Ghwarriespoort to the Gariep Dam

Continued from Hermanus to Keurfontein

Friday 4 September 2015

We woke up in chilly Keurfontein, at Ghwarriespoort, and continued our journey North and East along the N9. Keurfontein, the place where we stayed, was selfcatering accommodation rather than a B&B, but that was OK — it was was a fast day, so we had baked beans on toast for breakfast.



About 50 km up the road we passed the Grootrivier Dam — the road goes over the dam wall. Four years ago it had been dry, and we expected that after the rain of the last few days it might have had some water in it, but there was none, and the river was the merest trickle. A bit further on we saw puddles at the side of the road, so there had been rain, but obviously it had not affected the river. Perhaps the “Groot” name was irony.

Grootrivier Dam -- as empty as it was four years ago

Grootrivier Dam — as empty as it was four years ago

We bypassed Aberdeen, and reached Graaf Reinet at 11:43, 197 km from Keurfontein. We dropped in to visit my cousin Ailsa Grobler, and this time she was at home. Last time we had visited (in 2011) she was away visiting her son Bruce, who works as a chef in Dubai. Interestingly enough another cousin on the Hannan side of the family, Ceri Duff Henderson, lives in Dubai, where she is a diving instructor.

Steve Hayes, Ailsa Grobler, Val Hayes, Nick Grobler: Graaff Reinet, 4 September 2015

Steve Hayes, Ailsa Grobler, Val Hayes, Nick Grobler: Graaff Reinet, 4 September 2015

There was a bonus on this visit, as Ailsa’s other son Gavin, who lives in Cape Town, was there as well. We had coffee with them and chatted for a while. Nick and Ailsa run the Villa Reinet Guest House in Graaff Reinet, and we stayed there on our trip in 2011, though only Nick was at home then. We can also recommend it as a very good place to stay, and not just because it is run by our cousins.

Steve Hayes, Gavin & Ailsa Grobler. Graaff Reinet, 4 September 2015

Steve Hayes, Gavin & Ailsa Grobler. Graaff Reinet, 4 September 2015

Our Hannan great grandparents, William Hannan and Ellen McFarlane, lived in Glasgow, and four of their children emigrated to southern Africa, including Ailsa’s grandfather Stanley Livingstone Hannan and my grandmother Janet McCartney Hannan, who married George Growdon.

Graaff Reinet, Eastern Cape. 4 September 2015

Graaff Reinet, Eastern Cape. 4 September 2015

We left Graaff Reinet about 12:45, and crossed the Lootsberg Pass at 1:20 pm, 262 km from Keurfontein, and probably, at 1781 metres (5843 feet), one of the highest places on our route this day. In some places we followed the railway line, which on our previous visit had looked neglected and disused, but this time looked as if it could be in use again. The road was wide and smooth, and seemed to go almost effortlessly over the hills. Last time we had been here 4 years ago we had travelled this section in the dark. At Middelburg, which we reached at 1:48 pm, 306 km from Keurfontein, they were working on the road, and there were a couple of stop/go sections, but they did not hold us up for long. The road clearly needed working on, as it was narrow, bumpy and much patched, They had completed the sections from Noupoort to Colesberg, which were wide and smooth.

Toverberg, the Magic Mountain, also known as Cole's Berg, named after Sir Lowry Cole, sometime governor of the Cape Colony.

Toverberg, the Magic Mountain, also known as Cole’s Berg, named after Sir Lowry Cole, sometime governor of the Cape Colony.

Henry Green, the brother of Val’s great great grandfather Fred Green, was resident magistrate and civil commissioner in Colesberg in the 1860s, so we visited the town museum to see if we could find out where he had lived at that time, and it appeared that the drosdy (magistrate’s residence) was next to the Anglican Church, where most of Henry Green’s children by his second wife, Countess Ida Von Lilienstein, were baptised. The drostdy is now a restaurant, but it wasn’t open when we passed through. The Anglican church next door has services once a month, when the rector of Middelburg visits.

The old Drosdy in Colesberg, now a restaurant

The old Drosdy in Colesberg, now a restaurant. Henery Green apparently lived here when he was resident magistrate in the 1860s.

We then followed the southern shore of the Gariep Dam to Oviston. The Gariep Dam is the biggest dam in South Africa, used for water storage, power generation and irrigation. It is on the Orange (Gariep) River, which we had seen further downstream earlier in our journey when we crossed it from north to south at Kakamas, and saw it at the Aughrabies falls.

Gariep Dam, 4 September 2015

Gariep Dam, 4 September 2015

We went to Oviston, on the southern shore, where we spent the night at the Aan Die Water guest house.

Sunset over the Gariep Dam at Oviston

Sunset over the Gariep Dam at Oviston





Found! Ida Carolina von Lilienstein, wife of Henry Green

One of the long-enduring mysteries of the GREEN family history has at last been solved, thanks to Ione Evans of New Zealand.

Henry Green, the British Resident of the Orange River Sovereignty in the early 1850s, came to South Africa some time in the 1840s, as did several of his siblings, including Fred (Val’s great great grandfather), Edward, Charles and Arthur.

It was known that Henry Green married Ida Carolina von Lilienstein, daughter of Count von Lilienstein, but little was known about her parents. Many of their descendants have tried to find out more, especially her mother’s name, but without success.

Ione Evans asked a researcher to check German records, and and finally found:

Congregation of Itzehoe, Christenings in the year 1836, daughters, page No 11, born on 4 December 1835, christened on 24 December 1835 Ida Caroline Johanna, legitimate daughter of local constable at the regiment of light dragoon, Carl Arthur Count zu LILIENSTEIN and Catharina Elise née STAEKER, christened by me at home. God parents: Carl von BARDENFLETH, colonel and head of the regiment, Martin von WILEMOOS SUHM, Premier Major, Johannes von EWALD, major (translation)

This will be especially good news for descendants of Henry and Ida, as Ida’s ancestors will be theirs as well, but for the rest of us too, the irritating gap waiting to be filled by “Spouse’s mother” can at last be filled.

In the course of our researches into the Green family we have met several descendants of Henry and Ida, and corresponded with many more. Some of them have been enthusiastic researchers into the family history, and many of them have helped us a great deal with our researches. We were in correspondence for a while with Hal Green in Swaziland. Jack and Peggy (nee Tapscott) Stokes visited us when we lived in Melmoth in Zululand, and stayed several days with their caravan in our back yard, and we spent many evening poring over family records, trying to sort out chronology and relationships.

One of the longest-standing mysteries (to us, at any rate) was what happened to Edith Susanna Green, daughter of Henry and Ida. She had married Ernest Borwick and then, apparently, disappeared off the face of the earth. Then we made contact with Ione Evans, a descendant of that branch, who filled in several generations. Ernest Borwick farmed in Kenya, and several of their seven children lived there, and some married and moved to other countries. Ione Evans is still following up some of the descendants, but has also been working backwards on the von (or zu) Lilienstein side as well, for which we are all grateful.


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