when critical civic events occur, it is highly unusual for lower ranking
military officers to not only offer their services but also to willingly partake
in those activities. In the case of Port Elizabeth, it was the actions of two
Captains, one a military officer, Captain Francis Evatt, and the other a naval officer who expedited
the disembarkation of the 1820 Settlers.
will deal with the selfless actions of the latter, Captain Fairfax Moresby of
Main picture: Captain Sir Fairfax Moresby
It was a grieving Sir
Rufane Donkin who arrived in Port Elizabeth on the 5th June 1820.
Even though he
had married Elizabeth Markham in Yorkshire under a traditional organised
marriage which was the custom in those times for the social upper classes, remarkably,
he had truly fell in love with his beautiful young wife. En
route back to Great Britain, he had been diverted to the Cape as temporary
It was during the laying
of the foundation stone of a proposed hotel for Captain Moresby that Donkin
proclaimed that the nascent town would be named Elizabeth, after his beloved
dead wife. Port Elizabeth had been conceived.
As well as naming the
town after his deceased wife, he had other plans to commemorate her: proclaiming
of a reserve on which a pyramid would be built as a monument in perpetuity.
Main picture: Pyramid on
the Donkin in 1920