Friday, April 19, 2013

Sugar and Natal: the Pioneers - Joyner


The Feildens were not alone in their losses as a result of the 1856 flood. On the Isipingo Flat, William Joyner's sugar mill machinery was washed away forever.

Joyner came to Natal with his wife Ann and family on the Conquering Hero in June 1850 and lived in Durban for about two years working as a painter and decorator before moving to the Isipingo to farm at his sugar estate named Dingwall. During that time, Richard ('Dick') King, the well-known early colonist, was his neighbour. In 1860 Joyner sold his Isipingo property and moved to a new farm in Alexandra County on the Ifafa River, Ellangowan. By 1863 he had a 6-horse power steam mill in operation. In 1870, John Robinson wrote: 'Mr Joyner ... assisted by his intelligent and industrious sons, has year by year laboured on, until now more than 200 acres of sugarcane stretch round his house and a steam mill smokes under his windows'. Joyner produced sugar made from the indigenous cane, imphe.

His daughter, Clara Joyner Anderson, in her Reminiscences and Memories of Early Durban and its Pioneers*, gives a detailed picture of what life was like for pioneering sugar farmers in Natal, working with primitive equipment and their crop threatened by the elements and other hazards. Joyner at one period prospected for gold and during one of his absences from home a run-away fire threatened his Ellangowan mill. Close neighbours, Aiken and Bazley, came to the rescue of Mrs Joyner who was running the mill alone.

Joyner sold Ellangowan estate in 1868. Eventually it became part of Reynolds Bros Ltd. William Joyner died in East Griqualand in 1886 at the residence of his son, Archibald Scott Keith Joyner. The latter was born 3 Jan 1877; he married Florence Rose Beale and they had two sons and three daughters. Archibald Joyner served in the Natal Royal Rifles 1896-99, transferred to B Squadron, Natal Carbineers 1899; he was a marksman. After the Anglo-Boer War he farmed in the Matatiele district at 'Bon Accord'. In 1916 he was Lieut in 1st Cambridgeshire Regiment serving 16 months in the trenches in France, and was wounded 22 August 1919. He then returned to farming in East Griqualand.

For more on Joyner descendants see:

* copies available at Killie Campbell Library, Durban

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