While Jan Hoets might not strictly have been a resident of Port Elizabeth , he was closely connected to two residents who were intimately involved in business in Port Elizabeth and who were largely responsible for Port Elizabeth’s initial growth: These prominent citizens were John Centlivres Chase and Frederick Korsten with the latter person being Hoets’ son-in-law. This arose due to his marriage to Korsten’s eldest daughter. Of course marrying a Chase meant that Hoets was also related to the Chases.
By all accounts Hoets was a successful merchant in Cape Town with its more lanquid less frenetic lifestyle. Here the bureaucrat predominated unlike Port Elizabeth which possessed a more energetic business like mien, the very anthesis of Cape Town.
Main picture: Jan Marthinus Hoets, grandson of Jan Hoets, and his wife Arabella Helen Centlivres Chase
Most settler parties conformed to the rules of the Emigration Scheme that they would be settled in the frontier districts. Having been stationed at Fort Frederick for seven years prior to the arrival of the 1820 Settlers, Captain Damant had already decided that the Gamtoos valley area would be the new family home.
This is the saga of the Damant family of Hankey
Main picture: A farm in the Gamtoos Valley
Robert Pinchin was born in England in 1824 and died in Port Elizabeth on the 9th May 1888 at the young age of 64 probably due to overwork. He arrived in Port Elizabeth from London in 1849, marrying Mary Ann Burton on the 13th September 185., Pinchin was a land surveyor, civil engineer and architect from the end of 1849. During the period 1863 to 1868, Pinchin was in partnership with G.W. Smith. Pinchin laid out much of the first streets and properties in Central, Port Elizabeth and became a respected consultant. Robert negotiated a supply of water from the Shark River Co. to the municipality. In 1881, G.W. Smith again joined Pinchin in partnership, at Port Elizabeth, and on Pinchin’s death in 1888, took over the practice.
Pinchin’s interests were astronomy and geology. In 1862 he released his treatise in which he advocated the construction of the Van Stadens Water Scheme which would alleviate the water supply difficulties of Port Elizabeth which did not yet possess domestic plumbing. In 1870 Robert led a party which climbed the Cockscomb Peak and hence would be the 3rd successful party to do so as far as they were aware. Pinchin lived with his daughter in his mother-in-law’s house in Baakens Street and then in 1877 built a house in Park Drive.
The Story of Pinchin’s Ascent
This narrative has been largely based upon the report that Pinchin drafted for the Herald and was published on the 20th April 1870. Excluded are irrelevant comments and minor adjustments have been made to spellings and flow of sentences. Long sentences have also been truncated to enhance readability. Apart from these changes, the narrative is true to Pinchin’s original article in the Herald.
Main picture: Cockscomb Peak from the north
Among the people who were influential in the nascent Port Elizabeth, was the Harries Clan. This blog recounts the life of the father and son who deserve greater recognition.
Main picture: Painting of Port Elizabeth from South End by Walford Arbouin Harries about 1851
Most residents of Port Elizabeth are unaware what the purpose of the concrete pillars jutting out of the sand between Hobie and Humewood Beach represent. It was a slipway built in 1903. By the 1850s Algoa Bay was attracting swarms of vessels of all shapes and sizes. Many used the Bay as the location to effect minor repairs before proceeding on their voyage.
It took an entrepreneur by the name of John Centlivres Chase to envisage constructing a slipway in Port Elizabeth to provide this vital service.
Main picture: Humewood 1910 with what appears to be a fishing boat being hauled up for maintenance