Father, John James or JJ, and sons, Matthew (baptised as Matthys Jacobus) and Richard John, were both peas from the same pod, entrepreneurs to the bone ever willing to take a gamble on a new business venture. In most instances, they were vindicated but when Matthew crossed swords with the Divisional Council over the Seaview Farm, it was an ill-judged move.
Main picture: The Zwartkops Convict station showing the overseer’s cottage and the convicts’ quarters at the rear
Like modern day motorists, the waggoneers of yore also required a place to rest, eat and refresh themselves except that their “facilities” were vastly more primitive than today’s Ultra City.
What facilities, if any, were provided and where were the outspans and road inns situated?
Main picture: Outspan House built by JJ Berry in 1862 as an Inn for travellers. It was situated about a mile from the Rawson Bridge, halfway between Zwartkops and Deal Party Estate
As a result of the poor state of the country roads, a trip by ox wagon to Graham’s Town – a distance of only 160 kms – would take eight days. The term road was a euphemism for a track through the bush, which through perpetual usage, had created a passage conforming to the contours, angle and levelness of the ground. No attempt had been made to remove boulders on the route or fill in depressions. Instead the road would skirt around such obstacles.
What roads were there and what was being done to address this issue?
Main picture: Typical condition of the rural main roads in the 1860s