THOMAS of SWELLENDAM (1800 - 1866).

Thomasís family tree has been added to the Cairncross Family Website, click here to see it. Thomas appears about 80% down.

Thomas, youngest son of William of Prestonpans, was born in Cockenzie on 31st March, 1800. He arrived in Table Bay on 27th May, 1826, per the English brig the "Olive Branch", from Falmouth - vide the Gazette of 2nd June, 1826.

In his letter of 1906, already referred to in the Chapter XIX headed "William the Elder, 1788 - 1868", William, the eldest son of Thomas, makes the following statements: - "My father was married to Caroline Mathilda Clarke, daughter of Thomas Clarke, one of the Settlers of 1820. My mother, being then 11, lived at Rosebank, Rondebosch ... where I was born (on 26th October, 1833) along with my brother Thomas ... My parents trekked to Swellendam early in 1835, where at the end of that year my sister Helen was born ... then there was my sister Mathilda who married Kannemeyer ... and my brother John and my brother Charles."

Thomas, who had a bakery in Swellendam, being at one time the Government Baker, died on 26th February, 1866, shortly after the great fire of 1865. Of his children:

1. William (1833 - 1915) was a Law Agent in Willowmore latterly. In the Drostdy Museum, Swellendam, is to be seen the ledger of the famous firm Barry & nephews, merchants, whose insolvency in 1866 caused widespread ruin amongst the people of Swellendam. One of the debtors in the ledger is William Cairncross, to the extent of more than £1,000, a considerable sum for those days. William was a clerk to the firm. He was married in Swellendam to Jeanette Elizabeth Lombard on 21st February, 1865. About 1870 he moved to Uniondale where he set up a Law and Auctioneering agency, and farmed some 5,000 morgen[1] of land, dying there in 1915 at the age of 82. He was also a Special Justice of the Peace. He was very interested in ornithology, contributing specimens of birds and birds' eggs (as well as insects) to the South African Museum, Cape Town. His name appears in the first published list of subscribers to the Museum (31st August, 1856). Several references to him occur in Layard's "Birds of South Africa" published in 1867.
[1] morgen = 10,580 acres = 16.1/2 square miles !?!

His children were:


a. Thomas Lothian Lombard, born in Swellendam on 3rd December, 1865, and dying in Parys in July, 1954, at the age of 88. He was trained at the Normal College, Cape Town, as a teacher, and practised that occupation until 1931, with an interlude of three years as Postmaster of Steytlerville around 1890 - 93, and another interlude of farming at Uniondale between 1894 and 1903, brought to a close by heavy losses during the Anglo-Boer war. He married Susanna Dorothea Strydom in 1889 and had four sons and a daughter, his wife dying on 25th January, 1903. His children were:

i. William McLaren Thorpe (1890), who married Anna Elizabeth Rheeder. He was a miner in the Crown Mines, Johannesburg, and later First Aid Officer, securing a gold medal for his knowledge and services. He had two children, Herbert McLaren Desmond, who married Caroline Smith and has two daughters, Audrey and Patricia; and a daughter Dorothy, married to Ernest Greig.

ii. Thomas Clarke, of the Rhodesian Railways, who married Dora Querl and has a daughter, Constance.

iii. Agnes, who married Lindeque.

iv. Colin, a medical practitioner in Johannesburg.

v. Donald Victor, who died of fever in Rhodesia at the age of 25 in 1926.

b. Charlotte.

c. William, who died of mumps at the age of 5, in 1874.

d. Seton Falkenberg (1878 - 1946), postmaster at Steytlerville, married Lydia Looche and had a son Philip William A. (1918), a civil servant.

e. Jeanette, who married P.H, van Rensburg.

f. Edith, who married Lombard.


2. Thomas, born at Swellendam in 1835, died in Vrede in 1918. He was one of the provisional directors of the short-lived Montagu Bank in 1861 and was the Postmaster and Issuer of Processes of Montagu until 1872, thereafter taking up farming in the Free State, and marrying Georgina Helen Maria Whiley on 1st January, 1863. Their children were:

a. Caroline Maryann;

b. Thomas Daniel, 1866 - 1929, a farmer at Vrede. In 1889 he married Petronella Hendrina Kritzinger, by whom he had six children. After her death and the deaths of her three younger children, in the Refugee Camp, Heilbron, in 1901, he married, in 1903, Anna Christina Elizabeth Lotz and had (!) fifteen more children :

i. Mathys Stephanus Benjamin (1890). He is a farmer near Coligny in the Transvaal. He married Jeanette Botha and has five sons: - Thomas Daniel (1920); Barend Cornelius (1922) married to Minie Steyn and with a son Mathys a.B. (1950); Mathys S.B. (1925); Jan Johannes (1929); and John George Rocher (1936); together with a daughter, Marie.

ii. Thomas Daniel (1892); a Civil Servant in Pretoria. He married Anna Uys and has two daughters, Mona who married Nel, and Nellie, who married Morrison; and a son Thomas Daniel (1926).

iii. Elizabeth Aletta Sophia, who married Fourie.

iv. Georgina H. M. , 1896 -1901.

v. Peter H., 1899 - 1901.

vi. Unnamed infant, 1901 - 1901.

vii. Anna Christina Elizabeth, who married Franks.

viii. Pieter Marthinus (1905), a farmer of Koster, who married Maria Magdalena Botha. They have four daughters, and a son, Pieter, born in 1944.


ix. Georgina Helen Maria, who married J.J. Kruger.

x. John (1907), a carpenter in Wolmaransstad.

xi. George Augustus, (1908 - 1948), a signalman on the South African Railways, who married Maria Catharina Erasmus and had two daughters and a son - John Wesley, born in 1945.

xii. Caroline Maryann, who married F.F.T. van Olden.

xiii. James John (1911), an electrician at Vrede, who married Naomi Labuschagne and has three sons, Thomas Daniel (1937), Willem Johannes Adriaan (1939), and James John (1947).

xv. Alfred Stanton (1913), a window dresser at Standerton, who married L. Botha.

xvi. Ada Mary, who married Potwig.

xvii. Harriet Jones, who married Parker.

xiv. Thomas Daniel (1912), an optician at Germiston, who married Mrs. B. Swart.

xviii. Clifford, who died in 1917 in infancy.

xix. Dora Elizabeth, who married Zietsman.

xx. Christoffel (1920), a motor mechanic at Bethlehem, who married M. van der Berg.

xxi. Victoria Mildred, who married Cloete.

c. Georgina Helen Maria, who married Groenwald (as in original.)

d. Harriet Jones, who married Lombard.

e. Adelaide Mabel, who married Swanson.


f. John George Roscher (1875 - 1952), accountant, for many years a prominent citizen of Standerton, of which he was Mayor seven times; he was also the chairman of the local Agricultural Society. His obituary notice appears in Appendix No.9. He married Frances Devine and had the following children:

i. Mona Maria

ii. Iris Georgina

iii. Mavis

iv. William Bruce (1917), an accountant at Standerton, who married Janet Johnson and has two sons, John Michael (1948), and Bruce (1953).

v. Douglas (1921). an accountant at Standerton, who married Elizabeth Lotz.

g. Gertrude Emelia, who married Morrish.

h. James John (1880 - 1934), in general business at Nelspruit, who married van der Spuy and had:

i. Martha Hermina

ii. A son, born in 1912, who was choked to death in 1914 by a bean in the lung.

iii. Georgina Helen Maria, who married Lotter.

iv. Madelene, who married van Eyk.

v. James (1928), a chemist in Krugersdorp.

3. Helen, who married Lourens Giani.

4. Mathilda, who married Henry Kannemeyer of Oudtshoorn.


5. John, born in Swellendam in 1837, was a Notary Public in Mossel Bay from1864 to 1878, and subsequently in Oudtshoorn. He retired to Somerset West, where he died at the age of 89 in 1926. In Mossel Bay he was for some years in partnership with his brother Charles, the partnership being dissolved on 8th January, 1874. John also had a retail shop in Mossel Bay to 1876. He was a member of the Divisional Council, and was the Municipal Commissioner to the Town Council, of which he was also a member. In 1878 he was one of the passengers on the "Kaffir", which ran ashore 8 or 9 miles from Cape Point. On 1st May, 1878, he was "leaving Mossel Bay for Europe .., after close application to business in this place for upwards of 14 years." In Oudtshoorn he was in partnership with his nephew, T. J. Kannemeyer, an attorney. In 1879 he was a member of the provisional Committee of the Mossel Bay Prospecting and Gold Mining Co. Ltd., which had a capital of £40,000. His estate was valued at over £12,000. He left a son, John Cairncross, who died in Durban in 1950, aged 77.

6. Frances, who died in infancy (1846 - 1856).

7. Charles, an attorney, born in Swellendam in 1847, was for some years in partnership with his brother, John, notary public, in Mossel Bay, the partnership being dissolved on 8th January, 1874. In 1873 he was secretary to the Mossel Bay Town Council, resigning on 14th October, 1874. On 30th October, 1877, he was found not guilty, before Chief Justice de Villiers, of theft and embezzlement, but was suspended from practice for two years. Shortly after, he went to Johannesburg, becoming a burger of the Transvaal Republic and a lieutenant in the Johannesburg Staatsartillerie. He assisted at the capture of Dr. Jamieson and his Raiders in 1896, and took part with his unit in the Boer War, being captured by the British in 1900. He died in Pietersburg in 1928. In 1874 he married Elizabeth M. Bindemann and had two children: Archibald Campbell, farming at Schagen, Eastern Transvaal, who married Beatrice Burchell; and Ida, who married Wilhelm. The biography of Archibald, a pioneer of Rhodesia, appears in Appendix No.10.

8. Adelaide of Swellendam, where she died in 1932 at the age of 83. The testimonial of 1781 to William of Prestonpans was found among her effects after her death.

9. Henry, who died in infancy (1851 - 1856).

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