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Albany District. Land Grant


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1 page document signed by Lord Charles Somerset and C Bird with the slightly cracked seal of the Cape of Good Hope dated 15 June 1823, simply repaired in the top right hand corner, a very good copy.

This document granted Lot 103 situated in Grahamstown in perpetuity to Piet Retief. The size of the erf was one morgen, one hundred and eighteen square rood and three feet, bordered on the east by Lot no 102 and on the west by Lot no 104 and on the south by African streets. The purchase amount was 500 Pounds. The Surveyor's Diagram is not appended to this document.

From the Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa volume 9 pages 305 – 306: Piet Retief 12.11.1780 - 6.2.1838, a prominent Voortrekker leader born to Jacobus and Debora Retief in the Wagenmakersvallei, Cape Colony, today the town of Wellington, South Africa. His family were Boers of French Huguenot ancestry: Retief grew up on the ancestral vineyard Welvanpas, where he worked until the age of 27. He was attracted to the Eastern Cape, and by 1814 was occupying the loan place, Mooimeisiesfontein, at Riebeeck East, about 32 km form Grahamstown.

At the first sale of land in Grahamstown in 1815 he bought several erven. In May 1822 he signed a contract with the Government to build barracks for the troops, but shortly before he began to build these he realised that the contract price was too low and he tried unsuccessfully to be released from it. In August 1822, as Field Commandant of all the Albany burghers, he lead a commando against Makomo.

Prolonged legal wrangles led to his estate being placed in the hands of the sequestrators and much of his property had to be sold in part payment of his debts. Many complicated land deals were not registered.

There is no doubt that Retief was a land speculator all his life. Between 1820 and 1830 he was involved in 22 land transactions and he undertook many private contracts as well. From 1823 – 1832 he carried on business as a general merchant, buying and selling timber, and at the same time farming. That he was a prominent figure in Grahamstown is beyond question. He was named executor of many estates and as Field Commander he was constantly in demand helping the regular troops.

From the Standard Encyclopaedia of South Africa volume 2 page 336: Christopher Chapman Bird Appointed Deputy Secretary at the Cape in 1807, he succeeded Henry Alexander as Secretary in 1814.He framed several of Lord Charles Somerset's Ordinances and was a dominant figure in the Government until he quarrelled with the Governor and was dismissed in 1824.

  • Size: Folio (330 x 200 mm)
  • Sold By: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
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  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA

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