LOURENS Johann Martin
Johann Martin LORENTZ (LORENZ, LOURENS) from Wedderstedt. Also known as Johann Mardijn Lorentz, he was born 28 Aug 1715 in Wedderstedt in the county of Mansfeld, not far from Leipzig and Erfert in Saxony. His parents were Johan Andreas Lorentz and Barbara Wackermans of Niederstadt. Amongst his siblings to whom he waived his continental inheritance from his parents in 1757 were two sisters Maria and Anna Dorothea Lorentz. His sailor brother Johannes Andries died on the ship Oud Bergen Rode on 4 Apr 1747. His father died on 30 Mar 1756 and his mother on 12 Dec 1756.
Jan was employed by the VOC in the Cape as wagon driver (1734), reed and wood cutter (1740), master woodcutter (1741-1750) and then Supervisor of Forests and VOC Postholder for the next 21 years at Riviersonderend and Zoete Melks Valleij. He was described in 1757 as "the courageous sergeant", Baas of the Zoete Melks Valleij, and was literate. Jan x on 22 Nov 1744 Aletta HOFFMAN who was the daughter of Wilhelm Johann Hoffman and Anna de Neijs, daughter of Jan de Neijs of Dusseldorf. Wilhelm was a cooper with the VOC from 1711 to 1713, becoming a free burgher in 1714. He had come from Bockhold, near Arnheim.
Jan and Aletta had 11 children, of which 4 were sons and 7 daughters. The third and only surviving son was Johannes Willem Lorentz, born 27 Apr 1750. He married Elizabeth Grobbelaar in 1773 and after her early death remarried Sophia Beukman in 1778. This second marriage produced all of the children, from whom all the known Wedderstedt Lourenses in South Africa descended. Jan apparently died around 1785 when his name appears in the annual returns for the last time. Aletta had predeceased him on 11 Dec 1760.
Their children were:
b1 Johan Andries * 1.10.1745 = 3.10.1745 + 21.1.1768
b2 Johannes Willem * 1.5.1747 = 23.5.1747. + 4.6.1747
b3 Barbara Aletta * 19.12.1748 = 22.12.1748 x 20.7.1766 Cornelis VAN NIEROP from Amsterdam xx 13.9.1778 Johann Martin MULLER xxx 28.10.1787 Johann Friedrich RIMPLER xxxx 22.3.1801 Bernhardus Jacobus PIETERSEN
b4 Johannes Willem * 27.4.1750 = 7.5.1750 x 21.11.1773 Elizabeth GROBBELAAR (no issue), xx 10.5.1778 Sophia BEUKMAN = 14.5.1758 dau of Christoffel Bockmann (also Beukman) who had arrived in the Cape 1740 from Quakenburg Westphalia, soldier, coachman, burger in 1756 who x Elizabeth Margaretha NIEMAN dau of Diederik Niemann and Elizabeth v.d.K. Johannes and Sophia had 9 children:
c1 Johan Martin = 23.1.1780
c2 Johannes Christoffel = 14.10.1781 x Elizabeth Margaretha VAN ZYL
c3 Willem Jacobus = 29.6.1783 + 1.4.1880 x Swell 1808 Albertha OOSTHUIZEN
c4 Hendrik Andries = 21.7.1785 x 1812 Magdelena Susanna VAN ZYL
c5 Petrus Johannes = 9.5.1787
c6 Barbara Aletta = 18.11.1789 x Swellendam 1807 Salomon CLAASEN
c7 Elizabeth Margaretha = 1.6.1792 x 8.6.1817 Jacobus Johannes KEMP wid.of Elisabeth Maria Margaretha Boshof
c8 Magdalena Catharina = 3.5.1795 x Hendrik Adolph SAUERMANN = 4.11.1794
c9 Aletta Alida = 31.12.1796
b5 Anna (Aletta?) Maria * 22.11.1751 = 25.12.1751 x Marthinus Aegidus (Baas) THEUNISSEN * c1744 + 23.5.1828. Burgher, woodcutter, Postholder of Riet Valleij beyond Swellendam, then of Zonder End Valleij for 30 years. Their eldest son Marthinus Wilhelmus was granted freehold over Bontebokskloof farm adjoining the Riet Valleij Post by General Janssens in recognition of his bravery at the Battle of Blaauberg in 1806. Builder of the DRC churches at Caledon and Stellenbosch, he later lived at Vergelegen and became a substantial land owner. The Theunissens were originally from Maastricht.
b6 Elizabeth Johanna * 17.2.1753 = 20.4.1753 x 18.8.1776 Johannes Hendrik GIEBELAAR, who farmed Aan de Groote Vlakte lower down the Zonder End valley below Tyger Hoek.
b7 A son * 21.7.1754 + 3.8.1754
b8 Barbara Magdalena * 5.6.1755 = 18.1.1756 x 7.6.1778 Johann Christiaan Friedrich KUNZ from Oderberg in Brandenburg. Johan farmed over the river at Quartel Fonteijn, where he welcomed and hosted Bishop Latrobe as Johann was nearing the end of his life. As a respected carpenter, he had won the contract to build the Dutch Reformed Church at Swellendam.
b9 Catharina = 23.12.1757 x on 30.7.1775 Hendrik HEYNS = 5.11.1747
b10 Alida Jacoba * 24.3.1759 = 28.10.1759 x 23.12.1781 Johannes HARTOG = 18.11.1759
b11 Johanna Aletta * 10.12.1760 = 1.3.1761 x 12.10.1783 Servaas DE KOCK. Their descendants were still to be found at Riviersonderend two centuries later.
The Wedderstedt Lourenses became well known in South Africa, and especially parts of the Overberg, also giving rise to descendants in the Lourens, Theunissen, Giebelaar, Coentzer (Kunz) and van Copppenhagen stamouer families. They dominated the Zoete Melks Valleij and Riviersonderend area, where they were highly respected and where their children grew up and married locally. But contrary to the view expressed in 1955 by J. H. Redelinghuys in "Die Afrikaner-Familienaam en Personalia" they were not the source of most of the Lourenses in the country. Redelinghuys may have been misled by the Rostock Lourens family adopting the surname Rostok in the early 1700s before resuming the surname Laurens, and then extending widely over South Africa from their early settlements in other parts of the Overberg.
That said, the Wedderstedt Lourenses also spread widely. One probable example is the hunter Lourens and his son, who with the well known big game hunter (Hendrik) van Zyl of Rietfontein and Ghanzi and sons, and P J Botha, shot 103 elephants in one day in 1877 at Elephants Pan. This seems to be near to the Okavango Swamps of today. According to Moody, such slaughter had never before been seen. The same Lourenses came across a group of Dorsland (Thirstland) trekkers in distress the following year, and provided much needed assistence. The first name of this Lourens is not recorded, but is likely to have been a Wedderstedt Lourens, who were related to the van Zyls through several branches.
Heese and Lombard
Leonard D Lourens, F van Coppenhagen
Cape Archives: Waiver of Inheritance 7.6.1757; also Last Will and Testament ref C J 1083:36
Edmund H Burrows, Overberg Odyssey, Swellendam Trust, pp49, 157
D C F Moody, History of the Battles and Adventures of the British, the Boers and the Zulus etc in Southern Africa, see Journal of the Trek Boers to Mossamedes, p 322
See entry under Lorentz (Rostock)
Thanks to research by: