On a walk along Route 67 the other day I popped into St Mary’s Cathedral and was reminded that the original gravestone of Captain Francis Evatt was located in the entrance area of the church. Something a lot of people probably didn’t know.
Captain Evatt was commander of Fort Frederick from 1817 until his death in 1850 and is often called the Father of Port Elizabeth because of the role he played in the early years of the town’s development. Among the things he did was to oversee the landing of the British Settlers in 1820 and he laid the foundation stone of St Mary’s Church in 1825. After his death on 21 March 1850 he was given a military funeral in the Congregational Cemetery in Russell Road.
Evatt’s remains were moved to a spot outside the Fort in 1956 and a replica gravestone was erected, with the original being placed in St Mary’s Cathedral.