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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Patrick, Doreen and their Parents.

Patrick and Doreen both grew up or adjoining the Eastern suburbs of Johannesburg, and both attended Queens High School, where I assume they met. (It’s not clear if they were in the same year at school, or a year apart). Their lives however, were very different.

Patrick and the Weldon Family

Patrick was the youngest son of Elsa Wierck, by her second marriage to John Charles Weldon.

John Charles (1878 – 1934) had been born in Port Elizabeth, to a family of Catholic Irish immigrants. However, we don’t know too much of him until he married Elsa Wierck in Johannesburg in 1915, by which time he was already 37. We do know however that like his brother Patrick he served in the Anglo-Boer War (in the Kaffrarian Rifles), and trained as an electrician

At the time of their marriage, they were living in Queen Street, Kensington, but John Charles died when Patrick was just 7 years old, during the depression years. (The death certificate shows that by this time, the. family had moved to Frere St, Bertrams.) This made for a tough childhood; to supplement the family income, Patrick worked part-time after school and Saturdays, both with a paper round, and also selling ice creams at interval in the local cinema. For the same reason, he left school early with only a Std 7, to start work as a clerk in an insurance company – where his sister Peggy was already working, and who had presumably helped to secure him the position.

It’s not at all clear what was the relationship at this time with Elsa’s other, earlier family. Patrick spoke of being raised by a single mother, with Peggy as the oldest taking charge of ensuring he got to regular Sunday Mass and Catechism lessons.

We know more about Elsa Wierck, but there is a puzzle and a surprise. We know that she was born in Hamburg, Germany, in about 1881 (Peggy had a studio photograph of a smartly dressed young Elsa, with “Hamburg” and a date on the back). Later, she moved to London “to enter service”. There she met up with Archibald McNeilage, with whom she then relocated to South Africa and had four children . However, her marriage certificate (with John Charles) has handwritten, “Elsa Lillie (or Lilje) Wierck”, using her maiden name, and gives her marital status as “spinster”. It would seem that she and Archibald were never actually married.

Doreen Sussens and family

Doreen grew up with her parents Clarence and Sarah and siblings on a large property on the South facing slope of a kopje in the village of Bedfordview, just outside Johannesburg, and about 2 miles from the school, to which she had to walk there and back. The property was situated at the end of a long cul-de-sac crossing the early headwaters of the Jukskei river. At this stage of its course, it was not much more than a stream. Without a bridge at this time, it could usually be easily crossed even so – but it was a different matter when the river came down in flood after heavy summer rains. Mom once told me that on those occasions they just didn’t go to school. (She never explained what they did if the flood came after they were already at school, which would have been more common, with Johannesburg’s afternoon thunderstorms).

In contrast to Patrick’s forced involvement in the world of commerce, Doreen’s will have been pretty quiet and isolated, resulting both from the property’s isolation, and her father’s strict religious observance, as a committed Seventh Day Adventist.

Clarence’s family had been in South Africa for a couple of generations, but before that was originally English. He was employed as a local government official, but in his own time was a dedicated builder, who over the years dramatically expanded the house and its outbuildings. He was also an enthusiastic gardener, and planted an extensive collection of fruit trees.

Sarah Williamson, born Bantjes, was originally Afrikaans, from a long line of originally Cape Dutch families, with some lines going way back to the earliest days of the Cape settlement. As a young girl she was one of those held for a time in one of the notorious concentration camps during the (1899 – 1902) Anglo Boer War. Although she was Afrikaans, I never heard Clarence ever speak Afrikaans, and am not even sure that he could. Always the dutiful housewife, she was kept constantly busy every summer dealing with the super abundant fruit harvest, bottling it and making endless jams, subsequently distributed among the family.

Religious issues

Doreen and Patrick were married in 1947 – twice.

We know that Doreen had been raised a Seventh Day Adventist, which was strongly opposed to the Catholic Church, but by upbringing, Patrick was fully committed to his Catholic faith. To be married in a Catholic Church, Doreen had to go through a formal program of instruction, which she did, and was duly received into the church, with a customary church wedding to follow. However, I was told they also had a civil wedding in a registry office, possibly to placate Doreen’s father Clarence Sussens. I do not know in which order these two marriages were done – or which is the one they commemorated as their wedding anniversary, on August 2nd each year.

The early years

I was told that they began their married life in a one-roomed flat, somewhere in the Eastern suburbs of Johannesburg. Some time later, they moved to Bulawayo, before returning to Johannesburg sometime before I was born in 1951. Margaret was born a year later.

Some time in about 1953/4, the family moved to Cape Town. Patrick went ahead alone, to find suitable accommodation, leaving Doreen and the two children to follow later – together with his mother, Elsa. (I have a dim recollection of the four of us in the plane, with Elsa taking care of Margaret).

Cape Town

Doreen told me that she had been getting letters from Patrick about how wonderful and beautiful Cape Town was = but when she arrived in May, and settled into a house on The Highway, Fish Hoek, she was not impressed. It rained for much of the month, making it difficult to get laundry dry, and getting the shopping done required trudging down to Fish Hoek Main Road, then carrying the groceries back up the hill to the house.

They could not have stayed in Fish Hoek too long, because by the time I was ready for school, we had moved to Devil’s Peak in central Cape Town, then on to Vredehoek (where Michael was born).

Soon after, it was back to Fish Hoek for just a year, before a return to Johannesburg in 1960.

Johannesburg, again

By this time, Doreen had clearly gotten over her early distaste for Cape Town. Not long after we were back in Johannesburg, and living in Malvern East, she made Margaret and me get down on our knees to pray a Novena, that we could return to Cape Town.

We stayed in Malvern East (where we were when Carol was born), we moved first to Wychwhood, then on to Primrose Hill. All these previous addresses had been rented houses, always for just a year or two at a time, but 45 Deutzia Rd, Primrose Hill was a house they bought, and stayed at a little longer, before a move back to Cape Town. Both Valerie and Brenda were born while we were in Primrose Hill.

Aunts, Uncles and Cousins

Weldon/ McNeilage families

Patrick had one brother, John Charles (1923 – 89), and one sister (Margaret Lillian, known to us as “Peggy”, 1919 – 90). Both were older than him. In addition, there was his half sister, Katherine (“Kate” 1909 – 2007). from his mother’s first marriage to Archibald McNeilage. All of these lived reasonably closely to us when we were in Malvern East/Wychwood/Primrose Hill). Kate was in Malvern, Peggy in Dunvegan, Edenvale, and Johnny in Benoni, so we saw them from time to time (especially Johnny), and knew our cousins.

In addition to the half sister Kate on the McNeilage branch of the family, there were also Archibald (1903-1941), Elsa (1906 – 25), and William Andrew (1907 – 68). Those dates show that before Patrick was even born, Elsa had already died, and the two brothers were adults who may already have left home. It’s not clear how well he even knew them. He once told me he’d had an uncle who died before he was born – but it wasn’t an uncle who had died, it was an aunt. Whether or not he did know them though, I certainly never met them. Both the uncles lived the later part of their lives in the Eastern Transvaal, and we were in Johannesburg.

Benoni Weldons

Sussens/Barnes/Connolly family

Doreen was the youngest of four – two sisters and a brother. Olga was the oldest, followed by Evelyn, Clarence Aubrey (who preferred to be known as Aubrey). Olga had three sons, Keith (Graham), Kenneth and Trevor, Aubrey three daughters (Jane, Victoria / Vicky and Sarah / Sally , and Evelyn just one daughter, Dawn.

All of these lived for at least a time either with or neighbouring Clarence and Sarah Sussens, Especially when I was also living with the grandparents, I got to know them all fairly well.

Benoni Weldons

Weldons

Uncle Johnny worked as the Benoni postmaster, and had married Maria Reynecke, an Afrikaans women from Doornfontein (close to Jeppe, where he and his siblings had grown up). In consequence, their children (Johnny, known as “Boetie” when young, Mary and Joan) were completely bilingual. Patrick and John Charles were pretty close, and in the winter regularly attended football matches together every Saturday and some evenings. When they did so, the rest of the families were left together, either at our house, or theirs. In the summer, we also often got together almost every weekend, sometimes for a picnic or braai together. Johnny was just a year older than I was, Mary was Margaret’s age so we often had sleepovers at each other’s home – I would go to them while Mary came to us, or vice versa.

Johnny married an American woman, Galilee Borden, whom I met by chance when still a student, having a meal on Johannesburg station. They told me that Galilee was a Mormon, and Johnny obviously joined the church. I later heard from Mom that he was working as a missionary in Zambia (all young adult Mormon males are required to spend some time as missionaries). He and his family are now living in the North West USA. Just he has the same forenames as his father (John Charles II), making him John Charles III), I see that on Geni his eldest son and first grandson are called respectively John Charles IV and John Charles V.

Mary married a Samuel Brown, who died in 2001. Some time before that, she had herself suffered a stroke at an unusually young age. This was sufficiently serious to have her forced into retirement from work, but did not seem to affect her too badly in day to day functioning. She and her family once came to dinner with Bruce and myself in Kensington, and I did not notice anything particularly awkward in her functioning.

Joan married Chris Aggett, whom I met once or twice, but do not recall anything worth reporting.

All three have children and grandchildren of their own, of whom I know nothing other than what you can look up yourself on the genealogy websites.