What an interesting place. I must actually still go and spent a few hours there to capture everything of note.
This is what I have done now (June 16) I'll report under the various headings.
The plaque on the graves states:
Thomas William Fannin
of the Darcle, Natal
who laid out the town of Heidelberg
shortly before his death on
Dec. 19 1865
Requiescat in Pace
The last sentence is Latin and means 'rest in peace'. And I don't know about this place name Darcle, where is it?
TW Fanning was a surveyor from Natal who was moving through the area looking for work. Heinrich Ueckermann gave him the contract to lay out the new town. Unfortunately a severe attack of malaria caused his demise before he could finish the job. During his sickness he was nursed in the Ueckerman house. He was the first person to be buried in the Kloof cemetery.
Near the bottom of the cemetery, towards town, is a grave completely overgrown by a Yucca tree. With its spiky leaves it protects the grave plate very well, protecting against the weather and erosion and also against humans. Moving a couple of leaves I got a glimpse of the name Ueckermann, and that really set me going. I had a difficult job getting to the inscriptions. And what does it say on the one side (see picture):
To the memory of
And on the other side:
13 JULY 1806
DIED 30 NOV 1870
REST IN PEACE
The three letters in brackets are not visible, they are unaccessible under the thick branch of the tree and have been assumed.
Searching through my sources I came to the conclusion that this is the mother of Heinrich. The background to this. There was another Ueckermann in the district, it was Carl August Friedrich, a brother of Heinrich. He joined him later in Heidelberg and was the first public prosecutor in 1868 and later a Justice of the peace. Carl was Heinrich's junior by 10 years and also made his way to South Africa at around 1860. He came with his mother, the sources state her name as Dorethea Marie Helene Caroline and she died in Heidelberg in November 1870.
John Alfred Ueckermann died whilst serving with the Heidelberg commando during the Boer War. I have not been able to find out how and why, I'll keep on looking.
He was a grandson of Heinrich Ueckerman and son of Frederick Ernest Ueckermann. Frederick was the first child born to Heinrich and Elizabeth in Pietermaritzburg 1851.
On the memorial honoring the fallen comrades of the Heidelberg commando appears this name, Harra von Zeppelin. He was one of the German volunteers who had joined on the side of the Boers. When war became imminent some Germans formed a corp under the command of Oberst (colonel) Schiel. That unit saw action very early in the war at Elandslaagte, that is a railway station between Ladysmith and Dundee. It was in that battle that the German corp suffered heavy losses and it cost the life of the Graf von Zeppelin. According to witnesses he had received a shot to the head and barely conscious also received a wound when cut by a sabre and stabbed with a lance by the cavalry of the enemy. He survived the night and only died the next day.
He had the rank of an officer and in the few days with the corp became very popular, although he insisted that his fellow comrades address him by his title 'Graf' (count). I could not find out anything about his life in the Transvaal before he joined the war. He must have lived there since he was with the action from the beginning.
Why his remains were reinterned with fighters from the Heidelberg commando I do not know. I cannot find any connection in the literature between the Graf and the Heidelberg commando
There is a large section of war graves for British soldiers killed during the 2nd Anglo Boer War. Most of them marked with the standard steel crosses and some with proper grave stones.
Here we meet somebody we know from the Salomon van As episode above. Captain Miers who died as a result of the confrontation with van As. The full inscription reads:
In Memory of
Ronald Hill Macdonnald Capel
Lieutenant 2nd Batt.
and captain in the
South African Constabulary
was killed at
Riviersdraai near Heidelberg,
on 25st September 1901.
Concentration camps for the families of the Boers fighting in the war (Anglo Boer war 1899-1902) were established in many places in the country. What has been left behind from the concentration camps at Heidelberg are the graves of the mainly women and children who died here. There were three camps at Heidelberg, two for the boers and one for blacks.
The graves are in two locations, one at this cemetery, Kloof, and the other location at what is called the camp cemetery. That one is on the way out of town toward Nigel. There should also be some graves from the black camp, the whereabout of that is not known, at least not to us.
That is not 100% correct, the graves are marked January/February 1880, that was before hostilities with the Boers commenced. The two gravestones indicate that here lies Pte R.Penfold, Kings Dragoon Guard, 25-01-1880 and Pte L.H.Bradbury, Kings Dragoon Guard, 20-02-1880.
The heading is thus wrong, I couldn't think of anything better. The graves are certainly from the time of the annexation of the Transvaal by the British and the British army was present in the area. Although there was no garrison at Heidelberg, these must have been soldiers passing through or staying in a temporary camp.
This grave had me a bit confused, because a person of the same name is buried at Goeiehoek not far from here. The name is the same, but the dates differ. The one resting here in Heidelberg is the son of Pieter Daniel at Goeiehoek. He came with senior from the Cape in 1838 to fight in the battle of Blood river. Coming back from the battle senior settled at Goedverwachting and junior at Nooitgedacht.
There are two graves, that I have come across, with the name 'van Warmelo'. The oldest one is that of Nicolaas Jacobus van Warmelo. He came from Holland and initially served the church in the Soutpanberg. He was called to be a minister of the Herformte Kerk in Heidelberg from 1868 and from 1885 to his death in 1892 the minister for the united church, see the write up about the church further back.
Dietlof van Warmelo is well known because he wrote a book, 'On Commando', about his time as a Boer soldier during the Boer War. He wrote it down whilst imprisoned in India, I like his style of writing, its very down to earth.
I can't find anything about his life after the war. He lived to a good old age of 94.
It's in the family, his sister Johanna Brandt, known as Hansie, also wrote a book, that was 'The Petticoat Commando', it was a book about her time when she lived with her mother in Pretoria during the war. They acted as secret agents, smuggling messages to Holland under the noses of the British occupation force.
1. Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, 1973
2. TV Bulpin, Lost Trails of the Transvaal, Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1965
3. Ian Uys, The Heidelbergers of the Boer War, 1981
4. W.J.Leyds. Die erste Annexion Transvaals, Verlag Emil Felber, 1907
5. E.F.Sandeman, Eight month in an Ox-Wagon, Griffith and Farran, 1880
6. "Ons Kerk Album van Hollandsche Kerken en Leeraren", publisher: unknown, printed in the 1920's
7. verbal and written communication from Heinrich Ueckerman, one of the grandsons of the original HJFC Ueckerman and from Anjoret van Niekerk
8. 150 Jaar van Genade - Feesblad van die NG Gemeente Heidelberg - Klipkerk (1865-2015), printed by Heidelberg Printers.
9. The Ueckermann Families in South Africa, privately published by Ludwig Döhne, 2009
10. Joseph Kürschner, Die Buren und der Südafrikanische Krieg, Deutscher Kunstverlag,1902
11. Dietlof van Warmelo, 'On Commando', Methuen & Co, 1902