Archiver > SOUTH-AFRICA > 2004-02 > 1077616047

From: "Heather MacAlister" <>
Subject: Re: [ZA] Baxters
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 11:47:27 +0200
References: <000001c3fab1$a37cb400$131d6951@iainbs>

Hello Iain

Your luck I think is in there is still a W.D. Duncan as listed in
Constantia at tel number +27-21-7944135. It is not uncommon to have
someone's number in the phone book who has been deceased for so many years.
My grandfather died in 1944 and his name and phone number are still in the
book as his aged daughter still lives there.

Baxter, William Duncan (born in Dundee, Scot., 14.6.1868 and died in Cape
Town, 7.1.1960), business man, politician, and communal worker, was the
third son of David William and Jane Baxter, his father being a jute
manufacturer. B. went to school and college in his native Dundee before
emigrating (1886) to South Africa, where he joined his uncle's drapery
business, William Duncan and Co., in Cape Town.

B., who became proprietor of this firm on his uncle's death in 1895, rapidly
gained a reputation for business integrity. On his marriage to Ethel Jagger
(she died in 1946), elder daughter of the prominent Cape Town wholesaler
J.W. Jagger born in April 1911, his business horizons widened further, and
he also began to play an active part in the organized commerce movement: he
served as president of the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce (1916-18, and again
from 1926 to 1928) and of the Association of Chambers of Commerce in South
Africa (1918). He wound up the family business in 1919.

B. showed an early interest in political affairs, helping to resuscitate the
Cape Parliamentary Debating Society in 1890. In 1904 he failed to gain
nomination for the Cape House of Assembly, but entered the Cape lower house
as a Progressive in 1908, and was a Unionist member of the Union House of
Assembly from 1910 until 1920. He represented the Cape Town Gardens
constituency. In parliament he took an active part in financial and
commercial debates and between 1920 and 1923 served on several government
commissions, including the Asiatic Inquiry Commission (1920-21) and the
Sugar Inquiry Commission (1922) of which he was chair man. He also acted
(1922-23) as chairman of the Provincial Finances Commission (Baxter Com

A man of many interests, he was for example from 1904 a member of the Cape
Town city council (mayor from 1907 to 1908) and was responsible for setting
up the Cape Peninsula Publicity Association in 1908. He was for many years
on the governing body of the National Botanic Gardens at Kirstenbosch, in
the establishment of which he played a major role, and served as chairman
from 1918 to 1957. He was also president of the Botanical Society of South
Africa (1936-1956).

In a richly active life in which commerce and politics formed the main
strands, he was widely respected for his financial genius and complete
integrity. In addition to his many other commitments he was (1924) a
director of the Southern Life Association, and also on the governing bodies
of the South African Reserve Bank and J.W. Jagger and Co.

Elected a convocation representative on the council of the University of
Cape Town in 1921, he later served as chairman of its finance committee and
chairman of the council itself (1945-1960). In 1940 the University conferred
on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

In 1954 he published his autobiography Turn back the pages which he wrote
primarily for his family and personal friends. On 18.6.1958 he was one of
the first two people to receive the freedom of the City of Cape Town, the
other being Bishop S.W. Lavis. Two of his most absorbing interests
throughout his life were theatre and music, which gave rise to his bequest
of £270 000 to the University of Cape Town for the erection of a theatre for
that city. It is known as the Baxter Theatre.

He and his wife had six children, two sons and four daughters. His son David
Duncan is at pre sent (1977) M.P. for Constantia, Cape. Photographs of
Baxter . appear in South Africa Who's Who of 1954, and as frontispiece to
his autobiography. M. ARKIN

References: R F. M. IMMELMAN, Men of Good Hope. CT., 1955;

Obituaries: The Cape Argus, 7.1.1960; South African Insurance Magazine, Feb.
1960; G. D. QUINN, W.D.

Baxter, 1868-1960. J.W. Jagger Lib., U.C.T., 1962; - SESA. V.2. C.T., 1970.


Heather's South African Genealogy Help List
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on names !!!
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City Bowl until Simonstown.
To view our catalogue go to
Cape Town Family History Society

----- Original Message -----
From: "Iain Scott" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 1:10 AM
Subject: [ZA] Baxters

> Good evening, from a chilly Surrey, UK
> I am researching the paternal grandmother side of my family and am
interested in W D Baxter, who moved from Dundee to Cape Town in 1886. He was
my fathers mothers brother or I am his grandnephew. Depends how you look at
> The details below are taken from his autobiography.
> "William Duncan Baxter
> 14th June 1868 to 7th January 1960
> Notes from his autobiography 'Turn back the pages'
> Lived at Waterloo Cottage, Annfield Road between Hawkhill and Blackness
Road, by 1954 it had been demolished and a Jute factory was built.
> Went to church at Lindsey Street Chapel. Schooled at Miss Buchan's school
then to Dundee Institution, Tay Street run by Messrs Brebner and Monfries.
The Institution became part of the Harris Academy.
> Sailed to the Cape in South Africa from Tilbury in June 1886 aged 18.on
the mail-steamer Grantully Castle. Called at Dartmouth for the mails and at
Madeira four days later, arriving in Table Bay nineteen days after leaving
> Joined the business of William Duncan & Co., drapers, at the corner of
Adderley and Shortmaker Streets which was owned by his uncle. Became its
owner in 1895 when his uncle died and ceased trading in 1919 on the sale of
the building known as 'Duncans.'
> First attempt to enter Parliament was in 1904 which failed. He then turned
to local politics and became a Councillor in the same year. After three
years he was elected, in 1907 at the age of 36, as Mayor of Cape Town. He
then continued as a Councillor until 1915.
> He was elected to Parliament in 1907 as a Progressive Party member and was
defeated in 1920 having served 13 years.
> Became engaged to Miss Ethel Olympie Jagger in January 1911 and they were
married on 29th April 1911 by the Archbishop of Cape Town at St. Saviour's,
Claremont. Mrs Ethel Baxter died in 1946.
> They produced six offspring. Mary, who married Richard Fiddian-Green in
1937 and produced four children Richard, Jane, Karen and Ann; Jean who
married Edward (Ward) Gant in 1940 and produced two children David and Jane;
Sheilah married Sandy Henderson in 1946 and they had four children Duncan,
Jean, Hellen and Hilary; Moira married Jerry Henderson in 1946 (brother of
Sandy) they produced two children Elspeth and Angus; John married Rosemary
Wells in 1954 and David married Aline (Lynn) Charter in 1942."
> Would any one know where I might be able to scan newspapers etc for info.
about him?
> Also where certs relating to his marriage and death could be obtained and
where they might both be buried?
> A long shot. How might I make contact with his grandchildren, who would be
of my generation? In particular the male line.
> Maybe there is a distant relative working on the family history, if there
is please get in touch.
> Iain Baxter Scott
> Norton Symantec checked
> Researching Scott & Baxter in Dundee
> Bathgate in Lothian
> Grant in Lanark
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