- Historic Sites
Taking Sides In The Boer War
The United States remained officially neutral, but many Americans fought alongside both opposing armies and several became legendary heroes
April 1976 | Volume 27, Issue 3
Many did come to the United States, not just former prisoners of war but a number of “irreconcilables,” men who preferred exile to signing an oath of allegiance to the king. Francis Reitz, once president of the Free State and during the war State Secretary of the Transvaal, settled for a time in Texas, but he, like most of his comrades, eventually went back. There were some, however, who never returned. One Boer general, Ben ViIjoen, led a group of Boers to New Mexico. He wrote a book, An Exiled General , the proceeds of which went “for the benefit and amelioration of the many irreconcilable and destitute Boer families emigrating to the United States from South Africa.”
There may possibly still be surviJL vors of the war in America. One of those who took part in the capture of Churchill was alive here about a decade ago. For the most part, however, the Boer War (or, as the Afrikaners call it, the English War or the Second War of Independence) is almost forgotten, but evidence of our former interest remains in the names of small towns like Ladysmith, Wisconsin; Pretoria, Georgia; Kruger, Idaho, and Kruger, Pennsylvania; and towns in several states named Kimberley and Johannesburg. William Hallamore, who endured the siege of Kimberley and fought beside the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Paardeberg with a Canadian contingent, paid a more personal tribute to the war, naming his first three sons Argyle Paarteberg (the spelling was his own), Kimberley, and Kitchener; his first daughter he named Pretoria. All but Argyle Paarteberg are still living in the United States.