Information and history

ID #5301

History of Lombard’s Post, Southwell, Albany District, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Once called the Zuurveld (Sour Veld), the area between the Bushman’s and the Fish Rivers was populated by Dutch farmers who moved out of the Cape Colony during the early part of the 19th Century. One such farmer was Pieter Lombard, who acquired a farm of 2000 Ha he called Tweefontein because of two freshwater springs that form the headwaters of the Kasouga River and continue flowing to this day.

Because of infiltration by the Xhosa, who stole cattle and burnt farmhouses, the Zuurveld was not peaceful Three frontier wars between 1779 and 1799 were fought to drive the Xhosa beyond the Fish River, which boundary was proclaimed in 1775. These wars proved inconclusive, causing many Dutch farmers to leave the area before 1810. Like his colleagues, Pieter Lombard left, leaving Tweefontein uninhabited. To put an end to Xhosa incursions, Colonel Graham, acting on orders from the Governor, Sir James Cathcart, waged the 4th Frontier War in 1811 that finally drove the Xhosa across the Fish River. To consolidate the new position, a north-south defence line was established from Grahamstown in the north to Lombard’s Post, the command post in the south. Captain George Fraser was put in charge of Lombard’s Post. In 1814 Major Fraser applied to have the farm Lombard’s Post granted to him. At this time the district’s name was changed to Albany by Colonel Cuyler-Wittenhages from Albany in the USA. Major Fraser was granted ownership of Lombard’s Post, which was used as a base for patrols of the Lower Albany district, where sporadic Xhosa invasions still took place.

Colonel George Fraser died in Grahamstown in 1817 after having been promoted to head of forces in the Albany area after the death of Colonel Graham. He was succeeded by Major Henry Somerset. Little is known about who held title to Lombard’s Post after the passing of Colonel Fraser. After the 6th Frontier war of 1835 it was put up for sale and was bought by Benjamin Keeton, who received title in 1839. During this period the complex of buildings, including the barracks, stables, the Keeton home and the original post building were built and incorporated into an enclosed “Frontier Fort Home” by military authorities to be better able to withstand further onslaught by the Xhosa. This proved valuable during the 8th Frontier War of 1850 when it provided refuge to many families.

The Keeton family have owned Lombard’s Post ever since, and the present owner is Peter Keeton. Benjamin Keeton gave two morgen of Lombard’s Post for the establishment of a school and chapel for the community. He called the district Southwell after the town in England from which he had emigrated – a name it retains to this day.

Lombard’s Post is in the Southwell District, which is west of Port Alfred, which is on the R72 east of the intersection of the N10 with the N2 east of Port Elizabeth at Nanaga. Information supplied by Basille Glanville

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Last update: 2014-02-28 15:52
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.3

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