SIR JOHN WILLIAM AKERMAN, K.C.M.G., formerly Speaker of the
Legislative Council of Natal, I. at Plymouth, 16th August, 1825 ;
m. first, 28th June, 1850, Jane, daughter of C. STAXTIAL, of Corsham, and has
i. James, l>. 1852, d. in infancy.
I. Susan, b. 1854, d. in infancy.
n. Elizabeth Charlotte, 6. 16th October 1855, m. December 1878,
Thomas Daniel BARRY, M.L.A., of Lismorc, Swellendam, Cape
Colony, who d. October 1890.
Ill. Catherine, i. 1856, d. in infancy.
Sir John m. secondly, 3rd January 1878, Emma Elizabeth, daughter of W.
H. BRUIIHY, of Bath, and by her had issue,
ii. Conrad, b. 8th October 1878.
Sir J. W. Akerman embarked at Plymouth in the " British Tar," bound for Natal, and arrived there in September, 1850, and is one of the few survivors of the English colonists of that early period, the real founders of the colony's fortunes. He took up his abode amongst the Dutch inhabitants of the upper districts of the colony for the purpose of acquiring knowledge of their method of farming, their language, and their modes of thought, an acquisition that proved of great use to him in after years. In 1855, he removed to Pietermaritzburg, and turned his attention to the profession in which he had been trained for eleven years in the mother country, where he was one of the foundation associates of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.
He retired from business in 1875, and devoted himself entirely to public life. He sat from 1857 to 1862 as member of the Municipal Corporation of Pietermaritzburg, and was mayor of that city for one year, when he founded the Alexandra Park, and carried out other important town improvements. He sat for Pietermaritzburg in the Legislative Council almost continuously from 1862 to 1892, and was one of its most active members and a leader of a large party in that house, and is identified with all the great legislative measures of those years.
In 1870 he was summoned to the Executive Council, and was the first elective member so honoured. He was appointed a justice of the peace in 1863 for Pietermaritzburg, and subsequently for the whole colony. In October 1880, he was elected Speaker, and was re-elected on four other occasions. His tenure of this office extended to nearly twelve years. He represented Natal at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in 1886, and was created a K.C.M.G. in the following year, being the first Natal colonist, holding only an elective office, so honoured by Her Majesty.
Sir John has been president, vice-president, or committeeman in most of the public institutions of the colony, including the Natal Society, the Natal Rifle Association, the Botanic Society, and many others. He has served on almost all the important commissions of his colony. Sir John started, during the war, the " Zulu War Relief Fund " and the " Sick and Wounded Fund," and succeeded in collecting nearly 8,000 from Natal, the adjacent states, and Mauritius,