MY GRAND FATHER HERCULES JACOBUS McCARTHY
His mother Katrina Magdalena DU PREEZ was born on the 17 th of January1840 in Riversdal. Her father was Hercules Jacobus du Preez. My great grandfather got his names from the Du Preez family.
James married Katrina in Humansdorp on 18 Jul 1866. Katrina Magdalena DU PREEZ and James MCCARTHY had the following children:
i. Margaretha Isabella MCCARTHY.
ii. Johan Jeremias MCCARTHY was born on 12 Jul 1868. He was christened on 27 Sep 1868 in
Humansdorp. He has Ancestral File number b2.
iii. Hercules Jacobus MCCARTHY was born on 28 Mar 1870. He was christened on 12 Jun 1870 in
Humansdorp. He has Ancestral File number b3.
iv. Daniel Christoffel Benjamin MCCARTHY was born on 1 Feb 1872. He was christened on 3 Mar
1872 in Humansdorp. He has Ancestral File number b4.
v. Theunis Cornelis MCCARTHY.
My story is based on the facts found in archives and stories told by living members of the family. When I started out very little was available, I knew my dad had his names, a few stories was told by family members. Apparently he was married more then once, the names of his wife’s were not available. At this stage I knew that he was born in Humansdorp, Eastern Cape. He grew up on a farm Waterval, in the Freestate, his dad James died at a young age of 46(1881). Hercules was eleven years old. His mother never got married again. She died on the 16 th February 1902 in Vryburg, KP. Hercules was then 32 years old. My first facts were sent to me by a Scottish lady Sandra Gurney, when I joined one of the internet geneology clubs (sa – roots web).
1. Herculaas Jacobus MCCARTHY.
Susanna Cecilia Stoffelina Elizabeth TERBLANCHE (daughter of Daniel Johannes Phillipus TERBLANCHE and Hester Jacoba PITTO) was born in Feb 1878 in Fauresmith. She died on 29 May 1909 in Marico. She Gauteng estate ref. 14093.1 Herculaas Jacobus MCCARTHY and Susanna Cecilia Stoffelina Elizabeth TERBLANCHE had the following children:
i. James Daniel Christoffel Benjamin MCCARTHY was born on 2 May 1899.
ii. Daniel Johannes Jacobus Philippus MCCARTHY.
iii. Herculas Jacobus Johannes MCCARTHY was born on 18 Mar 1904.
iv. Hendrik Gert Ramsbottom MCCARTHY was born on 14 Apr 1907.
v. Hester Catharina Jacoba MCCARTHY was born on 14 Aug 1908.
I found another piece of evidence looking up in NAAIRS on the internet in the Transvaal archives. This could be my great grandfather; it indicated a claim against the English Crown for compensation in 1903. I only had the opportunity to lookup this information in January 2005 in the archives in Pretoria, what an experience to hold the original document in my hand, to see Hercules signature.
Hercules joined the Anglo Boer War in 1899 against the Imperial forces. Hercules took part in the war and surrendered in July 1900 then took up arms again in October 1900 and fought till the end. In 1900 his brother Daniel Christoffel Benjamin died at the battle of Kromspruit, Vryburg District on twenty second September 1900.
He put in a claim for 2616.00 pound in 1901, due to the damage caused to belongings on the farm Elandsfontein in the Lindley area on 23 Sept 1901 by his Majesty’s forces. People supporting the claim was his father inlaw Daniel Therblanche from the farm Elandsfontein and Cornelius Roos of Witklip. The claim was rejected, stating it was submitted too late. His claim was submitted on the 14 th January 1903.Hercules even appointed a lawyer to fight his case.According to the documents he built himself a house on the Geldenhuis farm.
He also delivered wood to the imperial forces and was to be paid 144 pound, he was eventually paid 18 pounds. At the date of the claim, 21 of August 1903 Hercules was working in the Zambezi. My grandfather Gert Hendrik was born in 1905. My grandfather’s mum died when he was 5 years old. Hercules Jacobus left his children with friends. He assisted with the building of the Beitbrug bridge. He was competent and skilled in using dynamite. The De Klerks from Kafferskraal looked after his children for three years.
On his return he relocated to Makwassie and took the children with. I took a trip in January 2005 and visited my aunt Lettie Swaters. She is my father’s only sister staying in the old age home in Makwassie. She introduced me to one of the daughters of my great grandfathers (Hercules Jacobus) third wife. She could not remember a great deal but referred me to another family member Louwrence van Heerden staying in Potchefstroom.
Here I struck gold. He is a retired business man, farming with birds. He used to visit my great grandfather as a child. I quote” “I couldn’t wait to visit my grandfather. At this stage they were staying in Wolmaranstad on a big stand. The house was situated at the back of the stand. Hercules grew vegetables and had a variety of fruit trees. My sister and I took the bus. I couldn’t wait in the mornings that he got up.
He wore a tie, a jacket with an “onderbaatjie”, from his pocket hang a chain attached to a watch. I found him an introvert, with an amazing clear memory. He would not duplicate facts apart from if you asked him to repeat his story.
He was an amazing story teller; he loved to tell stories about his experiences in the Boer War. One of the stories he told was about an incident where they got trapped between a river and a mountain. They were warned by Siener van Rensburg the Boer Prophet. The Boer army went through at a specific place, crossing the river on a sandbank. When the English army followed the bank collapsed and many of the pursuers drowned.” I eventually found the book and to my amazement I found the story in Siener van Rensburg book.
(According to my uncle James he was a veldkornet under General de Wet. He thought at Magersfontein. This is not yet proven). Hercules Jacobus used to lie on his back. He would support his mauser on his feet. This was his unique way of shooting. (Louwrence donated my great grandfather’s rifle bag to the museum in Klerksdorp.).
A Funny habit in the McCarthy family is to baptize the oldest son as Gert Hendrik with an additional name Rautenbach. I never got to the bottom of this till Uncle James enlightened me. After the war Hercules dug pits using dynamite for farmers in the Broedersput area, Vryburg district. This was in 1904. It could also have been in the Zeerust area. He was working on a Rautenbachs farm, shooting a pit of 40 feet deep. He went down to light the explosives, while they were pulling him up the rope broke. He fell and broke his leg badly. He defused the dynamite and he tried to get into the container. Due to his injury he could not get into the container. The farmers son, 18 years old went down, assisted my great grandfather to get into the container. On their way up the boy got dizzy, lost his balance and fell down into the pit, the boy broke his neck. My grandfather decided to add the name Rautenbach to his unborn sons name in memory of the boy that assisted him. My grandfather was born in 1905 and his names were Gert Hendrik Rautenbach McCarthy.
After the Anglo Boer war, Hercules moved to the Marico area, nothing is known about his experiences here. The only facts I could find was the death certificate of his wife, it started with a reference I found in the National archives on the Internet.
I found her death certificate on my first visit to the Church of latter day saints in Parktown, Johannesburg. They were married for it seems only 10 years. She died on the 29 th of May 1909 due to influenza at Kafferskraal, Marico. She was only 31 years old. His occupation is stated as a farmer. According to stories told by family members, he battled to process her death. He left his children with neighbours and took to the road. Nothing is known about this period of his life. The children slept on sheepskins on the floor.
I battled to find his second wife, one evening searching on the internet I found a reference in the Transvaal archives. I was not sure that this was the second wife of my grandfather. Tinkie de Lange (friend and part of the Richards bay geneology club) was so kind to transcribe this for me in the Pretoria Archives.
He married Maria Jacoba Elizabeth van Heerden. (She was previously married to a Sarel van Heerden who died in July 1915. She had ten children with Sarel.) They got married in Bloemhof.I must make an assumption here that she married my great grandfather in the period 1915 to 1916. This is six to seven years after the death of his first wife. They stayed on the farm Doringkrantz (Heuningkrantz according to my Uncle James) in the district of Wolmaranstad. Hercules had no children with Maria. They could not have been married for more than two years. She died on the 20 September 1918 on the farm Doringkrantz.
Hercules Jacobus inherited her farm. His signature appear on her death Notice dated the 22 nd August 1920. According to Uncle James, Hercules was prospecting for diamonds (Kingswood, Doringbult). The children had to look after the farm. He remember a story told to him “The children taught the horses to race from the gate of the farm to the house. Once on his return from the diamond diggings, he climbed on one of the horses. The horse started running from the gate to the house, not expecting such behaviour from the horse, he fell off, he gave all the children a hiding and said that the horse told him the whole episode.
I had no idea who the last wife of Oupa Hercules Jacobus was, but on my visit to my aunt Lettie Swaters in Makwassie she introduced me to one of the children of his last wife.
Her children Phillipus were:
- Phillipus Stephanus
- Petrus Jacobus
- Elizabeth Maria
- Maria Catharina
Hercules now 54 years old had no children with Maria. These facts were given to me by Ivy daughter of Maria Catharina. They moved after their marriage to the Kalahari, to a place called Genesa, a long way past Kuruman. He farmed with oxen and stayed in a neat house built out of galvanized sheeting.
Lettie Swaters still remember driving with a Dasota to his farm when she was 9 years old in 1929. She remembers him as a strict man, a real authoritarian. His wife baked bread, made with homemade yeast. The bread had a sour taste, and she used to love it.
He had the ability to see things that will happen in the future. When still farming he would tell his wife she must prepare supper for 4 additional people. That evening the guests will pitch for supper.
After this he sold and bought a plot 5 km outside Klerksdorp on the way to Ventersdorp, the place was called Ebenaezer.
Louwrence van Heerden still remember going with his grandfather shopping, riding with a horse and car. Hercules used to make fresh butter. His name was even written on the wrapping. The butter would be exchanged in Klerksdorp for groceries. His grandfather would treat him and buy him niccerballs.
He later rented the plot out and bought a house in Wolmaranstad, 17 Brandstraat.
Here he also grew oats that he would sell. He used to buy groceries at the Three Musketeers shop in Wolmaranstad. They had a fixed routine. When Louwrence visited, the old people would get up at 04h30. They would make a fire in the Union stove. He would cook maize meal porridge, put stampmielies on the stove for lunch. Then Oupa Hercules will read from the bible, they would sing. Afterwards they sat together on the veranda. He was a very religious man. He loved watching the people go past his house, sipping coffee and eating rusks, his wife would comment” Word jy dan besimpeld”
Sometimes he would sigh and say “Ag ja, Here” and she would echo his words. Louwrence remembered, one day he stood up from the veranda, walked to the gate, opened it and closed it. His wife asked him what he was doing. There was nobody at the gate. He said that Rita a sister of Louwrence came to greet. Later they found out that she died in hospital. Oupa Hercules never smoked, but pruimed. He had a blue jug and he would spit into this next to his chair. Lawrence say as kids they would always watch and think that he would miss, but he never missed. He always wore a hat, brown pants and a brown jacket.
Louwrence also remember that they had a double bed made from wrought iron with big brass globes. The mattress was a “Bulsak” and Oupa Hercules used to hide a bag with money underneath the mattress. When they were too old to look after themselves, they moved to Klerksdorp and stayed with Danie and Tiek Erasmus, his grandmother died of a heart attack. Both were buried in Klerksdorp. His son Daantjie inherited the plot.
What a wonderful journey, from knowing nothing about my great grandfather to getting at least a glimpse of his life.
- 1835 – Hercules father James born in Ireland
- 1840 – (2) Katrina Magdalena born on the 17 January 1840 in Riversdal
- 1865 – Economic depression in South Africa 1865 -1866.
- 1866 – married to James McCarthy on 18 July 1866 in Humansdorp
- 1870 – (3) Hercules Jacobus MCCARTHY was born on 28 Mar 1870. He was christened on 12 Jun 1870 in Humansdorp.
- 1873 – Maria Jacoba Elizabeth Venter born in Philipolis.
- 1872 – Katrina`s father HJ du Preez died on the 22 Nov 1872 at Donkerpoort, Winburg, Freestate
- 1880 – First Anglo Boer War 16 December 1880 – 23 March 1881
- 1881 – 30 April 1881 her husband James died at the age of 46 on the farm Waterval, Ladybrand
- 1897 – Maria Johanna Furstenberg was born.
- 1898 – Hercules Jacobus MCCARTHY got married to Susanna Cecilia Stoffelina Elisabeth Therblanche on the 21 st June 1998
- in the Dutch reformed church Lindley, district Bethlehem.
- 1899 – The second Anglo Boer war 9 October 1899 – 31 May 1902 Hercules joined in the Anglo Boer war against the Imperial forces.
- Hercules first child James Daniel Christoffel Benjamin MCCARTHY was born on 2 May 1899
- 1900 – His brother Daniel died at Kromspruit, Vryburg on 22 nd September 1900.Hercules took part in the war and surrendered in
- July 1900 then took up arms again in October.
- 1901- His Majesty’s forces ransacked his farm Elandsfontein in the Lindley area on 23 Sept 1901.
- 1902 – His second child Daniel Johannes Jacobus Philippus MCCARTHY was born on the 2 March 1902.
- Hercules was to be paid 144 pound for 12 wagon loads of wood on the 19 August 1902. (Appointed a lawyer to represent him
- against the imperial authorities with his claim for payment). Paid 18 pounds only on 10 November 1902
- Hercules and his wife draw a will up on the 22 September 1902 at Vryburg and both signed the document In Lindley.
- 1903 – Hercules claim was submitted for compensation for damage done to his farm by the armed forces of his Majesty. He
- claimed 2616 pound and was never paid.
- 1904 – His third child Hercules Jacobus Johannes MCCARTHY was born on 18 Mar 1904.
- Hercules assisted farmers with water pits using dynamite. His life was saved by a young Rautenbach child who lost his life in
- the incident. (Not proven, story told from one generation to the next). The oldest children in the McCarthy family will get the
- name Rautenbach.)
- 1905 – His fourth child Hendrik Gert Ramsbottom MCCARTHY was born on 14 Apr 1907. This is the first child that got the name
- – His mother Katrina died in 6 December 1905 on the farm England.
- 1908 – His fifth child Hester Catharina Jacoba MCCARTHY was born on 14 Aug 1908.
- 1909 – His wife Susanna CSE Tereblanche died from flue at Kafferskraal, Marico. She was 31 years old.
- 1910 – Photo taken of Hercules with his children at Zeerust.
- 1915 – Maria Venter`s first husband Sarel van Heerden died.
- 1918 – Hercules second wife Maria Jacoba Elizabeth McCarthy died on 20 September 1918 on the farm Heuningkrantz Wolmaranstad
- district at the age of 45. He signed her estate document to approve it as the executor of the estate at Bloemhof.
- – On the 8 th November Hercules signed a document with his attorney stating that he did not want to sell the property inherited
- from his wife. He would pay out the children of age and would pay the minors when they come of age.
- 1919 – Maria Johanna Furstenberg first husband a Van Heerden passed away.
- – Hercules signed and gave the attorneys the authority to liquidate the estate of his wife Maria`s estate. The document was signed in Makwassie.
- 1920 – Hercules Jacobus inherited Maria JE Venters farm. His signature appears on her death Notice dated the 22 nd August 1920
- 1924 – Hercules Jacobus married Maria Johanna Furstenberg on the 19th of February
- 1929 – Hercules with his wife Maria Johanna (Furstenberg) moved after their marriage to the Kalahari, to a place called Genesa, a
- long way past Kuruman. He farmed with oxen and stayed in a neat house built out of galvanized sheeting. His grand
- daughter Lettie Swaters still remember driving with a Dasota to his farm when she was 9 years old.
- 1948 – Transport of stand 82, Brand street Wolmaranstad registered on 24 November 1948 on the name of Hercules McCarthy.
- 1958 – Hercules and Maria draw up a testament on 21 January 1958 in Wolmaranstad. Their son Daniel was appointed as their
- 1959 – Maria Johanna McCarthy (Furstenberg) passed away on the 1 st of July 1959 at Hendrik Potgieter street, Klerksdorp at the age
- of 80 years.
- – On the 6 July 1959 Hercules signed his wife’s estate papers.
- 1960 – Hercules died on the 24 May 1960 at Odendaalsrus and was buried in Klerksdorp.