William Lewis arrived in Port Elizabeth on the 'Ealing Grove' on 19 March 1855. William had served an apprenticeship as a carpenter, but was referred to as a wood cleaver or carver of wood. There was a great demand for men who made and repaired wagons, and who manufactured wooden wheels and spokes.
William ran a business as a carriage and wagon builder in the Sundays River area, near Barclay Bridge, for a number of years, where he made furniture. During this time, he married Sarah Rudman in Port Elizabeth in 1867.
William Lewis was a wagon builder or cart maker from Uitenhage when he married in the presence of witnesses Joseph Lewis and Margaret Griffiths.
Early in 1874, William Lewis moved to 'Bracefield', the farm of William Watson, his brother-in-law who had married Emma Sophia Rudman, his wife's elder sister. After William Watson's death in 1875, William stayed on at Bracefield for approximately eleven years to assist his sister-in-law with farming operations, before he purchased Rock Vale farm.
He farmed firstly on a farm Klein Dirks Kraal, and for his last 15 years on Rock Vale near Middleton, Cape. William Lewis bought the farm on 29 September 1885. William built the stone houses on Rock Vale farm (unfortunately no longer in existence).
William Lewis assisted with the building of the Methodist church at
Russell Park (near Bracefield), by
doing all the woodwork for the roof, and by building the pulpit which is
still in use today.
1841 and 1851 Census information (PDF, 98 kB)
History of Rock Vale farm (PDF, 763 kB)
Rock Vale farm is situated on the N10 road that connects Port Elizabeth and
Cradock. It is 4km south of the village of Middleton, on the eastern side
of the road.
Coordinates: 32°59'07"S and 25°49'02"E, elevation 514m