Stephanus Petrus Erasmus : grensboerpionier en voortrekker, 1788 - 1847

Markram, Willem Jakobus (1992-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 1992

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:The aim of this study was to compile a description of the life and contribution of Stephanus Petrus Erasmus, eastern frontier pioneer and Voortrekker. Secondly, Erasmus has been set against the background of the problems of the frontier farmers of the north-eastern frontier wards, Brak River and Kraai River in the years 1825 - 1837. Stephanus Erasmus was christened as the surname child of Daniel Elardus and cat.har-dria Elisabeth Erasmus in April 1788. In 1804 or 1805 Daniel Erasmus moved from the Graaff-Reinet district to the Swellendam district. Here Stephanus Erasmus married Maartje Wilhelmina Zacharia Kruger in 1812. At least ten children were born out of this marriage, while a second marriage to Anna Maria Neethling produced a daughter. Erasmus moved to the Beaufort district in 1821. From 1822 1824 he -'resided in the Graaff-Reinet area, and from 1825 he settled in the new district of SomersetEast. Like many of the other frontier farmers, this frontier pioneer probably participated in the northeastern migration for economical and geographical reasons. Erasmus played a leading role in this district in the capacity of provisional field cornet for Brak River. From 1835 he was field cornet for the new ward of Kraai River where he settled on the farm Mooiplaats. As a respected leader, Erasmus was fully aware of the administrative neglect of the north-eastern frontier wards. The progressive destabilisation of these wards, as well as the conflict between groups of black refugees this the uncertainty regarding dissatisfaction with frontier farmers, contributed insecurity. The question of for concern to Erasmus and his The their and the north-eastern towards the feeling of landownership was a cause fellow pioneer farmers. issue contributed to British government. Like many other frontier farmers, Stephanus Erasmus came into conflict with the authorities with regard to the treatment of his slaves. To make matters worse, a murder charge was brought against him after he had shot and killed a black man in the execution of his duties as field cornet. In 1836 Erasmus went on a hunting expedition in the direction of the Vaal River. During this expedition the Ndebele of Mzilikazi ambushed them on 21 August 1836 and two of Erasmus's sons were killed. Two days later Erasmus took part in the Vaal River battle. Erasmus then returned to the Colony from where he emigrated by the middle of 1837. As the leader of his own trek he held the office of commandant. It appears that he was a distinguished and revered Voortrekker leader. He was, for example, one of the six commandants at the battle of Blood River, and was in a leadership position during the battle of the White-Mfolozi. As a citizen of the Republic of Natal, Erasmus played a leading role in public life. He was a member of the Volksraad as well as a member of the Council of Landdros and Heemrade. After Britain had annexed Natal, Erasmus moved to Winburg and Potchefstroom. In 1845 he went to Ohrigstad where he died in February 1847.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING:Die doel van hierdie studie was om 'n beskrywing van die lewe en bydrae van Stephanus Petrus Erasmus, oosgrenspionier en Voortrekker, te gee. Tweedens is Erasmus geplaas teen die agtergrond van die probleme van die grensboere van die noordoostelike grenswyke, Brakrivier en Kraairivier, in die jare 1825 - 1837. stephanus Erasmus is in April 1788 gedoop as 'n kind van Daniel Elardus en Catharina Elisabeth Erasmus. Teen 1804 of 1805 het Daniel Erasmus van die distrik Graaff-Reinet na die distrik Swellendam verhuis. Stephanus Erasmus is in die distrik in 1812 met Maartje Wilhelmina Zacharia Kruger getroud. uit hierdie huwelik is minstens tien kinders gebore, terwyl nog In dogter uit 'n tweede huwelik met Anna Maria Neethling gebore is. Erasmus het in 1821 na die distrik Beaufort verhuis. Van 1822 1824 was hy in die distrik Graaff-Reinet woonagtig. Sedert 1825 het Erasmus hom in die nuwe distrik Somerset-Oos gevestig. Soos sy mede-grensboere het die grensboerpionier waarskynlik vanwee ekonomiese en geografiese redes aan die noordoosmigrasie deelgeneem. In die distrik het Erasmus In belangrike leiersrol vervul as provisionele veldkornet van Brakrivier en sedert 1835 as veldkornet van die nuwe wyk Kraairivier. Daar het hy hom op die plaas Mooiplaats gevestig. As In gerespekteerde leiersfiguur sou Erasmus deeglik kennis neem van die administratiewe verwaarlosing van die , noordoosgrenswyke. Die toenemende destabilisasie van die noordoosgrenswyke en die konflik tussen groepe swart vlugtelinge en die noordoosgrensboere het tot die gevoel van onveiligheid bygedra. Die reg op grondbesit het Erasmus en sy mede-grensboere na aan die hart gele en onsekerheid rondom hierdie kwessie het tot toenemende ontevredenheid teenoor die Britse regering gelei. Soos talle ander grensboere het Stephanus Erasmus met die regering gebots as gevolg van die behandeling van sy slawe. Om sake te vererger is 'n moordaanklag teen hom aanhangig gemaak nadat hy 'n swartman in die uitvoering van sy pligte as veldkornet doodgeskiet het. In 1836 het Erasmus 'n jagtog in die rigting van die Vaalrivier onderneem. Hiertydens het die Ndebele van Mzilikazi op 21 Augustus 1836 'n verrassingsaanval op sy j agkamp geloods en is onder andere twee van Erasmus se seuns gedood. Hierop het Erasmus twee dae later aan die Vaalrivierslag deelgeneem. Daarna het Erasmus eers na die Kolonie teruggekeer en teen die middel van 1837 het hy geemigreer. As leier van sy eie trek het hy die amp van kommandant beklee. Dit blyk dat hy 'n vername en gewaardeerde Voortrekkerleier was. Hy was byvoorbeeld een van die ses kommandante by die slag van Bloedrivier en ook in 'n leiershoedanigheid tydens die slag van die Wit-Mfolozi. As burger van die Republiek van Natal het Erasmus 'n leiersrol in die openbare lewe gespeel. Hy was naamlik Volksraadslid en lid van die Raad van Landdros en Heemrade in Natal. Na die Britse anneksasie van Natal het die ou Voortrekker na Winburg en Potchefstroom verhuis waarna hy in 1845 na ohrigstad getrek het. Hier is Erasmus in Februarie 1847 oorlede.

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