3.4a ER vd Merwe (Spouse)

Elsie`s grandfather was Willem Petrus van der Merwe born in the “Sneeberge”. His first wife was Johanna Christina Vlok. She died on the 23 of December 1852 on the farm Armoedsfontein in the District Jacobsdal. He then got remarried to an Elsie Rachel Pretorius. He took part in the Dorsland trek. He stayed for a while in Kaokoland where he built them a house from stone on a farm called Rusplaas. He later returned to Cape town via Walvisbay. He travelled by train to Kimberley. From there they used an ox wagon. He settled in the district Wolmaransstad and bought a farm called Doornbult. Both were buried on the farm Doornbult. Her father Willem Sterrenberg van der Merwe was born on the 16/01/1876 in Middelburg in the Cape. He was born out of the second marriage of Willem Petrus. Willem Sterrenberg (Her father) married Aletta Sophia Janse van Vuuren on the 23 of March 1903.

They had fourteen children. The information above was taken from the “Geslagsregister van JM van der Merwe en AG Lindeque” – written by WP van der Merwe 1973.

My grandmother Elsie Rachel was the third child born on the 11 October 1906 on the farm Doringbult. The farm is 18 kilometers outside Makwassie. Her dad was a farmer. She was babtised in the reformed church in Makwassie.  She attended the primary school in Makwassie and completed her standard six. Her dad relocated to a farm at Klipplaasdrift just outside Ventersdorp.

Elsie Rachel van der Merwe got married to Gert Hendrik Rautenbach McCarthy on the 26 Jul 1927 in Ventersdorp. She was 20 years, and he was 22 years old and, he stayed at Heuningkrans in the district Wolmaranstad with his Uncle Harry.  Their wedding ceremony took place in the Dutch reformed church.

Their first two years after their marriage they stayed in Lichtenburg. Her husband worked for his father on the diggings.

Their oldest Child Hercules Jacobus (my dad) was born on the 14 Oct 1928 in the (at Klipplaasdrift) district Lichtenburg at the diamond diggings. Battling to make ends meet, Elsies husband Hendrik moved to the goldmines. He settled in Brakpan. They stayed for 14 years in Brakpan.

Elsie was a homemaker her whole life. Her children born in Brakpan were:

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

They stayed in Brakpan till her daughter Lettie`s 15 th birthday. In 1941 they relocated to a farm at Welverdiend. Her son Piet was born in Welverdiend. Her husband tried to farm for two years till the severe droughts forced them to give up farming. Her husband joined the goldmines again at Blyvooruitzicht. They stayed in a mine house on the property at Saville Street 12 Blyvooruitzicht. I still remember the beautiful Cannas and the dahlias. There were always flowers in her house. Her son James was born in 1946 in Gert vd Merwe`s house in Randfontein.

I used to visit my Grandparents during school holidays. I remember the smell of food, the clean house. She had green velvet curtains. When draped it made the rooms dark. I remember the copper vases with flowers. She would always have a treat for her grandchildren. On an occasion she made me homemade ice cream. It was fresh cream stiffened with lots of sugar. Did I get sick? Early morning coming around the corner she would be busy with the washing. I remember her hands, white as snow showing the signs of hard work.

Grandmother’s roast came from heaven. She could prepare meat as no one else could do it. Her Sunday meals were just amazing. I was always astonished at how many people would attend. There were always fifteen or more people. Grandfather loved his garden and would always have fruit trees. She would always have canned fruit and lots of bottles of jam. She even prepared her own butter. I could still feel my teeth sink into that big slice of white bread plastered with butter and jam. I always remember she really believed in Grandpa`s tablets. Out comes the bottle, two to three pink tablets drop into the hand, and it is taken with a glass of water.

She always had a small snuff box. Now and then she will inhale the snuff and sneeze. Her husband retired on the 30 th of April 1968 at the age of 63. They then moved to Makwassie to stay close to their only daughter. Her husband built her a house in Makwassie in Mc Millan Street no four.

Her hospitality was amazing. I remember visiting them in Makwassie as a student and even after I got married. When guests arrived, she would immediately prepare coffee, snacks, rusks or something to eat. She in her later years battled with her hearing and had to use hearing aid.

Her children:

1 Hercules Jacobus McCarthy

2. Aletta Sophia born 12 Mar 1930 in Brakpan

3. Willem Sterrenberg born 31 Dec 1932 Brakpan died 11 Sep 1992 Rustenburg

4. Gert Hendrik Rautenbach born 13 July 1937 Blyvooruitzight

5. Willem Petrus Mc Carthy

6. James Mc Carthy born 20 Apr 1946 Randfontein

7. Gert Johannes Mc Carthy born 11 May 1948 Ventersdorp, klipplaasdrift

My grandparents 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.

Speaking to her daughter Lettie in May 2009, she remembers her mom as a hardworking home maker. She was a very neat lady and very religious. 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.

  • Historical Timeline:
  • 1825 – Elsie`s grandfather Willem Petrus van der Merwe was born in the “Sneeberge” Graaf Reinette on the 8 th of August 1825.
  • 1828 – Elsie Rachel Pretorius Elsie`s grandmother and second wife to Willem Petrus was born on the 20 th of October 1828 and
  • christened at Onder –Zeekoeifontein, Colesberg.
  • 1876 – Elsies father Willem Sterrenberg van der Merwe was born in Middelburg on the 16 th of January.
  • 1883 – Elsies mother Aletta Sophia Janse van Vuuren was born on the 30 th of December at Klipplaatsdrift Ventersdorp.
  • 1889 – Willem Petrus vd Merwe died on the 17 September 1889 and was buried on his farm Doornbult in the district of
  • Wolmaranstad.
  • 1903 – Willem Sterrenberg van der Merwe got married to Aletta Sophia Janse van Vuuren on the 23 of March 1903.
  • 1905 – Her husband Gert Hendrik Rautenbach McCarthy was born in Vryburg.
  • 1906 – Elsje Rachel van der Merwe was born on 11 October 1906 in Wolmaranstad.
  • 1912 – Elsie Rachel van der Merwe (Pretorius) (Elsie`s Grandmother) died on the farm Doornbult on the 4 of February 1912.
  • 1927 – Elsje Rachel van der Merwe got married to Gert Hendrik Rautenbach McCarthy in Ventersdorp on the 26 of July 1927.
  • 1928 – Else’s oldest son Hercules Jacobus Mc Carthy was born on the 14 Oct 1928.
  • 1929 – Her father-in-law Hercules with his new wife Maria Johanna (Furstenberg) moved after their marriage to the Kalahari, to a
  • place called Genesa, in the district Kuruman.
  • – Elsie and her husband Hendrik relocated to Brakpan.
  • 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
  • 1941 – Elsie and Hendrik moved to a farm at Welverdiend.
  • 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.
  • – Her father-in-law moved to Wolmaransstad and stayed in Brand Street in Wolmaranstad
  • 1952 – Her father Willem Sterrenberg van der Merwe died on the 6 Sep 1952 at Klipplaatsdrift, Ventersdorp.
  • 1959 – Her Mother-in-law 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 – Her father-in-law Hercules died on the 24 May 1960 at Odendaalsrus and was buried in Klerksdorp.
  • 1865 – Elsies mother Aletta Sophia Janse van der Merwe (Van Vuuren) died on the 18 Apr 1965 at Klipplaatdrif, Ventersdorp.
  • 1668 – On the 30  April 1968 Elsie and her husband moved to Makwassie after his retirement.
  • 1985 – Elsie Rachel van der Merwe passed away on the 21 Oct 1985 at Makwassie.

One comment

  1. Sonja

    Hi daar, ek dink ek is vernoen na jou Aletta sophia van vuuren, my ouma was aletta sophia van vuuren, het begin by van der merwe en geeindig by my. SONJA TEL 0791753496

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