James Ekron, SV/PROG

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James Ekron, SV/PROG

Also Known As: "1820 Settler Pringle's party on the Brilliant"
Birthplace: Parish of Havick, Roxburgh, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Immediate Family:

Son of John Ekron and Ann Ekron
Husband of Mary Anne Ekron and Elizabeth Mary Ridgard, SM/PROG
Father of James Ekron; Margaret Ekron; Matthew Ekron; William Moffat Ekron; Janet Margaret Pippin and 6 others
Brother of Janet Ekron; John Ekron; Agnes Ekron; Ann Ekron; Andrew Ekron and 2 others

Occupation: Ploughman
Managed by: Jennifer Ann Goldhill
Last Updated:

About James Ekron, SV/PROG

1820 British Settler

James Eckron 25, Ploughman was a member of Pringle's Party of 24 Settlers on the Settler Ship Brilliant.

Party originated from Scotland.

Departure Gravesend, London 15 February 1820. Arrival Simon's Bay - 30 April 1820. Final Port - Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth 15 May 1820

Area Allocated to the Party : Baviaans River, Cradock



Grahamstown Journal 1834 - 1 - January to June Written by Sue Mackay. Posted in The Grahamstown Journal

Thursday 19 June 1834

MARRIED At Graham’s Town by the Rev J. Heavyside, Acting Colonial Chaplain:

April 21 – James EKRON to Ann MOFFAT


from Professor J Rennie's book "The Scottish Settler Party", he noted,""Ezra Ridgard, senior, died in Queenstown on 21 or 22 May 1866, a month before his 76th birthday. He was buried in the local cemetery. His widow Elizabeth survived him. Six months later, on 4 December 1866 at the age of 70, she married at St. Columba's church (Presbyterian) in Queenstown to James Ekron, then 73 and for many years a widower."

It was explained earlier that James Ekron left his employment at Clifton almost certainly in 1824, and there is no evidence that he then remained in the Baviaans River. The little evidence available suggests that he then went to the Cradock district. In June 1829 he was a witness at a baptism recorded at Cradock.

In May 1832 Ekron was the central figure in a most unpleasant incident, when he was found guilty of manslaughter by the Circuit Court sitting in Somerset and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour. He had indeed been charged with murder. The newspaper report of the case is headed "James Ekron for the murder of Sepringa, a woman with whom he lived, at Cradock," and it reads: "It appeared in evidence that one morning in October last [1831] a constable in Cradock saw in the possession of a Hottentot woman who lived in the same house with prisoner, a pair of trowsers stained with blood, which prisoner had given her to wash. This led to further inquiry when the body of Sepringa was found dead. Other clothes belonging to deceased and prisoner were likewise stained with blood, as well as a brick mould, a chopper, a sambok, a piece of plank, and a stretcher on which deceased and prisoner used to sleep, besides a pair of girths which do not appear to have been so stained. "Several witnesses deposed to have seen and heard the prisoner beat deceased on the night before she was found dead, and Dr. Gill stated that on examining the body of Sepringa he found marks of several severe contusions on the head and face, and on opening the head a quantity of extravasated blood in a fluid state deposited on the left lobe of the brain, for which compression of the brain would necessarily ensue, and his compression would necessarily cause death. There was nothing else found that would account for her death. "On his cross-examination, Dr. Gill stated his belief that the chopper had not been used at all", and that "It was not improbable that the sambok and probably the girths had been used , but the buckles had not come into contact with deceased." What Ekron had to say about the affair is unfortunately not recorded. A certificate of good character was put in by a Mr Pringle, whose son "proved the truth of the matter stated therein", clearly a reference to old Robert Pringle of Clifton and to the appearance before the court of his son William Dods. A Mr Peacock who said he had known Ekron 'for the last 6 or 7 years' spoke of him 'as a mild inoffensible man. While the prosecutor advised the jury that it "would have the painful duty of returning a verdict of guilty of murder ", the Judge's hour and a half of summing up included his opinion "that the instruments alleged to be used were not calculated to cause death." The verdict of the jury, guilty of manslaughter, followed a ten minute retirement. Presumably Ekron served his sentence, but with remission of a period in consideration of his having been in gaol awaiting trial.

Just under two years later, on 21 April 1834, Ekron was married by banns in St George's Church, Grahamstown to Ann Moffat, spinster, by the Reverend John Heavyside, Acting Chaplain. The register was signed by James Ekron and Ann made her mark, in the presence of John Yule and Elizabeth Pippin. Ann's official death notice, signed by her husband, refers to her as Mary Ann Ekron, born Moffat, and states that she was born at Sidon farm in Gloucestershire, her parents being William and Margaret Moffat; as her age is given precisely, it can be inferred that she was born on 5 April 1810. She thus turned 24 some two weeks before her marriage, and was about 16 years younger than Ekron. Nothing else is known about Ann's background.

It is said that early in January 1835 Ekron was at Klipplaat Drift in the Cradock district, where he farmed. This was possibly the farm of that name near the source of the Great Fish River in the F.C. Agter Sneeuberg, of which however he was not the owner; alternatively it may have been the Klipplaat Drift on the Swart Kei where George Rennie had traded.

On 27 April 1837 Ekron was one of the witnesses along with Alexander Scott, Ezra Ridgard and C.J.B. Sydserff, when Robert Pringle signed his will. A month later Ekron purchased the farm Haasjes Kraal in the upper reaches of the Klaas Smits drainage, well north of Queenstown. One wonders whether Robert Pringle had helped him by gift or loan. The centre of the farm is 6 miles (10 km) WSW of the site of the later Sterkstroom, and just below the Bushmans Hoek pass leading to the later Syfergat (Cyphergat) Station and Molteno. Diagrams show the farm wholly W of the Klaas Smits though extending E to a point on that river only 3 miles (4,8 km) from Sterkstroom.

When Ekron went there the Klaas Smits River was the local boundary of the Colony, which it had become when the Somerset district was created in 1825. It was to remain so until the Thembu (Tambookie) lands were annexed as the Queenstown district in 1853. The place 'Ehrons' (sic) appears on Henry Hall's well-known map but apparently incorrectly on the east side of the Klaas Smits River, though in the neighbourhood of Ekron's farm.

According to an explanatory letter written by Ekron from 'Hassieskraal' in 1849, when he was seeking title to the property, the original owner was one Jan Robbertse who gave it to his uncle Adriaan de Beer. The latter lived there for some time until he sold it to Ekron. To establish his claim to title, Ekron had appeared before W. Gilfillan, Resident Magistrate of Cradock, on 28 January 1848, and made the following statement. "James Ekron of the District of Cradock maketh oath and saith that on the 26th. May 1837 he and Adriaan Christiaan de Beer appeared before the Resident Magistrate of Cradock and made affidavit to the sale and purchase of 5415 morgen [4626 ha] of land now called Hassies Kraal bought by him from the said de Beer for the sum of Twenty two Pounds and ten shillings Stg. and that he on that deposited in the hands of Mr. Verster the sum of Five Pounds Stg. for the purpose of paying the transfer duty whenever the diagram should be issued." To this Gilfillan attached a covering report which included the explanation that "Mr. de Beer sold the place to Ekron the present proprietor, and soon after left the Colony and is since dead." Gilfillan said that the only relevant document possessed by Ekron was Verster's receipt for the transfer fee, and that in his opinion Ekron's claim was well founded. Title was given to Ekron on 13 May 1850 by Sir Harry Smith, as a quitrent grant in extent 5215 morgen 45 square roods (about 4455 ha), in the Field Cornetcy Tarka, Division of Cradock, quitrent £ 5-5-0 p.a. An endorsement on the relevant document refers to the farm as 'Haasjes Kraal No.22 - Queenstown', and a much later document repeats this. A reference has been found to his making application on 9 July 1850 to purchase 4000 morgen (3417 ha) in the district of Victoria, but the result has not been traced.

James Ekron and Mary Ann had the following children: James, born 10 January 1835. Margaret, born 9 November 1836. Matthew, born 26 September 1837. William Moffat, born 29 September 1838. Janet Margaret, born 31 October 1840. John, born 11 October 1842. Mary Anne, born 10 October 1844. Susan, born 2 February 1847. Mathew Charles Linton, born 17 May 1849. Thomas Edward, born 23 October 1852. Three of these children died soon after birth, the second on 17 November, the third on 2 October, and Susan on 6 February, of the year concerned in each case. The remaining seven are listed in the official death notice of their mother, which gives their full names above their father's signature. The dates of birth were given to the writer by members of the family, and both full names and dates of birth were found to be in agreement with those given in the four baptismal records seen by the writer : those of James in the registers of St George's Church, Grahamstown, and of John and the last two boys, all three recorded as from Klaas Smits Riviar, at the N.G.K., Cradock. The full name of Janet is confirmed by her marriage record.

Mary Ann Ekron died at Hassies Kraal on 15 March 1854, aged 43 years, 11 months and 10 days, survived by her husband and seven children, all minors. James the eldest had then turned 19, when William the next surviving child was about 15½.

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James Ekron, SV/PROG's Timeline

May 14, 1794
Parish of Havick, Roxburgh, Scotland (United Kingdom)
May 14, 1794
Newcastleton, Scottish Borders, Scotland, United Kingdom
January 10, 1835
November 9, 1836
September 26, 1837
September 29, 1838
October 31, 1840
October 11, 1842
Hassies Kraal, Cradock, Stormberg District, Eastern Cape, South Africa
September 10, 1844