(Information courtesy Milner Snell, curator Kokstad Museum).
Henry John Creighton was born in Suffolk in about 1865.* It is not clear when he came to South Africa but the first reference to him living in Natal dates to 1882, when he is described in the Natal Almanac as a clerk living at 26 Church Street in Pietermaritzburg. He would have been 17 years old at the time. From 1882 until 1892 Creighton is described in the Natal Almanac as a clerk. In 1893 he is referred to as an auctioneer working for Holliday & Co. of Church Street, Pietermaritzburg. In 1894 Creighton moved up to the Ixopo district and until the end of 1895 farmed on the farm Claybrook. In 1896 Creighton bought the farm Fairfield in the Rockvale area of Ixopo. There was a trading store on the farm and Creighton combined the professions of farmer and storekeeper. Rockvale was described in the Almanac as 'a prosperous stock-farming district between Stuartstown [Ixopo] and Highflats'. In 1901 Creighton bought a trading store on a farm called East Stranges.
Almost nothing is known about Creighton's early life or his time as a trader. It seems that he was from a well-connected English family. He donated two trophies to the Springvale Mission Station to be used as communion cups. The cups are about 30 cms high and are heavily engraved with flowers and scrolls with the words Creighton Rowing Club engraved across the centre. They were never used as communion cups as they were too embellished with engravings, which are unhygienic. The cups, therefore, were kept in the safe at Springvale and never used. They were later donated to the Ixopo Historical Society.**
In 1917 Creighton sold Fairfield to Strachan & Co. of Umzimkulu for £2.15.0 per acre. At the same time as buying Fairfield, Strachan & Co. leased the store on East Stranges which they later bought from Creighton.*** In 1936 Archibald & Co. leased the store on Fairfield with the option to buy. In 1942 Archibald & Co. bought Fairfield and East Stranges from Strachan & Co.**** By 1923 H.J. Creighton was living at 117 Alexandra Road in Pietermaritzburg. Creighton, who never married, died on 16 March 1930 at his home in Alexandra Road. In his death notice he was described as a retired farmer.
Dr. G.P. Theron in the Tokens of Southern Africa and their History and the Supplement to the Tokens of Southern Africa and their History mentions that he had seen H.J. Creighton tokens in the denominations 1/-, 2/- and 3d. He gives the following description of the 1/- token:
Brass, diameter 31mm
Obverse: Pierced at 12 o'clock and from that, anti-clockwise: 'H.J. CREIGHTON' 'IXOPO'. Below centre field a thin horizontal line with '136' stamped above this.
Reverse: A large '1/-', the downstroke to the right of the piercing. The other two are the same, with reverses exactly the same.
The tokens were issued between 1896 and 1912 and limited to the stores on Fairfield and East Stranges.
* Information on Creighton comes from his Death Notice in the Natal Archives
(ref. MSCE 15434/30) and his entries in the Natal Almanac from 1882 to
** The information about the cups was provided by Mrs Marie-Anne Mingay of Donnybrook in a letter dated 29 June 2006. Mrs Mingay points out that there might well be a connection between H.J. Creighton and Lady McCallun (nee Creighton) who was the wife of the Governor and after whom the village of Creighton is named.
*** Milner Snell, Strachan & Co. (PTY) Limited: Merchants and Importers, p. 65.
The only known H J Creighton token is a 1/- piece in the Allyn Jacobs collection