Newspaper Cuttings from the Eastern Cape

Newspaper Cuttings from the Eastern Cape - P


EP Herald, April 1970

A few hundred yards from the ultra-modern homes on the outskirts of Sunridge Park, stands a 130-year-old farmhouse built by John PARKIN, an 1820 Settler and leader of one Port Elizabeth's oldest and wealthiest families. The house, built in about 1840, stands on what is now Council owned land and is occupied by Mr. & Mrs. W.H. BOUCHER.The BOUCHER's have lived there since 1938.

John PARKIN, who led the Devonshire Party in Weymouth in 1820, bought the land, Baakens River Farm from John BERRY about 25 years later. He had previously lived in Devonshire Farm on the Kariga River. According to Mrs. Cecil Scott PARKIN of Port Elizabeth, John PARKIN died in 1856. He was known throughout Port Elizabeth and the surrounding districts as the owner of extensive properties, in addition to being a noted cattle farmer, meat merchant and huntsman. Mr. C. Scott PARKIN is John PARKIN's great-great-grandson.

John PARKIN and suffered a heart attack in Main Street as he was on his way to buy another property. He already owned all land along Main Street as far as Peel Street, and down Jetty Street around to Strand Street. "The family story goes that when he died, he was holding in his hand R800 with which to buy the land on the corner of Main Street and St. Mary's Terrace," Mr. PARKIN said. The farm, with its typically English cottage, was left to George PARKIN, one of his 16 known children. According to Mr. C. Scott PARKIN, George PARKIN and later his son, George Scott PARKIN, lived on the farm until about 1912. Scott PARKIN's widow continued to live there until approximately 1930 when it was bought by the late Mr. W.E.LONDT.
Mrs. PARKIN died soon afterwards.

Mr. LONDT also acquired much of the surrounding land, which also belonged to the PARKIN family. The area was later developed into a township, Fernglen, by a company of which Mr. LONDT was a director. The land on which the homestead stands was endowment land handed to the City Council as commonage when the township was developed.

Mr. & Mrs. BOUCHER, who live in the house with six of their 11 children, have been there for 32 years. They pay R11 a month rental. "The house has a lot of charm and is typical of an English farm cottage," said Mrs. M. RAINIER, a former Port Elizabeth historian now living in East London. Mrs. RAINIER has made a study of the PARKIN family history.

John PARKIN also owned a town house in Main Street, built from bricks carried as ballast in Weymouth. According to Mrs. RAINIER, there are still traces of extensive terraced gardens laid out at the back of the farmhouse. John PARKIN, Frederick PARKIN, another of his sons - and George PARKIN's baby daughter, Jane are buried in adjoining graves on a hilltop near the house. John PARKIN married twice and had 16 children, eight sons and 8 daughters by his first wife. He married his housekeeper after the death of his first wife, and, it is believed, had several more children. John PARKIN's second wife is buried in the South End Cemetery.



EP Herald, 23 Nov 1984
Myrtle's 90 and still going stong
by Herald Correspondent

Mrs. Myrtle PATRICK celebrated her 90th birthday on Wednesday surrounded by family and friends. Her Grahamstown roots go deep, for she was born in the city, the eldest daughter of stonemason, Mr. Alfred SMITH, who worked on many local landmarks, including the Rhodes University tower.

Myrtle attended the Victoria Girls' High School and became a bookkeeper. Her husband, Mr. Len PATRICK, who died 25 years ago, was in charge of Grocott's printing unit and did football reporting. Myrtle's preference in the sporting line was tennis and roller skating.

During the war years she was an energetic member of the South African Women's Auxiliary Service, organising treats and visits and helping at the canteen of 44 Air School, the RAF camp. Subsequently she championed the cause of ex-servicemen and his dependents and is the proud owner of three citations testifying to her dedicated work. The first issued in 1975, gave her life membership of the Grahamstown branch of the SA Legion, and the second, conferred in Cape Town, made her a life member of the Legion's Women Auxiliary. Five years ago she was invited to sigh Grahamstown's Golden Book "in recognition of long years of unstinting voluntary service to the people of the city."

Since 1939 she has been one of 14 workers who meet every Thursday to make poppies for two annual street collections and wreaths for memorial services. A highlight of her life was a pilgrimage in 1952 to visit the war graves in Europe.

All the members of Mrs. PATRICK's family were with her for the celebrations with the exception of her eldest son Eric, who died in 1949. He was the First City's Regimental Sergeant-Major. Her other son, Keith, an engineer for a large textile factory, came from King William's Town with his family, and Colin, also an engineer, from Johannesburg was present. Sisters, Mrs. Alma HULL of Johannesburg and Mrs. Billie PITTAWAY of Grahamstown were also there.

Mrs. PATRICK lives with her daughter Stella, who is active in VGHS and threatrical enterprises and works in the in the City Treasury Department.


EP Herald, 16 Jul 1980
Married at 37, retired at 84, nonagenarian takes his time.

Things have come late in life to Mr. Horace PREECE, now 90, and his wife Mabel, 89.

He was 37 before he married, 84 before he retired and when his only son, John, and his family emigrated to South Africa, Mr. & Mrs. PREECE senior accompanied them. They celebrated their Golden wedding in South Africa in 1977.

He says that contentment, brought about by accepting things "as they are", has helped him to reach this age and remain active and mentally alert. Until an operation a year ago, he walked from 142 Cape Road to Westbourne Road to do his own shopping.

Mr. Horace PREECE served in the Royal Horse Artillery during the First World War. He retuned home to find his mother an invalid and cared for her until her death before marrying.

During those years Mrs. Mabel PREECE worked as a milliner with the firm of Madam ANGRAVES in Bayswater. Apprenticed at the age of 15, she was called the 'flapper milliner."

She said she designed and made hats for Queen Mary, usually the customary toques, proudly adding that she made a picture hat of pinky grey straw with a lilac ostrich feather trimming, which Queen Mary wore on the last day of Ascot in 1922.

Mr. PREECE said that he was never a teetotaller - he prefers genuine Guinness stout to any other drink - that he smoked cigars and pipe and that in his opinion one good woman was enough.

Mr and Mrs. PREECE have spent the last six years in the home of Mrs. A. NORTJE, a retired nursing sister.

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