FISCHER Albrecht Christiaan Gottfried Jacob Johann
Prof Albrecht Christian Gottfried Jacob Johann Fischer. Born 1 April 1856 in Stuttgart, Germany.
His father was a merchant and he attended the Stuttgart Gymnasium. During the Franco German War he served on an ambulance.
At first he intended to become a merchant but from 1974 to 1877 he was a student of science at the Polytechnicum, Stuttgart, where he was an assistant to the Director of the Chemical and Technological Laboratory for a while.
During an expirement in the laboratory a test tube exploded and brought Albrecht to the edge of the grave. This forced him to give up chemistry. [It is believed that he had suffered from chlorine gas poisoning owing to the defective working of the gas ventilation shaft in an extractor cabinet.]
After he had recovered to some extent, he devoted himself to the advice of the physicians and started studying agriculture, attending several semesters (1880 - 1882) at the Royal Württemburg Land and Forestry research Academy in Hohenheim and was there with great success passed the diploma exam (Government examination as teacher in Agriculture).
He received a scholarship to travel to Northern Germany (Denmark etc) where he was particularly interested in the dairy industry. He spent a short time working at the agricultural school in Rondolfzell before he was offered a position in Stellenbosch.
“He emmigrated to South Africa at the end of 1883, boarded the ship ‘Trojan’ which sailed from Southampton on 27 December 1883. The Trojan arrived at Madeira from Plymouth at 8 p.m on January 1, and proceeded for Cape Town at midnight. Colonies & India 04/01/1884"
1884 to 1887: He was chairman of Chemistry and Experimental physics at Stellenbosch (Victoria College which later became the Universty of Stellenbosch) and had the ambition to start an Agriculture school in conjuntion with the college.
1886: Married Catherine Christina Murray, daughter of Prof. John Murray of the Theological Seminary at Stellenbosch.
In July 1887 he started an Agricultural class at the college which included a course in Geology (He was the second lecturer in Geology at the college). In November 1887 he was appointed as Secretary of Agriculture under the Cape Colony Government.
There are very few records available of his activities whilst he held this post, beyond the following extract from a letter in the Farmers’ Weekly of 9th July 1924, written by Mt. F J du Plessis, who had served under him. (SHORT MEMORIES. Nom de plume Richelieu.)
"He was mainly responsible for the acquisition of Elsenburg. He first detected the invasion of phylloxera and organised the campaign to destroy it. He was the genius who laid the foundation of Agriculture in the Colony on such a sound and intellectual basis. At the time Sir Gordon Sprigg was Prime Minister and Mr Tudhope Colonial Secretary.
The letter refers to his ‘eminent services’ which were ‘so cruelly terminated by the succeeding government’. (These letters are in the Cape Town repository of the National Archives).
In 1892 the Department of Agriculture was amalgamated with that of Crown Lands and his office was abolished and he was retired on pension. At a later date he was offered the Principalship of Elsenburg Agricultural School (or College), but was unable to accept on account of ill health.
In 1894 his health, which had not been robust, deteriorated, and chronic pulmonary tuberculosis developed.
From 1895 to 1900 he lived at Jacobsdal in the Orange Free State and from 1900 to the time of his death, 1904, at Beaufort West. At Jacobsdal he did a good deal of photography. Further he devoted himself to his family and to his children’s education, the daily ‘Spazieren-gehen’ (go for a walk) being a regular institution.
He was always very devout and besides the occupations mentioned above, spent the days of his long invalidism largely in spiritual (religious) reading, annotating and contemplation.
His devoted wife cared for him and taught in the government schools all the years at Jacobsdal and Beaufort West, and, after his death, at Stellenbosch, till her children’s education had been completed. She died at Standerton, Transvaal in 1922.
Children born out of their marriage:
b1. Maria Anna Murray Fischer, born 6 Nov 1887, married Roland Douglas Weighall.
b2. John Erling Fischer, born 7 Sep 1890. Went missing while on a hiking trip in Scotland 1960. He was never found.
b3. Donald Albrecht Fischer, born 10 Jun 1892, married on 30 April 1918 to Anna Sophia Brink.
b4. Christian Ludwig Fischer, born 19 July 1889. He went missing at Butte de Warlencourt during the Somme Offensive of the First World War. He was presumed missing in action and dead on 19 October 1916.
Germany, Births and Baptisms. GS Film number: 1055653
Familienregister Stuttgart Volume 14, Page 243.
South Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers, 1660 – 1970. GS Film number: 2214371
Digital Folder Number: 4434430, Image Number: 00463
South African military records for Christian Ludwig Fischer.
Researched and compiled by: