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Charles Duncan

Soldier, Magistrate & Town Councillor

Keith Tankard
Updated: 14 October 2009
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It is with great sadness that we have to announce that the creator of The Labyrinth of East London Lore, Dr T., has passed away. Helping people through his website gave him no end of pleasure. If you had contact with him and would like to leave a message, please send us an e-mail here.

DEATH NOTICE: see the Cape Archives, MOOC 6/9/559, No 3429.
OBITUARY: see the Daily Dispatch, 19.10.1906, 20.10.1906 and 22.10.1906.

Charles Duncan Griffith was born in Grahamstown in September 1830 and was educated both there and in Cape Town.

He found himself involved in the War of the Axe as a Lieutenant in the Hottentot Levy. By 1848 he was a member of the Frontier Police where he commanded the Second Division which was stationed at Queenstown. He became Captain during the Mlanjeni War.

After the war, Griffith settled into more civic occupations, becoming Civil Commissioner and Magistrate of the District of Albert in 1858 and of Queenstown from 1859 to 1868.

In 1871 he was appointed the High Commissioner's Agent in Basutoland until 1877 when he again found himself in service and at the command of the Frontier Armed Mounted Police.

He thereupon fought in the Gcaleka War at the rank of Colonel in the Cape Mounted Guards.

He later became Commandant-General of the Colonial Forces but when the war ended, he returned to Basutoland until his retirement in 1881, at which stage he moved to East London.

Once at East London, Griffith became involved in commercial activities and for a time served as commissioner on the Harbour Board.

In 1888 he was elected to Parliament for the Tembuland constituency.

He became involved with the East London Town Council in November 1886 when he was elected to represent Ward 1 but resigned the seat in December because it was discovered that his rates were unpaid and his election was therefore "irregular". He was immediately re-elected.

He resigned in June 1889 to move to Cape Town but, on his return to East London, was re-elected to the Council in January 1895. He lost the election of February 1896.

Griffith died on 17 October 1906, at the age of 76. He was buried at East London.

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