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George Zoroaster

Butcher, Entrepreneur & Town Councillor

Rod Wise
Updated: 14 October 2009
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DEATH NOTICE: see the Cape Archives, MOOC 6/9/374, No 658.
OBITUARY: see the Daily Dispatch, 31.1.1898.

George Zoroaster Ulyate was born at sea in 1820 of parents who were emigrating to the Cape Colony as part of the 1820 Settler scheme. Indeed, he was partially named after the Zoroaster, the ship which brought him to the Cape.

The Zoroaster departed London in February 1820, and arrived at Table Bay in April 1820, then sailed on to Simon's Bay. The family members on board were his father, Henry Ulyate (38), his mother Lucy and their family.

These were Jane (3), Lucy (15), Mary (6), John (7), William (8), Henry (4), Sarah (4) and himself, an infant of two months. They were members of a party of 75 people organised by a man called Wait. The party was known as "Wait's Party".

In Simon's Bay they transferred to a vessel called the Albany, which departed in May 1820 and arrived at Algoa Bay in the same month. The party was located at the source of the Ghio stream which was later known as Belton. The party dispersed early.

Henry Ulyate, the father, was a tanner, the son of William and Sarah Ulyate. He was baptised in London at St Andrew's Church, Holborn, on 25 December 1780. He had four children: Jane (3), Mary (6), and twins Henry and Sarah, before he met Lucy Finnaughty and decided to emigrate.

Henry was appointed the gaoler in Grahamstown from 1 January 1828, with his wife, Lucy, as the matron. He died on 25 May 1856, aged 77 years 6 months.

Lucy Finnaughty, Henry's wife, had been married to John Finnaughty, who went to London from Ireland with his mother during the 18th century. Lucy was born on 18 December 1784 as Lucy Mouls, the sister of William Mouls of Hampstead, Middlesex. She had three children by her first husband: Lucy, John and William. Lucy died on 7 January 1848.

Lucy Finnaughty, the daughter of John and Lucy Finnaughty, was born on 11 July 1804. She married Robert Featherstone on 16 April 1822 at Grahamstown. She died on 7 March 1874 (aged 89 years 8 months) at her daughter's house in Grahamstown.

John Henry Finnaughty, the seven year old boy on the boat, was baptised on 16 January 1812 at St Pancras, London. He married Ann Cowie on 19 October 1835 at Grahamstown. They had four children. He died on 21 October 1858 at Grahamstown, aged 48.

William Finnaughty was born in 1811 and married Elizabeth Rebecca Mundell on 22 September 1836 at Grahamstown.

Mary Anne Ulyate, the six year old girl on the boat, was born in 1814. She married Thomas Corbett on 8 November 1854.

Henry Ulyate, one of the twins, married a girl called Amelia. They lived at Palmiet River, near Grahamstown. A child was baptised on 23 February 1840 at Bathurst.

Sarah, the other twin, and Jane have not been found in any records.

Ann Ulyate was born in 1822 near Grahamstown. She married Henry Thomas Lloyd, a shopkeeper in Campbell St, Fort Beaufort . She died on 11 April 1855, aged 33.

George Zoroaster Ulyate's early years were spent at Grahamstown. He took part in the early frontier wars before settling in the Queenstown district where he became a municipal councillor but eventually moved to East London in 1877 and opened a butchery in Panmure in January 1877.

He later became a partner in the firm Ulyate and Masters, general merchants, drapers and outfitters, with shops in Station and Terminus Streets. When the partnership dissolved, Ulyate carried on the grocery business. He also owned a wool and produce buyers in Station and Oxford Streets.

Ulyate was the first person to acquire land at the Beach on the East Bank and he built a row of cottages along the sea front at Quanza Terrace.

In June 1879 he was elected to the Council to represent Ward 2. He stood down after his retirement on rotation in February 1880 but briefly re-entered the Council in February 1881 as a member for Ward 3. He resigned in December that year.

Ulyate's last four years of life were spent in total blindness. He eventually died of a haemorrhage of the brain on 28 January 1898, at the age of 78. He was buried at East London.

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