WILLIAM CRAWFORD KEMSLEY

WILLIAM CRAWFORD KEMSLEY (l l) was born in Port Elizabeth on 1 May 1889, the sixth of eleven children of William Crawford (1854-1935) and Susannah Elizabeth (nee Frost) (1856-1913) Kemsley.

William was educated at Maritz Brothers College, Port Elizabeth and started work as a Shipping Clerk. He moved to Cradock and then to Lady Grey in the Cape in 1911.  Here he took up employment as a trader for a General Dealer by the name of Maarbuger.  Williamís daughter Linda tells of Williamís trading into Basutoland (Lesotho), which necessitated the use of horses over the Aasvogelkrans Pass, sometimes in waist deep snow.  All trading was carried out using gold sovereigns, because of the Basuto's mistrust of paper money. William carried the gold in his saddlebags. The wagon, with the trading goods, could not cross the Aasvogelkrans pass and had to route via Zastron.  This took a week to ten days and William would have to meet the wagon when it arrived, even if the pass was deep in snow, less the trading goods be stolen. 

William married Violet Sterley, the 11th child of Edward James (1844-1912) and Sarah Ann (nee Holder) Sterley, both decedents of the 1820 Settlers, on the 4th November 1912. They had eight children, three boys, Errol Crawford (1918), Denis William (1926-1982) and NoŽl Keith (1931). The five girls were Linda (1913), Irene (l914-1971), Ena (1917), Atholie (1923-1999) and Valerie (1929).

William and Violet moved their family to Queenstown in 1933 where they set up home at No 14 Golf Road before moving to No 7 Reservoir Road.   At that time William was a Commercial traveller specialising in agricultural equipment for Lloyds of East London. During the war years (1939-1945) he managed the Hardware Department for Morums Departmental Store. After the war he returned to the agriculture field representing Massy Harris and Ferguson Tractors.  In 1948 he retired and became the Secretary for the Queen town Burial Board and caretaker of the Queenstown Cemetery until his death in 1964.

William married Cecile Wainwright, the daughter of Gerald and Johanna Wainwright on 24 Sept 1955 following the death of Violet on 25 Aug 1954.

William and Violet are buried in adjoining graves in the Methodist Section of the Queenstown Cemetery.

  Additional Notes: 

In his younger days William was an athlete of some repute achieving distinction as a middle distance runner. One of his great loves was bird shooting and he achieved something of a reputation as a Gun Dog trainer. 

In his later years William became a noted pigeon fancier and was regarded as being a foremost authority on Racing pigeons in the Homing Pigeon world, his racing birds winning many trophies over distances pf 100 to 1000 statute miles. He achieved notable success when one of his racing pigeons won the South African Grand National in which all Pigeon Racing Clubs in South Africa participated