Third Generation Children born to Joseph & Adela Charlotte Hazelhurst

Joseph 1860 Portrait

Parents: Edward and Anne Hazelhurst

Birthday 1 January 1860 in Boston, was named after his maternal grandfather,  Joseph Holgate.

Died 5 September 1949 at the age of 89 years.

At the start of their married life, Joseph’s parents Edward and Anne had travelled to many places including:  Woodside, Karkloof, Howick area where they opened an inn – accommodation house – until 1864.

In 1867 the family moved to Pongola

In 1868 the family moved to Marthinus Wesselstroom (later to be renamed to Wakkerstroom)


Joseph’s Youth

Joseph grew up in this newly founded village where he had freedom to play, climb and hunt in the lush veld, vlei’s and mountains.  He developed into a physically strong young man 6’7” tall. He never shaved off his beard, and at the age of 12 years he began smoking a pipe.  He never touched strong alcohol, but on special occasions, he would have a beer-shandy.   Because he was a tall strong man, he became known as “Big Joe”.


Association with Indigenous People

Joseph was popular with the indigenous black people of the Zulu and Swazi Tribes, They gave him the name of “big feet” because he wore a size 12 shoe.  They called him “Masondo Ndlovu”, an affectionate name meaning Elephant Feet.

At a Royal Zulu dwelling near Amersfoort, the Zulu headman, Solomon, appointed Joseph to be the ‘white chief’. Later, Charles Edward, his eldest son, succeeded his father in this capacity.  He was called “Thanda Bantu”, which means ‘one who gets on well with black indigenous people.

Every second month a group of Zulu people would come to Joseph’s home at 45 Vlei Street, Wakkerstroom, for an official meeting to discuss important issues of mutual interest – a so-called  Xoxa Indaba.  The Zulu people would gather in the garden while Joseph and the ringkop chief sat on chairs facing each other. In the surrounding garden, about 40 men, sitting on their haunches, waited patiently.  Their discussions were never disclosed to the womenfolk.

Joseph 18 years old

Traveler’s Inn

Edward, his father, had opened the Traveler’s Inn Hotel in the town, and Big Joe could be relied upon to be there where he assisted with the administration and guests.  He soon excelled at playing billiards!

The war years: 1880 – 1881 Won by the Boers, 1899-1902, won by the British.

Big Joe Imprisoned By the British

Wakkerstroom had its birth in the Boer congregation.  When Edward and his family arrived the Boer community was infiltrated by British people.

Big Joe never involved himself in the politics between the Anglo Forces and the Boers, and it is said that in 1900 the British Forces interned him in the Newcastle prison.  While he was there, his son Alfred was born. Big Joe amazed the British Officers with his skill at playing billiards, and his physical strength. He was released on legal grounds. In the same year his son Charles was interned by the British in Durban Harbour.

Free at last – back to Wakkerstroom

After being released he returned home and was subsequently appointed a Town Ranger in Wakkerstroom, during that time he planted lanes of weeping willow trees along the entrance roads to the town, some of which can still be seen today. He and Henry Hilder, his brother-in-law, enjoyed sitting on the veranda, seriously discussing world affairs while puffing on their Calabash pipes.

Joseph joined the Free Mason Institution

Joseph was a very loyal Free Mason and served as a Warden on the Wakkerstroom lodge for many years.



Big Joe married Adela Charlotte nee Hilder.  Her birthday 8 December 1861. Died 19 August 1916. 

Her father, Charles Henry Hilder, was a gunsmith/missionary, born 19 July 1825, died 10 June 1920.

Her mother, Adela Sarah Hilder born 10 July 1842, died 1 December 1884.

Adela gave birth to her first child when she was 20 years old, altogether birthing 14 children.  The last one was born when she was 51 years old!


Joseph - Free Mason
Their house in Wakkerstroom
Another view of the house
Big Joe in his buggy taking children for a ride
Big Joe & Joseph Aubrey

Third Generation Children born to Joseph & Adela Charlotte Hazelhurst

  1. Charles Edward Hazelhurst born 1881
  2. Adela Sarah Hazelhurst born 1882
  3. Anne Charlotte Hazelhurst born 1886
  4. Albert Maurice Hazelhurst born 1887
  5. Ada Emmeline Hazelhurst born 1891
  6. Lillian Emma Hazelhurst born 1894
  7. Edward Hazelhurst born 1895
  8. Joseph Hazelhurst born 1897
  9. James Henry Hazelhurst born 1899
  10. Alfred Ernest Hazelhurst born 1900
  11. Ivy Elaine Hazelhurst born 1907
  12. Walter Douglas Hazelhurst born 1908
  13. John Alexander Hazelhurst born 1911
  14. Olive Hazelhurst born 1912
1907 Father, Edward Hazelhurst, died and was buried in Pretoria
1911 Mother, Anne Hazelhurst, died and was buried in Barberton

Big Joe died on 5 September 1949 aged 89 years. He was buried in Wakkerstroom

Adela Charlotte, the first tombstone erected on her grave was engraved, somewhat unsympathetically, “Here lies Charlotte: She did what she could”. 

This stone was replaced and the final epitaph read “PEACE, FOREVER, PEACE”, which she surely deserved. 19 August 1916 Buried in  Barberton

Joseph's grave
Adela's grave
Big Joe & Daughters
Big Joe & sons

We estimate that this photo was taken in 1916.

Back Row: Albert, James, Joseph

Middle Row: Charles; Big Joe, Edward

Front Row: Alfred, Walter and John sitting on Big Joe’s lap



Close Menu