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Reitzburg

Reitzburg doesn't exist, but it used to, that was in the time of Gold mining in the area. The name of Reitzburg it got from the president of the Free State in the 1880th, Reitz GPS coordinates: 27.0210°S 27.2095°E elevation: 1366m.

Gold mining

It essentially was a mining place with its birth going back to the time when gold was discovered in the area, that was around 1885. The gold soon petered out caused by the fact that the gold seams in the area are not continuous, i.e. now you have it, now you don't. This is mainly because of the Vredefort meteor which came down about 2000 Million years ago. It was this impact which pushed the gold reefs to the surface but in a chaotic manner.
There was a revival in the 1930th, with one mine near Schoemans Drift known to have pushed under the river (Vaal). This was the Great Western mine, it operated from 1933 to 1941. But that must have been the second time, it is reported in Ref 4 that the mine produced 855 ounces of gold in 1909. This mine also suffered from the uncertainty, on a number of occasions it came to a pause until the reef was found again.

General Dealer

Reitzburg general dealerReitzburg shopkeeperBasically what is left of Reitzburg is the general dealer run and owned by Johann Roustof. Johann has done some research and established that the building was erected in 1933.
In times gone by the building also housed the post office. The room occupied by the post office is now part of the shop, the place where the wall was is still very visible. And what Reitzburg also had was a police station, this was over the road from the shop. Nothing is left of it now, just a few bricks scattered around a big eucalyptus tree.

School

Reitzburg schoolReitzburg school class roomThe school is no more, it did function until fairly recently. It was a primary school. One has to wonder why it has been closed, is it because of insufficient numbers or is it because of rationalisation?
There was another school building near the grave yard, that one doesn't exist, just the foundations.

Grave yard

Reitzburg Grave yardThis overgrown grave yard is not far from the shop and I have to assume it was the grave yard for Reitzburg. There are only a few marked graves, six, and a larger number of unmarked graves, means no head stone. Names that appear on the head stones: Gericke, Marx. leRoux and Schoeman.
Reitzburg Grave yardThe name Marx means something, a Mr Marx owned the farm Lindequesfontein, just across the road from the grave yard. He applied in 1887 to have his farm declared a public digging. The first claim was registered on the 1 December 1887. His grave stone states David H Marx was born 3-Dec-1853 and died 27-Jan-1918.
Which reminds me we have to visit again, there is a place on the topographic map marked as a digging, need to check it out.
Well, yes, it was done, but unfortunately the places shown as diggings turned out to be quaries for road building.

Boer War

The area had a fair bit of action during the Boer War. General de Wet had a camp near Reitzburg before crossing over at Schoemansdrift to escape the British. Before it came to that there was the

Battle of the Flour Wagons

The general and his force had crossed the railway line at and near Heuningspruit, moving from there toward the Vredefort mountains. He had four wagon loads of grain delivered to the Mackenzie mill in Vredefort with instructions to mill this as fast as possible and to finish the job before the British arrived. The mill worked through the night and the flour was loaded onto the wagons and at first light they went off at the greatest speed the oxen could pull. But alas it was too late, the British were on their way and captured the wagons.That was the 24 July 1900.
This, of course, was a major problem to the Boers. Without food it is difficult to fight a war. When Gen. de Wet received the report his reaction was immediate ordering his forces to attack and retrieve the wagons and it's content. It was an unusual battle for the Boers in that they had to attack without any cover, it was on open flat veld, no place to hide behind. They would leave their horses behind and lay flat on the ground to shoot at the enemy. Most of the action was at or near the farm Stinkhoutboom.
The result of the battle was that the Boers had to return empty handed. The wagons were lost to the enemy. A number of British and Boers lost their lives, 5 and 4 respectively. The remains are buried in the Vredefort cemetery, see pictures in Vredefort.


References
Ref 1.: Standard Encyclopedia of Southern Africa, Nasou Limited, 1974
Ref 2.: VE d'Assonville, 'Generaal De Wet in die Vredefortkoepel', Marnix Pretoria, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-620-46619-6
Ref 3.: Chistiaan Rudolf de Wet, 'Three Years War', Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1902
Ref 4.: A.P.Cartwright, The Gold Mines, Purnell & Sons, 1962
Ref 5.: J M Jansen van Rensburg, 'Geoconservation of abandoned goldmines and granite quarries in the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site, South Africa'
Ref 6.: Military History Journal, Vol 15 No 4 - December 2011



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