Mary/Marion (Weldon) Lindsay Toole

Among all of our closer relatives, probably the most colourful name was that of my great-aunt Mary /Marion/Marianne Weldon / Lindsay O’Toole /Stomm / Carr – and her life was at least as interesting.

Mary, as she was called by her family, was the youngest child of the ten children of Matthew Weldon and Catherine Quinn. She was born in Port Elizabeth in 1880, just a year later than my grandfather, John Charles Weldon. A confusing feature when I first came across her, was that she was not the only Mary Weldon of the family. There had been another some born years earlier, who had died aged just four or five. In keeping with common practice, the name was later repeated with another daughter. (My grandfather John Charles was likewise the second John in the family. John Flood Weldon had died when less than a year old).

Mary was just ten when her father Matthew died, but even while he was alive she is unlikely to have seen too much of him. After a colourful life of his own, Matthew had spend the last years of his life as a transport rider, serving especially the new malaria ridden gold fields in the Eastern Transvaal. There, he died in 1990, a mining camp called French Bob, near Barberton. After his death, his widow Catherine relocated to East London up the coast, presumably taking with her those of the children who had not yet left home – including Mary, and probably John Charles.

Ten years later, still only about twenty, she suffered two further bereavements. Early in 1990, her older brother Patrick Matthew died at Spioenkop (Natal), fighting for the British in the Anglo Boer War. A few months later, her mother also died, aged about sixty..

Just a couple of years later, in April 1902 she Charles Lindsay-Toone, who was then a lieutenant (presumably in the British army). Sometime within the next ten months, they must have made the move to England, because in February the following year, the birth was recorded of their daughter, Enid Rylda Aileen Lindsay – Toone, in Addlstone, Surrey. (Addlestone is just the neigbouring town to Woking, where I lived for a time early in my time in the UK).

However, the marriage did not last. In 1914 she divorced Charles and in 1917 married the rather grandly named Count Paul William John Augustin Stomm, and by the following year they were living in a property near Guildford called “Shoelands“, which is now a listed building. I have no information on the issues around the divorce and remarriage, but suspect it may have had something to do with her acting career, and the relative status of the two men concerned: on the one hand, an army lieutetant, on the other, a “count” (at least, as described in a note in the National Portrait Gallery).

At some point after her arrival in England, but before the divorce, Mary (who by now preferred to be known as “Marion”, began an acting career – described in some sources, as in “musical theatre”. There is confirmation of this in the National Portrait Gallery, which has in its “Theatre and live entertainment” collection, three photographs of Marion Lindsay Toole. On Ancestry UK, the Shaw Halett family tree states that she :

 Went on stage as Miss Marion Lindsay. Was one of the original Gibson Girls. 13 of the most beautiful women in England. [In the production, Gaiety Girls]

The National Portrait Gallery has three photographs in its “theatre and live entertainment” collection.

Elsewhere, there is a pencil sketch by Norman Lindsay of the “Gaiety Girls”. It’s fair to say this is somewhat risque, rather than mainstream serious theatre.

Artwork by Norman Lindsay, Gaiety Girls, Made of pencil drawing

Her marriage to Stomm ended with his death in 1923 , Many years later, she married again, to Phillip Carr in 1944.

Ten years later, in 1954 shee died in Richmond, Surrey,

EmmaWilliamson, world traveller?

My grandmother, Sarah Williamson Sussens, came from a long line of what she referred to as “Cape Dutch”. As a child during the Anglo Boer War, she had been held in one of the notorious concentration camps. Her father, Jan Gerrit Bantjes and grandfather had been taken prisoner by the British at Paardeberg, in the same war. Later, he was influential in introducing the Apostoliese Geloofsending (Apostolic Faith Mission) church to the Transvaal Republic. A great uncle, Jan Gerrit Bantjes, is credited with having made the first significant gold reef on the Witwatersrand, two years before the discovery of the main reef in 1886. At least two streets in Johannesburg carry her maiden name – Bantjes Avenue in Discovery, and Bantjes Streeet in Benrose. Earlier, her great-great-grandfather had played a prominent part in the Great Trek.

Among the other lines of her ancestry are numerous other familiar Afrikaans names. Her mother was a Swanepoel,, her grandmother a Kruger. great-grandmothers were a Viljoen and a Nienaber. Earlier still, there had been Venters, Vorsters, Joostens and more. So how did this woman of such clearly Afrikaner stock come to have such a distinctly English name – Sarah Williamson Sussens? The story begins with Emma Williamson (1828 – 1878), a woman who seems to have been remarkably well travelled for the mid-19th century. To get there, I’ll work backwards from my grandmother.

The “Sussens” is easily explained. Sarah Williamson Bantjes married Clarence Sussens, who although born in South Africa had English grandparents. Sarah’s paternal grandmother shared her first names, Sarah Williamson , with the surname Frantz: still not Afrikaans, but also not English. That’s because it was German in origin. Sarah Williamson Frantz got her middle name from her mother, Emma Williamson, who was born in Derbyshire, England, in 1828.

At some stage (assuming my sources are sound, which I cannot yet guarantee), she found herself in the Eastern Cape, and married to Alexander Adam Frantz, whose parents were From Dresden, Germany – a reminder that there was a wave of 19th century German immigration to the Cape in addition the better known and more numerous British waves. Adam Alexander was caught up in the Eastern Cape Eigth Frontier War, the most costly of a long series of conflicts between the European settlers and the indigenous Xhosa people. He died on 19th February1851, according to his death certificate, “killed in battle against Kaffers” in the vicinity of Addo.

,The following year she remarried, to Jules Caesar Franck. Some family trees on Ancestry UK state that she travelled with him to the USA, and later died in Lichtenburg, Bavaria, Germany, If true, this would indicate a remarkable extent of travel for the time: England to the Eastern Cape, later to the USA, and finally to Germany. However, these can all be discounted. Although there does exist a Lichtenberg in Bavaria, the spelling given on these trees is Lichtenburg – which is located in the North West Province, South Africa. There is also another Ancestry tree with what appears to be much more plausible story. This lists, complete with dates and places, the birth of ten children to Emma and Jules – all born in South Africa, initially in the Eastern Cape, later in Rustenburg, North West Province.

The Bantjes Mines

Jan Gerritze Bantjes (1817 – 1887)

Jan Gerritze Bantjes (1865 – 1933)

Jan Gerritze Bantjes 1869 – 1933

Born  in Rustenburg, Transvaal, South Africa

ANCESTORS ancestorsSon of Bernhard Louis Bantjes and Sarah Williamson (Frantz) Bantjes;

Brother of Alexander Adam Bantjes [half];

Husband of Lourike Christina (Kroep) Bantjes — married 2 Feb 1889 in Nylstroom, Waterberg, Transvaal, South Africa

Jan and Lourika had two children- Lourika Christina and Bernard Louis. His wife Lourika died November 9 1891.

He married Dorothea Maria Bantjes (Born Swanepoel) in October 1892. They had twelve children together- making a total of fourteen when counting Jenneken and Bernard from his first marriage.

In 1900 Jan was captured at the Battle of Paardeberg during the 2nd Anglo Boer War. He was sent to a Prisoner of War camp in Ceylon at Diyatalawa at the age of 36.

Jan Gerritze Bantjes was friendly with John G Lake, the Apostle of faith who came to SA and started the AFM church (Apostolic Faith Mission or AGS- Apostoliese Geloofsending- in Afrikaans). In a country humiliated and impoverished by the Anglo-South African War of 1899-1902, a spiritual awakening became evident in 1908. As no existing church welcomed the revival in their ranks, John G. Lake and Thomas Hezmalhalch started a new movement, the AFM in May 1908. Jan was instrumental in helping this church to grow.

He died of pleural effusion and heart failure on May 22, 1933, in Ventersdorp, South Africa, at the age of 68.

He was a house painter.

Source: Anglo Boer War Museum 2016 Boer Forces

Jan Gerritze Bantjes 1817 – 1887

b. 08 July 1817, Graaf-Reinet, the third child and eldest son of Bernard Louis Bantjes and Isabella Johanna Swanepoel.

Jan’s father, Bernard Louis Bantjes had a trading store and a farm in the Nieuwveld district of the town and was quite prosperous.

Jan Gerritze joined the Voortrekkers at Thaba Nchu on New Year’s Day.1837 and accompanied Andries Pretorius as his secretary. In this capacity he kept the journal of the “winkommando”. His most important legacy is the manuscript of the treaty between Piet Retief and Zulu King Dingane in his handwriting. Bantjes also served the Voortrekkers in a teaching capacity, and the later presidents Paul Kruger and Marthinus Wessel Pretorius received their first education from him.

In 1839 he settled in Pietermaritzburg as a lawyer, but returned to the Cape Colony in 1840. In 1848 he acted as teacher and “Clerk of the Church Council” at Fauresmith. He became a teacher in Potchefstroom in 1865 where he died in 1887 at the home of his eldest son, also Jan Gerritze.

The Bantjes Line.

Sarah Williamson Sussens was born Sarah Bantjes, from a long line going back to the mid 18th Century in the Cape, and before that to at least 16th Century Holland.

Jan Gerritze Bantjes, Sarah Sussens’ father.

The story begins with claims of a sizeable family fortune in Holland (the “Bantjes Millions”), and ends with a notable contribution to the early history of gold mining on the Witwatersrand.

In between, their pattern of migration across South Africa mirrors that of Dutch/Afrikaans settlement and migration as a whole. Beginning with a move from Holland to the Cape, they were initially established in Paarl, later moving to Graaf-Reinet in the Eastern Cape. From there, they joined the Great Trek on their movement into the interior, accompanying Piet Retief into Natal, where they were involved in the Battle of Blood River. Later they moved again, into the Transvaal, where two members were involved in the Boer War – and Sarah herself was interned as a child in one of the notorious “concentration camps”.

The full line of Bantjes descent, as far as it can be traced, comprises

  • Jan Bantjes ? – ?
  • Gerrit Bantjes (b. 1595, Holland – ?)
  • Jan Bantjes (b. 1640 Holland – 1710, Holland)
  • Gerrit Bantjes (b. 1667, Holland, – 1735, Holland)
  • Jan Bantjes (b. 1700– 1779, Amsterdam)
  • Jan Geert Bantjes(b. 1737 Paarl, – 1759-?)
  • Jan Gerrit Bantjes (b. 1759, Cape of Good Hope – 1794 Paarl )
  • Bernhard Louis Bantjes (b.1788 – ?)
  • Jan Gerritze Bantjes (b.1817, Graaf-Reinet – 1887, Potchefstroom)
  • Bernard Louis Bantjes (b.1839 Pietermaritzburg?-1911 Bethal)
  • Jan Gerritze Bantjes, (b. 1865 Rustenburg– 1933, Ventersdorp)
  • Sarah Williamson Bantjes (b. 1893, Rustenburg – 1971, Jhb)

The Bantjes Millions

The Bantjes Mines

Jan Gerritze Bantjes (1817 – 1887)

The Bantjes Mines

In 1881, the first significant discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand was made by a descendant of the Bantjes, Jan Gerrit Bantjes (1843 – 1914), at Kromdraai, 21 miles north west of the centre of Johannesburg. It was this find that first attracted to the Witwatersrand a number of prospectors and mining men. Later, accompanied by his brother H. Bantjes, he made another strike in the vicinity of Roodepoort, In March 1886, George and his brother collected 50 ton of conglomerate rock from this mine – which yielded just 18oz of gold, which was not considered economically significant. However, he continued prospecting. In July 1886, Jan Gerritze met the financier F.W. Alexander, and interested him in the potential of the reef he had discovered. Alexander in turn interested Cecil Rhodes and other money men, and the finance needed to develop the mine was secured.

In August 1886, work began on the Bantjes mine on the farm Vogelstruisfontein, carried out by Bantjes himself. What became known as the Bantjes Consolidated Mines closed operations before the First World War, but

. In the Western Johannesburg suburb of Discovery, many streets are named after prominent men in the early years of the gold mines. One of these is Bantjes Avenue.

Source: D.A, Pretorius, Geology of the Central Rand Goldfield, Economic Geology Research Unit, University of Johannesburg, April 1963

Bantjes Avenue

There is also a claim that it was Jan (or Johannes) Bantjes after whom the city of Johannesburg was named. On the other hand, there is a conflicting family story that the city was named after a different Jan Gerrit Bantjes ((1817 -1887)), his father, who had been a teacher of Paul Kruger. According that story, the city was named by Paul Kruger himself, to acknowledge his respect and affection for his former teacher. It is said that the friendship between the two is marked by the situation of Bantjes Avenue, which leads directly off Kruger Avenue.

It should be noted however, that while the information on Bantjes discovery of gold is well documented, the Wikipedia account of the naming of Johannesburg after either Bantjes is not supported by references or sources of any kind. Rather, this is flatly contradicted by the information in well documented standard histories, so should be treated with extreme caution. What can be verified, is the existence of Bantjes Ave, as shown in the image below extracted from Google Maps. (There’s also a Bantjes Street, in Benrose, Johannesburg).

Bantjes Millions

The family legend

Sarah Williamson Sussens, maiden name Bantjes, was the distant descendant of a long line of the Bantjes family. In the family, there is a long standing legend of a lost family fortune (the “Bantje Millions”) waiting to be reclaimed, if and when the missing will can be found and all the descendants can be located and authenticated. I was told by Sarah (my grandmother) that the fortune originated in a family cheese factory, but one son chose not to join the family business, and instead emigrated to the Cape of Good Hope to seek his fortune independently. After his father’s death, the will could not be settled until the son could be located and returned to Holland – but by the time that was done, the will had been lost. By the time that had been found, the number of descendants had increased, leading to further delays – and so on.

I was told that at intervals over the years, one or other family member would contact the others with a request for help funding a visit to Holland to unravel the puzzle, to the great advantage of all of us. (This in the days when international travel from S Africa was vastly more expensive than it is today). Other family members treated these requests with suspicion, seeing them as no more than an excuse for an expenses paid European holiday. Whether any of these trips ever came off, I have no idea. What I do know is that none seem to have been successful. I’ve never had a share of any family fortune, nor do I expect to in the future. The original fortune will by now have been heavily diluted by many generations of large families – assuming that there is any remaining after centuries of legal arguments that, as with the ,wards of Chancery in Dickens’ Bleak House will have rewarded the lawyers like Jarndyce and Jarndyce, not the intended beneficiaries.

The Millions

In fact, it seems that the source of the fortune involved far more than a supposed cheese factory, but was based rather on an extensive international web of landowning, shipbuilding. finance – and piracy (known more politely as “privateering”)

The story begins n the late 1500s, when the Bantjes owned properties at Kampen, Amsterdam with farmlands on the Belgium border and were involved in trade with far-off Batavia in the East Indies Later this trade expanded to include the Cape of Good Hope with ships operating to and from Batavia , then on to Persia (for sugar/spices/hardwoods), India (silks), Japan (hardwoods/sugar) and Ceylon (Galle, Silks), and also privateering interests at Nassau (West Indies) and Guyana plantations near Fort Nassau, Berbice, South America.

By 1700, the family wealth was great They shipped grain from Poland to London, Portsmouth, Le Havre and Nantes. They also operated a ferry service of Cog boats on the lower Rhine with inns and taverns. In addition, they functioned as a Credit Bank lending out numerous loans, including to the Guyana plantations. The Bantjes ships, farmlands and properties would later become the basis of what would be known as “The Bantjes Millions”.

We do not know how the fortune was dissipated over the generations, but clearly it had been. However, much later there was another whiff of wealth.

The Mines

In 1881, the first significant discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand was made by a descendant of the Bantjes, Jan Gerrit Bantjes (1843 – 1914), at Kromdraai, 21 miles north west of the centre of Johannesburg. It was this find that first attracted to the Witwatersrand a number of prospectors and mining men. Later, accompanied by his brother H. Bantjes, he made another strike in the vicinity of Roodepoort, In March 1886, George and his brother collected 50 ton of conglomerate rock from this mine – which yielded just 18oz of gold, which was not considered economically significant. However, he continued prospecting. In July 1886, Jan Gerritze met the financier F.W. Alexander, and interested him in the potential of the reef he had discovered. Alexander in turn interested Cecil Rhodes and other money men, and the finance needed to develop the mine was secured.

In August 1886, work began on the Bantjes mine on the farm Vogelstruisfontein, carried out by Bantjes himself. What became known as the Bantjes Consolidated Mines closed operations before the First World War, but

. In the Western Johannesburg suburb of Discovery, many streets are named after prominent men in the early years of the gold mines. One of these is Bantjes Avenue.

Source: D.A, Pretorius, Geology of the Central Rand Goldfield, Economic Geology Research Unit, University of Johannesburg, April 1963

Bantjes Avenue

There is also a claim that it was Jan (or Johannes) Bantjes after whom the city of Johannesburg was named. On the other hand, there is a conflicting family story that the city was named after a different Jan Gerrit Bantjes ((1817 -1887)), his father, who had been a teacher of Paul Kruger. According that story, the city was named by Paul Kruger himself, to acknowledge his respect and affection for his former teacher. It is said that the friendship between the two is marked by the situation of Bantjes Avenue, which leads directly off Kruger Avenue.

It should be noted however, that while the information on Bantjes discovery of gold is well documented, the Wikipedia account of the naming of Johannesburg after either Bantjes is not supported by references or sources of any kind. Rather, this is flatly contradicted by the information in well documented standard histories, so should be treated with extreme caution. What can be verified, is the existence of Bantjes Ave, as shown in the image below extracted from Google Maps.

Jacob Klauten: Murdered at the Castle

Among Sarah Sussens’ most distant forebears. are some of the earliest settlers at the Cape. One of the very earliest was Jabob Klauten, from Oedt in the vicinity of Cologne, Germany. There he had married his wife Sophia Radergeortgens (also from the Rhineland) in 1650, but initially left her behind when he joined the VOC (Dutch East India Company, the commercial enterprise that established the Cape Colony).

There are some claims that he was even one of the original companions with Jan v Riebeeck, but there is no documentary evidence of this. It is more likely that he arrived in 1655 Two years later, he was one of the first “vryburgers” – members of the company who released from direct service, and given instead farms. Jacob’s farm was located on the banks of the Liesbeek river. Later, his wife Sophia was able to join her in the Cape in 1659, together with her brother Pieter. By 1671 he was able to return to Europe, having completed his contracted years of service, but later re-enlisted and came back to the Cape as a corporal.

During this second spell, he served as second in command at Klapmuts (outside Paarl), but may have also served stints on duty at the Cape Castle garrison. During either such a duty stint, or on some other visit to the main settlement, he was murdered just outside the castle, on 23 May 1693. He had been one of the Cape’s first vryburgers, and at the time of his death, the oldest man on the VOC muster roll.

On the Wikitree genealogy website, his full story includes some colourful anedcotes illustrating the difficult lives of the Vryburgers. His farm was attacked during the Khoikhoi rebellion on 1659, while Jacob and other men were out in the fields, attending the cattle. It was the women alone in the house who spotted the danger early, and grabbing their rifles, drove the attackers off.

There is also a description by the traveller Wouter Schouten, who finding themselves unexpectedly overtaken by dusk, were forced to seek refuge Jacon’s farm,

On coming there we were amicably greeted by the half-naked pregnant wife (from Cologne by birth), since her man was out, & invited into the little glassless house, & brought into the best room, which in this cold night was airy & chilly enough since there was no glass nor any shutters there.[9]And there, when the man [Jacob Cloete] came home we ate a truly frugal evening meal, the best the folk could provide.

For more details of Jacob’s life and careers, see the entry on Wikitree

To follow the lineage on Ancestry UK, start with Sarah Williamson Bantjes / Sussens, through to Hendrik Bernardus Cloete, then to Gerrit (Kloeten) Cloete, and finally to his father Jacob Klauten / Cloete

(Note: We tend to think of the early Cape settlers as Dutch, because it was founded by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), but it’s important to remember this was a commercial organisation, and so could recruit its employees from wherever they could find them. Jacob is not the only one among Sarah Sussens’ earliest Cape ancestors from other European countries. “Klauten” was the German form of his name, but once in the Cape, over time it changed to the more familiar Dutch/Afrikaans form “Cloete”)

Elsa Martha Lilje Wierck, Mystery Woman?

WHAT WE KNOW:

Born 29 October 1881,  to Heindrich Wilhelm Lilje & Charlotte Louisa Wilhelmine Koenig.

There is a typed reproduction of a birth certificate issued Germany in 1941 (complete with Nazi stamp) that clearly states her name was Elsa Martha, and her parents were the “Gastwirt” (landlord) Heinrich Willem Lilje and Charlotte Louise Wilhelmina Lilje (born Kӧnig).

The timeline for Elsa Wierck on the Shaw Hallett website confirms this

The timeline for Heinrich Lilje on the Syrek website names her as his daughter, b 29 Oct 1881

Married about 1902 to Archibald McNeilage (1903 – 1941)

Married 6th September, 1915 to John Charles Weldon (1878 – 1934),

Confirmed by a marriage certificate.

PUZZLES:

When and why did her name change to Wierck?

Timeline on the Shaw Hallett website states that her “mother” Sophie Wierck (borh Blohm) died 1936, and her “father” Ernest O. Wierck 1943.

Timeline for Sophie Wierck on Syrek website does NOT include Elsa among her children

Why such weak DNA links to Wierck?

Was she legally married to Archibald McNeilage?

I have seen neither a marriage nor a divorce certificate prior to her marriage to John Weldon, nor did Archibald die before that marriage.

Who was E Winter?

Listed in the 1901 census as a cook, in the service of a London family, aged 19, and born in Germany. The census extract is included on the Syrek website as a source for her residence in London at the time. If she was Elsa Lilje / Wierck, why “Winter”? What is the evidence that this is the same person?

There is also an entry in the ship’s register for the voyage out to S Africa in 1907, with E Winter, aged 22 – but six years after the 1901 census, that date does not look right to be the same E Winter.

Who was the father of Anita Maria Melada?

https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/tree/171085787/family/pedigree?cfpid=412220818551

OBSERVATIONS

Between the documents and assorted family trees on Ancestry UK, we appear to have:

three mothers

  • Charlotte Louisa Wilhelmine Koenig
  • Maria Sophia Dorothea Lilje
  • Sophie (….) Wierck

three fathers

  • Heindrich Wilhelm Lilje
  • Peter Heinrich Wierck
  • Ermest Otto Wierck

children by three different men:

by Archibald McNeilage

Archibald, Elsie, Kate

by unkown

Anita Maria Melada

by John Charles Weldon

Margaret Lillian; John Charles II; Patrick Joseph

CONNECTIONS

A Mongrel Family – Migrants and Refugees

An obvious feature of our family is that we are all mongrels, by ancestry a blend of four different European countries (Ireland, Germany, England and the Netherlands), with each strand ensconced in South Africa for varying degrees of time. The primary German connection goes back only two generations (measured from myself), the English and Irish link just a couple more, but the Dutch connection goes back many generations (by some lines, right back to the early days of the Cape Colony).

Obviously, these were all migrants. However, as I’ve explored the history, I’ve realized that it goes further than that. “Migrants” come in many forms. Some (eg some of the Irish) may have come as a form of political refugees, from English persecution. Some (other Irish and English) were economic migrants. Some may have simply wanted to escape their families – and at least some were involuntary migrants, forcibly brought to the Cape as slaves.

So, we were “mongrels” not only by arriving from four European countries, but also once in South Africa, by intermarriage, between those of “White” European descent and the slave population, and among themselves, by those of European descent. We should remember that the early days of the Cape settlement, it was very much a slave economy, and the Dutch arrivals were overwhelmingly young males, soldiers and farm labourers. There were very few women, so inevitably, some of the men married or cohabited with the slaves or native women. We can also see from the genealogy that within the “White” family lines, there was intermarriage between language groups. Sarah Williamson Sussens had an English middle name, because her grandmother was English. The Cape “Dutch” were also not exclusively from the Netherlands: some were from France, arriving with the Huguenots or even earlier, and some from Germany (which I was never aware of in school history).

It’s not only the racial/linguistic mixing that continued after arriving in the country, but also further constant patterns of migration. In this, they repeated the story of White settlement across the country. The Dutch originally set up a settlement at Cape Town, then gradually fanned out to Stellenbosch and Paarl, then further afield to Graaf-Reinet and the rest of the Eastern Cape. After the British took control and outlawed slavery, the Boers famously moved North in the Great Trek. Tracing the towns recorded where our antecedents were born, married and died, we can see how their movements exactly mirrored those of the Afrikaans population as a whole.

Similarly, we see a parallel pattern with our Irish/English forebears, who originally settled in Port Elizabeth, before slowly moving into other Eastern Cape towns, and later to Johannesburg or the Eastern Transvaal for the gold rush .

(More detail to follow)

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