Thursday, October 23, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 24: Joseph Mildenhall (1801-1875)

Joseph Mildenhall- my 4th cousin, 8x removed

b. 25 Nov 1801 in Berkshire, England
d. 11 Jun 1875 in Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Parents: Jonathan Mildenhall Jr (1764- ?) & Mary (1770-?)


1. Daniel (b. 1793)
2. George (b. 1795)
3. Susan (b. 1797)
4. Sarah (b. 1799)
5. Ann Maria (b. 1806)
6. James (b. 1808)
7. Thomas (b. 1811)


Joseph moved to South Africa and married Rebecca Hinton on 29 Jun 1837.

Rebecca Hinton
b. 14 Jan 1810 in Wilton, Wiltshire, England
d. 31 Dec 1877 in Cape, South Africa

~Daughter of Richard Hinton (1780-1822) & Sarah Viney (1787-1841).

Joseph and Rebecca had 8 children:

1. Mary Maria (1840-1919) ~ Read more about Mary  Here 
2. Joseph Jr. (1843-1928)
3. Jessie Susannah (1845-1884)
4. Henry Josiah (1847-1901)
5. Emily Rebecca (1850-1852)
6. Letitia Emily (1852-1920)
7. Emma Rebecca (1854-1961)
8. Edwin George (1856-1882)

I found a little excerpt of Joseph's life on

~Joseph immigrated to South Africa in the Thornhill party on the ship Zoraster. He died on the Klu Klu Farm. Joseph and his wife Rebecca spent the early part of their lives in Alice, as Joseph had a contract to supply food to the soldiers. They lived on the banks of the Tyumie near the present bridge. Their eldest son, Joseph, attended Mr. Templeton's school at Lovedale, which he ran for a time. Later, Joseph went into partnership with Mr. Simpson and a Mr. Stanton and they bought three farms- one near Alice, another Alph Aytoun near Fort Beaufort and the third- Klu Klu- named after the chief from whom they bought it from. They bought it for a wagon and a span of oxen. 

Joseph built a two story house. Having no glass, the windows were covered with calico. At one of the windows  he had a gun mounted on a stand; the muzzle is now in the Fort Beaufort museum. One night, when Rebecca was alone with her children, she heard the Kaffirs among the cattle, so she fired off a few shots which dispersed them. In times of danger, the Klu Klu farm was a meeting point for soldiers and settlers. 

Joseph and his sons took part in all the fighting in the Fort Beaufort area. Once he narrowly escaped wiht his life near the Warden's farm. He was being attacked by a party of Xhosa with assegais, but escaped down the river, slipped off his horse and hid in the reeds. The Xhosa rushed up and down jabbing their assegais into the rushes. Finally, he got home.

The Mildenhall home at Klu Klu was built of stone, with beams and flooring of yellow-wood cut in the Katberg. The walls are two feet thick, the windows heavily barred and the front door, made in two sections so that the bottom portion only can be closed, is of amazing thickness and is locked with a huge heavy key. 

Behind the homestead lies Tower Hill, on the top of which was built a stone fort from which a distant view could be obtained. In those days, Fort Beaufort was just a military post, consisting of the Fort, barracks, a shop and a few houses. Below the homestead lies the grave of the Hottentot whose arm was chopped off by the Xhosas to release the man who was manacled to him- in the incident which sparked the War of the Axe in 1846. The Xhosa had stolen an axe from Holiday's Store in Fort Beaufort, and was being taken to Grahamstown for trial. The body of the Hottentot was pulled out of the river and buried by Joseph Mildenhall. Later, a stone was erected on which was written: "War of the Axe" with a carving of an axe. 

Joseph Mildenhall died at the age of 73 on 11 Jun 1875 in Fort Beaufort, South Africa. 

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