Postal History, Postmarks
BECHUANALAND / Transvaal 1879 (1st May), incoming envelope from England bearing a QV 6d (SG 147, plate 16) tied by Huddersfield / 387 (1 May) duplex cancellation. Addressed to “Revd John Smith Moffat / Molepolole / Via Zeerust / Transvaal / Cape of Good Hope”. Showing a Cape Town (26 May) transit struck on the front and a POTCHEFSTROOM / ZUID AFRIKA (4 June) transit backstamp. The flap with repair, otherwise a rare item of early incoming mail which would have travelled into Bechuanaland via Zeerust and Linokana to Kanye utilising a service operated by missionaries based at Linokana in the ZAR and at Kanye in Bechuanaland. A rare example of early incoming mail, over six years before the territory was proclaimed a Protectorate on the 30th September, 1885.
Note: John Smith Moffat was born on the 10th March 1835 in Kuruman. He was the fourth son (of ten children) of the missionary Dr. Robert Moffat who had re-established a mission station at Kuruman in the early 1820s. He joined the London Missionary Society in 1858 and married Emily Unwin the same year and was the brother-in-law of David Livingstone. His father settled him at Inyati in 1859, where he lived for six years and helped start the first mission in Matabeleland. In 1865 he took over the running of his father’s mission in Kuruman and was the London Missionary Society's representative amongst the Bechuanas. In 1879 he resigned from the missionary society and joined the British colonial service. In 1884 he became the Assistant Commissioner to Sir Sidney Shippard in Bechuanaland. In early August 1888 he organised the Mafeking-Gubulawayo Runner Post between Bechuanaland and Matabeleland which covered nearly 500 miles.