Robert Hart, II SV/PROG

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Robert Hart, II SV/PROG

Also Known As: "Robert (Rubin ?)"
Birthplace: Strathaven, Avondale, Lanarkshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Death: September 14, 1867 (90)
'Glen Avon' Farm, Somerset East, Cape Colony, South Africa
Place of Burial: Cape Colony, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Son of James Hart, III and Isabel Hart
Husband of Hannah May Hart, SM/PROG
Father of Ann Stretch; Harriet Hart; Susannah Hart; Robert Hart, III; Lieut. James Hart IV and 6 others
Brother of Andrew Hart and Grizel Campbell (Hart)

Occupation: Soldier (Captain), Farmer and businessman, Soldier Farmer Businessman, Merino Sheep Farmer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Robert Hart, II SV/PROG

Robert Hart

Robert HART SNR was promoted to Lieutenant and was later Captain R HART SOURCE : Speech deliverd by DORIS CRAIB at SOMERSET EAST MUSEUM March 1981

Baptism - scotlandspeople

  • Parents - JAMES HART/
  • Age 0
  • Date - 05/01/1777
  • Parish Number 621/
  • Ref 10 159
  • Parish Avondale

(There is no evidence anywhere that he had the Middle name Ruben - if there is please can it be added to the profile?)

Robert (Ruben) Hart, Lieutenant, was born 1 Jan 1777 in Strathaven, Avondale, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He died 14 Sep 1867 in 'Glen Avon' Farm, Somerset East, Cape Colony, South Africa and was buried in 'Glen Avon' Farm, Somerset East, Cape Colony, South Africa. Robert married Hannah Tamplin on 10 Apr 1804 in Somerset East, Cape Of Good Hope.NOTE (He married Hannah Tamplin on the 9th April 1804 at Town Church (Sancti Petri de Porto), St. Peter Port, Guensey, Channel Islands, - the register of the Town Church, St. Peter Port, Guernsey reads: "Robert HART, Sgt. 91st Reg of Foot to Hannah TEMPLIN daughter of Richard of Worth, Surrey, 9th April 1804".info from, Tombi Peck)

Robert served in the military 98th/91st Argyllshire Highlanders 1795 in India with Wellington's forces. He served in the military Commissioned Liasion Officer 1806 in South Africa. He served in the military Adjutant Cape Regiment 1807 - 1817 in Grahamstown, South Africa. He was Merino Sheep Farmer 1825 in 'Glen Avon' Farm.

Publication 1971 - John Bond - "They Were South Africans"

[ Notes on British 1820 Settlers to South Africa) although not an 1820 Settler

From the Series 'They Were South Africans' a broadcast on the English Transmission by the well-known South African Journalist and Historian, John Bond. The following article was published in the SABC magazine on the 19th July, 1954.

"The name of Robert Hart must be unknown to almost everyone who is listening to me tonight. That is strange, because Hart, as far as I can discover, was the first English-speaking South African. He was a founder of that new race whose arrival in South Africa tipped the scale the right way when it wavered in the balance between civilisation and barbarism.

Robert Hart would have asserted to that. He came to South Africa in its darkest period when the Dutch East India Company's rule was breaking down completely. His whole life, from the day he landed in 1795, was devoted one way or another to shoring up the shaky structure of Cape civilisation as tribal Africa surged against it.

That very crises in the rise of our country was a result of the Afrikaans colonists' success, with precious little assistance from their rulers, in crossing the desert zone which had insulated the Cape from the Bantu for almost 140 years after Van Riebeeck.

Naturally they clashed when they met and it so happened that the Boers were the losers. They were driven out of the Zuurveld where Albany and Alexandria now stand in the Eastern Province. Just six years after that retreat, Robert Hart landed in Simon's Bay with the British Expeditionary Force. You can picture him as a tall, raw lad of 17 wearing the green and black-striped kilt of the newly founded Argyllshire Highlanders.

Robert had run away from his home near Glasgow to join the colours a year before, when all Britain was arming to fight the French Revolutionary armies.

On the 4th September, 1795, his troopship sailed into False Bay with 13 others to relieve the tiny British force which had captured Muizenberg. Within a week of the Argyllshire Highlanders were marching into Cape Town in the name of King George III and his Serene Highness the Prince of Orange whom the French had expelled from the Netherlands.

I do not know if any of Hart's numerous descendants all over South Africa retain the diaries or letters he wrote during the following seven years. The family tradition is that he fought in all the campaigns that were going and if he was a member of the light Grenadier company of his regiment that is exactly what he would have done.

If so, he must have been present at the troubles in Graaff-Reinet, which was then the outside edge of civilisation in Southern Africa, and he must have fought right through the third Kaffir War. The third Kaffir War means nothing to our generation. But in the terrible years from 1799 to 1802 it looked as though Cape Town itself might be in danger. The Amaxhosa impis plunged westward almost to Swellendam, killing and pillaging everywhere.

Those years of hard and hungry campaigning in dense bush where you never knew when to expect a shower of assegais, were Hart's apprenticeship to his new country. Fighting side by side with the frontier Boers, he came to appreciate their courage and kindness and learned their language. He found a way, too, to understand the feckless, cheerful Hottentots who often fought alongside the British Redcoats.

He became accustomed to the huge herds of elephants that roamed the forests of the Eastern Cape and to the lions and the swarming game in the more open country. He probably helped to erect the first permanent building in the Eastern Province, Fort Frederick, nucleus of the future Port Elizabeth.

In about 1802 Hart left for India. Peace was dawning in Europe and the officers of his regiment had a hard struggle to find volunteers for the East. Every man was dying to get home again. But Hart volunteered. It was typical of the man.

He called at the Cape again on his way back from India. We next find him, a full-fledged warrant-officer, taking a decisive step in London in 1804. He married a girl from Jersey, Hannah Tamplin. War marriages are supposed to be unstable, but stability was in Hart's bones and in other spheres it was to be the supreme gift, perhaps of his race to South Africa. I suspect Hanna found Robert's stories of the wild Cape frontier as fascinating and strange as Desdemona found Othelo's recital of his narrow escapes in Africa.

Africa was often in his thoughts. The famous Sir John Moore was training the Argyllshire Highlanders and other regiments to go into action against Napoleon when a British fleet slipped south in 1805 to recapture the Cape. Almost immediately afterwards the occupying force sent word to England to fetch out Sergeant-Major Hart.

I think Hart had always hoped, and in fact schemed to go back. The lad who had run away from home to join the army found something in the free, adventurous life of South Africa that he preferred to all others. By 1807 Robert was back in Cape Town as a junior commissioned officer of the Cape Regiment, with its British officers and Hottentot rank and file. He and Hannah had the chance now to meet nearly all the founders of the oldest English-speaking families - Tennants, Duckitts, Rexes, Andersons, Murrays, Galdwelis and others who landed before 1803.

Four years later Lieutenant Hart set out with his regiment on the most decisive campaign perhaps, in South African history - the recapture of the Zuurveld. Their orders were to make the Great Fish River once again the effective boundary of the Cape Colony, instead of Algoa Bay. They did it.

The Amaxhosa tribes which had defied ejection for 20 years were driven back across the Great Fish River. Whatever else one may say about the campaign, it turned the tide. It provided the English-speaking South African with his cradleland in Albany and Bathurst and gave the future Voortrekkers their secure civilised base with its port, garrison, wagonmakers and traders.

To consolidate this victory Colonel John Graham founded a military headquarter near the Fish River which has ever since borne his name. Hart was one of the very first landowners in Grahamstown and there he grew vegetables in his spare time for the Cape Regiment.

That was in 1812. Five years later the Harts trekked away with a posse of children on their wagons to a new life on the Somerset Farm. This frontier establishment 60 miles north-west of Grahamstown had been designed by Lord Charles Somerset for an agricultural research station, but its first manager found the task beyond him and recommended Hart, the farming major of the Grahamstown garrison to succeed him.

From 1817 to 1825 Hart reigned over the Somerset Farm. He made it a model for the whole Cape frontier. He brought 600 acres under cultivation - a vast area in those days. He demonstrated the first up-to-date farm machinery ever seen in that wild region, only a dozen miles from Kaffirland.

On the Government's behalf he supplied rations to the entire frontier garrison from the sea to Cradock, buying large additional stocks of wheat and slaughter animals from the frontier Boers. He thus gave them the first orderly, convenient marketing they had ever enjoyed. Since money was meaningless on the frontier he secured shipments twice a year through Algoa Bay of the goods the Boers wanted most. Travellers remarked with amazement that on this bustling farm the very Hottentots seemed to acquire the energy of tireless Robert Hart.

The first big test for the Somerset Farm came in 1819, when the Amaxhosa tribes stormed down on Grahamstown itself in a desperate attempt to recapture the Zuurveld. A still bigger test was to come a year later when Hart had to start supplying the 1820 settlers with rations as well as the troops. Without Somerset Farm many of the settlers might have perished of hunger in their first disastrous years of blight and flood. The organising skill, energy and integrity of Robert Hart saved his countrymen.

Do you remember Thomas Pringle, the first South African poet, who led the only party of Scots among the 1820 settlers? They had to pass the Somerset Farm on the way to their holdings in the wild Adelaid mountains. Hart gave them a royal welcome. Pringle tells us that when the rugged pioneer heard the Scottish voices of the womenfolk he all but broke down, in spite of his iron nerve and rigid look. There swept over him then the long-buried recollection of his Scottish mother from whom he had run away so long before.

Hart in person led the Pringles to their destination. He gave them their first fruit trees. He guided Thomas Pringle through the mosshung elephant haunted forests of the frontier which still live in Pringle's poems. Eventually he appointed young John Pringle, Thomas's brother, as his assistant manager, and presently welcomed him as a son-in-law. For Robert and Hannah Hart's six daughters were in great demand among lonely young Englishmen and Scotsmen on the frontier.

Once the 1820 Settlers had made the Zuurveld the most intensively settled part of white South Africa instead of the wildest, the Somerset Farm had fulfilled its function. In January 1825 Hart heard the great Government farm he had built up proclaimed a new town with the name of Somerset East which has ever since honoured him as its founder.

It is not easy to start life all over. After 30 years in the service. Fortunately Hart had been granted land a few miles away in 1822. With the help of a small pension he was now able to farm for himself. He named his land 'Glen Robert Hart (1776-1867) came from Strathavon in Lanarkshire, and as a young man joined the 78th Highland Regiment. The newly formed National Convention of the French Republic had just declared war on Great Britain and Holland, and was preparing to take possession of the Cape. So the British decided to take it first and immediately despatched Admiral Elphinstone with a fleet, which anchored in Simon's Bay in 1795. Robert Hart's regiment under General Craig was sent out with the troops that were to occupy the Cape. At this time the Cape was torn asunder by political intrigues and revolt against the bankrupt and despotic Dutch East India Company, and Graaf-Reinet and Swellendam had declared themselves Republics, but agreed to come under British rule. In 1799 the Third Frontier War broke out and Chief Ndhlambi invaded the Zuurveld and Lieut Hart served with his regiment in the fighting on the frontier, which ended up in a patched peace leaving the Xhosa in possession of the ground that they ahd occupied. In 1802, by the Treaty of Amiens peace was ratified between great Britain and the french Republic, and the Cape of Good Hope was given back to the Batavian Republic. British troops were withdrawn, and Robert Hart left with his Regiment for India. From here he returned to Scotland and married Hannah Tamplin. When the English retook the Cape in 1806, Robert Hart was again in the army of occupation under General Baird. In the following year Hart's regiment retook the Zuurveld, and pushed the Xhosa back over the Great Fish River, thus reclaiming the Albany and Bathurst areas where the bulk of the Settlers were located in 1820. Grahamstown was founded in 1811, and Lt. Hart with his wife and family were stationed there until 1817, when he was put in charge of Somerset Farm which supplied wheat and fodder to the Military in the Eastern Province. When Somerset farm in 1825 became the town of Somerset East, Robert Hart, for his long and faithfull service to the Government, was given the farm Glen Avon, which he extended by purchasing additional land. Robert was Heemraad for the area, and he was responsible for the building of the Dutch Reformed Church in Somerset East. Some years later he contributed £1300 to the building of the Presbyterian Church.

Death date of 14 September 1867 is listed in=== "British Families in South Africa" by C Pama pub by Human & Rosseau 1992 on Page 87===. Also on that page are: Robert Hart I born Scotland married to Mary Fleming parents of Robert Hart II born 1777 in Stathavon, Lanark, Scotland.

More about Glen Avon from Country life, March 2000;

When Robert Hart stepped off a boat at the Cape of Good Hope in 1795, he did not look like an important future figure. At the time he was 18 years old, a private in the Argyllshire Highlanders and penniless. Yet this young Scottish lad was destined to play a major role in taming the old Cape colony's wild eastern flank. After surviving the dangers of being a soldier on the turbulent eastern frontier, he took a short break in England before returning in 1807 to SA as a commissioned officer in Colonel Graham's newly formed Cape Regiment. By now he was also married to Hannah Tamplin, and the couple settled at the military base that later became Garhamstown. After a while, Robert took over Somerset farm, established in the Zuurveld by the government to supply the army. While there the Harts welcomed the Scottish party of 1820 settlers who ventured inland to the Baviaans River valley. Those were tough times for the Scots, but luckily they had a helpful friend in Robert. In 1825 Somerset Farm was shut down and the land set aside for the new town of Somerset East. Left with a small state pension, Robert Hart moved with his family to land he'd acquired a short distance away in a fertile valley below the Bosberg, a beautiful place he named Glen Avon.

Through hard work and great insight he soon made his farm a landmark in the region. He bred top merino sheep, a breed introduced to SA by Colonel Graham, and so contributed greatly to what became an important industry. His orchards produced a fantastic bounty of fruits, especially citrus, and his flood-irrigated fields delivered huge harvests of grain that soon justified a private mill.

The machinery for this was shipped out from Scotland and then transported by ox wagon from Algoa Bay over the Zuurberg Pass. The mill could produce two tons of meal a day and soon Robert was grinding all the wheat grown between Pearston, Ann's Villa and Zwagershoek.

....the amazing legacy of Robert Hart, who died in 1867 at the ripe old age of 90, is remarkable because everything has been so well looked after by his direct descendants. Their dedication preserved the old mill and the two homesteads...Although idle since 1991, Glen Avon's historic mill could be made to run again if it rained enough...

Newspaper cuttings from the Eastern Cape.

EP Herald, Oct 1967

The charming homestead on Glen Avon which was built by Robert HART round about 1825 and which is now occupied by his direct descendant, Mr. R.C. BROWN, his wife and family. The house was built of stone and roofed with imported Welsh slate. It has been restored under the supervision of a well-known Port Elizabeth architect and furnished with antiques appropriate to the period. A wing has been added to the house but is perfectly in keeping with the original structure. The veranda railings are those put up by Robert HART. They are of iron and are set in lead.

The old mill at Glen Avon, Somerset East, must be one of the very few mills of its type left in South Africa. It is still in working order and is used for grinding wheat and stock food. The wheat incidentally, which is grown on Glen Avon is used for baking the family bread. The mill machinery, which was made in Leeds, England in 1861 and the grinding stone, which came from Scotland and is of Aberdeen granite, were transported to Glen Avon from Algoa Bay and over the Zuurberg Mountains by ox wagon some time in the 1800's. The wheel is 20 feet in diameter.

The grave of Robert HART is on the estate and a Presbyterian church, erected in 1850, which is now used as a coloured school. The estate is about three miles out of Somerset East.

Avon', no doubt from the river Avon which runs through his native Lanarkshire in Scotland. The farm remains in the possession of his descendants to this day.

The last phase of Hart's long life - he lived to be 90 - was immensely constructive. He had hundreds of friends amongst the Boers, not least Piet Retief, for whom he stood surety in Grahamstown. He probably knew all the leaders of the coming Great Trek. One of his first actions on gaining his freedom was to join with his Afrikaans neighbours in establishing a Dutch Reformed Church as a centre of civilisation and Christianity on the frontier. He held his post as a foundation elder of the Somerset East Church until he was 70 and fought a bonny battle for the Kirk and its independence.

Another of his earliest actions as a free citizen was to found the Agricultural Show of Somerset East - a prodigious novelty on the Cape frontier in 1826. Nominally his friend Landdrost Mackay was president but it is almost certain that Hart was the driving force in this move for better farming.

In his later years the austere, God-fearing old man became a legend on the frontier which he had done as much as any single individual to establish and civilise. One of his descendants, the late Sir James Rose Innes, Chief Justice of the Union, recalled the old man's intense practicalness. When neighbours borrowed his coffin which had been kept ready in the loft according to farming custom, they found Hart had not left it idle. It was packed with dried peaches.

He and his son had much trouble to face on 'Glen Avon' as the Colonial wars surged again and again around them. Just after the 1835 war he had 200 cattle stolen and spirited into Kaffirland. Despite his Scottish persistence, even Hart could recover only 23. In the War of the Ax, ten years later, he suffered considerable loss through helping the Government to the best of his powers with cash and grain when everyone else held back.

When the last, worst war of all broke out in 1850, farmers of both language groups in Somerset East felt they could stick it no longer. They met, elected Hart, who was then in his seventies, to the chair, and passed a resolution warning the Government that they would have to trek west to some safer region. Not long afterwards that westward trek began. But Hart himself, our first English-speaking South-African, was made of sterner stuff. Others could trek if they wished.

The old man, a great pioneer, a great farmer and a great gentleman remained to the end of his days in the district which he himself had put upon the map of civilised South Africa.


"When the austere, God-fearing laird of 'Glen Avon' passed away in 1867 his tale was not yet done.

(Robert Hart).

The Eastern Province is peopled with his descendants.

Sir Gordon SPRIGG, who was four times Prime Minister of the Cape Colony married one of the grand-daughters of Robert and Hannah Hart and paid a memorable tribute to the patriarch.

Sir James ROSE INNES, twice a Minister in the Old Cape Parliament and Eventually Chief Justice of the Union was a great-grandson of HART.

And in 1937 a great great great grandson, Count Helmuth James VON MOLTKE came from Germany to visit his mother's native land and his grandparents Sir James and Lady ROSE INNES...."




(Talk by Mrs. Doris Craib at the Somerset East Museum's Annual General Meeting in March 1977).

Mr. Chairman, Trustees of the Museum. Ladies and Gentlemen, It gives me great pleasure to be here this afternoon and I feel honoured to have been asked to speak about Robert Hart, who was born exactly 200 years ago. This will not be an historical treatise, nor yet a study in any real depth. Dates and the like can be very dreary, so rather have I tried to paint a picture of the man to whom we in the Eastern Province and particularly in Somerset owe so much.

But first let' me acknowledge the help I have received from our Curatrix, Miss Sannie Erasmus. She has done all in her power co assist me with references and the loan of relevant books and papers, whilst Mr. and Mrs. R.C. Brown of Glen Avon have answered my many questions with admirable patience. 1 would like to thank them all most sincerely.

Those of you who have attempted any historical research will know that it is just about impossible to ascertain exact dates and the correct spelling of names of people and places: To illustrate this point I found that certain so-called authorities have given Strathavon, or Strathmore in Scotland as Hart's birthplace, whilst yet another suggested that he first saw the light of day in Ireland.

Two hundred years ago, in January 1777. Robert Hart was born at Avondale in Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was the elder of two sons and suffered a harsh upbringing at the hands of his father who was a strict military disciplinarian. Home life after the death of his mother, when Robert was 14, became well-nigh unbearable. He first ran away at the age of 17, without money or possessions. His freedom, alas, was short-lived and he was brought home to face, no doubt, the full force of his father’s wrath. On the second occasion his plans to escape were successful and he enlisted in the army. He joined the Argyllshire Highlanders. donning the green and black kilt and red tunic of that famous regiment.

This was a time of great unrest at the Cape, with the French, Dutch, and British struggling for possession of the southernmost point of the African Continent. The Argyllshire Highlanders were ordered to the trouble spot, After four months at sea, enduring the usual appalling conditions of that time, the regiment stepped ashore in September, 1795, and eventually occupied Cape T own in the name of King George III of England, on behalf of the Prince of Orange. Little did the lad from Scotland dream that the day would come when he would call South Africa his home.

For some years the regiment was engaged in various expeditions, mainly to settle differences in the vast and sparsely populated hinterland. In 1799 Hart and his regiment were sent by sea to Algoa Bay. On arrival they proceeded across country to Graaff-Reinet in an effort to quash revolutionary influences that had erupted there. The journey from the Bay took them through wild country, abounding in animals of all sorts, including lions and great herds of elephant. Wandering Bushmen and hostile natives were also an ever present hazard. Hart, with his love of flora and fauna. was keenly aware both of the profusion of flowers that carpeted much of the ground. and of the strangely different bushes and trees that covered the countryside. When marching beyond Bruintjies Hoogte to Agter Bruintjies Hoogte, as this part of the country was then called, he eventually beheld the beautiful Boschberg mountain which he was never to forget.

After some seven years in South Africa the Argyllshires were ordered to sail for India where trouble had broken out. At the end of a spell of two years the men were sent back to England, via the Cape. The story is told of how, soon after Hart's arrival, he was bestman at a friend's wedding. Turning to another friend he remarked, "The man's a fool, I'd rather have the bridesmaid." Robert must have been a fast worker because he married the bridesmaid, a certain Hannah Tamplin, that same year, a young lady who was to be the perfect 'wife and helpmate until her death 49 years later. The newly-wed couple enjoyed some two years of peaceful army life in England, until, receiving his commission, Sergeant-major Hart was sent back to. South Africa, to. join Colonel John Graham in the recently formed Cape Regiment. This time he was accompanied by his wife and baby daughter as he returned to the land where he was to live until his death in 1867, at the age of 90

Remaining with the regiment until it was disbanded, he served mostly along the borders of the Eastern Cape. and having come to know that part of the country well, Colonel Graham asked Hart to select a suitable place for the establishment of the Military Headquarters. Hart chose the site where Grahamstown now stands and built one of the first houses there for himself and his family. In his spare time he indulged his life-long interest in agriculture. Working his plot in a small way he soon had a flourishing garden and was able to supplement his army pay by the sale of vegetables.

At about this time, in I815, Lord Charles Somerset, Governor of the Cape. established an agricultural farm at Somerset for the supply of produce to the troops in the area. A certain Dr. Joseph Mackrill was appointed as Superintendent. Unfortunately tension mounted between the soldiers detailed to work on the farm and the Hottentot labourers and after little more than two years Dr. Mackrill decided to resign. He suggested Captain Hart as his successor. Thus did Robert Hart return to the Boschberg whose beauties had-fascinated him sixteen years previously.

With strict supervision and improved farming methods Hart soon obtained excellent results and was able to supply food, fodder and horses for the troops guarding the Eastern Frontier. Later it was he who saved many a British settler from hunger and despair after their first disastrous years of crop failures. Their ignorance of conditions in a strange land and their lack of agricultural skills were a constant worry to him.

During the next ten years both Boer farmers as well as 1820 Settlers were justifiably and increasingly angered by a government subsidized farm which could, and did. undercut their own prices, thus threatening their very livelihood. Eventually the Governor. Lord Charles Somerset, obviously saw the writing on the wall and decided to close the farm. Early in 1825,Hart received a letter from the Colonial Secretary giving him barely a month in which to dismiss staff and workers alike, the Governor having decided to found a new town on the farm site to be called Somerset. Mr. W.M. Mackay was appointed as the first Magistrate. and Robert Hart nominated one of the first members of the Court, later to be made Justice of the Peace.

During his years as Superintendent Hart had turned Somerset Farm into a most impressive agricultural project. He was indefatigable in his efforts to make it an all round success, and he had the full co-operation of the Governor when it came to improving stock and importing the finest horses. It was after a tour with Sir Rufane Donkin, then acting- Governor. to assess the needs of the Settlers that Donkin wrote in his report. 'I cannot close this paper without bearing the strongest testimony to Mr. Hart's diligence, activity and scrupulous honesty in controlling the affairs of this establishment'. (Somerset Farm), 'Should it be broken up I think that Mr. Hart has a strong claim on the Government for an extensive grant of land. His establishment in that way would not only be beneficial to himself but advantageous to the Colony'.

Later Hart was granted. on part payment, a large tract of land on the Naude's River at the foot of the Boschberg. which included much of the mountain itself. He named his property Glen Avon, probably because the River Avon flowed through his home county of Lanarkshire. With the help of his military pension he turned Glen Avon into one of the most outstanding farms in the district. His orange orchards flourished and he soon established himself as one of the first successful breeders of Merino sheep in the Cape. An ever present danger were attacks by marauding Xhosas bent on stealing cattle. plundering the homesteads and murdering and maiming the owners. These raiders derived from the tribes alluded to by Dr. John Phillip of the London Missionary Society, a man distinctly hostile to both Dutch and English colonists, as 'the noble savage'. One of Hart's friends wrote to him during the 3rd Kaffir War. 'At every farmer's house we found sad vestiges of murder and desolation. Whole families had been wantonly massacred ..... Dogs, horses and oxen left to die in agony ..... The savage Kaffir exults in such appalling sights'. (Surely reminiscent of the terrorism in Africa today.)

It was during these "Kaffir Wars" that Robert Hart came to recognise the fortitude and strength of the Boers, who repeatedly fought side by side with the British. He often spoke of their kindness and courage and endeavoured to learn their•language.

During subsequent border wars Glen Avon became a haven of refuge for the destitute and bereaved. Many a sorrowing family whose homes had been burnt and lands devastated by the Xhosas were comforted and cared for by Robert and his wife, Hannah. Indeed Glen Avon became famous for its hospitality, a tradition carried on to this day by his great-great-grandson and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. R. C.Brown. The original cottage built by Hart to house his family. Whilst a larger residence was under construction, has been beautifully renovated and preserved, as has yet another dwelling known as The Retreat, in front of which stand three tall cypress trees planted by Hart himself who brought the slips from Cape Town in match-boxes. Match-boxes in those days often measured at least 5 inches long.

Robert and Hannah had 6 surviving children; 4 daughters and 2 sons. Once again historians differ; and he has been credited with 7. 8. and even 14 offspring. Pity the poor research worker who strives for exactitude. The hearts of many a home-sick soldier, lonely settler and young Boer farmer were broken by Hart's attractive daughters and among his descendents today there are both English and Afrikaans speaking South Africans, To mention such distinguished citizens as Sir Gordon Sprigg, one time Prime Minister of the Cape Colony; Sir James Rose-Innes, who became Chief Justice of the Union of South Africa; and Robert Bowker who was Member of Parliament for Somerset East for 30 years is to name but a few of the Hart clan who stood out among their fellow men, helping to strengthen the Eastern Cape and causing it to prosper. Guide, philosopher and friend to the 1820 Settlers Hart himself rode out to meet the Scottish party when they arrived in the area to claim their allotted land along the Baviaans River Valley. It is said that this stern old man was moved to tears when he heard the accents of his homeland after so many years of absence. He gave their first fruit trees and in time of great need saw that they and other settlers did not lack grain or other necessary rations. The poet, Thomas Pringle, became his friend and wrote, "The friendship of this able and active man proved indeed both on this and subsequent occasions of great advantage to our party.”

Hart had installed a mill at Somerset Farm when he was Superintendent and one of the first tasks he set himself when he moved to Glen Avon was the erection of a similar mill there. Some years later he had the old wooden model changed for a more modern one which is still in use today. Anyone who has sampled the home grown and ground grain will know how really delicious bread can be. Robert Hart was practical and thrifty/as two small incidents will illustrate. When visiting settlers in the Albany district he saw that many were building their houses on low lying ground. He strongly recommended that they change to higher sites as the valleys were apt to be flooded after heavy rains and their homes might well be washed out to sea. Just another example of the settlers' ignorance of local conditions in their new homeland. On another occasion someone sought to borrow a coffin. He was taken up to the loft where many kept theirs against sudden and untimely death and was amused to find that Robert was using his to store dried peaches.

Hart was a sincerely religious man who always had the welfare of the Presbyterian Church in mind. Incidentally he lent money to help build the first Presbyterian Church in Port Elizabeth. He was usually host to visiting missionaries who toured the country on horseback and would ask them to hold services in his house or garden, services which his Hottentot labourers and domestic servants could attend. He then had a small church built at Glen Avon which is today used as a school for children of the farm workers. The present owner, Mr. R.C. Brown, has had a school erected nearby which takes the older children. Robert Hart also had a family vault constructed which holds the mortal remains of various members of the family, including those of his wife, Hannah. After the death and burial of Robert himself at the age of 90. in 1867, the vault was sealed.

Today when visiting the Museum you can see the original Deed of Sale. 'ceding and transferring certain Erven in Somerset to Robert Hart'. It is signed by Lord Charles Somerset in 1825 and together with other Hart documents is of interest to many.. As a Presbyterian Robert Hart shared the same Calvinist religious principles as the Dutch settlers and it distressed him to find that the latter had no church of their own. He helped found the first Dutch Reformed Church in this town and laid the foundation stone. Later he became a senior Elder in the congregation. In his Will Hart left £1.300 sterling for the support and maintenance of a Presbyterian Minister in Somerset. A beautiful stained glass window has been erected by the congregation in grateful recognition of his foundation bequest in the local church, a church, alas, he never lived to see completed. Robert Hart was well known for his generosity. No deserving appeal went unanswered. He helped to establish a Leper settlement; Lovedale Institution owed much to his help and encouragement, and he was always interested in the religious life of the community, irrespective of colour, race or creed. In 1832, in collaboration with his friends Dr. Gill. the Rev: George Morgan, and the Magistrate, Mr. Marillier, he helped to found the first library in this town, under the name of the Somerset Reading Society. With his love of the land and wish to encourage farmers in every way it was Robert Hart who was instrumental in founding the first Agricultural Show in Somerset, a Society which flourishes today and which has been an annual event since its inception. Many of you may have wondered, as I have, just why the present airstrip was once known as the Race Course. When I first visited Somerset some 40 years ago, we used to talk of 'taking the dog for a walk on the race course', although I never saw a sign of a horse. It was Robert Hart, with his enthusiasm for horses, and for friendly gatherings of all kinds, who was one of the first to arrange race meetings, which became a tremendous social event. Families came from afar and camped for the day. Wagons were drawn up in a half circle to make a grandstand for the ladies who naturally took the opportunity of showing off the latest fashions.

It is particularly relevant on this occasion to tell you that it was Robert Hart who gave all the timber, much of it yellow wood and in all probability from his farm, for the roof of the original Wesleyan Chapel built on this site. This chapel was later converted into the Dutch Reformed Parsonage and is today, our own Musuem. So you will realise that we of Somerset have much for which to thank the good Robert Hart. There was nothing small or petty about the man. He hated meanness of any sort; no bribes could sway him and his word was his bond, something all too rare in the world of today. It was said of him. 'Thanks be to God that He does raise men of such outstanding Godliness. and uprightness. Though they pass from us their works follows them. They leave to their descendants a heritage and inspiration, service to God and humanity, characteristics for which the world is richer and which will bear fruit through generations' .

This then is a small but sincere tribute to Robert Hart, 'the first English-speaking South African' and 'father of the Settlers' as he came to be called. May his example stir us to strive for the betterment of mankind, a cause for which he worked all his life.

“Philipps. 1820 Settler”: Edited by Arthur Keppel-Jones

“Narrative of a Residence in South Africa”: Thomas Pringle (Published by Struik.)

“When Boys were Men”: Edited by Guy Butler,

“The 1820 Settlers.” Edited by Guy Butler.

“They were South Africans.” By John Bond.

“Plantagenet in South Africa.” By Anthony Kendal Millar


Robert Hart 1777 - 1867 Robert Hart was born in January 1777 at Avondale in Lanarkshire, Scotland. At the age of 17 he ran away from home and joined the Argyllshire Highlanders. In September 1799 he landed in Cape Town. His good doings in South Africa are recorded in their history, He served under Colonel Hraham who asked him to select a suitable place for the establishment of the Military Headquarters. Robert Hart chose the site where Grahamstown now stands and built one of the first houses there for himself and his family.

Robert Rueben HART


2) His father was JAMES III married to ISABEL BROOM which was the mother of ROBERT HART but she later died and his father re-married MARY FLEMMING SOURCE : FAMILY RESEARCHER TOMBI PECK


In 1793 George III wrote to John, 5th Duke of Argyll, asking him to raise a kilted regiment of 1,100 men. The Duke was unwell at the time and deputed the task to his kinsman, Duncan Campbell, 8th Lochnell. On 9 July 1794, they were formally gazetted into the British Army as the 98th Argyllshire Highlanders, renumbered later, in October 1798, as the 91st.

Regimental Names List, 1794

Regimental List

98th Argyllshire Highlanders, 1794 Wild Boar Renumbered 91st Highlanders, 1798


Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Campbell of Lochnell


Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell


Campbell, Archibald
Campbell, Colin
Campbell, Donald
Campbell, John
Clevering, Henry
McDougall, John
Stewart, James


Campbell, Archibald Jnr
Campbell, Archibald Snr
Campbell, Duncan
Campbell, Hugh
Campbell, John
Ferrier, James
Ferrier, Lorne
MacNab, Robert
MacNiell, Donald
MacNiell, John
MacPherson, Alan
Ruthven, Lord James


Campbell, Angus
Campbell, Duncan (Quarter Master)
Campbell, James (Surgeon)
Fraser, Paul (Chaplain)
MacLachlan, Alan
McLachlan, Alan (1st Mate)
McLean, Archibald (2nd Mate)
MacPherson, Alan (Adjutant)
Munro, William 
Alpin, Peter
Brown, Archibald
Browning, John

Campbell, Angus

Campbell, Archibald
Campbell, David
Campbell, Duncan
Campbell, James
Forest, Daniel
Fraser, Alexander
Graham, Andrew
Granby, William
Kennedy, Charles
Lawson, James
Little, John
Mason, James
McCallum, Archibald 2nd
McCallum, Archibald 1st
McDiarmid, Malcolm
McDonald, Alexander
McDonald, Robert
McInnes, Dugald
McLean, Alexander
McLean, Hector
McMillan, Murdoch
Meicklejohn, Robert
Montomery, John
Morrison, Hugh
Owens, Peter
Shaw, Finlay
Yuill, John
Bower, John
Buchannan, James
Buchannan, John
Campbell, Alexander
Campbell, Hush
Campbell, John
Campbell, Donald
Chisholm, Finlay
Ferguson, Archibald
Ferguson, Peter
Gibson, John
Gibson, William
Graham, William
Granby, William
Grey, John
Hamilton, William
Hughes, Bartholomew
Lang, John
Lindsay, Archibald
Lowdan, Adam
McArthur, Peter
McCalman, Daniel
McDougall, Alexander
McFarlan, John
McGrigor, Donald
McIlliriach, Archibald
McIlliriach, Donald
McIlliriach, James

Morrison, Alexander

Patterson, Dugald
Scott, John
Thompson, Alexander
Thompson, John
Wilson, Francis


Blair, Robert
Brown, George
Brown, James
Campbell, James
Gillespie, Alexander
Granby, William
Herd, George
Hood, James
Hosie, Robert
Kay, John
Lowrie, David
McColl, Alexander
McDonald, Donald
McKay, Robert
McKenzie, Alexander
McLeam, John
Miekly, George
Mitchell, Alexander
Morrison, Henry
Pettigrew, Smith
Sutherland, William
Turner, Daniel
Walker, John


In alphabetical order:

Adam to Currie Adam, John

Alexander, William
Algie, Duncan
Allen, John
Anderson, David
Anderson, James
Anderson, John
Angus, John
Arbuckle, John
Arnot, Robert
Balfour, Peter
Banker, George
Banks, John
Barclay, David
Barry, Thomas
Bean, Walter
Beaton, Donald
Begg, George
Belany, Archibald
Bell, John
Bell, Robert
Berry, Owen
Black, Alexander
Black, Alexander
Black, Andrew
Black, Daniel
Black, Lachlan
Boag, William
Bonnet, John
Bower, John
Boyd, Robert
Brennan, Luke
Briggs, John
Brodie, William
Brown, John
Brown, Archibald
Brown, David
Brown, George
Brown, James
Brown, John
Brown, Robert
Brown, William
Brown Elliot, Wm
Browning, James
Bruce, David
Bryson, John
Buchanan, David
Buchanan, George
Buchanan, James
Buchannan, James
Burnet, Alexander
Burnet, William
Burns, William
Cairns, Bartholomew
Calder, John
Calendar, Macky
Cameron, Alan
Cameron, Angus
Cameron, Archibald
Cameron, Donald
Cameron, John
Cameron, John
Cameron, John
Campbell, Alexander
Campbell, Angus
Campbell, Angus
Campbell, Archibald
Campbell, Archibald
Campbell, Donald
Campbell, Donald
Campbell, Dugald
Campbell, Duncan
Campbell, Foseph
Campbell, George
Campbell, James
Campbell, James
Campbell, James
Campbell, John
Campbell, John
Campbell, John
Campbell, John
Campbell, Niell
Campbell, Peter
Campbell, William
Campbell, William
Carmichael, Donald
Carmichael, James
Carmichael, William
Carol, Patrick
Cassels, Robert
Castlaw, James
Chalmers, James
Cherrie, Alexander
Cherrie, John
Clark, Donald
Clark, James
Clark, John
Clark, John
Clark, John
Clark, William
Clydesdale, Richard
Cocheran, John
Cochran, Daniel
Coloquhon, Archibald
Connel, Duncan
Connel, John
Connel, William
Cooper, John
Cothard, Thomas
Courage, William
Cowam, Arthur
Craig, John
Craig, Robert
Craw, John
Crown, David
Cumming, Donald
Cummins, Robert
Cunningham, Robert
Cunningham, Robert
Cunningham, Duncan
Currie, James

Dalrymple to Kerr Dalrymple, John

Daly, Patrick
Dalziel, Robert
Davidson, Alexander
Davidson, William
Dawson, David
Dempster, Robert
Dewar, Alexander
Dixon, Francis
Dobbie, David
Donald, John
Donaldson, William
Dougal, James
Douglas, Alexander
Douglas, Andrew
Downie, Niell
Downie, James
Drummond, John
Duncan, James
Dunn, Thomas
Eason, James
Eddie, Thomas
Errol, Walter
Erskine Christie, Francis 
Ewart, John
Ferrol, Peter
Fields, John
Finlay, Peter
Finney, David
Fleming, Alan
Fleming, James
Fleming, Robert
Fleming, Thomas
Forbes, John
Forester, Thomas
Forrest, James
Forsyth, John
Forsyth, Robert
Fowler, Nathaniel
Fraser, Alexander
Fraser, Alexander
Fraser, Daniel
Fraser, Donald
Fraser, Simon
Frasser, Hugh
Frier, Patrick
Gage, John
Galbraith, John
Garden, William
Gardiner, Archibald
Gardner, James
Gemmel, Edward
Gemmel, James
Glenn, Robert
Golder, James
Gordon, John
Goul, Andrew
Govan, Simon
Govan, William
Gow, John
Gow, William
Graham, Angus
Graham, David
Graham, Duncan
Graham, William
Gray, John
Green, John
Greenhill, Archibald
Greig, Andrew
Greig, David
Greig, Malcolm
Grieve, John
Grigorson, Grigor
Grinlay, David
Gunn, Alexander
Gunn, Magnus
Hadden, James
Haddow, Jmaes
Haggard, George
Hamilton, Alexander
Hamilton, John
Hanlon, John
Hardie, James
Hardie, John
Hardie, Robert
Hart, Robert
Henderson, Richard
Henderson, William
Hendry, John
Henry, James
Hercules, Joseph
Hewet, John
Hill, John
Hiskie, John
Hood, Andrew
Hood, Robert
Hosie, William
Hosie, William
Howat, Alexander
Hume, Daniel
Hunter, Robert
Irvine, James
Johnson, Duncan
Johnson, William
Johnston, Alexander
Johnston, George
Johnston, William
Johnstone, Alexander
Jones, William
Jordan, Robert
Kelly, Phillomy
Kelso, James
Kennedy, Donald
Kennedy, John
Kennedy, Lachlan
Kennedy, Peter
Kerr, Peter
Kerr, Thomas
Kerr, William

Kirk to McFarland Kirk, John

Lamb, James
Lamon, John
Lamont, Hugh
Lamont, James
Lang, Ropbert
Lapsley, Robert
Lawson, Thomas
Learren, Archibald
Leckie, Archibald
Leech, Alexander
Leishman, John
Liddle, James
Lindsay, John
Livingston, Duncan
Livingston, John
Logan, Alexander
Logan, John
Logan, William
Love, James
Love, John
Lowrie, Charles
Lyon, William
Mair, Hugh
Mann, James
Manson, John
Marley, Arthur
Marshall, Alexander
Marshall, Robert
Marshall, William
Martian, James
Martin, Donald
Master, Robert
Masterson, John
Mathew, James
Mathewson, John
Maxwell, William
McAllister, Ronald
McAlpin, Archibald
McAlpin, Duncan
McAlpin, Malcolm
McAndrew, John
McArthur, Alexander
McArthur, Alexander
McArthur, Donald
McArthur, Duncan
McArthur, Hugh
McArthur, Niell
McCallister, Donald
McCallum, Alexander
McCallum, Angus
McCallum, Angus
McCallum, Angus
McCallum, Archibald
McCallum, Archibald
McCallum, Donald
McCallum, Dugald
McCallum, Duncan
McCallum, Duncan
McCallum, Duncan
McCallum, George
McCallum, John
McCallum, Niell
McCallum, Patrick
McCalman, Archibald
McCalman, John
McCalman, John
McCammon, William
McCann, Patrick
McCoig, Patrick
McCoII, John
McCol, Dugald
McColl, Alexander
McColl, Archibald
McColl, Donald Sen.
McColl, Donald Jun.
McColl, Hugh
McColl, John
McColl, Paul
McCollach, Malcolm
McConnel, James
McCormick, Alexander
McCorquordale, John
McCorquordale, John
McCraw, John
McCullum, Peter
McDiarmid, Finlay

McDonald, Alan

McDonald, Alexander
McDonald, Allan
McDonald, Angus
McDonald, Archibald
McDonald, Archibald
McDonald, Charles
McDonald, Donald
McDonald, Donald
McDonald, Donald
McDonald, Duncan
McDonald, Duncan
McDonald, Duncan
McDonald, Finlay
McDonald, Hector
McDonald, Hugh
McDonald, Hugh
McDonald, John
McDonald, John
McDonald, Malcolm
McDonald, William
McDonald, Willian
McDougal, Donald
McDougall, Alexander
McDougall, Niell
McDougall, Ronald
McDowal, James
McFaden, Angus
McFaden, John
McFarlan, Alan
McFarlan, Alexander
McFarlan, John
McFarlan, John
McFarland, James

McGeal to McNuier McGeal, Duncan

McGill, Peter
McGilvra, John
McGowan, Alexander
McGrigor, Alexander
McGrigor, Angus
McGrigor, Donald
McGrigor, James
McGrogor, Duncan
McIlliraich, Dugald
McIlliriach, Archibald
McIness, Donald
McInnes, Charles
McInnes, Malcolm
McInnes, Niell
McIntosh, Dougald
McIntosh, John
McIntosh, John
McKay, Andrew
McKay, Angus
McKay, Angus
McKay, Donald
McKay, Donald
McKay, Hugh
McKay, James
McKay, John
McKechnie, Malcolm
McKeech, Donald
McKendrick, Cornelius
McKerracher, Peter
McKillop, Dugald
McKillop, John
McKinlay, John
McKinnon, Alexander
McKinnon, Donald
McKinnon, Finlay
McKinnon, John
McKinnon, Niell
McKinvan, Daniel
McKenzie, Alexander
McKenzie, Alexander
McKenzie, Andrew
McKenzie, Archibald
McKenzie, David
McKenzie, George
McKenzie, Hector
McKenzie, John
McKenzie, John
McKenzie, Malcolm
McKenzie, Murdoch
McKenzie, Thomas
McKenzie, William
McKenzie, William
McKenzie, William
McLachlan, Alexander
McLachlan, Duncan
McLachlan, Donald
McLachlan, Hugh
McLachlan, James
McLaod, Donald
McLarty, Alexander
McLay, Alexander
McLay, James
McLay, John
McLean, Alexander
McLean, Alexander
McLean, Allen
McLean, Archibald
McLean, Donald, Jun.
McLean, Donald, Sen.
McLean, Dugald
McLean, Duncan
McLean, Hugh
McLean, John
McLean, John
McLean, John
McLean, John
McLean, John
McLean, Lachlan
McLean, Lachlan
McLean, Niell
McLean, Robert
McLellan, Walter
McLeoud, Alexander
McLeod, Donald
McLeoud, Donald
McLeoud, Normand
McLeoud, Robert
McLeran, Niell
Mclnnes, Angus
Mclnnes, Colin
Mclnnes, John
Mclntyre, Donald
Mclntyre, John
McLucas, Duncan
McMichan, John
McMillan, Archibald
McMillan, Dennis
McMillan, Donald
McMillan, James
McMillan, John
McMillan, John
McMillan, John
McMillan, Niell
McNaught, David
McNeelage, Dugald
McNichol, Duncan
McNiell, Donald
McNiell, Hector
McNiell, Hugh
McNiell, John
McNievan, Dugald
McNiell, Roben
McNuier, Donald

McPhail to Rowny McPhail, Archibald

McPhail, Archibald
McPhail, Archibald
McPhail, Donald
McPhail, Donald
McPhail, Dugald
McPhail, John
McPhail, John
McPhail, John
McPhail, Malcolm
McPhail, Paul
McPhall, Malcolm
McPherson, Colin
McPherson, Donald
McPherson, Hugh
McQuarrie, Hector
McQuarry, John
McQuarry, Lachlan
McQuat, Lawrence
McQulqan, Iever
McShean, Thomas
McTavish, Donald
McTavish, Duncan
McTavish, Peter
McVicar, Alexander
McVurrich, Duncan
Millar, Andre
Millar, James
Millar, John
Miller, Adam
Miller, John
Miller, John
Mitchell, Andrew
Mitchell, William
Mitchell, William
Monk, Luke
Moodie, George
Moodie, James
Moodie, Robert
Morgan, Alexander
Morrison, Alexander
Morrison, Angus
Morrison, Archibald
Morrison, James
Morrison, John
Morrison, John
Morrison, Robert
Morrison, Thomas
Muire, Frances
Muirhead, Alexander
Munn, Archibald
Munro, Archibald
Munro, Donald
Munro, John
Munro, Robert
Murdoch, Robert
Neivan, Dugald
Nichol, William
Nicholll, Thomas
Nicholson, Hugh
Nicol, John
Nielson, Thomas
Nievan, Archibald
Nimmo, William
Nisbet, Christopher
Nixon, Richard
Noble, Thomas
O'Niell, John
O'Niell, Roderick
Parlan, Andrew
Paterson, David
Paterson, James
Paton, James
Patterson, Robert
Patterson, Robert
Patterson, William
Paul, David
Peacock, Andrew
Peat, Alan
Perry, James
Pollack, David
Poplar, John
Ramsay, Andrew
Ramsey, Robert
Ranken, Andrew
Rankin, Allan
Rattray, James
Rattray, John
Robertson, Alexander
Rea, Andrew
Rea, John
Read, William
Redhead, Alexander
Redhead, Michael
Reid, George
Reid, John
Reid, William
Revals, James
Robertson, Alexander
Robertson, Andrew
Robertson, David
Robertson, James
Robertson, James
Robertson, John
Robertson, John
Robertson, John
Robertson, John
Robertson, John
Robertson, John
Robertson, Niell
Robertson, Walter
Robertson, William
Rodgers, John
Rodgers, Michael
Ross, Adam
Ross, David
Ross, William
Rowan, Daniel
Rowan, John
Rowley, William
Rowny, Patrick

Royan to Young Royan, James

Russel, Wilaim
Ruthven, Thmmas
Salmon, William
Sanderson, Peter
Scott, Robert
Scott, Samuel
Scott, William
Scott, William
Shaw, Donald
Shaw, James
Shearer, John
Shields, Hugh
Sim, John
Sinclair, Donald
Sinclair, Duncan
Sinclair, John
Sinclair, Niell
Singleton, William
Sivewright, Archibald
Sloss, James
Smith, David
Smith, George
Smith, William
Sparke, John
Speedy, Thomas
Speittle, Archibald
Stairs, John
Stark, James
Stark, William
Steel, Thomas
Stevenson, Peter
Stevenson, Thomas
Stevenson, William
Stevenson, William
Stevenson, William
Stewart, Alexander
Stewart, David
Stewart, Donald
Stewart, Dugald
Stewart, Duncan
Stewart, Duncan
Stewart, Hugh
Stewart, William
Stobo, Andrew
Sutherland, Alexander
Sutherland, Daniel
Sutherland, John
Sutherland, William
Tanehill, John
Taylor, Andrew
Thompson, James
Thompson, John
Thompson, John
Thompson, Joseph
Thompson, Robert
Thompson, Peter
Thompson, Thomas
Thorburn, David
Todd, Walter
Topping, William
Trigger, John
Turnbull, Alexander
Turnbull, David
Turnbull, Robert
Turner, Daniel
Turner, William
Usher, Joseph
Vasie, James
Vicarson, John
Waddle, William
Walker, James
Walker, John
Walker, William
Wallace, James
Walters, Owen
Walters, Patrick
Wardlaw, Andrew
Wardrope, James
Warnock, Archibald
Watson, Andrew
Watson, Charles
Watson, David
Watson, James
West, Henry
West, John
Whigham, Alexander
White, Alexander
White, James
White, William
White, William
Whiteford, James
Whitlaw, Thomas
Will, James
Wilson, James
Wilson, John
Wilson, Robon
Wilson, William
Wise, Robert
Wood, James
Wright, AIexander
Wright, John
Wright, John
Wright, John
Wyllie, William
Young, James

Summary of most common names:

Campbell 50, McLean 26, McDonald 25, McCallum 22, McKenzie 16. 

Continued: The Cape, South Africa 1795

On 5 May 1795 the Regiment embarked for South Africa to capture the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch. At this time 15 of the 33 officers were Campbells and 2 of the others had married Campbells. But the required number of NCOs and rank and file could not be found in Argyllshire, the rest came largely from Glasgow and Edinburgh, Renfrew and Paisley, with a small contingent of Irish.

Officers continued to be drawn mainly from Argyllshire, and there were always enough genuine Highlanders to give the Regiment its characteristic stamp. Irish and Englishmen who only reluctantly took to wearing the kilt were in the end successfully absorbed; and the 91st maintained their Highland tradition.

The 91st remained as part of the garrison in Cape Town, South Africa, for seven years, returning in 1803 to England to help patrol the southern counties against the event of an invasion by Napoleon.

In 1808 it went to Portugal with Sir John Moore where it was part of the rearguard action against Napoleon’s army (under Marshall Soult) which ended with the British evacuation at Corunna. At this time the 91st, together with 5 other Highland Corps, lost the right to wear Highland dress, though it was allowed to keep the title, The Argyllshire Regiment. The 91st was back again in 1812 taking part in the advance which pushed the French out of Spain. (For further detail see; The Napoleonic Wars; The Peninsular War 1808)

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Full text of "Historical records of the 91st Argyllshire Highlanders, now the 1st Battalion Princess Louise's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, containing an account of the Regiment in 1794, and of its subsequent services to 1881" 593

Goff (Q. L. t Wet Highlanders) His-

torical Records of the 91st Argyllshire High- landers, now the Isb Battalion Princess Louise's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, containing an Account of the Formation of the Regiment in 1794, and of its subsequent Services to 1881, with plates, 2 COLOURED, 8vo., cloth, 7s 6d 1891












Raising of Regiment List of Officers Services at the Cape of Good Hope Return to England Guernsey Second Battalion raised Second Battalion go to Holland Bergen-op-Zoom Reduction of Second Battalion First Battalion to Hanover England Ireland ... ... 1


Peninsular War, August, 1808, to Retreat of Corunna

England Walcheren Expedition England ... 27


Peninsular War, 1812, to affair at Aire, February, 1814 44


Peninsular War Toulouse End of War England

Ireland Ostend ... ... ... ... 57




Waterloo Cambray Army of Occupation round Paris

England Ireland ... ... ... 69


Ireland Jamaica England Irelan d St. Helena

Grahamstown, South Africa ... ... ... 78


Detachment at St. Helena Removal of Napoleon's

body Reserve Battalion formed ... ... 88

CHAPTER VIII. Wreck of the Abercrombie Robinson ... ... 100


Kaffir War, 1846-47 Part taken therein by First

Battalion ... ... ... ... ... 113


Kaffir War, 1846-47 Part taken therein by the

Reserve Battalion ... ... ... ... 139

CHAPTER XI. Kaffir War, 1851-53 Reserve Battalion 173




Redistribution of the Regiment The name " Reserve Battalion" discontinued Depot companies' history to their absorption in 1857 ... ... ... 208


First Battalion England Ireland Malta Greece

Ionian Islands ... ... ... ... 213

CHAPTER X1Y. India ... ... ... ... ... ... 232


Dover Aldershot Princess Louise's Wedding

Scotland Ireland ... ... ... ... 243

CHAPTER XVI. England Natal Causes of Zulu War ... ... 259


Zulu War, April to September, 1879 Cape Town

Mauritius St. Helena Loss of Regiment's Number 273




A. COLOURS ... ... ... ... ... 299

B. DRESS ... ... ... ... ... 301




HAS TAKEN PART IN ... ... ... 309


COLOUR ... ... ... ... ... 311

G. THE WATERLOO ROLL ... ... ... 312






, i . , - rZ -. FOBT AT EKOWE, MABCH, 1879.



FOET AT EKOWE, MARCH, 1879 ... ... xi


DUNCAN CAMPBELL ... ... ... 2

THE CASTLE, CAPE TOWN ... ... ... 7

TOULOUSE, 1814. From an old print ... 63

DRESS OF THE REGIMENT IN 1822 ... ... 78


TOP OF CLIFF). From an old drawing 83


REMOVAL OF NAPOLEON'S BODY FROM ST. HELENA. Being a fac-simile reproduc- tion of a very old plate ... ... 95

MAP SHOWING SCENE OF WARS 1845-46, 1851-53 113



GRAHAMSTOWN, 1845 ... ... ... To face 117




PORT NATAL ... ... ... ... 262

CETTWATO ... ... ... ... 267

MAP OP EAST ZULULAND ... ... ... 273

FORT PEARSON ... ... ... ... 275



sketch by the Author ... ... 280



  • From sketches which appeared in the Illustrated London News in

1879, reproduced by permission of the proprietors of that paper.


1794. Regiment raised and numbered 98th.

1795. Proceeded to the Cape. Assisted at the capture of

Cape Town, and the rest of the Dutch possessions.

1796. Expedition to Saldanha Bay.

1798. Number of regiment changed to 91st.

1799. Quelled a mutiny of the garrison in Cape Town.

1801. The colours of the regiment altered on the occasion

of the union between Great Britain and Ireland.

1802. The Cape given back to the Dutch. Part of the

regiment embarked for England.

1803. Eemainder of the regiment, after delivering over

the Cape, proceeded to England, leaving again in September for Guernsey.

1804. Regiment returned to England. A second battalion


1805. First Battalion ordered to Hanover.

1806. First Battalion returned to England. Inspected by

H.E.H. the Duke of York. Embarked for Ireland in December.

1807. Landed at Cork. Quartered at Mallow and Cashel.

1808. Quartered at Cashel, Enniscorthy, Dublin, and

Bandon. Embarked for the Peninsula. Battles of Roleia and Vimiero. Retreat to Corunna.


1809. Battle of Corunna. Return to England, leaving one

company under Captain Walsh, which was engaged at Talavera. The regiment took part in the expedition to Walcheren, returning to England in December.

1810. Stationed at Canterbury, Ramsgate, and Ashford.

1812. Embarked for the Peninsula, and joined the army at


1 813. Battle of Vittoria. Affair at Pampeluna. Battles of

Nivelle and Nive. Second Battalion went to Holland, and was present at attack on Bergen-op- Zoom.

1814. Battles of Orthes and Toulouse. Returned to Ireland

in June.

1815. To Belgium. Battle of Waterloo. Affair at Cambray.

March to Paris. 1816-17. Remained in France.

1818. Returned to England in November. Proceeded to

Ireland in December.

1819. Quartered in Dublin.

1820. To Enniskillen.

1821. To Scotland en route for Jamaica. 1822-31. In Jamaica.

1831. To England. Stationed at Portsmouth and Ox-


1832. At Bolton, Manchester, and Mullingar. 1833-34. Naas and Fermoy.

1835. To St. Helena.

1839. To Algoa Bay, leaving three companies at St.


1840. Outpost duties in Kamrland. St. Helena detach-

ment took part in disinterment of the body of the Emperor Napoleon.

1841. Outpost duties in Kaffirland.

1842. Reserve Battalion formed at home and sent to the

Cape. Wreck in Table Bay of the Abercrombie Robinson. St. Helena detachment rejoined head- quarters.


1843. Reserve Battalion joins First Battalion in Kaffirland.

Detachments of both battalions proceed on the expedition against Tola.

1844. In detachments on Kaffir frontier.

1845. New colours presented First Battalion by Colonel


1846. Kaffir War. Block Drift.

1848. First Battalion to England. Stationed at Gosport.

Reserve Battalion at Boem-plaats.

1849. Reserve Battalion at head-quarters, Grahamstown.

First Battalion at Gosport.

1850. Beginning of second Kaffir War. First Battalion

moved from Gosport to Dover.

1851. Second Kaffir War. Various actions. First Battalion

Preston, Liverpool, Manchester to Belfast.

1852. Second Kaffir War continued. Loss of the Birken-

head. First Battalion to Enniskillen.

1853. Second Kaffir War concluded. To Fort Beaufort.

1854. First Battalion to Dublin. Reserve Battalion, head-

quarters, Fort Beaufort. First Battalion to Cork. Embarked for Malta in December.

1855. Reserve Battalion to England. Redistribution of the

regiment. First Battalion to Greece.

1856. Kaffir War medals presented for 1846, 1847, 1850,

1851, 1852. Reserve Battalion reviewed by Queen Victoria. First Battalion to Greece.

1857. Reserve Battalion merged into First Battalion, which

went from Greece to the Ionian Islands.

1858. To India. A wing employed against the insurgent

Rohillas. 1859-63. At Kamptee.

1863. Kamptee to Jubbulpoor.

1864. Restoration of Highland name and dress.

1866. Jnbbulpoor to Dumdum.

1867. Dumdum to Hazaareebagh.

1868. To Kamptee. To England. Quartered at Dover.

1869. New colours presented.

1870. To Aldershot.


1871. H.R.H. Princess Louise's marriage ; a detachment present at the ceremony. To Aberdeen and Fort George.

1873. To Edinburgh.

1874. To Newry.

1875. To the Curragh.

1876. To Enniskillen and Londonderry.

1877. To Belfast. Old colours burnt at Inverary.

1878. To Dublin.

1879. To Aldershot. Embarking for Znlu War in February.

Zulu War. Battle of Ginginhlovo. Cape Town, with detachments at Mauritius and St. Helena.

1880. Head-quarters at Cape Town, with detachments as

in 1879.

1881. Mauritius detachment rejoined head-quarters. Zulu

medals presented. South Africa added to names on the colour.





Raising of Regiment List of Officers Service at the Cape of Good Hope Return to England Guernsey Second Battalion raised Second Battalion go to Holland Bergen-op-Zoom Reduction of Second Battalion First Battalion to Hanover England Ireland.

IN the year 1794 George III. expressed a desire 1794. to the Duke of Argyll, and several other Scotch noblemen and gentlemen, to raise an Argyllshire regiment.

A letter of service, dated the 10th of February, 1794, was granted, the chief terms of which were as follows :

The regiment to be completed within three months.



1794. The corps to consist of one company of grena- diers, one of light infantry, and eight battalion companies; the establishment being 1102 officers and men, not including field officers. Levy- money to be allowed to the Duke of Argyll at the rate of five guineas per man, for 1064 men.

Recruits to be engaged for unlimited service ; minimum height, five feet four inches ; age between eighteen and thirty-five years.

The letter also contains other details as to the seniority of officers, etc.

On the 4th of March the establishment was altered to 1112, which included two lieutenant- colonels. The first lieutenant-colonel com- mandant of the new regiment was Duncan Campbell, of Lochnell, an Argyllshire man, who had served as captain in the Foot Guards. He assumed command at Stirling on the 15th of April, 1794. The following is the list of officers taken from the Army List of the 1st of January, 1795 :-

Lieut. -Colonel Commandant Duncan Campbell. Major Archibald Campbell.

n Henry M. Clavering.

Captain Archibald Campbell.

James Stuart.




Captain-Lieut, and Captain Lieutenant


Chaplain Adjutant Quarter-Master Surgeon

Donald Campbell. Colin Campbell. John McDongall. John Campbell. Archibald Campbell. James Campbell. Allan McPherson. Hugh Campbell. Robert McNab. Archibald Campbell. James Ferrier. D. MaoNeal. John Campbell. John MacNeal. Duncan Campbell. Lome Ferrier. Angus Campbell. James Phillips. William H. Crawford. Colin Campbell. Allan McLachlan. William Munro. Mark Anthony Bozon. Donald Gregorson. John M. Campbell. Robert Guthrie. P. Fraser. Allan McPherson. Duncan Campbell. James Campbell.


The names of the officers, as shown in the above list, gives an idea of how distinctively it was a clan regiment, as it will be observed there were seventeen bearing the name of " Campbell," and there must have been some confusion among so


IT;**, many having the same name, which was made further puzzling by many of their number having the same Christian name ; there being four Archibalds, three Duncans, three Jameses, two Johns, and two Colins. Any person who has attempted to trace the careers of these several officers in the army in subsequent years, has found it a very difficult task, as the plan of numbering officers of the same name (1), (2), (3), which is done in later Army Lists, was not carried out in books of that period.

On the 26th of May the first inspection of the battalion was made by General Lord Adam Gordon, who highly complimented the regiment on its soldierlike appearance. There were on parade over 700 men who had only been raised as a battalion within four months ; they were therefore either men who had had some previous training, or were marvellously apt pupils to be considered worthy of being compli- mented on their military bearing by the general officer inspecting.

The regiment remained at Stirling until the middle of June, when it marched to Leith, to be embarked on the 17th and 18th of that month en route for Netley.


On the 9th of July the king was pleased to 1701. approve of the list of officers, and the regiment was numbered 98.

In November the regiment was at Chippenham, and on the 19th of January, 1795, they received 1795. orders to hold themselves in readiness to proceed on foreign service at the shortest notice.

On the 28th of January they moved to Poole, arriving on the 2nd and 3rd of February, and proceeded to Fareham on the 20th and 21st, arriving at Gosport on the 22nd and 23rd of April.

On the 5th of May they were ordered to join the expedition under Major-General Alured Clarke to the Cape of Good Hope, the object of which was to assist the force of some 4000 men which had been sent in a fleet, under command of Admiral Elphinstone, to take pos- session of the Cape Colony. They embarked at the Mother-Bank, near Spithead, on board the following East India ships : General Coote, Deptford, Osterley, and Warren Hastings.

These ships touched at Saint Salvadore, in South America, on the 6th of July, the strength of the battalion then being, 1 lieutenant-colonel, 1 major, 7 captains, 15 lieutenants, 5 ensigns, 3


179.V surgeons, and 815 non-commissioned officers and men. The expedition arrived at Simon's Bay on the 3rd of September, where they found that General Craig, who was in military command, had already fought the battle of Muysenberg without the reinforcements ; having waited for them for more than three weeks, he at length decided to proceed with the operations against Cape Town with the small force which he then had at his disposal, consisting of about 1600 men, composed of 450 of the 78th Highlanders, and 350 marines, together with 800 seamen from the Rattlesnake and Elcho sloops-of-war.

The position of affairs there, when the 98th arrived, was : the English were encamped at Muysenberg, and the Dutch were in the neigh- bourhood of Wynberg, under command of Major Buissine. On the 4th of September the 98th landed and, with the rest of the reinforcements, marched on the 9th to Muysenberg to join General Craig, who now had a force of about 5000 men to complete the subjugation of the Cape Colony.

The road from Simon's Town to Wynberg runs along the sandy shore on the west of False Bay until beyond the pass of Muysenberg, which


is merely a narrow passage between a steep 1795. mountain and the sea ; after this the road crosses a sandy plain, which forms part of the isthmus which divides Tahle Bay from False Bay.

On the 14th the English troops struck their camp, and began their advance on Wynberg; little resistance being met with from the enemy, as the burghers deserted in such numbers that soon any further chance of a fight was gone. The battalion companies of the 98th, under Colonel Campbell, formed the centre of the British line, while the grenadier company formed part of the grenadier battalion under Lieutenant - Colonel Ferguson, and the light company, part of the light battalion, under Major King, both of the 84th Regiment. The casualties of the 98th on this occasion were four men wounded.

The Dutch now retreated towards Cape Town, and hostilities were suspended for twenty-four hours to arrange terms of surrender. On the 16th of September the 98th entered Cape Castle, and relieved the Dutch garrison by capitulation, the latter, however, marching out with all the honours of war. Sir James Craig was installed governor; and in this manner was ended the rule of the Netherlands East India Company


1795. in South Africa, after an existence of 143 years. Upon the surrender of the Cape of Good Hope and its dependencies, the follow- ing general order was issued : " Head-quarters, Castle, Cape Town, 19th of September. All forts and batteries in Cape Town and its dependencies being now in possession of his Majesty, agreeably to the articles of capitulation signed on the 16th inst., the Commander-in- Chief feels great satisfaction in expressing the high sense he entertains of the merits of Major- General Craig, and the officers, soldiers, seamen, and marines who composed the army, through whose spirited exertions and cheerful perse- verance through every hardship this great object has been so successfully accomplished, and for which he begs they will accept of his warmest thanks. At the same time, he assures them he will not fail to represent their gallant conduct in the warmest terms to their most gracious sovereign at the earliest opportunity, and that he shall be happy to avail himself to contribute to their ease and prosperity." The flank com- panies were also thanked by a general order issued during that month.

The records of the regiment mention that a


new mode of drill was introduced in October of 1795. this year, " wherein the several times of march were regulated by the plummet, and the length of the pace fixed."

For more than a year the 98th remained in Cape Town, and during that time nothing of special importance to the regiment occurred. Cape Town at this period contained about 1100 or 1200 houses, inhabited by some 5000 whites and free people of colour, and about 10,000 slaves. Besides the castle, forts, and barracks, its principal buildings were : the Government House, the Dutch Reformed Church, the Lutheran Church, the town hall, the hall of the court of justice, a theatre, and a large building used as a government slave-pen. Many of the residents in the town were persons who had estates in the country, and who, through their slaves, retailed farm produce. The free people of colour were mostly fishermen. Food was plentiful and cheap ; but firewood was very dear, as all the forests in the vicinity had been cut down. During the occupation of the English the Dutch language continued in use in the courts and churches, as well as in the farm-houses.

In August, 1796, the grenadier and light com- 1796.


1796. parries were engaged in the operations against the expedition sent from Holland under Admiral Lucas, for the purpose of again obtaining posses- sion of the colony of the Cape of Good Hope. A fleet had been fitted out, consisting of the Dordrecht, 68 ; Van Tromp, 64 ; Revolutionnaire, 64 ; Castor, 40 ; Brave, 40 ; Syren, 24 ; Havre, 24 ; Bellona, 24 ; and the Maria, transport.

On board this fleet, 2000 soldiers, prin- cipally German mercenaries, were embarked, this number being considered sufficient for the purpose; as it was anticipated that before their arrival the British fleet, with a large portion of the land forces, would have left for the East Indies, and that the expedition would be joined off the Cape by a French squadron, with troops from Mauritius and Java. It was expected also that the colonists would join the Dutch army as soon as a landing was effected. The expedition was placed under the command of Admiral Lucas, who accepted the charge with reluctance, as he believed the force to be too small and too poorly fitted out to accomplish the end in view. So ill-supplied was he, that his provisions were nearly exhausted before he reached the colony, and he therefore put into Saldanha Bay, with the


double purpose of procuring- supplies and arming 1795. the colonists. On an island lying in the entrance to the bay he landed his sick, and began to construct fortfications. Here he learned that success was hopeless unless the French fleet joined him quickly ; for none of the colonists came to his assistance, nor could he obtain those stores, of food, of which he was so greatly in need. On the 5th of August, 1796, information reached Cape Town that a Dutch fleet had left Europe, and might be expected at any moment. On receipt of this intelligence, Admiral Elphinstone, who was then in Simon's Bay, put to sea with a fleet, consisting of the Monarch, 74 ; Tremendous, 74 ; America, 64 ; Ruby, 64 ; Stately, 64 ; Trident, 64 ; Jupiter, 50 ; Crescent, 36 ; Moselle, 20 ; Sphinx, 20 ; Rattlesnake, 16 ; and Echo, 16. After cruising about some days without seeing the enemy, the British admiral put back to Simon's Bay, and was informed where the Dutch fleet was. He again set sail on the 14th, and on the 17th arrived at Saldanha Bay. The garrison of Cape Town at this time consisted of the 28th Light Dragoons, a corps of artillery, and the battalion companies of the 78th, 84th, 95th, and 98th Regiments of foot ; the grenadiers of these


1796. regiments garrisoned Muysenberg, and the light companies, with the Hottentot regiment, were cantoned as a reserve corps at Wynberg. But just at this critical moment a fleet of East India- men, having on board the 25th and 27th Light Dragoons, the 33rd and 80th Regiments of foot, and five companies of the 19th Eegirnent, put into Simon's Bay for fresh stores. All of these troops were at once landed, and a re-distribution of the different garrisons took place. General Craig had now a strong army at his disposal, and leaving Major-General Doyle in command at Cape Town, he marched to Saldanha Bay, throwing out before him detachments of dragoons and light troops, which picked up several parties the Dutch admiral had sent to reconnoitre. So well-timed was General Craig's march, that he arrived in Saldanha Bay just two hours before the English fleet hove in sight. On descrying the fleet, the Dutch were in great joy, imagining the ships to be those of their friends the French ; but they were soon undeceived when, to their great sur- prise, the English drew up in line of battle across the entrance to the bay. They now perceived that they were completely shut in, and that no chance was left for escape. The Dutch officers


had some idea of running their vessels ashore to 1796. prevent them falling into the hands of the English in a perfect state, and of attempting to make their own escape into the country. General Craig, however, suspecting that they might have such intentions, sent an officer with a flag of truce to inform the Dutch admiral that if the ships were injured he would allow no quarter. The next morning (August 18, 1796) Admiral Elphinstone sent a flag of truce to Admiral Lucas, requiring him to surrender without delay. Resistance or escape was equally impracticable, and therefore, after an ineffectual request for one of his frigates to convey him and his officers to Europe, he surrendered at discretion. So the entire force of ships and men, comprising an expedition from which the Batavian Government expected nothing less than the recovery of the colony, fell into the hands of the English without a shot being fired, or a drop of blood spilt.

General Craig, in his despatch of the 19th of August, 1796, specially mentions the intelligence and action with which McNab of the 98th, and about twenty mounted men, performed the service of watching the enemy and preventing any com- munication with them from the land from the first


1796. moment of the fleet entering the bay. During the expedition the battalion companies of the 98th, together with the 95th, garrisoned Cape Town.

After the surrender of the Dutch fleet the troops marched back to Groenekloof, about half- way to Cape Town, and remained encamped there for three or four weeks.

The following general order was issued on the 19th of August, announcing the success at Saldanha Bay : " Major-General Doyle has the happiness to make known to the troops the brilliant success that has attended his Majesty's army in the expedition to Saldanha Bay. The whole of the enemy's fleet and all the land forces destined to attack this colony have been obliged, by the masterly movements of the admiral and general, to surrender at discretion."

Nothing more of interest is recorded for some time of the movements of the regiment.

On the 19th of June, 1797, the 98th was reviewed by General Dundas, who afterwards issued the following complimentary order : " Major-General Dundas is perfectly satisfied with the attention of the officers, and the steadiness of the men of the 98th Regiment, as well as with


the general appearance of the regiment at the 1797. review this morning, and returns his thanks to Brigadier-General Camphell and Lieut.-Colonel King for the attention that they appear to have shown on this occasion, as well as at all other times, in disciplining and perfecting their regi- ment."

On the 9th of October the regiment marched from Muysenberg to Simon's Town to protect the latter place from some seamen of the fleet who had mutinied. They returned to Muysenberg three days later, and encamped there for some time previous to again taking up their quarters in Cape Town on the 2nd of the following January.

On the 27th of October orders were received that the establishment of the regiment should be reduced to 600 rank and file, which was accord- ingly done ; but in August of the following year it was again raised to 950 rank and file, with full complement of officers and non-commissioned officers.

In October, 1798, the number of the regiment 1793. was changed from the 98th to that of the 91st.

The names of the .officers on the change of numbers was as follows :




Colonel Lient.-Colonel



Captain-Lieut. Lieutenant

and Captain


Duncan Campbell. Fielder King. James Catlin Craufurd. Berkenhead Glegg. James Campbell. Archibald Campbell. Donald Campbell. John McDongall. Archibald Campbell. James Orde. John Robertson. William Douglas. James Campbell. Allen McPherson. Robert McNab. Archibald Campbell. D. MacNeal. John Campbell. John MacNeal. Duncan Campbell. Colin Campbell. Alexander Campbell. Allan McLachlan. William Munro. Mark Anthony Bozon. Donald Gregorson. Henry Lindsay. John Campbell. John Campbell. Phineas Mclntosh. Hugh Stewart. Samuel Cooper. John Campbell. Charles Clinch. Duncan Stuart. John Cole Cooper. James McLean. Duncan McArthur.


Ensign John Baumgardt. 1798.

,, Robert Lowrie.

Adjutant Allan McPherson.

Quarter-Master Robert Cooke.

Surgeon James Campbell.

In May, 1799, a regimental school was esta- 1799. blished for the first time for the non-commissioned officers and men. The terms were fixed at one shilling per month.

In the beginning of 1799, a strong attempt was made by a number of the soldiers in the garrison at Cape Town to organize a mutiny, their pur- pose being to destroy the principal officers, and to establish themselves in the colony. Not only did the 91st not take any part in this diabolical attempt, but the papers containing the names of the mutineers and their plans were discovered and seized by the aid of Private Malcolm Mc- Culloch and others, the first soldiers of the regiment who were requested by the mutineers to enter into the conspiracy. Lieut.-Colonel Craufurd, in a regimental order dated 7th of August, specially commended the conduct of McCulloch, and declared that he considered him- self fortunate in being the commander of such a regiment. For some little time after this, nothing more exciting occurs in the annals of the 91st



1799. than their encampments in the neighbourhood.

isoo. On the 2nd of April, 1800, the regiment marched from Cape Town to Wynberg, returning on the 21st of the following month. Ten days later we find the regiment again encamped in the same quarter of Wynberg. On the 14th of September the regiment encamped with the rest of the army at Rondebosch and Wynberg, and for the re- mainder of that year nothing of special interest

isoi. is recorded. In 1801 the regiment passed from Brigadier-General Fraser's to General Yande- leur's division, and in parting with them, the former officer issued a general order, expressing his entire approval of the conduct of the men while under his command. On the 14th of February the regiment re-occupied the quarters in Cape Town, and on the 21st of March again elicited a complimentary general order from General Dundas for their efficiency and general discipline.

In June, 1801, the colours of the regiment were altered, on the occasion of the union between Great Britain and Ireland.

1802. On the 27th of May, 1802, the treaty of Amiens was signed.

" Europe," says Mr. Theal, in his history of


the Cape, " was exhausted, and required breath- 1302. ing time in order to prepare for still greater struggles than those she had just gone through. One of the conditions of peace insisted upon by France, and agreed to by England, was that the Cape Colony should be handed over to the Bata- vian Eepublic. In accordance with this agreement a force was despatched from Holland to relieve the British garrison and occupy the forts of the colony. The 1st of January, 1803, was fixed for the evacuation ; and the English troops had actually commenced to embark when, on the 21st of December, a vessel arrived, which had left Plymouth on the 31st of October, with orders to delay the cession, as it was probable that war would break out again immediately. The Dutch troops were, therefore, cantoned- at Wynberg, where they remained until February, 1803, when fresh orders from England were received, and the colony was given up." Meanwhile, however, the 91st had returned from their camp at Ronde- bosch to Cape Town, and. in November, 1802, the first division of the regiment embarked at Table Bay for England, arriving at Portsmouth in February, 1803, and marching from thence to isos. Hilsea Barracks. On the 28th of that month


1803. the second division of the 91st assisted at the delivering over of the Cape of Good Hope to the Dutch, which duty having been performed, they also embarked for England on the 2nd of March, and arrived at Portsmouth in May, rejoin- ing the first division at Bexhill, to which place they, the latter, had moved from Hilsea. Thus ended the share taken by the 91st in the first occupation of the Cape of Good Hope by the English.

In June, 1803, a general order was published directing that each company throughout the army should have an effective captain, and consequently that field officers should no longer command a company, which up to this date they had done. The rank of captain-lieutenant was also abolished. The regiment had been reduced to a peace esta- blishment on their arrival in England.

In September the 91st were ordered to Guern- sey, at which place they did not remain very long, leaving it again for England in the folio w-

1804. i n g April ; first to be quartered at Shoreham, and afterwards at Lewes.

Directly after the return of the regiment to England, it was notified that an additional force was required by his Majesty, and that the levy


should be undertaken by officers selected, and 1304. who might be desirous of raising men, promotion being given to such officers if they raised a given number of men. Captains William Douglas and Donald MacNeal, and Lieutenants Duncan Stuart and Eobert Lowrie, were selected, and came forward on this occasion.

In August of this year his Majesty was pleased to direct that a second battalion should be forthwith formed from the men to be raised in accordance with the Act of Parliament known as the " Defence Act," from the counties of Perth, Argyll, and Bute ; the recruiting officer's head- quarters to be at Perth. The 1st battalion was to be kept up to strength through this new battalion.

In March, 1805, the 2nd battalion was still at isos. Perth. It will be as well to record at once the short history of this battalion before continuing that of the 1st or original one.

On the 7th of April, 1809, the Highland dress 1309. was discontinued to be worn. In 1811 this isn. battalion was stationed at Canterbury, and two years later was again in Scotland, quartered at Ayr. In July of the same year, it embarked for Germany under command of Major-General


1813. Samuel G-ibbs, sailing to Stalsund with the troops under Brigadier-General Gore, which expedition shortly returned, and the battalion again sailed from Yarmouth in December to join

1814. the army in Holland. On the 2nd of March, 1814, they were brigaded with the other regiments under Lieut.-General Sir Thomas Graham, and were present at the unfortunate attack upon the strong fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom.

On the 8th of March Sir Thomas Graham collected about 4000 British troops, for an attempt to carry the place by storm. They were formed into four columns, two to attack the fortifications at different points, one to make a false attack, and the fourth to attempt an entrance by the mouth of the harbour, which is fordable at low water. The attack at first was quite successful, as the two first columns established themselves on the ramparts ; but when there, unforeseen difficulties arose which made it necessary to alter the point of attack, and resulted in a number of men being killed and wounded. Finally, this attempt was abandoned, and the troops retired, leaving over 300 dead.

Napoleon, when at St. Helena in 1817, is reported to have observed that the storming of


Bergen-op-Zoom was a most daring attempt, but that it ought not or could not have succeeded, the number of the garrison being greater than that of the assailants. He added that the idea that the failure of the attack was in part attributed to one of the British generals not having taken the precaution to communicate the orders which had been given him to any one else, so that when he was mortally wounded the troops did not know how to act, made no differ- ence, as an attempt of that kind ought never to succeed unless the party attacked becomes panic- stricken, which sometimes happens.

The Qlst's casualties, according to the official returns, were

Ensign Hngh McDugald.*

Sergeants killed John Banks.

Dugald Campbell.

Robert Howell.

Malcolm McDonald.

Duncan Mclnnes.

Charles Peters.

Ditto, died of wounds Thomas Dougleby. Corporals killed W. Porter.

Ditto, died of wounds Alex. Burns.

John Halley.

  • As Ensign Hugh McDugald's name appears as a lieu-

tenant in 1815-16, he must have been reported killed in error; probably he was wounded and left for dead.


1814. Corporals died of wounds George Liddle.

Alex. McPherson. Christopher White.

Drummer died of wounds W. McBirnie. Privates killed 29

Ditto, died of wounds 4

In this affair the name of Sergeant-Major Patrick Cahil was brought into notice, on account of his conspicuous conduct in securing and carrying off one of the battalion colours, when the officer who was in charge was wounded ; for his bravery on this occasion, he was recommended and promoted from the ranks, receiving a com- mission as ensign.

In September this battalion returned to Eng- land, arriving at Deal from Ostend, and proceeding to Canterbury, to be quartered there for a month, when it embarked at Gravesend for Ayr; and on the 25th of December, 1815, it was reduced at Perth.

The above history of this battalion is all that can be found out about it, as the records of the 1st battalion do not mention any details of its existence, and probably for most of the period in which it was formed it was only used as a recruiting depot for the 1st battalion, which during most of these years was employed in the Peninsular


Robert HART (25689/xx), * Scotland 01.01.1777,

† Somerset East 14.09.1867 »a Note. Domestic
matters such as births, marriages etc do not appear in
this time-line as they are dealt with in detail in the
genealogy. 1777………. He was born in Strathavon,
Avondale , Lanarkshire. The date given on the crypt
at Glen Avon is 1 January but the register gives the
date as 5 January (OPR Births 621/0010 0159 where
the entry was added later and written between two 03
01 1777 baptisms – why? ) 1794………. At the age of
17 he ran away from home to join the 98th Highland
Regiment (Argyllshire and Sutherland) that later
became the 91st, which was preparing for war against
France. 1795……….Private Robert Hart and his
regiment of 800 embarked to occupy the Cape where
his troopship and thirteen others sailed into False Bay
on 4 September after a voyage of four months. On 14
September after unloading all their guns, equipment
and stores the Argyllshire Highlanders were marching
into Cape Town in the name of King George III and
his Serene Highness the Prince of Orange whom the
French had expelled form the Netherlands.
1798……….Hart’s regiment marched from Algoa Bay
to suppress the van Jaarsveld rebellion at Graaff-
Reinet 1799……….His regiment was posted to the
Eastern Cape and he was present when Chief
Ndhlambi invaded the Zuurveld which ended up in a
patched peace agreement leaving the Xhosa in
possession of the land they had occupied. He was
also stationed at Fort Frederick at Algoa Bay and with
cannons on the beach, helped to drive off the French
ship La Preneuse which had attacked two British
ships in the bay. 

1802……… By the Treaty of Amiens

peace was ratified between Great Britian and the
French Republic and the Cape of Good Hope was
given back to the Batavian Republic. The British troops
were withdrawn


and Robert Hart volunteered for

further service in India where they were under the
command of Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington. After
a short tour of duty there he returned to England via
the Cape and was then posted to Hanover, Germany
with the rank of sergeant. 

1804……….On 08 April (his

abode was Strathavon, Lanarkshire) he married


1803. the second division of the 91st assisted at the delivering over of the Cape of Good Hope to the Dutch, which duty having been performed, they also embarked for England on the 2nd of March, and arrived at Portsmouth in May, rejoin- ing the first division at Bexhill, to which place they, the latter, had moved from Hilsea. Thus ended the share taken by the 91st in the first occupation of the Cape of Good Hope by the English.

In June, 1803, a general order was published directing that each company throughout the army should have an effective captain, and consequently that field officers should no longer command a company, which up to this date they had done. The rank of captain-lieutenant was also abolished. The regiment had been reduced to a peace esta- blishment on their arrival in England.

In September 1803 the 91st were ordered to Guern- sey, at which place they did not remain very long, leaving it again for England in the folio w-

1804. i n g April ;

first to be quartered at Shoreham, and afterwards at Lewes.

Directly after the return of the regiment to England, it was notified that an additional force was required by his Majesty, and that the levy


should be undertaken by officers selected, and 1304. who might be desirous of raising men, promotion being given to such officers if they raised a given number of men. Captains William Douglas and Donald MacNeal, and Lieutenants Duncan Stuart and Eobert Lowrie, were selected, and came forward on this occasion.

In August of this year his Majesty was pleased to direct that a second battalion should be forthwith formed from the men to be raised in accordance with the Act of Parliament known as the " Defence Act," from the counties of Perth, Argyll, and Bute ; the recruiting officer's head- quarters to be at Perth. The 1st battalion was to be kept up to strength through this new battalion.

In March, 1805, the 2nd battalion was still at isos. Perth. It will be as well to record at once the short history of this battalion before continuing that of the 1st or original one.

On the 7th of April, 1809, the Highland dress 1309. was discontinued to be worn. In 1811 this isn. battalion was stationed at Canterbury, and two years later was again in Scotland, quartered at Ayr. In July of the same year, it embarked for Germany under command of Major-General


1813. Samuel G-ibbs, sailing to Stalsund with the troops under Brigadier-General Gore, which expedition shortly returned, and the battalion again sailed from Yarmouth in December to join

1814. the army in Holland. On the 2nd of March, 1814, they were brigaded

view all 17

Robert Hart, II SV/PROG's Timeline

January 5, 1777
Lanarkshire, Scotland
August 7, 1805
Wheeley, Essex, England
July 19, 1807
Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
May 22, 1809
Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
July 11, 1810
Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
November 21, 1811
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Cape Town, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa