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William Lance

Attorney, Publisher, Town Councillor & Mayor

Keith Tankard
Updated: 14 October 2009
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DEATH NOTICE: see the Cape Archives, MOOC 6/9/1182, No 2872.
OBITUARY: see the Daily Dispatch, 17.9.1918.

William Fuller Lance was born in Dunstable (Bedfordshire) on 19 April 1853. He came to the Colony in 1874 and settled at East London.

He was a man with diversified business interests. He was an attorney by profession, being a partner in the firm Lance and Wakefield, attorney, public notary and conveyancer, situated in Mutual Hall.

In November 1876 he went into partnership with Thomas Goodwin to create the firm Lance, Goodwin & Company which owned the East London Dispatch and served as a bookseller, printer and stationer.

The partnership dissolved in June 1877 with Lance taking over the entire concern, known simply as W.F. Lance & Company.

He became a Justice of the Peace for the East London Division in May 1888.

Lance was elected to the Town Council to represent Ward 3 in February 1881 but resigned in August that year so as to take up the position of Town Solicitor which he held until June 1886.

He thereupon stood again for Council which forced him to relinquish his legal position in the municipality. He was re-elected in February 1887 but resigned his seat in April 1889 after he had already departed for Johannesburg.

He served one term as Mayor in 1888.

In early 1889 Lance moved to Johannesburg where he established himself as a solicitor and notary but maintained a close connection with East London, visiting the port often and giving advice through the newspapers on much needed improvements for the town.

During the Anglo-Boer War he took refuge at East London but returned to Johannesburg in 1901 to work for the Red Cross Office. He served later as chairman of the Transvaal University College.

After the war he was elected to the Transvaal Legislative Assembly to represent Jeppe and in 1910 was elected to the first Union Senate.

Lance died at Kalk Bay on 15 September 1918, at the age of 65.

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