William Cock, Sr. SV/PROG (1793 - 1876)

‹ Back to Cock surname

Is your surname Cock?

Research the Cock family

William Cock, Sr. SV/PROG's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Birthplace: Penzance, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Port Alfred, Western District, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Managed by: Jennifer Ann Goldhill
Last Updated:

About William Cock, Sr. SV/PROG

1820 British Settler

   

William Cock 26, together with his wife Elizabeth Mary Toy 27, and 3 children, were members of Cock's Party of 91 Settlers on the Weymouth. William Cock was Leader of this Party.

Party originated from Oxfordshire.

Departed London, 7 January 1820. Arrived Table Bay, Cape Town on 16 April 1820. Final Port - Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth 15 May 1820.

Area Allocated to the Party : Green Fountain on the Rufane River

Children :

  • William Frederick Cock 4
  • John Anderson Cock 2 (died at sea),
  • Loveday Ann Amelia Cock.

As the company's founder and chairman, and only resident director, Cock toiled for years, cutting, dredging and paving the channel, constructing breakwaters, building wharves and warehouses. All this was done with only manual and animal labour, steam-power not yet being available. Larger ships now put in frequently, the port having been declared open to vessels from every part of the world in 1855. For nearly 30 years Port Alfred was a thriving harbour but sadly Cock's enterprise came to naught when the government eventually abandoned his scheme in 1880.

       

William Cock was married for 64 years to Elizabeth Toy and had eleven children. He built his family a home, Richmond House, on the heights of the west bank, commanding a wonderful view of the river and its activities. The house was designed by his eldest son, William Frederick, not only as a residence but also to withstand siege during the Frontier wars. Its flat roof, specially strengthened to mount small cannon and fortified with battlements, led to the house becoming known as ‘Cock’s Castle’. William Cock’s eldest grand daughter, Letitia Harriet Elizabeth Cock, at the tender age of 8, took centre stage at the renaming ceremony of Port Alfred in 1860. Here is her own account, in this extract from

“Reminiscences of Richmond Villa”

"Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh, landed at Port Elizabeth on 6th August, 1860. He was a Cadet and it was his birthday, and he was to come to Port Frances to change the name to Port Alfred. He came as far as Grahamstown and wanted to shoot an elephant but Capt. Talton and Sir George Grey, the Governor, said he couldn't do both things - he couldn't go to Port Frances and christen it and also shoot an elephant and reach his ship in time - the "Euripides" (or "Eurius") - so Capt. Talton, Sir George Grey and staff and all the notable people belonging to the Government came to Port Frances as the guests of my grandfather. My grandmother was lying dangerously ill at the time and so she was unable to do the christening. I was the only other female by the name of Cock and so I had to christen Port Alfred. I remember two piles being driven into the river before the work commenced. Someone broke a bottle of champagne and I had to say "Port Alfred". All the staff stayed at the Castle, they had dinner there and slept there that night and next morning at breakfast they sent for me to say good-bye".

Given Grahamstown’s prominence today as the home of the National Arts Festival, it is fitting to note that the celebrated South African conductor, Richard Cock, is a direct descendant of William Cock. He often pops in to see how his namesake ‘inheritance’ is getting along! Absolutely wonderful stay. Thank you to all the staff, in particular Jessica and Oswald for repeatedly going the extra mile to make our stay great! Mrs Michele Holland, , April 2012

view all 14

William Cock, Sr. SV/PROG's Timeline

1793
March 9, 1793
Penzance, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom
1815
1815
Age 21
1815
Age 21
England, United Kingdom
1818
1818
Age 24
1819
October 10, 1819
Age 26
London, England
1823
December 29, 1823
Age 30
Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa
1823
Age 29
Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa
1825
September 14, 1825
Age 32
1828
April 14, 1828
Age 35
1829
1829
Age 35
Grahamstown, Western District, Eastern Cape, South Africa