- Free State
Bultfontein is a small, quaint, town situated close to Stillerus, Protespan and Theunissen - where the R700, R708, R710 and R719 join - and forms part of a farming district with its own well-established golf course. The town was established in 1874 on one side of a huge farm called Kameeldoorns (Camel Thorns), while another town called Hoopstad was established on the other side.
Rumours had come to the ear of Cornelis du Plooy on his farm, Bultfontein, that north of him toward the Vaal river, men were picking stones out of the ground and selling them for money, sometimes getting more for one stone than a man would have to pay for a tract of land larger than his own wide stretch of brush and gravel. He had heard too that a lot of those restless Englishmen from the Cape Colony were already scratching and digging the earth in every direction in search of these stones that could be sold.
Stones for money
If stones could be sold for money, it behooved him to look into the matter, for there were plenty of them scattered all over his own morgen, where the goats and sheep picked a living. It would be easier to pick up stones than to raise hides and wool for the semi-annual trading trip to Grahamstown. So after some days of cogitation, he gathered a pocketful of pebbles, and in November 1869, carried them to the store of a Mr Hurley to see if he could learn what kind of stones they were which had drawn an army of invaders into the barren Boer settlements.
The scientist and geologist, Mr Draper, was there and he recognized a diamond among the stones Du Plooy had. Whether or not he disclosed this fact to the Boer farmer does not appear, but soon after Mr Hurley and some others bought the Bultfontein farm, began prospecting and formed the "Hopetown Company." Title to the land was afterwards conveyed to the London & South African Exploration Company, after disputes among former owners brought the case before the Land Commission in 1876.
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