S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Harbor, Mr William A H (plant collection, climatology)

Born: 1857, Place not known.
Died: 9 April 1919, Malotwana, Botswana.

William A.H. Harbor was the owner of a sawmill, store and hotel at Mochudi Station (now Malotwana), about 15 km north of the settlement Mochudi, Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana). Despite a lack of water he cultivated a variety of trees and plants. He supplied specimens to Reverend F.A. Rogers*, while others went to the National Herbarium, Pretoria. In 1914 he and his wife presented a large number of plants from Botswana to the McGregor Museum, Kimberley, many of the species being new to its collection.

At the annual congress of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science held in Kimberley in 1914, Harbor read a paper on "The climate and conditions of the southern Bechuanaland Protectorate, as observed at Mochudi for a period of five years". Only the title of the paper was published in the association's Report for that year (p. 406). Around the same time he was one of many contributors of letters to a debate on "Is South Africa drying up?" in the Agricultural Journal of the Union of South Africa (1913-1914, Vol. 6-8).

Harbor's son, Cyril Cecil Harbor (1883-1940) also collected plants around Mochudi for Reverend Rogers, especially grasses. The species Pavetta harborii was named after him.

List of sources:

Bibliography of regional meteorological literature, Vol. 1. Southern Africa, 1486-1948 (compiled by R.J. Venter). Pretoria: Weather Bureau, 1949.

Gunn, M. & Codd, L.E. Botanical exploration of southern Africa. Cape Town: Balkema, 1981.

McGregor Museum. Annual Meeting; Curator's Report [for 1914]. In the Diamond Fields Advertiser (1915). Copy received from McGregor Museum.

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1914.

Compiled by: C. Plug