Elizabeth Johnson, cook, Barberton South Africa 1800s

Elizabeth Johnson Beverley, Barberton South Africa 1800s

Not much is known about Elizabeth.  Her family came to South Africa from England, Scotland and Ireland with the 1820 settlers.

She had red hair, & blue eyes.  She loved God & wild flowers, there are many tiny blooms pressed between the pages of her bible.  She is seen here sitting on the side on of a well, but we don’t know whether this was in Barberton, where she worked as a cook, or whether it was taken elsewhere.  (more under the ‘photo)


Elizabeth Johnson married Ernest Glen Beverley in Barberton.

Elizabeth was a formidable Christian woman of her times, & she disliked alcohol with as much passion as the miners loved it.  She demanded respect, & was known to chase rough talking &/or drunk miners with her broom if her polite reprimands  went unheeded.

She died aged 36, along with her unborn child (She was around 4 months pregnant), & left at least one other, an 18 month old baby who would later become my good friend’s mother.

The malaria that killed her & sadly took many lives,  quickly developed into black water fever.  She is remembered today by her descendants who would love to know more about her.


Ernest Glen Beverley

Ernest was Elizabeth’s husband.  Here is what he know about him:

Ernest Glen Beverley was born in Edinburgh & left to join his family in Barberton, South Africa,  as a child.  Part of the family had already migrated to Barberton  during the 1820 trek.

As a young child, Ernest lost both of his parents to the  malaria that would take his wife.

Orphaned, he & his siblings moved to join family in the Groot Mariko.  He later heeded the call  & survival opportunities offered by the mining industry & returned to Barberton to seek his fortune. It’s there that he met & married Elizabeth.

Let me know if you have any tales that might be worth telling about ordinary people.  I would like to highlight from different times, places & social statuses during the era covered by GWT.

Photograph used with kind permission Avril Aikman-Stoddart.  All rights reserved.