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history of the area

Glen Boyd offers both game viewing as well as historical interest. Historically rich in game and troubled with wars, this area is an adventurers delight. In 1811, a large body of Xhosa had crossed the Fish River, plundering and burning the homes of the farmers who had retreated to Uitenhage and Algoa Bay with their families and cattle. In October, Sir John Cradock, the Governor, appointed Col. John Graham to clear the frontier. This he accomplished by March 1812 and established military headquarters nearer the Fish River.

The site he chose was De Rietfontein, a loan farm formerly occupied by Lucas Meyer. In August 1812, the Governor decreed that it should also become the seat of the Deputy-Landdrost of Uitenhage and should be called Graham's Town in testimony of Col. Graham's achievements. The East Barracks, built to accommodate the Cape Regiment, were later extended and in 1835 re-named Fort England after Col. Richard England the commanding officer at the time.

The initial disasters of the war which commenced in march, 1847 were severe. Elands Post was abandoned. A strong punitive force under Col. Somerset which had pushed across the border of the Colony to Burn's Hill near Fort Cox, had to retreat to Block Drift but at the Keiskamma River crossing another heavy attack resulted in the loss of half of the 125 ox wagons carrying military stores. Peddie was invaded. In Lower Albany, Cuylerville, Bathurst and the fortified farmhouses were besieged. Refugees flocked to Grahamstown where the streets were barricaded.

Eventually Fort Peddie was relieved via Committees Drift and Trompetter's Drift and the Battle of the Gwanga ended in a resounding victory for the Colonial forces. The Glen Boyd house was used to accommodate the officers of the regiment.

The Military Villages.

At the end of the war discharged soldiers were encouraged to settle on the frontier and four military villages Woburn, Auckland, Johannesburg and Ely were established in and around the upper Tuymie valley. The experiment was not a success, more than half of the men moved away after about twelve months and the tragedy of 1850 put an end to these establishments.

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