History of Breypaal

2010/11/14 at 4:28 pm | Posted in History | 2 Comments

Situated in the Southern Free State, South Africa.  Our Farm is called Breipaal or Breypaal or Breijpaal .  On Maps you will see the spelling Breipaal.   It was developing as a town but the railroad was not built between Springfontein and Smithfield so with time the town died out.   The shop on the Farm was well known far and wide.  Farmers close to The town of Smithfield came to buy at the Breipaal shop.   There was a police station, a post office with a telephone exchange, School, Farrier shop, for the sports minded there were tennis courts and  a shooting range.  They even had there own badge for the sports teams.  There were many Rondawels on the farm which were the single quarters for the police to stay. 

The bellows from the Blacksmith

I have two sets of Journals from the Shop at Breipaal from 1908/1909 and 1916.    They make fascinating reading.

In 1909 a Mr GF Henning farm Badsfontein (Trompsburg) bought a saddle for 5 Pounds.

Boots could cost 17 shillings or two pairs for 8 shillings, an overcoat for One pound  five shillings.  The price of shoes or boots could differ this must be the quality you bought.

Five woolbags in 1909 12 shillings and six pennies.  A tin of paraffin two shillings and six pence. 

Tin of Zambuck one shilling and 9 pence.  Look since when you could get Zambuck and it is still a brilliant medication today.

A ledger entry  for Willem A Bouwer van Krugerskraal.   Balance brought forward in May 1908 he owed 195 pounds 15 shillings & 5p.   Had to his credit 143 pounds 7 shilling & 11p.    Sold 2 bales wool in Oct  for 13 Pounds 3 shilling & 9p then more wool in  Nov. to the shopkeeper for 53 pounds 18 shillings and six.    Sounds like he was doing well.  The ledger entry at end Nov. reads he owes R227 pounds 7/11 and has a Credit of 211 Pounds 3/8    This is pretty much the story throughout the ledger.  People that were big buyers would come and pay off but the outstanding amount was always there.

A lot of the accounts were for 9 pound, 6 pounds 19 pounds etc.  Then there were the big accounts.   This was most probably a reflection of the size of the farmers income from his farm.

Bought from John H Hattingh of Weltevrede 20 Merino Ewes for 20 pounds entry Oct 1908.

One bicycle tyre 18 shillings & six

3 flooring boards 6 shillings 9

One wash stand 10 shillings

In Dec 1908 a Mrs Botha from Oudam bought 48lbs sugar.  (must have had a lot of fruit?)  This farm is part of Breipaal today.

One pane of glass 9 pence.

1 Disselboom 16 shillings

Jan de Beer Ruspunt bought 28 Wagon  Spokes & 14  more on 19 Feb 1908 for 3 pounds 5 shillings and then on June 19 – one wagon Nail  for 2 pounds 5 shillings.

To read the entries of what farmers bought and the police stationed at Breypaal is interesting.  The farmers lived off the land.  The police  bought everything. There are entries for cheese, sausages, curry powder, matches, nugget, egg powder, paraffin, Baking powder, candles, matches, pickles, oatmeal, side of bacon, Soda, Sugar, tobacco, chutney, Cocoa, catsup, Mustard, Ham eggs, Sad Soap(wonder what sort of soap that was), coffee and so the list goes on.  From Jan to April their account stood at 13 pounds 19 and 5. 

The Post Office at Breipaal was advanced 3 pounds cash for stamps in Jan 1909. !!?? and then in Feb same – 3 shillings a 9 pence for stamps.

The price for sheep shears varied you could buy one pair for 11 shillings or 2 pairs for 8 shillings.

One halter for 5 shillings  A later entry a halter  for one  shilling 1p  This must have to do with size.

One horse brush 2 shillings 6 p

1 Saddle 4 pounds 10 shillings

One riding bit 3 shillings & six

Bridle 12 shilling 6

3 Iron sheets for one pound 2 shillings 6.

100lbs Mielie meal for 19 shillings & 6

There was also different quality mealie meal  available.  No2 was cheaper.

One peach peeler for 7 shillings 6

One tailored suit and trousers for 11 pounds 1 shilling.

One tin bucket for 1 shilling 6

Milk bucket 12 shilling 6

One thing this shop carried stock.   Quite a lot of capital to keep so much stock and carry everyone on the books.

Someone needed a tyre and tube (bicycle) which was 16 shillings & six and 7 shillings & 6 and 2 shillings postage.

In Feb 1911 a Miss Hoffman bought a sewing machine for 4 pounds 15 shillings and then in Oct another machine for the same and paid cash.  Wonder if she did needlework for other people?

The oldest picture of Breipaals Shop that I have

Family Van Aswegens who shopped at the Breipaal Shop

This photo was supplied to me By Piet van Aswegen from the neighbouring farm De Bad.   It was his Grandmother sitting in the chair right hand side and two of her sons and the others we don’t know and the shopkeepers.

George Brookes buried on Breipaal

Brookes was the owner of Breipaal and also ran the shop in 1908 to 1916.  Brookes was a relative of the Ward family.    Wally’s Grandfather Walter William Ward bought the farm from the Widow Brookes.

Breypaal's Mailbag

The canvas Mailbag with copper plate with the farm name on.    This bag was delivered with the Bus that went from Smithfield to Edenburg every Friday. It was a service of the South African Railway Service.    You could send your Livestock with bus to Edenburg Station, they would just hitch the trailer.   You could also have your wool delivered to Edenburg or taken to East London Harbour  to the wool stores.  


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  1. I am absolutely delighted to have found this most interesting and informative post. Edward Arthur George Brookes was a brother of my grandfather Alexander Yorick Brookes. I came across this post whilst doing some family history research. I had found elsewhere that E A G Brookes was buried at Breipaal and was planning a trip this year (close to Easter time) to visit his grave. A big question in my mind in this regard is; where to get permission and help to find my way to the grave. I would be delighted if the writer of this article could be of help in this regard.

    • Glad you found the website interesting. Look forward to the possibility of meeting you.

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