1887

n Historia - George Jesse Heys (1852-1939) in Pretoria

Volume 50, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X
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Abstract

<b>George Jesse Heys (1852-1939) in Pretoria</b> <br>George Heys was 'n pionier van Kruger se Pretoria en op baie maniere is sy lewe en werk onlosmaakbaar vervleg met Pretoria se veranderende lot in die laat negentiende en vroeg twintigste eeu. As vooraanstaande suksesvolle entrepreneur, was hy een van 'n groep Suid-Afrikaners van Britse afkoms wat 'n sleutelrol gespeel het in die vroeë kommersiële ontwikkeling van die dorp. In hierdie artikel word gelet op sy jare as eienaar van 'n koetsbedryf in die 1880s, 'n onderneming wat later tot 'n aansienlike finansiële ryk uitgebou is. 'n Ontleding word gemaak van sy sterk identifisering met republikanisme gedurende hierdie tydperk, ten spyte van sy Britse agtergrond. Hy was 'n lojale burger, 'n vrywilliger in 1880-1881 en 'n goeie vriend van Kruger - aan wie hy per geleentheid geld geleen het om amptenare te betaal. Met die uitbreek van die Anglo- Boereoorlog was hy reeds 'n welgestelde man, wat in Victoriaanse gemak in Melrosehuis gewoon het. Sy loopbaan het tydens die oorlog oënskynlik verrassend (maar miskien voorspelbaar) min gely. In die naoorlogse tydperk het hy en sy familie - hy was 'n toegewyde gesinsman - met gemak by die veranderde omstandighede aangepas. Hy het sy goedingerigte huis eers aan Roberts en daarna aan Kitchener beskikbaar gestel, die eed van getrouheid sonder probleem onderteken en die getroue Britse onderdaan geword wat hy altyd ten diepste was. Al hierdie aspekte van die lewe en tyd van George Jesse Heys in Pretoria word ondersoek deur gebruik te maak van sy privaatdokumente wat steeds in besit van sy nageslag is.

George Heys was a pioneer of Kruger's Pretoria and in many ways his life and work are inseparably linked with Pretoria's changing fortunes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. An eminently successful entrepreneur, he was one of a group of South Africans of British background who played a key role in the early commercial development of the town. This article looks at his years as coaching-line proprietor in the 1880s, the foundation of what later became a considerable financial empire, and studies his close identification in these years, despite his British upbringing, with republicanism. He was a loyal burgher, a volunteer in 1880-1881 and a close friend of Kruger - to whom he lent money on occasion to pay officials. When the Anglo-Boer War broke out, he was already a wealthy man living in Victorian-style comfort in Melrose House, and during the war, his business career surprisingly (but perhaps predictably) appears to have suffered very little. In the post-war years, he and his family - he was a devoted family man - eased effortlessly into the changed circumstances. He made his gracious home available to Roberts and then Kitchener, happily signed the oath of allegiance and became what he had always clearly been at heart - a British loyalist. All these aspects of the life and times of George Jesse Heys in Pretoria are explored, making use of his private papers that are still in the possession of his descendants.

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/content/hist/50/2/EJC38194
2005-11-01
2016-12-10

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