Johann LOURENS (Lorentz) (LOURENS) from Rostock (also Jan LORENZ and LOHRENTZ), * 1679 arrived in the Cape about 1698, soldier, later free burgher in Drakenstein, corporal in Drakenstein Burger Infantry x on 23 Jun 1698 Anna Elisabeth MICHIELS = 19 Sep 1681. He was granted a hunting license for six weeks on 27 Sep 1710 to shoot enough hippos in the Breerivier to fill one wagon. He may have farmed on his parents in law property at Joostenberg: he had certainly borrowed substantially prior to 1708 from Anna"s mother. Johan was foreman (kneg) on J. de Savoye"s farm at Wamakersvallei before being granted his own farm in 1707. Title was issued to Jan for the 20 morgen 320 square rood farm Stuk Land at Bovlei, Wamakersvallei on 11 May 1712. Jan signed his name with the mark of an anchor. He was apparently an industrious settler; by then he had 9 horses, 46 cattle, 300 sheep, 2 pigs, 3000 grapevines, and had harvested 30 muids of wheat, and owned a flintlock gun and a dagger.
The farm was sold to Cornelis van Rooyen on 2 Dec 1721. It was later divided and became known as Nabygelegen, by which it remains known in Bovlei, Wellington. It is situated near to the Retief property Wel van Pas on a lefthand turnoff shortly before Bains Kloof Pas: the Cillier, Du Toit, Le Roux, Malan, Rossoux and Van der Merwe farms amongst others are also in that vicinity. Anna died in 1715. Within four years Jan"s position had apparently worsened, if the erratic opgaafrol can be believed, which is doubtful: he then owned one slave, 30 cattle, and harvested 8 muid of wheat. Possibly the vines and sheep are omitted, or some other explanation exists. After selling the farm in 1721 and moving to Bonterivier in Stellenbosch, Jan remarried on 5.3.1724 Dina VALENTYN from Agra, a literate widower of Daniel Rodrigues from Batavia, who was the second Teacher of the Slave Lodge. She was probably the one who taught Jan"s children to read and write.
Lourens Stamouer Anna Elizabeth Michiels was the daughter of Matthys Michielsz from Glueckstadt in Holstein, who married on 28 Jan 1680 the intrepid Catharina Hostings (Ustinghs) from Lubeck. Tryn had arrived on the sickly ship Hof Van Zeeland in the Cape in 1662 as a young widow aged 21, just over ten years after Jan van Riebeeck founded the settlement. Matthys was Catharina"s fifth husband. She became well known as Tryn Ras after marrying Hans Ras from Angelen who survived a traumatic stabbing by a guest on his wedding day, in what may have been the first recorded traffic accident and road rage in the Cape, only to be mauled to death by a lion. Her next husband Francois Champelear from Ghent was killed by Hottentots while on a hunting expedition. The fourth, Laurens Cornelissen from Gothenberg was reported by Commissioner Baron van Rheede tot Drakenstein to have been killed by an elephant while hunting hippo.
Tryn was then in desperate straits, reduced to keeping her family on a monthly rice ration supplied by the Company: an early version of social security. After squatting in Constantia, her energy and luck turned for the better when she was generously granted a freehold property in that vicinity in her own name by Simon van der Stel. This later became known as the great Steenberg Estate, on which she prospered. By 1692 the estate had developed significantly. It then supported 8,000 vines, 600 sheep, 140 other livestock, and grew wheat, rye and barley amongst other vegetables - Tryns" fresh cabbages, freshly baked bread and radishes won high praise. So did Tryn herself, though the Commissioner who had earlier enjoyed her meals according to his diary for 30th May 1685, described her determined horse riding to and from the settlement, astride and quite alone, as "terrifying", and her children as wild. One of these, a teenage daughter Maria Ras = 23 Jun 1669 who "could easily have passed for an Egyptian fortune teller" went on to marry Joost Strydom soon thereafter, so becoming the Strydom family stamouer. Little Anna Elizabeth, the future Lourens stamouer, was also amongst these "wild Indians from Brazil" then four years old.
This quite well developed farm Swaaneweide was sold to Frederick Rossouw in 1695, and the Michiels moved to one of their other properties Joostenberg (then Weltevreeden - the book The Old Houses of the Cape, 1965, p 75 is in error on this ownership). Joostenberg was then a modest house, and despite the 12 slaves helping to develop the farm from its native state, she lived a simple lifestyle. After Tryn"s death aged 67 in 1708, it was inherited by her son Claas Ras, and on his death by his wife Maria Van Staden. Matthys Michiels then briefly owned Donkerhoek (Durand"s Bergen Henegouwen) and Nortier"s La Motte in the Drakenstein Valley, before retiring to Stellenbosch in partnership with crippled blacksmith Claas (Vulkaan) Vechtmann in much poorer circumstances, to which he had been no stranger some 35 years previously. He had owned a fishing boat, and in 1712 was helped by being given permission to shoot one load of hippo or other game from the Gouritz river district. Matthys Michiels was in his seventies when he died, apparently in the care of Jan Botma"s Snr son Jan and his wife Anna Maria. It is not yet known when Jan Lorentz died: it would have been after 1724.
The Stamouers Jan and Anna Lourens, together with Anna"s multi married mother Tryn, thus gave rise to many South African families, including descendents Strydom, Ras, Marx, Edelmann, Snyman, Blom, Lourens, Louwrens, Laurens, and confusingly for a time in the 18th century, also Rostok before that particular family reverted back to the surname Laurens. Matthys Michiels from Glueckstadt has frequently been confused with the contemporary Matthys Michiels from Stockholm, giving rise to numerous and repeated errors in various otherwise authoritative geneology and history books, including Heese and Lombard (1999). This error is well researched (see Margaret Cairns), and need no longer be perpetuated.
Spellings vary considerably and can be a bit confusing. The main family name Lourens (about 70%) which evolved from Lorenz is frequently spelt Louwrens (roughly 20%), and less frequently Laurens (about 8%) or Lauwrens (2%), depending upon the locality, literacy, and the nationality of the recorder. In general the spellings are often: Lohrentz, Lorentz, Lorents, Lorenz or Lorens in Rostock and the early Cape; and Rostok in the early 1700s when the family named themselves after their origins. Jan"s children had reverted to Laurens by 1772. Thereafter the Bredasdorp spelling of Lourens is widely used, sometimes modifying to Louwrens in Swellendam, Riversdale and upcountry, Lauwrens in Uitenhage, Laurens in Oudtshoorn, and Lawrence in Richmond.
The children of Jan and Anna Lorentz (Lourens) were:
b1 Anna Catharina (Catharina Rostok) = 10 May 1699 x 10 Nov 1719 Johannes HENNING son of Christoffel Henning from Fehrbellin, xx Jan de JONGH, xxx Stellenbosch 4 Aug 1724 Jan Peters BLOM, who arrived in the Cape in 1714 from Gerhausen, stonemason; burgher 1723. Jan Blom predeceased Catharina. Their three Blom children Elisabeth (x on 30 Jan 1746 Daniel Strydom b 29 May 1712, and after his death xx Isaac Nel), Johanna (x Jurie Human) and Johannes Blom (x Johanna Swart), benefitted from sister Maria"s estate in 1772. Her grand daughters Margaretha Johanna Blom = 4 Oct 1782 x Petrus Gerhardus Lourens (b3c1d2)=4 Jul 1779 in Cape Town on 6 Apr 1800, and Jacoba Maria Blom = 11 Mar 1787 xx in Stell on 4 Oct 1807 Dirk Cornelis Lourens (b3c1d4) = 3 Oct 1783.
b2 Maria (known as Marijntje Rostok; her name was spelt Laurens in 1772) = 18 Oct 1705 + Swellendam 1772 x 14 Jan 1725 Jacobus GREEF, xx 4 Nov 1736 agriculturalist Andries HARTING (also spelt Hatting). She left a substantial estate to her heirs, including the three Blom nieces, and her brother Matthys who received f1000 Indian valuation. The slave Joseph of the Cape was bequeathed to her nephew Hans Jurri Human. She also freed her slave Lena of the Cape and her children upon her death, and ordered that her other slave Rachel of Tarnetaal, on account of her faithful services, not be sold, but be allowed to choose with whom she wished to live.
b3 Matthys (also Thys Rostok) = 1.7.1708 x 8 Aug 1734 Maria BEUKIS (no issue), xx Stellenbosch 19 Dec 1751 Dina Maria UYS, from whom most of the LOURENS, LOUWRENS, LAUWRENS and LAURENS families throughout South Africa are descended. The Lourenses and Uyses remained quite closely related, with some 38 marriage connections between the two families. The traditional Lourens family names Dirk and Dina first came from the Uys side of the family, whereas Matthys may have came from the Michiels side. Matthys farmed at Zoetendalsvalleij, and Vogelstruiskraal as from 1762: it not presently certain where he farmed before then. In 1749 when Thys was still married to Maria Beukis, they were quite wealthy, owning 3 slaves, 6 horses, 29 cattle, 900 sheep, a flintlock rifle and a pistol. A year later he reported 30 cattle and 950 sheep. He was probably already living at the Zoutpansberg, later known as Brandfontein. Burrows reports that Matthys spent the last half of the 18th century at Zoetendals, religiously lodging his annual 24 rix-dollar recognitie fee with the Stellenbosch landdrost for nearly 50 years. This was not as easy as it seems. Widow Jurgen Human had not paid recognitie fee for 5 years by 1794 because of adverse conditions on the Zoetendals farm Langefontein, which had been held since 1752. Jacobus Johannes Swart also applied for leave not to pay the fee in 1794 because of severe cattle sickness on his nearby farm Honing Rug. Matthys probably died around 1796, at the ripe old age of 88. He had been involved in the recapture of the unfortunate slaves who had taken over the Cape packet ship Meermin on 18 February 1766 and landed at Struisbaai a few days later, thinking it was Madagascar. Here they strayed onto his farm, leading to a quick response by an astonished Thys and his neighbours, who had correctly sized up the unusual situation from the beach. Some 112 captive survivors were escorted back to Cape Town after brisk hostilities involving casualties: many of the crew were saved. The Meermin was a total write off, remaining wrecked at Struisbaai.
c1 Johannes Matthys (also Matthys Johannes) = 29 Apr 1753 in Stell + Bredasdorp 27 May 1840. He x in Stell. on 12 Nov 1775 Catharina Johanna SWART b29 Jan 1759 = 22 Jun 1759 at Bredasdorp + Swellendam 4 Apr 1849. The Lourens and Swart families have been closely related, with over 100 marriages, especially in the Bredasdorp and Overberg areas where the Lourens families remain well established.. Many of the Swart Soetendalsvlei and Soutbostak lines were so related. The Lourens name Petrus first came from the Swart side. Matthys farmed on Rhenosterkop on the Zoutpansberg and Soetendalvalleij (later acquired by Michiel van Breda for extensive pioneer Merino sheep breeding on a large scale in the Strandveld). Thys lived comfortably from mixed farming, relying mostly on sheep. In 1813 he declared for tax purposes: 6 cart and riding horses, 20 other horses, 12 oxen, 9 cattle, 574 sheep, 188 goats and harvested 31 muid wheat and 40 muid of barley. Matthys was Veldkornet of the wyk Soetendalsvlei. This included responsibility for raising commandos when necessary, as when the Hottentots rebelled in the Baviaanskloof (Genadendal) in 1799. He was also required to see to the maintenance of the dangerous road over Houwhoek. On one occasion he reported heavy traffic, with 8 wagons in a single day. His second son Petrus Gerhardus = 4 Jul 1779 Stellenbosch + 25 Aug 1862 in the Bloemfontein district, trekked to farm at Waterval on the Vaal river in the Orange Free State having remarried in Swellendam on 31 Dec 1820 Maria Magdalena TALJAARD = 2 Apr 1804. This line gave rise to the many Louwrenses from the farms Klipplaatdrif and Modderfontein in the Potchefstroom district of the Transvaal, amongst others.
c2 Dirk Cornelis = 1 Feb 1756 Stell. x CT 3 May 1778 Susanna Hermina GILDENHUIZEN = 7 Apr 1760 in Stellenbosch, dau of Hendrik Guildenhuizen and Sara Johanna Swart. Dirk inherited from his father the farm Vogelstruiskraal on the Nuwejaarsrivier, which flows past Voelvlei into Soetendalsvlei, near Elim and Bredasdorp. Dirk took part in the Battle of Blaauberg in 1806, opposing the British invasion under General Baird. Dirk, together with nine others including the Wedderstedt Lourens descendant Marthinus Theunissen, was granted a farm in freehold on the recommendation of General Janssens for his conspicuous bravery on that occasion. He became established at Prinskraal on the Broogerivier. In 1813 he declared 8 cart and riding horses, 16 other horses, 12 oxen, 9 cattle, 202 sheep, 33 goats, 72 muid wheat and 38 muid barley. His son Matthys Johannes (b3c2d4) who x Elsabe Cornelia SWART = 16 Sep 1792 farmed on Bovendrift on the Karsrivier. Some later generations moved to Swellendam, Riversdale and Oudtshoorn.
c3 Dina Elizabeth = 23 Oct 1757 Stell. x 20 Apr 1777 Louis Francois TALJAARD = 26 May 1754 burgher Swellendam, who farmed at Nachtwacht.
c4 Johannes Andries b 31 Jan 1760 = 17 Feb 1760 Stellenbosch
c5 Cornelis Jan (also Janse) = 31 Jan 1762 Swartland, burgher Stell. x Stell 11 Nov 1781 Elsabe SWART = 25 Sep 1763., xx Jacoba Maryna CORDIER wid. of Petrus Albertus Radyn. Cornelis farmed in 1804 on Platterug on the Kouderivier. This was near Elandskloofrivier and Jan Swartskraal, and adjoining Vogelstruiskraal at Elim. Cornelis took over farming Vogelstruiskraal in1804 from Louis Taljaard, who had married Dina Elizabeth Lourens in 1777 and farmed there from 1796. Louis already had his own farm Nachtwacht from 1778. In 1807 Gabriel du Toit acquired Matthys" old farm Vogelstruiskraal dating back to 1762. This Cornelis Janse Lourens line, through his grandsons, gave rise to the Lourenses of Harrismith and Vrede, as well as the Kenhardt and SWA lines via Riversdale.
c6 Elisabeth Catharina = 20 Apr 1764 Swartland
c7 Hendricus Jacobus = 9 Feb 1766 Swartland burgher Stellenbosch, x 17 Oct 1784 Margaretha Maria SWART . Hendricus farmed at Geelrug in the Vogel Valleij near Soetendalsvlei Bredasdorp. In 1813 he owned 11 cart and riding horses, 30 other horses, 12 oxen, 23 cattle, 364 sheep, 16 goats, and harvested 122 muid wheat and 38 barley.
b4 Hans = 27 Oct 1710.Paarl.
b5 Claas = 17 May 1713 Paarl
No trace of Hans (Johannes?) Lourens or Claas (Nicolaas?) Lourens or any of their potential descendants has yet been found, and it is not clear what became of them. They bear the same names as two of the children of Hans and Tryn Ras: their eldest son Hendrik Ras went to Ceylon where he married, had children and died: leaving burgher descendants there. Possibly Hans and Claas Lourens died without issue, but then again, possibly not.
De Villiers/Pama. Heese /Lombard
M Cairns, Tryn Ras in Familia XVI, 1979; also Steenberg Estate History
J G and WG le Roux, Ons Drakensteinse Erfgrond: Bovlei, Drakenstein Heemkring
H C V Leibbrandt, Requesten (Memorials), 1715-1806, v II
Hercules Wessels and Dawie Beyers: Opgaafrols
Ruth Labuschagne born Laurens, Laurie Lourens, Adriaan Lourens
See also Johann Martin LORENTZ or LOURENS of Wedderstedt.
No evidence has yet been found of the Rostock, Wedderstedt or Bremen Lourenses being related prior their arrival in the Cape.
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