22 October 2006 - 10:23:14am
10 May 2006 - 10:28:38pm
Newspaper cuttings from the Eastern Cape.
No source, 1973.
Compared with some of the old Settler families like the HOBSONS, McNAUGHTONS and MURRAYS, the KINGWILLS are relative newcomers to the Graaff-Reinet area, having started to farm there towards the end of the last century. Graaff-Reinet had been founded more than a century previously. Yet since 1890, when Alfred KINGWILL and his large family - he had 10 children - arrived in the Graaff-Reinet district and bought the farm Houdconstant, the KINGWILLS have made a striking contributions to farming in the area.
Today the KINGWILLS have spread themselves out towards Murraysburg in the west, and a lot of them have tended to gather in the Sneeuberg mountains, at Nieu-Bethesda. Not far from Graaff-Reinet is Coloniesplaats probably the best known of KINGWILL farms, which was acquired by the late Arthur Alfred KINGWILL, or AAK, a tremendous personality in his time. He was one of the six sons of Alfred KINGWILL, and died only seven years ago, at the age of 94. Coloniesplaats, bought in 1903 some years after the AAK had returned from the Transvaal, now belongs to Colonel Bill KINGWILL, AAK's eldest son and who is retired.
No history of the KINGWILLS would be complete without mention of AAK. In his later years he worked for the restoration of Robert House, now the Graaff-Reinet Museum, which he founded in 1956. Reinet House was built between 1808 and 1816. AAK was also Mayor of Graaff-Reinet from 1939 to 1945. He was a good sportsman, and played cricket until he was 60. The freedom of Graaff-Reinet was conferred on him in 1962.
Coloniesplaats is run by Colonel KINGWILL's son, Mr. William KINGWILL, a prominent Hereford cattle breeder. Previously the farm was known for its excellent Friesland dairy herd. AAK had been national president of the Friesland Breeders' Association. The KINGWILL family arrived in South Africa in 1849, from Derbyshire, abroad the Royal Alice. John KINGWILL, his wife Martha, and their six children - two others had died during the voyage - settled in Uitenhage.
Within a few years the family was faced by hardships, because of the early death of John KINGWILL. Two sons ensured the KINGWILL name would become well established in South Africa. Richard went north to Rhodesia, and then settled in the Transvaal. Many of his descendents live today in the Potgietersrus area.
The other son Alfred farmed for a while in Uitenhage, and then went to the Aberdeen district in 1879. The Karoo attracted him, and he chose Graaff-Reinet as the area where he would set his roots. Alfred had six sons and four daughters, and many of his grandsons still live today. Two of them are well-known figures in South Africa.
They are Mr. Walter KINGWILL, United Party MP for Walmer, and Mr. Denys KINGWILL, who helped establish the CSIR in South Africa, aided by Sir Basil SCHONLAND. They are brothers. Denys graduated at Rhodes University with an MSC degree, and during WWII was a major serving with the meteorological division of the SAAF.
He is now in Pretoria, and is regarded as a world authority on scientific information services. Mr. Walter KINGWILL was one of the two KINGWILLS who played rugby for Eastern Province, the other being Mr. Frank KINGWILL, who now farms at Nieu-Bethesda.
Both were outstanding players and played together for Eastern Province in the later forties, although Walter was then at the end of his rugby career as a lock. Frank played first as a wing, and then eighthman. He was a Springbok trialist. Walter, who also owns two farms at Nieu-Bethesda, was elected MP for Walmer in 1966. During WWII he served as an officer with the Middellandse Regiment. He was a prisoner-of-war for three years, after being captured in Tobruk. In 1947 he was promoted to colonel.
Colonel Bill KINGWILL received the Military Cross in the Great War for valour at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. He was the only officer of the Norfolk Regiment to come out alive along with 32 men. Before, there were 20 officers and 600 men.
He also fought in WWII, as a captain with Die Middellandse Regiment, but was invalided home shortly before the Regiment, and other forces, were captured at Tobruk.Colonel Bill KINGWILL's younger brothers, Eric, Denyl and Arthur Jnr, today farm in the Murraysburg district with their sons.
The KINGWILLS recently had a family album published, which traces the history of the various branches of the family tree. It was compiled by Mr. Roland KINGWILL, a grandson of Alfred KINGWILL and who farms at Nieu-Bethesda and Miss Jean KINGWILL, the curator of Graaff-Reinet Museum.
The South African KINGWILLS very nearly had relative in Australia. One of Alfred's brothers, William left for Down Under at the age of 15 after he had heard the news of the discovery of gold. He returned 16 years later, almost as poor as he had left.
Alfred KINGWILLS's six sons were William - no family. AAK, Pannell, Graham, Cyril and Frank. Pannell's branch of the family is today represented by Mr. Roland KINGWILL as the head, Graham's by Mr. Walter KINGWILL, Cyril's by Mr. Thomas 'Bun" KINGWILL, who now farms at Bredasdorp, and Mr. Cyril 'Chipper' KINGWILL, who owns Zuurplaats in the Nieu-Bethesda area.
The youngest of Alfred's sons, Frank, established the Ripplemead Merino Stud. This stud has now been built up by Mr. Brian KINGWILL at Thorncliff, in the Fish River district. His two elder brothers, Ion and Frank, farm at Nieu-Bethesda. Mr. Frank KINGWILL, the former Eastern Province rugby player is the present owner of Ripplemead. Mr. Ion KINGWILL's youngest son, Timothy was last year selected for the Junior Springboks gymkhana team.
Three of Alfred KINGWILL's daughters married to FOWLER, POHLAND and PAXTON but only the PAXTONS of Aberdeen have present generation family. The MACBETHS of Mill Park, Port Elizabeth, are also distantly related to the KINGWILLS.
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
(Written in 1973)
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