3.4 GHR Mc Carthy

Gert Hendrik Rautenbach McCarthy

  • If I think back, what do I remember?
  •  A meticulous man.
  •     Always wearing a tie
  •      Nothing was grey in his life
  •        Strict and very intolerant of any nonsense
  •       Loved playing and betting on a small scale on the horses
  •        Always had a great garden and flowers in the house
  •        Loved his church and a great follower of the Reformed church

 I thank and dedicate the research done on my grandfather to my Uncle Piet Mc Carthy; he supplied me with most of the documents used.

My grandfather’s father Herculaas Jacobus MCCARTHY was married to Susanna Cecilia Stoffelina Elizabeth TERBLANCHE.  Herculaas Jacobus MCCARTHY and Susanna Cecilia Stoffelina Elizabeth TERBLANCHE had the following children:

         2                i.   James Daniel Christoffel Benjamin MCCARTHY was born on 2 May 1900.

         +3                ii.   Daniel Johannes Jacobus Philippus MCCARTHY.

          4               iii.   Herculas Jacobus Johannes MCCARTHY was born on 18 Mar 1904.

          5              iv.   Hendrik Gert Ramsbottom MCCARTHY was born on 14 May 1905. This is my Grandfather.

          6               v.   Hester Catharina Jacoba MCCARTHY was born on 14 Aug 1908. 

Hendrik was born on the 24 th of April 1905 in Broedersput, Vryburg. His dad was poor after the Anglo Boer war and lost everything. He then worked in Zambia and worked on the bridge being built between Zambia and Rhodesie. He also worked in the Wanky game reserve. He then relocated to the Free state and started farming with cattle.

His parents farmed in the Free State on the farm Elandsfontein in the Lindley area. Refer to a copy of his birth certificate reproduced on 2 nd of September 1935. He was baptised in the Dutch reformed church.

The name Rautenbach has a very interesting origin. His dads neighbour at this stage was a Georg Frederik Rautenbach. In 1905 George was busy digging a put. Hendrik`s father Hercules knew how to work with explosives. He decided to assist his neighbour. Hercules went down into the hole lowered by means of a rope on a winch system with a container at the end. At the bottom he lit the dynamite, climbed in and the workers started hoisting him up. The rope broke. He fell to the bottom and broke his shoulder and nose. Although in pain he managed to cut the dynamite fuses. The son of George named Gert Hendrik slid down the cable and tied the container to the rope. He managed to lift Hercules into the container. He was hauled out. When lifting Gert Hendrik Rautenbach out, something terribly went wrong. It seems that the youngster got dizzy and fell out of the container plunging to the bottom of the whole. He died.

Georg came to Hercules and his wife who was pregnant at the time and asked if they would not name their first born after his son. Hendriks father honored the request and named their son after Gert Hendrik Rautenbach.

Very interesting is that the first Gert Hendrik Rautenbach McCarthy  was born in 1769 in South Africa. He was the firstborn of Georg Frederik Rautenbach and stayed in the area between Mosselbay and Riversdal. He then moved to just north of Algoabay to a place called Rautenbachsdrift. His grandmother was a Tereblanche. She was married to the first Ferreira in South Africa. He stayed in Graaf Reinette and was labeled a rebel. He joined Adriaan van Jaarsveld in protesting against the weak way in which the government handled the easterm border situation with the Xhosa`s. He was jailed due to his siding with Adriaan against the government of the day. He was called child of our fatherland. He was born on the border, his dad was from Germany. 

The farm he stayed on as a child was ransacked by his majesty’s forces, his father Hercules then relocated to the Zeerust area. I must make an assumption that his father farmed here (Not proven)His parents were married for only 10 years; his mother died on the 29 th of May 1909 at Kafferskraal, my grandfather was 4 years old. After his mother died his dad took to the road, other people endeared and took the children in, and they were brought up by friends the family De Klerks.

According to stories told, he had an unpleasant childhood and got very little sympathy from his father Hercules. 

Gert Hendrik Rautenbach McCarthy married Elsie Rachel van der Merwe on the 26 Jul 1927 in Ventersdorp. He was 22 years old and she was 20 years, he stayed at Heuningkrans with his Uncle Harry and she stayed at Klipplaasdrift. (It was 6 km from Ventersdorp). He would visit her during weekends cycling 128 miles with a bicycle. 


He worked for his father on the diggings.His dad left him in charge of the teams digging for diamonds. At the end of the month his dad will pop in to collect the money. He was left with just enough money to keep the work site going. Hendrik whilst working for his dad just got money for food and earned no salary. 

He somehow managed and gathered over time 16 horses, 120 sheep and 60 oxen. When he got married his dad took everything and he walked out without a thing. They got married in the reformed church, Ventersdorp. Their first 2 years after their marriage they stayed in Lichtenburg.(Both my grandparents only complete their standard  st 6) Apparently my grandfather got a bursary to study till standard 10, his dad refused, clever people are thieves, that was his dad perception of studying.)

Their oldest Child my Dad was born in the (at Klipplaasdrift) district Lichtenburg at the diamond diggings. When my father the oldest son was born, my grandfather ran 106 miles to see his child. Hercules Jacobus Mc Carthy was born on the 14 Oct 1928.  

My Uncle James recalls a story told to him, Oupa Hendrik once traveled though some town, a good boxer was challenging people to box against him. His friends gave him lots of sweet wine and the next moment he had to fight the boxer. The boxer hit Oupa Hendrik with his head. Oupa then knocked the boxer out.

My grandfather then moved to the goldmines, settling in Brakpan for 14 years, he was a miner and worked underground. I was fortunate to obtain his whole service record from my uncle Piet Mc Carthy. He started his work career in the mines in Brakpan, his places of work was as follow:

  • Brakpan Mines, Ltd, he started here as a learner miner on the 19 October 1929, he worked here for 8 years
  • He joined the Van Dyk Consolidated mine on the on the 25 of January 1937 here he worked for only 5 months, it seems this was part of his training. He did tramming, pipes and racks and developing.
  • He joined the Grootvlei P.M. Ltd mine on the 9 th June 1937, here he worked for 6 years.

 The children born in Brakpan were:

  • Aletta Sophia                      12 Mar 1930    Brakpan
  • Willem Sterrenberg             31 Dec 1932    Brakpan
  • Gert Hendrik Rautenbach    13 July 1937     Brakpan

He stayed in Brakpan till his daughter Lettie`s 15 th birthday. He became a top underground production man.

He then relocated in 1941 and rented a farm 1500 hectare at Welverdiend from Frew Mc Millan. He rented the farm for 2 years. The severe droughts forced him to give up farming.

He joined the goldmines again at Blyvooruitzicht and worked underground first as a miner, later as an official and later on the surface. My uncle Piet was born in Welverdiend.

 I still remember the beautiful Cannas and the dahlias; there were always flowers in his house. He joined Blyvooruitzight on the 7 th September 1941 and worked underground as a Machine developer till the 1 st of August 1949.

His son James was born in 1946 in Gert vd Merwe`s house in Randfontein.

 In 1966 tragedy struck the mine village. A massive hole fell in close to where my grandfather used to stay. The whole Oosthuizen family died in this event. I found photos with my Aunt Beulah. 

He was moved and became a surface foreman for Westdene, he retired on the 30 th of April 1968 at the age of 63.

In 1948 he was diagnosed with silicosis, he was staying in Blyvooruitzicht at that time. This is proven with a letter from the Witwatersrand gold mines employees’ provident fund. His medical Pf number was 38129. In the letter he was informed that a Conditional benefit would be calculated and added to his credit. 

Very interesting, he had his name corrected in 1948 from Gert Hendrick Mc Carthy to Gert Hendrik Rautenbach Mc Carthy. Interesting on the death certificate of his mother his name is Gert Hendrik Ramsbottom Mc Carthy. After having problems with his health he was made responsible for the parks, gardens and sport fields, he became a surface foreman.

When he retired he decided to move to Makwassie to stay close to his only daughter. He built himself a house in Makwassie. 

A meticulous man, you could always pull him through a ring. I can still see him working in the garden, dressed in long sleeves, long pants with an apron on. In the evenings he would take out his clothes for the next day, matching long sleeves to go with the long pants, He would shine his shoes and select a tie that would go with his clothes.  

A Man with a great heart, he would go more then the extra mile to help the needy. The Irish fuse was built in. I remember an occasion where a man talked with disrespect to my grandmother; I was a young child visiting. Before I could move an eyebrow the abrasive man was man down. Oupa clapped him.  

 My grand parents were blessed with a long life and even had the privileged to enjoy their 50 th wedding anniversary in 1977, the celebration was arranged by my parents and held in the town hall in Carletonville. 

My grandfather was married 58 years to my grandmother. My grandmother died at the age of 79 years and 10 days, the burial ceremony was done in the Dutch Reformed church in Makwassie and she was buried in the Makwassie cemetery.  

My grandfather got married again to Wilhelmina Magrita Daneel (born: 10 February 1914) on the 23 day of May 1987, he stayed in Brakpan. He died 0n the 4 th of April 1991, the burial ceremony took place in Wolmaranstad, the preacher was JJ Breedt and he was buried next to my grandmother Elsie in the Makwassie cemetery.  

Historical Timeline:                               
  • 1898 – Hercules Jacobus MCCARTHY got married to Susanna Cecilia Stoffelina Elisabeth Therblanche on the 21 st June 1998
  •               in the Ducth 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.            
  • 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. 
  • 1904 – His third child Herculas 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.  
  • 1905 – His fourth child Hendrik Gert Rautenbach MCCARTHY was born on 14 Apr 1907. This is the first child that got the name Rautenbach. 
  •           –  His mother Katrina died in 6 December 1905 on the farm England.  
  • 1908 – His fith child Hester Catharina Jacoba MCCARTHY was born on 14 Aug 1908. 
  • 1906 – Elsje Rachel van der Merwe born on 11 October 1906 in Wolmaranstad  
  • 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. 
  • 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 – Hercules signed and gave the attorneys the authority to liquidate the estate of his wife Maria`s esttate. 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  
  • 1929 – Hercules with his new wife Maria Johanna (Furstenberg) moved after their marriage to the Kalahari, to a place called Genesa, a long way past Kuruman. 
  • 1948 – Transport of stand 82, Brand straat 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 Executor. 
  • 1918 – Hercules second wife Maria Jacoba Elizabeth McCarthy died on 20 September 1918 on the farm Heuningkrantz district Wolmaranstad at the age of 45.  
  • 1920 – Hercules Jacobus inherited Maria JE Venters farm. His signature appears on her death Notice dated the 22 nd August 1920 
  • 1927 – Elsje Rachel van der Merwe got married to Gert Hendrik Rautenbach McCarthy in Ventersdorp on the 26 of July 1927. 
  • 1928 – Elsje`s oldest son Hercules Jacobus Mc Carthy was born on the 14 Oct 1928 
  • 1929 – Hercules with his new wife Maria Johanna (Furstenberg) moved after their marriage to the Kalahari, to a place called Genesa, district  Kuruman. 
  •           – Elsie and her husband relocated to Brakpan. 
  •           – Hendrik started working on the 19 Oct 1929 at Brakpan mine 
  • 1930 – Her second child Aletta Sophia born on the 12 March 1930 in Brakpan 
  • 1932 – Her son Willem Sterrenberg born on 31 Dec 1932 Brakpan 
  • 1937 – Her son Gert Hendrik Rautenbach was born on the 13 July 1937   
  •           – 25/01/1937 Hendrik started working at Consolidated mines. 
  • 1941 – Elsie and Hendrik moved to a farm at Welverdiend. 
  • 1942 – 7/09/1942 Hendrik started working at Blyvooruitzicht mine. 
  • 1943 – Elsie and her husband moved to Blyvooruitzicht. 
  • 1946 – Her son James Mc Carthy was born on the 20 Apr 1946 in Randfontein. 
  • 1948 – Her son Gert Johannes Mc Carthy is born on the 11 May 1948 at Kliplaasdrift, district Ventersdorp. 
  •           – Hercules McCarthy stays in Brand street in Wolmaranstad 
  • 1949 –  1/08/1949 hendrik became a surface foreman 
  • 1951 – On 23/08/1951 Hendrik received his first payment being diagnosed with silicoses 
  • 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.  
  • 1960 – Hercules died on the 24 May 1960 at Odendaalsrus and was buried in Klerksdorp. 
  • 1968 – On the 30 th of April 1968 Hendrik retired and he and his wife Elsie moved to Makwassie On 10 may 1968 hendrik and his wife celebrated their 50 th wedding anniversary in Carletonville 
  • 1985 – Elsie Rachel van der Merwe passed away on the 21 Oct 1985 at Makwassie. 
  • 1987 – Hendrik got married on the 23 rd May 1987 to Wilhelmina Magrita Daneel in Brakpan 
  • 1991 – Gert Hendrik Rautenbach Mc Carthy died on the 4 th of April 1991 in Brakpan.  He was buried on the 12
  •             April 1991 in Makwassie


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top