Articles Artikels

Anders Stockenström

by A. H. Tromp

this article is copied from pages 773 and 774 of  The Dictionary of South African Biography Volume 1.
The Dictionary of South African Biography is available from the Genealogical Institute of South Africa.


Stockenström, Anders (*Filipstad, Swed., 6.1.1757 - † Doringnek, Suurberg, C.C., 29.12.1811), landdrost of Graaff-Reinet, was the son of Anders Anderssen Stockenström (1707-1764), inspector of mines and mayor of Filipstad, and Catharina (Caterina?) Margareta (Margarita) Ekman (*1723). Before leaving Sweden S. worked for the Filipstad board of mines, but after 1780 there is for a time no mention of him. According to the Cape muster roll of 1784-89, and the entry recording his marriage, he lived in Stockholm before coming to South Africa.

In September 1781 S. sailed as quarter-gunner in a V.O.C. ship, 't Zeepaard, in convoy from Texel to the East. The danger presented by hostile British ships led to the return of the convoy, which left for the second time on 7.7.1782, entering the Atlantic ocean after rounding Scotland and Ireland while shielded by a squadron of Dutch warships. All went well as far as the equator, when scurvy broke out among the crews. When they reached Table bay (2.12.1782), 1,202 of the 2,753 people on board the ten ships had died, and 915 were ill. A few weeks later, as soon as enough of the sick had recovered in hospital, four of the most heavily armed of the convoy ships, among them 't Zeepaard, were dispatched to Batavia in 1783 to assist in the war against Britain. S. may have sailed with them.

In 1784 he was an assistant in the negotie comptoir (goods office) in Cape Town, a position which he occupied for some years. For a time he was a supercargo in a ship transporting slaves for the Company from Madagascar to the Cape, and later he was bookkeeper to the fleet, a post he retained until the occupation of the Cape by the British in 1795. In March 1796 Gen. J. H. Craig* appointed him secretary to Landdrost A. A. Faure,* of the Swellendam district. He acquitted himself so well as an official that the governor, Gen. J. W. Janssens,* and the commissioner-general, J. A. de Mist,* both of whom met him during their tours, appointed him landdrost of Graaff-Reinet, having come to the conclusion that he possessed all the merits and abilities required for that responsible post. He was sworn in by De Mist (14.2.1804) on a farm in the district, when the commissioner-general was on tour in 1803-04, and took up his duties in a district which, torn by political dissension and menaced by the Xhosa since 1795, had not had a permanent landdrost since 1801.

The period, approximately eight years, during which he was to serve in Graaff-Reinet was just as difficult. Attention had to be paid to the restoration of public buildings, to the disturbances caused by the Xhosa under Ndlambe,* to the roaming, detribalized Hottentots, and to the Bushmen raids in the northern and north-western parts of the district. Initially, and with the Earl of Caledon's* permission, S. sent commandos against the Bushmen, but under strict discipline. Simultaneously he tried to reconcile the Bushmen and prevent their starving to death by arranging for game to be shot for them, and by periodically giving them cattle.

After 1806 the position regarding the Xhosa on the eastern frontier deteriorated. Friction was mainly due to the westward intrusion of the Xhosa who were still settled in the Suurveld. Their raiding and plundering especially affected S.'s colleague to the south, Col. J. G. Cuyler,* landdrost of Uitenhage. For various reasons Caledon was not able to take the field and it remained for his successor, Sir John Cradock,* to order the landdrosts of Swellendam, George, Uitenhage and Graaff-Reinet, under the command of Lt-Col. John Graham,* to drive the invaders beyond the Fish river in October 1811.

The burgher commandos turned out in December 1811. S. led the men of Graaff-Reinet and occupied Bruintjieshoogte to protect the area to the north of the Suurberg. The other cornmandos gathered further to the south, at the mouth of the Sundays river, which they crossed after Christmas in order to expel the enemy from the Addo bush. On 27 December Graham sent orders to S. to join the other soldiers and burghers at Cuyler's camp at Coerney. S. realized that to leave his position would be to expose the area north of the Suurberg to the danger of a Xhosa attack. Without the slightest intention of ignoring his orders he decided to discuss the matter with Graham.

At sunset on 29.12.1811 he set out with twenty-four men, only, about five hours later, to encounter a number of Xhosa of the Imidange clan, under Kasa, on Doringnek, the watershed between the White and Coerney rivers, in the Suurberg. The burghers wished to ignore them and proceed, but S., relying on his popularity as the friend and benefactor of both whites and Bantu, reined in, dismounted and went to meet them unarmed. In the course of a long conversation he spent half-an-hour endeavouring to persuade them to return to their country without bloodshed. During the conversation about a hundred of the Imidange surrounded the white men unnoticed, and when S. remounted to proceed they were attacked from all sides. S., eight burghers and a half-caste interpreter were killed, and four men were wounded, although they managed to escape@ Among the dead was Jan Christiaan Greyling, whose widow married Piet Retief,* the future Voortrekker leader, in 1814.

When the news of the murder of the landdrost and his companions reached the camp at Bruintjieshoogte; his son, Ensign Andries Stockenström,* together with eighteen mounted burghers, hastened to Doringnek, where they surprised a number of the murderers, shot thirteen dead, and recaptured eight horses.

As far as is known there is no portrait of S., nor is the site of his grave known. On 16.11.1786, in the N.G. church, Cape Town, he married Maria Geertruyda Broeders (bapt. 11.3.1764), the daughter of Peter Caspar Broders(en) from Rantrum, near Husum, in Schleswig, and his wife, Elsabe Cornelia Colijn. Four sons and four daughters were born. The best known of the sons was the eldest, later Sir Andries Stockenström. S. was the founder of the Stockenström family in South Africa, and, according to family tradition, Carel Ewald Ziervogel and Aegidius Benedictus Ziervogel, two of the three founders of the Ziervogel family, were his cousins.

Source References:

Cape arch., C.T.: Series Verbatim Copies: V.C. 45, 47 (monsterolle); general muster rolls (G.M.R.);

N.G. Kerk arch., C.T.: marriage and baptismal reg. C.T.; baptismal reg. Swellendam;

H. LICHTENSTEIN, Reizen in het zuidelyk gedeelte van Afrika in de jaren 1803, 1804, 1805 en 1806. v. 2 and 3. Dordrecht, 1813, 1814;

C. W. HUTTON (ed.), The autobiography of the late Sir Andries Stockenström, bart., sometime lieutenant-governor of the eastern province of the Cape of Good Hope. C.T., 1887, facs. repr. 2 v. C.T., 1964 (port.);

G. M. THEAL, Belangrijke historische dokumenten over Zuid-Afrika. v. 3. C.T., 1911; (ed.), Records of the Cape Colony. v. 7, 8, and 10. C.T., 1900,1901, 1902;

Kaapse archiefstukken lopende over het jaar 1782. 2 v. C.T., 1931 and Pta., 1935;

DONALD MOODIE, The record, or a series of official papers relating to the condition and treatment of the native tribes of South Africa, facs. repr. (Anna H. Smith, ed.). C.T., 1960;

Inf. from J. L. Dracopoli, Barcombe Mills, Sussex, England, and from the late Dr Eric Stockenström, Stell.

tuisblad | voordele | inhoud | sluit aan | privaatheidsbeleid | gedragskode | meer oor ons | skakels

home | benefits | contents | join | privacy policy | code of conduct | about us | links