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Josias Edward De Villiers

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Josias Edward De Villiers ( -1898)

1899 Obituary [1]

JOSIAS EDWARD DE VILLIERS was born in Stellenbosch, Cape Colony, and at an early age, in 1862, was admitted, by examination, a Government Surveyor of the Cape Colony. This admission was subsequently extended, by the action of the respective Governments, to the Orange Free State, Griqualand West and the Transvaal.

In 1862 he settled in the Orange Free State, where he practised for sixteen years, after which he went to Johannesburg and, soon acquiring considerable wealth there, retired from the profession. Mr. de Villiers was for many years a member of the Free State Volksraad, and was much esteemed and respected.

Shortly after the discovery of the Kimberley Diamond Mines a dispute arose as to the boundary line between Griqualand West and the Orange Free State. Mr. de Villiers was appointed by the Free State Government to determine the disputed boundary line, and, together with Major-General Sir Charles Warren, R.E., he carried out the trigonometrical survey for that purpose. The boundary line thus fixed was approved and accepted by the British and Free State Governments, and Mr. de Villiers received the thanks of Lord Carnarvon, on behalf of the British Government, and a vote of thanks from the Free State Government, for the important and valuable service he had rendered.

In 1881 and 1882 he located and made a detailed survey of a line of railway between the Orange River Bridge, near Colesberg in the Cape Colony, and Bloemfontein, the chief town of the Orange Free State.

Mr. de Villiers settled at Sea Point to enjoy a life of cultivated leisure. His principal hobby was astronomy, and latterly be spent a large sum of money in erecting in his grounds a new observatory, fitted with the best and latest appliances. He also had a taste for art, and was a most pleasant companion and one of the most social of men. He was killed in a railway accident in August, 1898.

Mr. de Villiers was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 6th December, 1887.

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