Mary and Martha
(by Hendrik Strydom)
John Ayliff, born in London on 7 November 1797, died at Fauresmith in the Freestate 17t May 1862. John was an 1820 British settler, a member of Wilson’s Party, and arrived on board the La Belle Alliance.
John married Jane Dold on 25 June 1820 on board the HMS Menai by Captain Moresby as there was no marriage officer at Algoa Bay yet. The couple eventually had 9 children, including 5 sons. In 1827 John became a Wesleyan lay preacher under the well-known Rev William Shaw.
When the slaves were finally liberated after their apprenticeship ended on 1 December 1837, Reverends Shaw and Boyce purchased land near the source of the Zwart Kei River on the northern slopes of the Winterberg. Here they established Haslope Hills, a mission station aimed at the social rehabilitation of liberated slaves and displaced Thembu, Mfengu and Tambookie people. John Ayliff moved here in September 1839.
Haslope Hills was situated on the eastern slopes of what was then known as the Tweeling Berge (Twin Mountains). The Ayliff daughters decided the names of the biblical sisters Martha and Mary would be more appropriate. These mountains are known by those names to this day and have become the distinguishing landmark of Tarkastad.