Saturday, August 28, 2010

Peelton (H 15)

Name: Peelton


Umxelo was established in 1839 by the Reverend Richard Birt as a station of the London Missionary Society. At that stage it was popularly referred to as Birt's Mission, and was located a short distance from the village of Chief Bhotomani, near Fort Beaufort. The station was destroyed in 1846 during the course of the frontier war of 1846-48, better known as the War of the Axe.

When hostilities drew to an end in 1848, the missionaries moved to a new site closer to King William′s Town where they established the Peelton mission station. This they named in honour of the British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel. The new station was destroyed during the frontier war of 1850-53, and was rebuilt in 1853. The 1875 census indicated that Peelton had a population of 1,512. By 1904 this number had risen to 2,487, of whom 576 were literate.

The Reverend Birt's first wife came out from England with him in July 1838, and died in an accident thereafter. Birt then married Mrs Scott, the daughter of Robert Hart of Glen Avon who was also a wealthy widow in her own right.

Prepared by Franco Frescura.

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