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Sir Joseph Benjamin Robinson Bt

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 30 SEPTEMBER

30 September 1872, Ernest Moses horse-whipped by JB Robinson.
30 September 1904, Lord Roberts visits Kimberley for the last time.
30 September 1920, City Engineer Thomas Cullen retires after 40 years in the position.
30 September 1934, Kimberley Air Rally begins.

DID YOU KNOW

Ernest Moses was a practising dentist in early Kimberley. In fact, at the time he was horse-whipped by JB Robinson, the settlement was known as New Rush.

Like many in those early days Moses tried his hand at various ventures other than his chosen trade, these including writing a newspaper column and running a part-time diamond buying business.

JB Robinson was not a timid man by any means and Ernest Moses had offended him twofold. Firstly, he had been sold a “dud” diamond by Moses, and secondly, and of much more concern to Robinson, he had been defamed by the erstwhile reporter in his newspaper column. Not one to sit back, Robinson did not have long to wait and on 30 September 1872, the short in build Ernest Moses walked past Robinson’s offices just off Market Square.

Seizing a horse whip the much larger Robinson rushed out, grabbed Moses and whipped him a few times. Moses broke and ran away but Robinson gave chase succeeding in delivering a few more very well placed slashes with the whip. Fist fights were common in those days but being horse whipped in public was not.

Over the next few days and weeks the various newspapers reported on the incident and its aftermath with much enjoyment, and the diggers too followed the story with much glee. Moses threatened to sue Robinson, and Robinson was going to counter sue. The newspapers tended to favour Robinson because of the “dud” diamond as it was not generally accepted to try and cheat on any diamond deal, but Robinson was not that popular among his fellow diggers. It was an enthralling few weeks.

The case did not reach court as the parties came to an out of court agreement. Moses apologised to Robinson, and Robinson apologised to Moses. It was a damp ending to what everyone believed would be an explosive court case.

Robinson would go on to become a multi-millionaire randlord, and become Sir Joseph Benjamin Robinson Bt, but Ernest Moses had had his five minutes of fame (or infamy), and he quietly disappeared from history. He had moved to Bloemfontein in 1875 and was still there as a prominent member of the town’s Jewish community in 1893.

(Pictured is JB Robinson).

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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