port of East London some twenty miles distant. KingWilliamstown is the Military Headquarters. There is a large Hospital here withwell laid out grounds.
From here we traveled tothe farm of Mr. Nathaniel Brown, an old friend of miner and mybrother's father-in-law. I attended the Church with them on Sunday, meetingthere several old friends. We finally reached my brother's farm. He showed methe remains of the house our father once liced in,also the remains of his garden. The house there now is of stone roofed withcorrugated galvanized iron, much used in South Africa. My brother and Mr. Wooley letting his son go with me to show me the way.
We rode through a prettycountry for fifteen miles reaching my daughters home late in the afternoon. Shewas surprised to see me, and very glad too. Soon after we left for America shewas left a widow with two small children. She longed then to be with hermother, but I guess the long journey frightened her, having no one in SouthAfrica to help her in such things. She was now married to a farmer namedWilliam James.
The country there is verypretty, almost semitropical in climate. All trees are evergreen. Many mimosaand other trees in abundance. Plenty of grass and water. There are seen thelovely Erythringia tree, with its brilliant crimsonflowers, also some large trees with milk-white trunks, with spreading brancheson the top. The Gonubie River runs through here.William James was a sheep-farmer. He was very busy while I was there. Mydaughter and I had a good visit T she being much interested to hearall about America, and her brother and • sisters in Utah.
My brother called for me,according to promise, and I bade her goodbye. We waited at the Bush Hotel forthe wagons, I was very tired and unwell and glad to rest that night. In themorning we found the wagons had passed and we overtook them five miles from theHotel. Here we met an old friend Mr. James Gibbons. We arrived in Bongolo safe and sound and found all well. This was in themonth of June 1870.
Chapter XXXIII -South Africa in 1870 - Diamonds Discovered
The first news I heard onmy arrival in Bongolo was the discovery of diamondsin South Africa. In 1868 the first stone was found on the banks of the Vaal River. A Dutchman's child had picked one up, amongother pebbles, to play with. This stone attracted the mother's attention andshe showed it to a Mr. Shalk Van Neikerk.He offered to buy it, but she laughingly gave it to him. It passed throughseveral pairs of hands before it was finally sent to Dr. Atherstoneof Grahamstown, in a common gummed envelope,unregistered. He examined it minutely and pronounced it a diamond. This is thefamous stone, which was sent to the Paris Exhibition and scientificallyexamined. At the close of the Exhibition it was bought by Sir Philip Wodehouse for five hundred pounds.
In 1870 an expedition wassearching the Transvaal far and wide, ascertaining facts on the new wonder. At Dutojts Pan, a Dutch farmer named Van Wychwas surprised to find diamonds embedded in the walls of his farmhouse. The clayof the walls had been taken from a small pond. On examination it was found tocontain others, not did they cease when they reached the bedrock.
The discovery of diamondsat the Cape did not at first excite interest in Brazil, whose diamonds hadhitherto supplied the world. But when Cape diamonds began to be brought tomarket in such large quantifies, they so fascinated the Amsterdam lapidariesthat for a long time they would cut no others. Thus the Brazilian market wentdown. The lapidaries refused to cut the small stones of Brazil, preferring thelarger ones of South Africa.
A few extracts from aletter published in the newspaper called "The Friend", shows thestate of the diamond fields at the time of which I write. "The news fromthe diamond fields is more encouraging. Forty-six diamonds reported having beenfound several being over twenty-six carats. One of twenty-six and one-fourthcarats found by Mr. Rickets. For which he refused 2,200 pounds. The Pneill Mission Station seems gradually falling into thehands of the diggers. The Missionaries there cannot prevent it, nor do we seethat the Free State will be able to assist Mr. Valengurg,although the Station is said to be in that territory. Many diamond companiesare now formed. Men are flocking in from all over South Africa. When the Martizberg Volunteer Company was called out for drill,twenty members were absent. About six hundred men are already on the fields. AtHopetown on the Orange River, the people areintensely excited. "
"A correspondent to"The Friend" writes in under date of June 7th 1870, 'There are aboutfive-hundred men digging, some parties very successfully, among these may bementioned, Stock and Van Rooy, Greens and Messre. Shaw, Jolly and Dennis. On the other hand, somehave been working a month and six weeks, and found nothing. Many Boers aredisheartened and leaving, while others press in and take their place".
"A BloemfonteinNewspaper says 'The diamond Mania is raging among our officials. The governmentsecretary is gone and left an inexperienced man in his place. The PostmasterGeneral has gone took as fast as he could, to the Eldorado.The President is very indulgent to all applicants who ask for leave to go; noneare refused. There is reason to think that one of these days, His Honor will beleft to discharge the duties of the Government Offices himself."
These fields were on thebanks of the Vaal River, which divides two Dutchrepublics, one called Orange River Colony, governed by President Brand, and theother The Transvaal, governed by H. Pretorius. Theland was owned by a chief named "Waterboer",a Griqua Chief. At this time both Presidents claimedthe fields, and Waterboer gave his rights to theBritish Government, which sent a man out to take charge of affairs, and thediggers had then to pay a license for each claim. This greatly annoyed Pres.Brand. The dispute was finally settled by the British Government giving to theFree State several thousand pounds.
It is sometimes a cause ofwonder why diamonds remained undiscovered so long after the settlement of thecountry, but in many parts of South Africa are found Crystals, which resemblediamonds. They lie on the surface of the ground, especially near the Caledon and Orange Rivers. The people thought the diamondswere crystals.
All these reports madepeople in Queenstown District anxious to go to the fields. Several parties wereorganized, and one of these companies was joined by my son-in-law William Lowe,My brother Elijah and son Francis Wiggill. William thusabandoned the idea he had of working at his trade in Queenstown.
After seeing this party offfor the Fields, going with them as far as Queenstown, 1 returned to Bongolo to stay with my son John. 1 went to work makingSouth African wagons, such as are used for freighting. I have mentioned themmany times, as I have traveled hundreds of miles in them. I will here describethem for the benefit of those readers who have never seen one. They are twentyfeet in length, and about four feet in width. The axles were then being made inEngland from a model sent home from Capetown, andshipped to Africa in different sizes. The wheels are very heavy with wide bandsof thick iron dished to carry heavy loads over rough roads. Many have tentsover the back part of the wagon for carrying passengers, about eight feet long.A swinging shelf sometimes hangs at the back, under the wagon, which is used tocarry cooking utensils and other articles.
The Dutch farmers travelingwagon Is quite an elaborate affair. The after wheels are three feet six incheshigh, the felloes measure in depth four and a quarter inches, with a neatmolding all around each wheel, every spoke with a neat quarter bead up thecenter, having a square on the spoke at the hub. The length of the wagon is fourteenfeet, and the width three and a half to four feet. The sides are framedtogether, having thirteen flat bars, mortised, the top rail being bent about afoot, making the side three feat high at the back while the front part istwenty-two inches high. The bottom of the wagon is made of two-inch plank,firmly riveted together onto crossbars at back and front, and two in thecenter, projecting about three feet in length and a foot deep. In these sideboxes are kept provisions and dishes. On the front is a deep chest, which formsa seat for the driver, there is sometimes a similar chest at the back. The tentruns the length of the wagon, at least three feet from the front, strongcanvas, over the bars and bows, lined with baize, and another canvas on the outside.A board is on the sides, riveted to the top rail and the upright bars. Abovethis, hang pockets for clothing, etc. A canvas curtain on front and back. Theycan be fastened down with straps and brass buttons. In this tent swings a bed,called a kartel, which makes a comfortable sleepingplace. During the day the curtains are folded up, letting in light and air. Atnight all are fastened down tight. The coldest wind cannot penetrate into thesewagons, and they are perfectly watertight, the outside covering being painted.It is a pleasure to travel in these wagons. They too, have the hanging shelf atthe back, and a ladder for the convenience of the ladies. Many Dutch women arevery stout and heavy often weighing three hundred pounds. The Dutch also use horsewagons, which are much lighter. Horses or mules and donkeys draw these. A Dutchman is very particular when he buys a wagon. He first examines the wheel,giving it a good shake, then he knocks the felloes with his knuckles to see ifthey are tight. He will get under the wagon and with his knife chip off bits ofwood to see the kind of Hammer used. Then he will ask the wagon-maker if he canwarrant the wagon to be made of dry and well -seasoned wood. A Dutchman has hiswood drying six or seven years before using it. Very few wheelwrights pleasethese people. Tradesmen from England have to gain a Colonial experience beforethey can build a wagon to please them. They also like a wagon gaily painted anddecorated with flowers and birds.
Chapter XXXIV -The South African Visit Continued
Well my relatives andfriends were all anxious for me to make them wagons. My brother Elijah stillhad the one I had made for him ten years before. Nothing would have induced himto part with that wagon if I had not come back to Africa to make another onefor him. He said he was keeping it in remembrance of me and my work. I made himanother and he sold the old one for sixty pounds. They usually cost from sixtyor seventy to a hundred pounds. I then made him another one with a lot of extrawork on, such as carving and fancywork. I then made one for John, and one forWilliam Lowe, and others for James Murphy and Francis Bentley, Moses Wiggill and Francis Wiggill. Theyprovided the timber and I received thirty pounds each for my labors. Wagonswere in great demand for freighting to the Diamond Fields, and this made timberexpensive. I took my time over these wagons, taking a day off occasionally tovisit my friends and relatives. In September I took a trip with my son John tothe Mountains in Kreli's old country to get timberfrom the forests on these mountains.
We crossed the Inmani River, then over a flat covered with huge mimosa. Weclimbed "Braan Nek,"a steep hill, on the foot of a high mountain. Below the road is a very deepbasin, the road winds around this, down onto the plain below, and we travel on'till we reach the White Kie River, crossing whichtakes us into Native territory, and we camp at an Episcopal Mission Stationcalled St. Marks. Toe land around this Station was given to the firstmissionary by the chief, who told him he could'-have the land as far as his eyecould see. So they have an extensive territory. Rev. Cannon Waters was incharge.
On the Monday we startedfor the forest and arrived there at sundown, a cold drizzling rain made it verydisagreeable. We stayed that night at a trading station kept by a Mr. Winters.Here we bought the timber from the sawyers who worked in the forest there. OnTuesday we loaded up the timber and started on our return journey, the windblowing a perfect gale. We were glad to get to the foot of the hill and camp ata German family's home. They made us welcome and I had a long chat with the manabout America, he having relatives in the city of Baltimore.
On the 23rd of Sept. wewere back in St Mark's, and on the 24th of September we arrived home, havingseen a part of the country new to me, inhabited by Natives belonging to Kreli's tribe. Here and there a farmer or a trader.
I was quite comfortablewith my son, my daughter being in her home next door. John went to the DiamondFields twice, and my daughter visited her husband, William Lowe. John's wifewas very kind to me.
My brother George planned atrip to the Traansvaal, where his wife'sfoster-brother lived, a Mr. James Jennings. His wife had died up there, whileon a visit to Mr. Jennings, and passed away a believer in the Church of JesusChrist of Latter-day Saints, with her last breath she sang a Mormon Hymn. Iintended going up with him, and rode down to see about it. I started by way of Hanghlip Mountain, by a bridle path to Lesseyton,called at Mr. Joseph Ralph's and Mr. Westerberg's, found the latter old andfeeble. I also visited a Mrs. Padden, who was a MissWall, her relatives had gone to Utah. Her husband was then teaching school on aMr. Whitehead's farm. She knew me at once and was glad to see me.
When I arrived at mybrother's I found he had abandoned the journey on account of poor health. Istayed with him five weeks. The day I left for Queenstown, though fine when Istarted, it became dark and cloudy, and by the time I Had nearly reached thefirst farm house on my road, the thunderstorm burst in all its fury. In fiveminutes I was wet through. Here I stayed until the storm was over. Then Mr.Goddard happened to drop in and took me to his home where I was madecomfortable for the night. Their kindness I shall never forget. The nextmorning I started on again, reaching Mr. Ralph's where I began to feel ill. Ihad taken a severe cold through getting wet.
After I crossed the river,it came down in a flood. I hurried on to the farm of a friend, Mr William Staples. He and his good wife were both away,but his daughter was very kind, made me a good cup of tea which refreshed me.Miss Staples begged me to stay the night, but I wanted to get home, so Istarted over the steep and rugged mountain to Bongolo.Dense dark clouds gathered above my head, and I had first reached brotherElijah's home when down the storm came, with thunder and lightening like thestorm that drenched me.
I got back to son John'sfarm to find my daughter Frances had just returned from a long visit to hersister Sarah Ann. She and her husband had brought Frances back, and to myregret, had left Bongblo before I got there.
I now settled down to work.In July 1871 came a letter from Brother George to Elijah, saying how ill hewas, and wishing him to go to see him as quickly as possible. So Elijah and Iwent down without delay, and found him dangerously ill. The Doctor attendinghim said both lungs were almost gone, and gave us no hope of his recovery. Westayed with him a week. He wished Elijah to be Executor of his immense Estate.Elijah consented, but he would rather not have had the office. George said heknew of no other he could trust with his affairs. We had many talks onReligion, he being still a believer in the faith of the Latter-day Saints hehad embraced ten years before.
Before we left Elijah askedGeorge if he would like to take a journey as far as Queens-town as there was avery clever doctor there, named Dr Krantz. Elijahalso thought the journey might do him good. George said he might venture ifElijah would come and assist him on the journey, which he did in a few days,having a comfortable traveling wagon. They took the best road they could,avoiding rough and rugged places. George breathed easier when on the Datberg Mountains. He arrived in Bongolowhile I was away, having gone a little distance with my son John on hisway to the Fields. I went as far as Dordrecht where Imet an old friend, Tim Hording, a blacksmith. On the way home I called on mybrother-in-law Francis Bentley, and as I was leaving their house, I passed aKaffir man going up, but I took no notice of him. Then I heard my sister-in-lawcalling me, so I turned back, and found the man had a letter conveying to usthe news of the death of brother George. The Kaffir had lost his way and theletter was a day late.
I then hurried on,reflecting on the life and labors of my brother George. We had played togetheras children, and boys, and worked together as young men. He and I were the onlyones in our family to embrace the Gospel, and I am fully convinced that he diedin firm faith as a Latter-day Saint. His second wife and three daughters hadcome up with him from the Winterberg. To my sorrow, Iarrived too late for the funeral. He was buried in Queenstown cemetery. He wasfifty-eight years old, born in Gloucestershire, England in 1813. He was aclever man, of an inventive turn of mind. All the machinery in use on his farmand distilleries he made himself, without a pattern or guide. My father used tosay "George, 1 don't know where you get all your knowledge from", ashe viewed the many different things on the farm. George was ingenuous from aboy. By hard work and industry he had amassed a great deal of wealth. It took along time to settle the Estate.
All estates were worked inthose days under the regulations of what was know as "The OrphanChamber", formed by the first Dutch settlers in Cape Colony. So many Dutchdied very wealthy, and in many cases the children were defrauded of theirrights by unscrupulous friends or relations. Under this rule the survivingparent has to file a strict detailed account of the property and the half ofits value is sent to the Master of the Orphan Chamber for the minor heirs. Themoney then lies in the Orphan Chamber Bank on interest until the children areof age. According to the law the survivors cannot marry again until all issettled satisfactorily. To avoid this law many are married by Anti-nuptialcontract. The 1820 settlers were exempt from this Dutch law by a proclamationissued by Sir Charles Somerset, if they were married en England beforeemigrating.
Chapter XXXV -More About South Africa
I was now anxious to finishthe wagons I was making, feeling a desire to be back in my Utah home. When Ihad finished them, I made several fancy boxes for my friend anaone for my own use. So, settling all my affairs and bidding my relativesfarewell, including my daughter Frances whose husband whose husband had decidedto remain in Africa a little longer, I started for Capetownvia the Diamond Fields, a very interesting journey it proved to be. We left Bongolo with the wagons on the twelfth day of December1871. My son John and I took the road through Dordrecht,calling at Francis Bentley's to say goodbye. At Willow Park we halted for somerepairs. We were soon climbing the StormbergMountains, and then traveling over an elevated country, inhabited by Dutchfarmers. It is very cold here in the winter. On the 20th of December we reachedAlival North, on the Orange River. We were detainedhere two days waiting our turn to be taken over on the pontoon. At the Caledon River we had to wait one day. This is a dangerous,treacherous stream. My son-in-law William Lowe and family were once almostdrowned in it, attempting to cross in a Cape cart when the river was in flood.A hottentot man they had with them jumped into thewater and led the horses, who were going down stream, turning them toward thebank. A narrow escape, They were all wet through as the water came into thecart above the seats. My daughter had two small children with her, who werevery much frightened.
The charge made forcrossing on the Pontoon is one pound for each wagon. We were now in the OrangeRiver Free State, where once roamed droves of wild animals, such as Quaggas, zebras, hartebeest, wildebeests and spring-bok in thousands, as well as the lordly lion. Dutch farmersnow live here and a few Bushmen, those small people before mentioned by me. Attimes the Dutch men catch the children and make slaves of them. When Ostricheswere plentiful the bushmen gathered the eggs, ate the contents and used theshells for drinking vessels. They also ate the locusts and white ants, and sometimes a little honey. Their paintings on the walls of the caves are still to beseen. I have seen many of these drawings, one was of a company of soldiers andof ships. I have conversed with many of these curious little people.
We now crossed grassyplains, at intervals coming to a chain of mountains, which divided one flatfrom another. Occasionally crossing a small river. Trees were very scarce. Nowand then we saw spring-bok, blesbok,or quagga. The farms being twenty or thirty milesapart gave the animals room to range. On these flats were thousands of bones ofwild animals, bleaching in the sun. At the time of the year we traveled overthis country, the sun was fiercely hot. So hot that we could only travel duringthe night. Thunderstorms were of frequent occurrence. When they are over, thesun shines out as bright as before. The atmosphere is clear and pure again, thescent of the earth and grass after such a thunderstorm is very pleasant.Everything is refreshed after the burning, scorching heat. This was in Dec.,midsummer. We passed a Moravian Mission Station, called Bethany, like a smallvillage, thickly planted with weeping willow trees and locust trees, and abeautiful reservoir of water. The people taught here are Hottentots, Karrannas and Bushmen.
Soon after leaving thisplace we came to the home of a Mr. Venter, a great friend of my son John. HereJohn always left his tired oxen, and got fresh ones. We spent Christmas Day atthe Caledon River, and New Year's at Mr. Venter's. Ienjoyed the mulberries in his garden, large as pigeon's eggs, and of fineflavor. The shade of the trees was very grateful. This family belonged to areligious sect called "doppers" A branch ofthe Dutch Reformed Church. The men never remove their hats in their meetings.They sing only Psalms. All Dutch people are very religious as a rule. They haveSacrament of the Lord's Supper once in six months, called "Nachtnaal"-. All the farmers and their families climbinto their traveling wagons and off they go to the nearest church, where theyoften have small cottages, which they occupy only at such times. These cottagesare closed all the rest of the year. The windows have shutters and the windowsare securely locked.
Swarms of locusts swarmedacross our path, and we saw immense herds of Spring-boksas we crossed the plains after leaving Venter's. We found my brother Josephliving on a farm on the banks of the Fat River, so called from the greasyappearance of its waters after a flood. It washes down mud that looks like fat.It may be there are some oil wells in its vicinity. Joseph was there forpasturage for his oxen. In the River is good fish.
From here we passed overseveral heavy sand-ridges, through a country destitute of wood or water. Whennearing the Diamond Fields we come to low hills, dotted here and there with camelthorn trees, with branches on top shaped likeumbrellas, their wood is very hard and durable, of a dark color, bearing largethorns. There are also a few mimosa trees.
Chapter XXXVI -The Diamond Fields in South Africa
We arrived on the diamondFields on the 4th day of January 1872,and a wonderful scene greeted my eyes. Ihardly know how to begin a description of these fields, as they appeared atthat time. There were about a hundred good houses and several large stores andOverland Coach and Stage Depots. As these vehicles would come in from varioustowns in the Colonies, bringing in men of all nations. One of these CoachCompanies was an American Firm.
The earth was excavated inall directions, and piles of debris everywhere. The way the men did at thefirst was to peg out a piece of ground called a claim, after they had worked itand hundreds and thousands of pounds out of it, moneyed men would come alongand buy a half or a quarter claim for five hundred or a thousand pounds. Therewere three places then being mined, lying about two miles apart. The first onewas called "The New Bush", the second one "De Beers", thethird "Dutoit's Pass". A Dutchman by thename of De Beer owned a farm, and it is said he found diamonds on it and keptit secret for a long time, not wanting the hundreds of diggers who were then atthe River diggings, to over-run his farm. But in spite of his endeavors thesecret leaked out, and the consequence was that hundreds of diggers made onegrand rush, taking it by storm, to the annoyance of the Dutchman. His wife wasvery angry. They had to move their stock away, so they sold their farm to amerchant of Port Elizabeth named D. Ebden. Thediggers then had to pay a claim license to Mr. Ebden,a claim being about twenty feet long and six or seven feet wide.
The merchandise we took upwas unloaded at Dutoit's Pass, a regularly laid outvillage, containing large stores, Hotel and Restaurants, storekeepers were mostlyJews. At Dutoit's Pass is a large sheet of watercalled a Pass. But New Bush was the principal place at this time. The businessdone in this city baffles description.
About a hundred acres wascovered with tents and houses and wagons. In every direction were mounds ofgravel which the men had hauled to their tent doors to sieve and search for theprecious stones. It is sifted and spread on a table with a ledge all around,except at one place, where it is pushed off, after being examined. Sometimes asthe heap increases, the chair and table keep rising, until we saw men on top ofa high hill of gravel.
1 once lost my way amongthese gravel heaps. On the way to the claim I noticed something that lookedlike coal. I went to examine it and found it a black rock from a newly-dug wellsome forty to fifty feet deep. When I thought to return to the pathway, I foundI was completely bewildered as to the direction of the tent. I had to retracemy steps a long way before I knew where I was.
On Sunday my son-in-lawtook me down among the claims, I went down one hundred feet deep where I had adrink of good fresh water, a scarce article in those days on the fields. Anotable fact, that no work was done these on Sundays. Sabbath in universallyrespected all over South Africa, in town or country. On these claims on aweekday could be seen swarms of men, like bees. Men of all nations, black andwhite. At first roads were left between the claims, so as to take their cartsin, to haul the gravel to the surface by means of bucketsonwire ropes, worked by windlass and small pulleys. These stand on the side ofeach claim. These not having room to stand, they erected platforms for the mento stand on while they worked these windlasses.
All around the outside ofthe claims, stood mountains of gravel. One mound being higher than the rest,they called it Mount Arrarat. The gravel from thepits was put into small trucks drawn by a steam engine. They were paid in moneyand firearms. When one set of men was paid, they would go home and another setcome. When asked what they were going to do with guns, they would say,"Going to shoot the Dutch farmers with them" .
The diggings at the NewBush seemed to have been a volcano at some age of the world. Far down was founda kind of lava rock, then would come layers of soft ashes and then layers ofhard chalk and strata of different colors of clay. When this gravelly clay wasexposed to the sun and air, it would slack like lime. Strange to say, nodiamonds were ever found outside the claims first staked, although one side ofthe hill looked as likely as the other. After I left I heard they had goneanother hundred feet, still finding diamonds, and had to pump the water out ofthe pits.
Viewing these claims fromthe top, they had the appearance of Old Ruins, everything being covered with awhitish dust, like powdered chalk, very injurious to persons inhaling it,settling on the lings. Scores of liquor Saloons flourished on the fields. Manyof them in large Marquee tents, some in rooms of houses. One run by a Mr.Parker was on an elaborate scale. He had made a lot of money with buying andselling diamonds. He went to England and brought our fittings of a first classHotel and saloon. He also brought with him several young women to act aswaitresses, but- they did not stay long with him. They soon got married. Theycomplained of long, late hours. Here liquors were dispensed to old and young. Akind of fever attacked many of the diggers. A cousin of mine had it in a severeform, but my son-in-law was never sick one day all the time he was there, beinga strong robust, healthy man, able to throw off disease germs. This fever wascaused by lack of sanitary arrangements and bad water, as it is a healthyclimate. Diamonds were also found on Wall River, at KlipDrift, many in small round holes, worn in the rocks framing the river-bed atthe ford.
At New Bush could be seenlittle wooden houses with signs on them reading: "Diamonds Bought and SoldHere", In the streets and alleys would stand boys, buying all the diamondsthey could off the diggers. They would take diamonds to pay for their goods.There was no scarcity of money when I was there. Every steamer coming fromEngland brought thousands of pounds with which to buy diamonds. Two lines ofsteamers were now plying between England and the Cape. Many of the 1820settlers or their children now visited the dear homeland for the first timesince Emigration. The diamond digging enabled many to take trips home and enjoytheir visits.
While I was in the Fields,hundreds of frame houses were being erected there. They were framed and fittedtogether in Queenstown and taken up in sections on Wagons. They were roofedwith galvanized iron sheets. Many stores and churches were built entirely ofthis corrugated iron. Photographers there were in abundance. In fact, the townswere left without photographers after the Fields opened. Doctors and Lawyersalso flocked here from all over. Jews from all parts of the world were here inbusiness. At the time of this writing, the city now is called Dimberly, and has a good water supply. When I was there Ithought it was the hottest part of the world I had ever been in. The sun beatdown fiercely with nothing to break its burning rays. No trees bushes orgardens. The corrugated iron draws the heat and the white sandy roads try theeyes.
Chapter XXXVII -Beginning My Trip Back to My Utah Home
I bade my relatives goodbyeand left the Diamond Fields on the 12th of January 1873. My son and son-in-lawsaw me comfortably seated in the big stagecoach, bound for Capetown.It was drawn by eight horses. I paid twelve pounds for my passage and eightpounds for my two large chests to be taken by another coach. I occupied theback seat with a lady and a little girl, the coach being filled withpassengers. It was noon when we got started and by daylight next morning wewere at the Orange River where we had to wait, as the men in charge had notrecovered from a drunken spree. However we were all finally safely landed bythe Ferry on the other side. The River here is very wide with very steep banks.At this crossing is an English village called Hopetown.From here we traveled over grassy plains dotted with Mimosa and Calethorn, now covered with clusters of yellow flowers.
We next crossed the Karro covered with little shrubs, passing many Dutchfarmhouses. We traveled day and night .Sometimes we changed horses in the nightand there would be a cup of tea or coffee ready to refresh us. The second dayfrom the Orange River, we encountered a heavy thunderstorm. The thunder wasterrific and the lightening played around the wheels of the coach. Rain camedown in torrents, filling all creeks and rivers. We stood still until it wasover. We were then within a mile of Beaufort West, a town of some seventhousand inhabitants. The river running through the town was flooded by thestorm and was overflowing its banks.
Soon after leaving thistown we came to a curious river, the water tasting brackish. We after changedhorses at farmhouses. At one place the new horses were so fresh and frisky andtrotted along at a good speed, until we picked up two more passengers who tookup as much room as two ordinary persons, for each one. Suddenly the axle brokeand off came the wheel. There was an extra axle in the stage so the conductorand passengers helped put it in, and we sent a mile or so when we found it didnot act right. There was too much friction on one place, causing it to get hot.We had to keep on stopping to throw water over it to cool the wheel.
The mail coach finallyovertook us, and consented to take some passengers to the next station, ofwhich I was one, leaving the stage and other passengers to come along. It wasseven miles to the Station and to my amazement the place was familiar to me. 1recognized it to be the farm where Edward King left me, and from which Mr. Kidson took me home to Grahamstown.This was in 1823.
The conductor had now tomake arrangements to get his passengers to their destinations. A Dutchmanhappened to be there with a light wagon, in which the conductor put our seatsand he arranged to take us on our way. I was glad to get a rest before westarted on again. When we reached the Zwart Mountainsthe road winds along narrow passes between mountain ridges. We entered these mountainsthrough a long narrow gorge. We were so crowded in our new conveyance that wewere very uncomfortable. We had not room to sit, stand or lean with anycomfort. The wagon had no springs. I had lost my back seat and was squeezedbetween two disagreeable Irishmen. They were full of brandy, and at every placecould they would get their bottles refilled, until they became very quarrelsomeand abused the conductor.
We traveled on through themountains until we reached the Hex River Pass, where there was a small village.There we halted to change horses. When I got out of the wagon I was so crampedand stiff I could hardly walk. With difficulty I got down to the River Hex, abeautiful stream of crystal water where I bathed my face and hands, ate somelunch and returned to the wagon much refreshed. I neglected to say that beforewe reached this village we came down along hill called Sir Lowry's Pass. Beinga road excavated along the side of a steep mountain at great labor and expense.Shrubbery and flowers along this road were very pretty. Giant cactus grew heresix to eight feet high/ like fluted poles. After leaving this village we cameto more open country. Mountains in the distance, frequently passing streams ofclear water until we reached Worchester, the center of a grain-growing districtcontaining twenty thousand square miles.
Our next station wasDarling Bridge, built across a wide swamp, named in honor of Lieut. GovernorDarling. I was, by this time, completely worn out, I went to the Hotel and hada little refreshment, after which I was able to take a walk. It was dark when Igot back to the station. Just as the wagon was ready to start the conductorsaid he had fixed a place for me on the back seat, and I had better takepossession. I took his advice, and to my surprise, found the two unrulypassengers seated beside me, but they were handcuffed together. I learned fromthe conversation among the passengers that they had assaulted the ladypassenger.
We were soon on ourjourney, but oh, what a night we passed through, traveling down the fearfulroad called Bains Pass in the Berg River Mountains,named after Andrew Geddes Bain, who superintended themaking of this stupendous piece of work. I wished it had been daylight so Icould see the grandeur of the scenery. It was very dark. A lamp hung under thewagon and one in the wagon, and the reflection of the two lights on the rocksgave weird and hideous shadows. I heard the sound of running waters, windingfar below the level of the road, as we turned many sharp curves, huge rocksoverlooking the road, and rocks were plied up on each side.
We drove very slowly, as itwas a dangerous road. I was in a state of mental fear and bodily pain, for 1was completely pushed off my seat, so I climbed out of the wagon deciding towalk, but the conductor made me get in again, and I had to get back into"purgatory". It seemed to me an endless pass, and I was thankful tobe out of it, and reach a village called "Paart",so named because of the number of pure white rocks jutting out on the mountainsides, near the top, which shine in the sun like pearl.
This is a greatfruit-growing district and I am told a very pretty place. Coming into thevillage we drove up to a Magistrate's office, but found no admittance. One ofthe men in irons told the driver to go to another place, which he did, where wefound an officer. The whole company went into the house and left me to myself,where I had a little sleep. When daylight came I was surprised to see those twomen, freed from their irons, asleep in the porch of the Hotel. How the businesswas settled I never heard. I dare say money got them off.
I shall never forget what Iendured that awful ride of six days and nights, the company of those rough menincreasing the misery. The railway from Capetown hasbeen completed as far as Wellington, so we now boarded the train, which was thegreatest relief from misery to ease I ever experienced. The scenery wasbeautiful, we passed miles of vineyards, orchards and gardens, going through Stellenbosch, known for and wide, laid oufmany years ago by the Dutch Governor, whose name was Van derStell, and named after him.
I arrived in Capetown on the seventeenth of January 1873. I was met atthe station by my friend Mr. George Rook, who took me to his home in Rondesbosch, where I stayed six weeks. I visited manyplaces of interest in and around Capetown, where Isaw the new "Dry-Docks" . for the repairing of ships. I am sorry Idid not visit Simmon's Town, and Wynburg.Fruits of all kinds was ripe and very nice. Semi-tropical fruits grow here.Wild flowers grow in great variety on the slopes of the mountains, includingthe famous Orchid, a parasite plant growing on large trees, deriving itssustenance from the dew and the air. There are also freeziasin many delicate things. Calla Lillies flourish inthe marshy places. A large variety of heath grows on the mountain. Also "Protea", or sugar bush, trees bearing largebrush-shaped flowers, a sweet sticky gum covers the leaves.
In fact South Africa isfamed for the beauty of its wild flowers. On the Kat Berg Mountains grow manykinds of everlastings of Immortals, white, yellow, pink and magenta. Some arelarge as a shilling piece, others quite small, in clusters. The petals surrounda cushion of down in which is secreted the seed; the petals are of a hard shinynature. When plucked they will keep without falling to pieces for years. Hencetheir name. They grow on rocky hills. In the Queenstown District grow theflowers called the hair bell, a kind of bulbous grass. Several pale-pink bells,on the end of a tall hair-like stem, waving gracefully in the breeze. Here arealso found brown colored lillies, called "Arend-bloom", or scent flowers, on account of theirsweet scent.
In British Kaffrarie the gladiclus abound. Alsothe Belladonna lily and the pretty blue flower called "Lobelia".Geraniums are found in all parts of Cape Colony and I must not forget theferns, the graceful maiden-hair growing in sheltered nooks along riverbanks. Inthe forests we find Giant tree ferns, climbing ferns, and the pretty "Haresfoot Fern". Several kinds of hardy rock-fernsgrow in many places. ]n the Albany District grow wild date palms, and otherkinds of palms; one kind bearing a kind of nut. A curious flower is found inall coast districts, called "boat lilly".These flowers have large leaves, growing in bunches from the ground. The flowerstem is from two to three feet in height, on the top of this stem is a deepsheath bent over, from this green sheath bursts the flower, consisting of twowide petals of rich deep purple; from the center rises two upright petals ofdeep orange colour, When this bloom fades, anotherone emerges, and they keep on until five or six flowers have burst from thesame sheath, then the seed forms, This flower is called "Strititsia". Wild Honeysuckle with red blossoms, CapeJessamine, Clematis, and many other runners grow in Albany.
Before leaving South AfricaI may mention the numerous snakes found in the forests. Boa Constrictors andPuff Adders, are plentiful. Also cobras and lizards. In some parts are foundthe chameleon, which takes the color of the thing it is on. Crab are found inall rivers. Birds are numerous, of both fruit and grain-eating varieties. Alsosweet singers, such as the Cape Canary, finches of several kinds, buildingnests a foot long of grass, deftly woven together, generally overhanging ariver. Several kinds of owls, hawks, eagles, cranes, ducks and geese, also wildguinea fowl and partridge. Parrots and parakeets screamed through the Winterberg Forests. We also see there the brilliantplumaged bird called the looris. Crows too of variouskinds. Many others too numerous for me to mention.
Sheep have been mentionedoften in this book, but I have not said anything about the fat-tailed sheep calledCape or African Sheep. They were found among the Natives by the Dutch who firstsettled the Cape. Their tails are all fat and weigh about five or six poundseach. They have short wooly hair, of no use in commerce. Spanish merino sheepwere found to be best for South African climate, and are the kind now all overSouth Africa. Wool-growing pays the farmers well. Cape cattle have very long,wide-spreading horns. Other breeds are being introduced. There are also wildhogs in South Africa, and an animal with a long snout called an"Ant-eater" . I must not forget to mention the huge anthills found inmany parts of Africa, some very large around in the shape of kaffir huts, about three feet high. In the Free State, theyare of a different shape, much bigger at the top than at the foot, and fullyfive feet high. If a piece of the hill is broken off, the industrious littleants get to work and in a few minutes the place is repaired. The clay of thesehills is very fine and is used for making floors of houses where timber isscarce. It is as smooth as a table when made properly. Floors are also made ofpeach stones laid in clay. Dutch people often scoop the inside of theseanthills out and use them as ovens to cake bread in when traveling`.
Chapter XXXVIII- I Set Sail for Boston - 12 March 1873
After being in Capetown six weeks I left for Boston on the Brig Picadilly. Commander Rynon incharge, owned by Mr. Murson, a Merchant of Capetown. With me was Mr. Rook's son George. We sailed onthe 12th of March, 1873. There were two other passengers, a Mr. Jones and aMiss Thompson who was going to St. John's Canada, to visit her brother. Asteam-tug towed us out of the Dock into the Bay, where we anchored for a fewhours. Toward evening we set sail for the Sea, passing Robben'sIsland very close. We had a pleasant run to the island of St. Helena, arrivingthere early one morning. The captain and his wife went ashore. They visited thetomb of Napoleon at Long-wood. A French guard was kept around the grave. I didnot go ashore. The Island as we approached it, looked like one huge rockstanding up out of the water, its sides steep and straight, with the surfdashing against them. Not a vestige of herbage to be seen. The town calledJamestown is built near the seashore in a deep ravine. I hear there is levelland on the top, but all I could see from the vessel was high cliffs, reachingdown to the water's edge. No beach at all. Women came out to the ship in smallboats with fruit, flowers and curios to sell. Also penguin eggs.
While we were there a largeMail Steamer, called "The Africa", stopped a few hours, bound for Capetown from England. We left again at sunset and speededon our way. Sometimes passing ships. On reaching the Line, On reaching theLine, Old Neptune again made fun on board. We had fair weather all the wayuntil the ninth of April, when we were alongside the Island of Dernando De Formosa, belonging to Brazil. From here theweather changed, being cold and stormy. We passed a vessel called GeorgeAnderson. We heard afterward that she has not reached Boston, but was beatingout to sea to escape shoals of sand.
When near Cape Cod, we wereenveloped in a heavy fog. We were obliged to keep still and blow the fog-hornall the time. The sea was strewn with wreckage of a brig which must have beenladen with laths. Laths and spars were floating all round us. When the foglifted a Pilot came on board and we were soon in Boston Harbor, the eleventh ofMay 1873, after a voyage of sixty days. The day we arrived, a terrificthunderstorm raged.
The sails of the Brig hadbeen folded up on deck and got wet, and the Captain had them put into my berth,which made it uncomfortable for me, until the first Mate took me into his room,where I slept while on the boat. I stayed a few days in Boston. George Rookwished to go to Maine to see his sister, so I paid his passage, and saw him offon the train.
I then made arrangementsfor my own passage to Utah, which cost me sixty-five dollars. I went to NewYork, partly by train and partly by steamboat. Arriving there on the 16th ofMay 1873. I left the same afternoon for Utah on the Panhandle Railway Line. AtPittsburgh we stayed over Sunday. On this journey some young fellows got on thetrain who seemed half typsy. They were up to allkinds of fun and began to tease and torment me, which I feared would end insomething more than fun. I was grateful to a young gentleman who bade themdesist, scolded them for their-rough behavior toward an old man. He took careof me as long as he was on the train.
I arrived in Ogden on the24th of May Here I met Apostles John Taylor and WilfordWoodruff. I went on to Salt Lake, passing through Kaysville without stooping,arriving in the City on the 25th of May 1873, after an absence of nearly threeyears.
The changes that had takenplace in that time were surprising. Many large new stores had been erected andvacant lots been built upon. There were many new houses, and business hadIncreased wonderfully. I hardly knew my own place. A large cotton-wood treethat I had left standing on the corner had been cut down. I missed this, butsoon found my cottage, dismissed the wagon that had brought my luggage, wentinside and was home once more.
Chapter XXXIX -(The remainder of this book was written by Mrs SusieM. Dodge, granddaughter of Eli Wiggill, and the babywhom he mentions as going to Africa with them in 1869-70.)
This is as far as thehistory of his life was written by my grandfather, Eli Wiggill.He finished it in 1883. Soon after this he was taken ill and it was nevercompleted. I take pleasure in adding a short sketch of the remaining years ofhis life.
Soon after his return fromAfrica, his wife Joined the Josephine, or Re-organized church. She neglected tomake his home comfortable, and to end this unhappy state of affairs, theyagreed to separate. He then made his home with his son Jeremiah in Kaysvillewhere he was happy, as his son and daughter-in-law were very good and kind tohim.
In 1874 he married a verygood woman, a widow named Mrs Ann Hammer. Afterliving in Kaysville a few months, they decided to move to the City, onto hisown property, which was on 7th East Street, between 2nd and 3rd South. Therethey lived in peace and happiness, he attending his garden in summer, alsodoing odd jobs of carpentering. In winter he would read write or study.Sometimes his grand-daughter from Kaysville would stay with them. He waspresent at the Dedication of the Assembly Hall. They both enjoyed the oldFolk's day spent in Liberty Park.
His son Joseph was marriedto Miss Mary Whitesides of Kaysville in 1880. In thesum-mer of 1881 Joseph was kicked by a horse, whichknocked out his front teeth and injured him severely.
In the beginning of theyear 1883, Grandfather was taken ill. He recovered somewhat from the firstattack, but was never quite well again. In November 1883 his son-in-law WilliamLowe and family arrived in Utah, from South Africa. They had encountered aviolent storm on the ocean between England and New York. He was then ill inbed, but very glad to see them all. After they came he seemed to feel better.
At Christmas he was able tosit up in a chair. On the 9th of January 1884 being my. fifteenth birthday, hegave me a blessing and presented me with a book. He felt that he would not liveanother year. He took to bed again in February on March. His wife gave himcareful nursing. Neighbors and kind friends were very good to him, but hegradually grew weaker, and passed away on the 13th day of April 1884, aged 72years and five months, deeply regretted by his family and friends.
He was a true and faithfulLatter-day Saint, being a High Priest at the time of his death. His casket wasmade of Oregon Pine, according to the directions he gave a few weeks before hedied. It had a piece of glass set over his face. At his request his body wasbrought to Kaysville and laie to rest in the cemeterybeside his first wife, Susannah Bentley.
The funeral services in theKaysville Meeting House, were largely attended. Several speakers told of hislife and worthy character. Brother Henry Talbot spoke of their lastingfriendship, which began as boys together in far-away sunny South Africa, wherethey both heard and accepted the true and everlasting Gospel, and sailed fromAfrica, coming to Utah in the same company.
Thus ended the earthly lifeof a fine and worthy man. But although he is no more on earth, yet he has lefta legacy of honor and integrity to his descendants, with whom his precepts andexample shall remain until the latest >generation, when they will all be re-united with him and all the loved ones who aregone before, to enjoy the Earth's Sabbath, and to Finish the work which hasbeen begun on earth. All honor to his memory.
Chapter XXXX -
The Emigrants of 1820
Overthe water wide and deep
Where the storm-waves roll and the storm-winds sweep,
Over the waters see them come!
Breasting the billow's curling foam,
Fathers for children seeking a home,
In Africa's Southern Wilds.
Wilderness lands of brake and glen,
The wolves' and the panther's gloomy den,
Wilderness plains where the Springbok bounds,
And the Lion's voice from the hill resounds,
And the Vulture circles in airy rounds,
Are Africa's Southern Wilds.
Hand to the labour-heart and hand
Our hearts shall inherit and latered land;
Harvests shall wave o'er the virgin soil,
Cottages stand and gardens smile,
And the songs of our Children the hours beguile,
Mid Africa's Southern Wilds.
Make we the pride of the forest yield:
Wrest from the Wilderness field on field:
And to brighten our home and lighten our care
And gain the aid of our Father there,
Raise we to heaven the voice of Prayer,
From Africa's Southern Wilds.
THE SUNNY HILLS OF AFRICA
"TheSunny Hills of Africa, how picturesque and grand,
While clothed in mist the vales lie hid, like some dark spirit..
The Mountains in the distance seen, like hoary castles rise,
And banks of clouds suspended hang, like icebergs in the skies.
The flowery fields of Africa, how beautiful and gay,
The fairest blossoms deck the plains, and perfume fills the May.
While gushing streams from every kloof, spread o'erthe verdant green,
And browsing game upon the lands, all beauty to the scene.
The country homes of Africa, where are their equals found?
A welcome always greets the ear, and gladness reign around;
And as one costly reclines upon the snow-white fleece
He feels a thrill of thankfulness, of gratitude and peace."
WHERE WOULD WE BE?
Wherewould we be, had the Pioneers
Not started their journey west,
With firm beliefs and resolute wills
To seek a calm harbor of rest—a haven of peace.
Where heartaches might cease,
And on toward the sunset pressed ?
Had they not boldly plodded through hardships,
Undaunted, with purpose unbent,
Feet burning, sweat pouring, brains reeling,
At night sinking weary and spent;
Yet on, ever on
At every new dawn,
Surmounting each fear as they went?
With smiles on their lips and hearts singing,
With spirit of staunchness unspoiled
By trials and heavy oppressions,
Towards sighted goal, always they toiled;
One idea in mind,
A shelter to find,
Where truth would be planted unspoiled.
What solid foundations they builded:
Compesed of Right, Faith, Bravery,
With love in abundance and honor,
All working in close harmony.
If they had not left
This heritage blest
To govern us, where would we be?