Jacob Marthinus Hendrick Daly (1855-1931) and Barbara Magdalena Benjamina Daly (1857-unknown)

William Daly and Barbara Croeser had six children. Three children were born while they were living in Malmesbury: Johannes Gerhardus Lombard (1835), Ramsay L’Amy (1837) and Elsie Maria Sophia (1845). William Daly was determined to practise medicine in Malmesbury. In the meantime, as early as in 1836, they started negotiations to buy the farm Wilde Varkens Valley (spellings differ) near St Helena Bay from the widow Colyn. She is still shown as the owner in the following map:

Origin of map unknown

When new British regulations prevented William from practising as a doctor in Malmesbury, the family moved to this farm. It is likely that William Johannes (1847) was born soon after and then Jacob Marthinus Hendrik (1855) and Barbara Magdalena Benjamina (1857).

Wilde Varkens Valey (the name in use in the reference below) is a large property, close on 3,000 acres, part of which is now a national park. The remainder is a triangular piece of land that runs down to the beach on St Helena Bay close to the estuary of the Berg River. In those years this area was at the far limit of the Cape, verging on the wild interior. It is still perhaps not immediately appealing to everyone, but a haven for the naturalist. It has fynbos, a flat sandy beach and close by there are reedbeds with flamingos. The Bay is renowned for seafood and whale watching. In the dry season salt pans appear. Archaeological evidence exists of “visvywers”, tidal stone-built fish traps constructed by Khoi herders for seasonal fish supplies.[1] These can still be seen on the property.

William Daly trained as a ship surgeon and is likely to have spent many years at sea. A house overlooking the sea could well have healed his sense of rejection so that he could put his energies to work as a justice of peace into the new community. The sea food may have rewarded Barbara. In the present time Wilde Varkens has become a well-developed farm with stock and irrigated lands and the Dalys may have seen this potential back then.

William and Barbara died within five days of each other in 1866. There had been illness in the family because the liquidation files for William’s estate list medical consultation in 1865 with Dr Biccard from Malmesbury and the cost of medications. Wilde Varkens Valey was sold by public auction to Eerwaarde Pierre de Jong for £800. All other contents, including doctor’s instruments raised just over £117 but from this amount young Jacob Daly claimed £14 15s 6d as his own. Finally each child received £53 10s 3d.

At the time of William and Barbara’s deaths, the older children had left home. Johannes was married and living in Cape Town and had his own young child. Ramsay had married, moved to Potchefstroom, and his wife was about to give birth to their third child. Elsie had married and had a child. William was nearly 20 and old enough to be independent and he also seems to have made his way to Potchefstroom. That left Jacob at eleven years old and Barbara at nine. The troublesome question is what happened to these young orphans. The answer lies in the close family ties that the family maintained despite being great distances apart.

Jacob seems to have been an enterprising young man. He became the ward of Barbara’s brother, Johannes Gerhardus Lombard Croeser but Johannes himself died in February 1869 leaving a large family. Jacob took off. According to the accounts of Jacob’s son[2] he trekked to Cape Town and then, by mule and ox wagon, to the interior through Colesberg and Hope Town to Barberton and eventually to Kimberley. Here he worked a diamond claim, unsuccessfully, so he moved on to Potchefstroom. Ramsay, Jacob’s older brother, was a trader here and he would certainly have introduced him to his fellow shopkeeper John Reid. Jacob did well in trade in the Reid firm so the firm asked him to work for them in Zeerust. After a few years he set up on his own in this small town, founding Jacob Daly and Co.

Jacob was only 22 years old when he married 20 year old Sarah Jane Sephton, the daughter of 1820 Settlers and Wesleyan missionaries. Together they hand-built their house, fetching yellow wood planks and beams from Grahamstown by ox wagon. Jacob Marthinus Hendrik became Jacob Martin Henry and the Zeerust family dynasty was born.

Barbara Daly was younger than Jacob and a girl so her opportunities were limited. She settled in with her sister’s family, Elsie Maria Sophia married to Frederick Schenk. The Schenk family moved inland to Barkly West near Kimberley but were in close contact with the family in Potchefstroom. It was here that Barbara married John Roland Schikkerling from a local energetic and entrepreneurial family. Elsie Schenk was present as witness at many family events even in 1897 at the christening of Vera Ellen, Barbara and John youngest child, in Krugersdorp (a good distance away).

Before the Anglo-Boer War, probably by the late 1800s, the Daly family had dispersed, many moving into the interior. In J.A Heese’s book, Herkoms van die Afrikaner, 1657-1867 (The Origin of the Afrikaner), he lists William Daly and Barbara Croeser as progenitors of the Afrikaner people, despite William’s Irish origins and Barbara’s slave ancestry, both of which were recognised. This seems accurate, William certainly embraced the local culture, but only four of their children are recognised. Heese’s list does include Ramsay Daly and Catharina Rocher but we are left guessing about who the others may have been. Since these classifications are based largely on archival material of baptisms and marriages in the Dutch Reformed Church, it is possible that both Jacob and Barbara Schikkerling were seen as having changed both names and their allegiances to the Dutch church and culture and joined the English side of the divide. As it turned out later, this was not necessarily true. It was Barbara’s son, Roland William Schikkerling who told the story of his experiences, and that of other family members, as Boer soldiers in the Second Anglo-Boer War in the book Commando Courageous.

[1] WILDE VARKENS VALEY 48, 1992, Report by Archaeology Contracts Office, Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town. https://sahris.sahra.org.za/sites/default/files/heritagereports/9-2-016-0007-20050401-ACO_0.pdf

[2] Recollections from George, Jacob’s son, in a letter to his own daughter.