Port Elizabeth of Yore: Anthony Scott-Parkin and his Ancestors

The roots of Antony Scott-Parkin can be traced to long before the arrival of his great great grandfather John Parkin in Port Elizabeth in 1820. Whereas John made his mark as a property owner, Anthony would be remembered as the incongruous combination as lawyer and finally as a priest. Also of interest is the conversion of the surname Parkin into Scott-Parkin.

Main picture:  Anthony Scott-Parkin

The roots of the Parkins in South Africa

John Parkin, aged 32, described as a carpenter and farmer, led a party of about ten families to the Eastern Cape in 1820. The lists show that he was accompanied by his wife Elizabeth, aged 30, and four children, William 9, John 6, Robert 2, and Jane 1. The party sailed from Portsmouth in the Weymouth, captained by Captain Turner, on the 7 January 1820 and arrived at Simon’s Bay on 20 April and at Algoa Bay on 23 May 1820. Transport was available at Fort Frederick. The party left almost immediately for its location on the Kariega River arriving at Reed River Post (Glengower) on 9 June. According to the lists, George Parkin, aged 24, a smith, and his wife Jane, aged 26, were included in the party.

Details of the life of John Parkin are available on the blog entitled Port Elizabeth of Yore: John Parkin – from Humble Beginnings to Property Magnet

George Parkin [b6c5d6e4]

George PARKIN, *   Cape Colony, 20.7.1821,   + P.E., 11.7.1901, x P.E., 10.10.1845, Mary HODSON, born SCOTT, * England, August 1827, + P.E., 11.1.1900.

George Parkin was the first of five children to be born to John and Elizabeth Parkin after their arrival at the Cape. The exact location of his birth is unknown, but the date is recorded in a family Bible. Nothing has been uncovered about his early life and the first documentary evidence is his marriage to Mary Hodson in 1845. This was a double wedding; his sister Charlotte was married to George Whitehead at the same time. George Parkin’s wife’s maiden name is always given as Scott, but she signed the marriage register as Hodson.

George Parkin senior and his wife, Mary, nee Scott. Hence George junior’s second name which became the hyphenated surname Scott-Parkin

The explanation of this is that Mary Scott, aged 14, married a Mr. Hodson in South America and a year later she bore him a child which died. A revolution broke out and the couple left South America for England and Hodson was killed on the way home. Mary came to the Cape and, aged 18, married George Parkin. From, if not before, his marriage, George lived and worked on Baakens River Farm and appears to have occupied John Parkin’s house throughout his time there. There is a well behind the house sunk by George Parkin which carried his initials and the date 1866. He is named as co-heir, in trust, with his two very young step-brothers, Alfred and Thomas, to this farm and the adjacent Haartebeestfontein (Parson’s Vlei). However, apart from a story that Thomas at one time occupied the house in the valley incorrectly described as John Parkin’s, there is no evidence that either Alfred or Thomas took any part in the running of the farms. Alfred appears to have been engaged in commerce and to have lived in Port Elizabeth until his death, childless, in 1883, when his interest in the farms passed to the other heirs. Thomas was also engaged in commerce in Port Elizabeth at one time. He married and a daughter Kathleen was born in Port Elizabeth in 1882.

Thomas or his daughter must have disposed of their interest in the farm, later called Willowby, since it appears to have passed to George’s son, George Scott-Parkin, on George’s death; and on George Scott Parkin’s death in 1913 his widow disposed of the northern part of the farm being Linton Grange and Westering and lived on the remainder. In 1915 her children, Hilton, Noel, Zenta, Yuma and Cyril, all majors, were listed as residing there and the farm was finally sold in 1930, thus ending the four generations of occupation of this land by the Parkin family.

PE Hunt Club on portion of Willowby Farm, formerly known as Baakens River Farm, now Glen Hurd, owned by George Parkin (Senior)

Mary bore George three sons and six daughters. There is no record of the baptism of the first daughter, Jane, who died in infancy; the twins Amy and Ada were baptised in the Congregational Church, and the rest in the Union Chapel. It is strange that George, married in the Anglican Church of St Mary’s should choose to have his children baptised in the Union Chapel run by the London Missionary Society, but the same thing happened with Charlotte Parkin who, married at the same time as George at St Mary’s, also chose to have the earliest born of her children baptised in the Union Chapel. This was apparently not due to a change of incumbent, since the Rev. F. Mc Cleland who married them in 1845 continued his ministry until his death in 1853.

Chapel Street. Union Chapel was enlarged in 1882 to plans by John Thornhill Cook & was demolished in 1964.

George Parkin’ s Death Notice records that he was the son of John and Elizabeth Parkin, born in the Cape Colony and died on Baakens River Farm on 11 July 1901. His deceased wife was Mary Scott and he left seven children. An obituary describes him as one of the oldest inhabitants of the town, keenly interested to the last in local and colonial affairs and widely mourned. A tombstone in St George’s Park Cemetery records the deaths of George, his wife Mary and two daughters Amy and Charlotte.

George Scott-PARKIN

George Scott PARKIN, * 23.6.1853, + Christian cross P.E. 25. 12. 1913, x 13. 2. 18 79 Mary Smeaton HAWKINS, + P.E. 22.9. 1933

George Scott Parkin. All Scott-Parkin family members are descendants of George

George Scott Parkin was famous as one of the finest long-range rifle shots in South Africa. His greatest achievement was in winning the long-range trophy at the South African Wimbledon in Cape Town in 1888. Shooting was a rewarding sport and apart from cash prizes George won several splendid silver trophies, some of which survive. In 1897 he was recorded as a lieutenant m the Volunteer P.E. Mounted Rifle Corps and NP Sellick’s father recalled being held up as a small boy to say goodbye to George when he rode out with his troop to defend Port Elizabeth against the Smuts Commando. Throughout his life George Scott Parkin farmed at Baakens River Farm, afterwards called Willowby. He married Mary Smeaton Hawkins, a daughter of a Humansdorp attorney prominent in the beginnings of that town and built a commodious six-roomed house for her on the ridge next to John Parkin’s house. George’s second name Scott was m general use to distinguish him from his father and the hyphenated name was first recorded in newspaper reports in 1897. Later his children adopted the hyphenated form and his grandchildren were christened Scott-Parkin. According to Scott Stephenson the adoption of the hyphenated form Scott-Parkin by all George Scott Parkin’s children except Yuma was gazetted on 28 March 1905.

There were three sons and three daughters of this marriage, all of whom, apart from Cyril, were baptised in St Paul’s Church, Port Elizabeth. Cyril’s baptism was at St Cuthbert’s which had recently come into being.

Cyril Scott-Parkin

Cyril SCOTT -PARKIN, * Willowby Farm, P.E., 12.7.1894, + P.E. 11.10.1955, x P.E.  14.7.1924 Kathleen Mary Maud (Kitty) DAVERIN, * 14.5.1898.

Cyril matriculated at the Grey High School in 1913 and joined the Customs Department. He served in the First World War in mounted regiments in the South-west and East African campaigns and in the cavalry in England in 1917. After the war he farmed in East Griqualand for some years. He served in Abyssinia, Eritrea and Egypt in the Second World War and was invalided out in 1943 and rejoined the Civil Service.

Lt Cyril Scott-Parkin in 1918

Cyril was a good all-round sportsman and an excellent shot. He also wrote a number of short stories, verse and other pieces. In 1924 he married Kitty Daverin, the second daughter of the Hon. John Clotilde Daverin, M.L.C. for Port Elizabeth.

Anthony Scott-Parkin

Anthony John SCOTT-PARKIN, * 10.12.1931

Born on the 10th December 1931, Anthony was educated at St Aidan’s College, Grahamstown. After university, he was admitted as an attorney in 1955, practicing as a lawyer with Pagden, Christian, Hanley and Parkin in Port Elizabeth. As a young lawyer, Scott-Parkin had been punctilious in his duties. A legal college, David Geard, recalls Scott-Parkin telling him that he had been sent on some odd errands by the senior partner, Buller Pagden, one of these being buying young Johnny Pagden his first rugby boots

As a young man, Scott Parkin was already hearing the calling of the church resulting in his undertaking pilgrimages and studying religion. During these pilgrimages, he travelled to Rome, the monastic Greek Orthodox realm of Mount Athos and to the Catholic bastion of Cracow in Poland. Parishioners at the Roman Catholic Church of Corpus Christi was much pleased with their new priest. His bishop, Malcolm Coleman was aware that Anthony had only embarked upon a legal career in order to support his mother so enabling his brother, Cyril, to become a priest before him and his sister Kathleen to marry and have a family. Then Anthony moved to Rome where he studied at Breda College for four years, paying for his own priestly education. Bishop was privileged to attend his ordination on the 14th June 1992 in St. Peter’s at the Vatican by Pope John Paul II and so began his 16 years of priesthood

Amongst his other passions was that of historian. Instead of writing about his ancestral lineage to the 1820 settlers, he wrote about his grandfather on the distaff side of the family viz John Daverin [1851-1927] who was a hugely successful merchant in Port Elizabeth. Daverin brought out his young Irish wife to be the chatelaine – as Anthony puts it – of Daverin’s two fine houses, Springmont the sprawling farm not far from Alexandria, and Knockfierna, the mansion opposite St. George’s Park, now the imposing nucleus of St. George’s school.

Knockfierna, Park Drive, Port Elizabeth Algoa Bay South Africa Daverin Reid 1900
John Daverin in 1907


Hugh Baakens records that Anthony Scott-Parkins death was unexpected. While celebrating mass he mentioned to the people with him that he was not feeling well. He was taken to his room where he died. Bishop Coleman commented about his death as follows: “Father Anthony celebrated for his 16 years as a priest, these mysteries of God’s love on a daily basis and so we have a founded hope that he is with his God. After all, the High Priest promised that anyone who eats this bread will live forever.”

Corpus Christi Church in La Roche Drive Humewood


A Dedicated Priest and Lawyer who Served Faithfully by Hugh Baakens (EP Herald, date unknown)

John Parkin of Baakens River Farm and his Family 1820 – 1970 by N.P. Sellick (Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, 1978)

Port Elizabeth: A Social Chronicle to the end of 1945 by Margaret Harradine (2004, Historical Society of Port Elizabeth, Port Elizabeth)

Farmhouse stands for 130 years, (April 1970, EP Herald)



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