SOUTH-AFRICA-L ArchivesArchiver > SOUTH-AFRICA > 1999-02 > 0919878641
From: "Hickman Family" <>
Subject: Re: Twentyman Info Inside
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 19:50:41 +0200
Jennifer Leighton -
Thank you so, so much. I had no idea of that story, although Margaret Cairns
is my grandfathers cousin and has done much research in our family tree. I
knew of the people you refer to - William Twentyman and his wife Annie
Arderne are very deffinitely in our family tree).
Thanks again for the interesting info.
From: Leighton, Jennifer (Head Office) <>
Date: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 12:53 PM
Subject: Twentyman Info Inside
>Someone on the list last week asked about the surname "Twentyman". I
>happened to come across the surname in a book I was reading and include it
>"Overberg Odyssey - Page 115 - 116
>This entry concerns only one man. (Plate R - there is a picture available
>on the man - let me know if you want a copy). The mystery surrounding the
>life of William T. (1823-71) in the quarter-century that he lived at
>Stormsvlei as well as the mode of his death, is as deep now as it was on
>day of his murder there in 1871. William came direct to the Zonder End
>valley from England in the mid-1840's as his uncle's farm manager.
>Twentyman & Company, the Cape Town merchants, in 1841 acquired the farms
>Avontuur and Luipaards Kloof totalling 5 111 morgen (4 344 hectares) for $1
>450. Both farms lie near the lowest drift through the Zonder End River
>immediately above the Hessequas Kloof, which is situated at present-day
>Sotrmsvlei. The firm Twentyman & Company had been founded in 1820 by two
>brothers, one was Lawrence, who is now better remembered as a Cape
>Silversmith and clockmaker. Although both brothers retruned to England a
>decade or so later, having amassed fortunes, their company continued to
>trade at the Cape until 1894. Their Stormsvlei speculation in 1841 was an
>attractive inestment, and it enabled Lawrence to give succour to the
>destitute children of a third brother, who was in a mental asylum in
>England. One of these destitute children who arrived in cape Town in 1844
>was young William, who took charge at Avontuur.
>William became a rich man at Stormsvlei. On his uncle's death he inherited
>part of the property and eventually he owned it all. Gradually he assumed
>the privlileges and responsibilities of a squire in the small settlement
>that grew up on the river bank. As the years passed, he acquired contracts
>to keep a shop and to sell gunpowder; a liquor store, and a hotel, as well
>as to service the post-cart, maintaining the only relay stable between
>Caledon and Swellendam. Twentyman's became a familiar halting place on the
>Colonial highway. As the last English face before Swellendam, William was
>an obvious person for Bishop Gray to visit. "[1 September 1848] outspanned
>at another English farmer's, Mr. Twentyman, who has also several English
>families and no church of their own within 100 miles."
>For twenty years Twentyman lived a curious bachelor existence, cared for by
>an English couple, the Croxfords. Then his life entered a new phase. On
>March 1864 he married in Rondebosch, Annie, born Arderne, the widow of
>Malcolm McIntyre. Quartel Fonteijn lies on 40km up-vally from Stormsvlei,
>thus William and Annie probably knew each other as neighbours. A friend of
>the McIntyres, George Henry Hull, witnessed Twentyman's will in 1861.
>But their maritial happiness was not destined to last long. Four of their
>remaining seven years were spent in England, then they returned to
>Stormsvlei with their eight children - Annie's four McIntyres and four of
>their own. Three years later disaster struck. On 13 May 1871 William
>Twentyman died violently and allegedly by murder; he was attacked at the
>on a Saturday night and left to die from his injuries. Hersay surrounds
>this event locally to the present day, few facts were recorded and no
>assailant was ever brought to justice. William was buried in the Anglican
>cemetery at Swellendam. After his death, Annie continued to run the
>station for a while - she was described by a lady traveller as "a tiny
>of great personality". Then she sold Stormsvlei to the Barrys and made a
>home in Cape Town for her eight children. A century later Mrs Margaret
>Cairns made a brilliant study of the life and death of William Twentyman.
>She unearthed many facts - but not without difficulty, since no living
>member of the families concerned, Ardernes, McIntryres or Twentymans, had
>any knowledge of the violent deaths of Annie's two husbands. The strict
>code of Victorian families regarded death by suicide or murder as a
>as well as a tragedy, and therefore all knowledge of these events had been
>smothered under a blanket of silence."
>Hope this helps with your research.
>Johanneburg, South Africa
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