Hendrik Carel Vos Leibbrandt, b5c8 (1837 - 1911)

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Birthplace: Cape Town
Death: Died in "Leonberg" Greenpoint
Occupation: DR Minister at Victoria West and Keeper of Colonial Archives
Managed by: Charlene Irene Viljoen
Last Updated:

About Hendrik Carel Vos Leibbrandt, b5c8

Hendrik Carel Vos Leibbrandt, 31.12.1837 - 1.1.1911


Hendrik married Sara SINCLAIR in 1860. They had 12 children, 7 sons and 5 daughters, of whom 8 survived infancy. Hendrik, the eighth child of wine merchant Johann Sebastiaan *1793 and Alida FISCHER, was educated at the South African College Cape Town. The University of Utrecht in Holland awarded his Theology degree in August 1859. He returned to the Cape got married and was inducted as minister of the N G Kerk Victoria West on 6.5.1860. Hendrik was a very active member of the ministry, as he established a congregation at Canarvon in 1875 and another at Prieska in 1878. His ministry at Victoria West however lead to dissention due to his activities in the liberal school of ministers. Other members of the School were T F Burgers (later President of the Transvaal Republic) L S and J J Kotze, and S P Naude. All these were contemporaries of Utrecht University Hendrik's views were unacceptable to the majority of the congregation. He was outspoken and the trouble became serious in 1870. His was co-author in three essays entitled 'Gedachten over de roeping der Kerk en de verhouding van den leraar tot zijne gemeente' Cape Town, written for the Christian congress in that year. This caused a storm amongst the clergy and the congregation but Hendrik was inflexible and would not retract his views. Permission was granted to form a second congregation, but this was abandoned and the congregation at Victoria West asked him to resign. He was offered 2500 pounds Stirling as 'compensation' He Resigned on 25.6.1877. Hendrik was well liked by some of the congregation and he was presented with an address thanking him for his good work in 18 years with the community.

This apparent reversal led to his 'real' work as the first Archivist, as he was appointed in preference to another past time custodian; C M Theal. His work output was prodigious and spurred on by rival Theal he wrote an enormous number of articles and précis for the Archives. If fact he laid the basis for the present Archives in Cape Town.

Hendrik 's strong points were his energy, honesty outspoken when convinced he was right, and fluency in Dutch English and German. Being a minister of the Church he also had knowledge of Latin and Greek. He retained his friendship with President Burger as on one occasion he baptised Burger's child. Some of Hendrik’s Archives work is the following:

1886. Précis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope December 1651-December 1653. (The fist of 16 Vol:) 1887. Rambles through the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope 1688-1700. Précis of the Journal of Jan van Riebeek. 1699-1732. Letters Received 1699-1732. Letters dispatched 1696-1708. 1897. The Defence of Willem Adriaan van der Stel. The Government instructed Hendrik to edit the documents related to what is known as the Slachtersnek Rebellion and this was published as 'The Rebellion of 1815, generally known as Slachter's Nek. (Cape Town 1902.)

Hendrik wrote numerous articles for 'Het Zuid-Afrikaansche Tijdschrift', and a series on the hunter and explorer Jacobus Coetzee.

It must be emphasized that the above is just a small sample of the volume of Hendrik's work.

What is not realised is that Hendrik was both librarian and Archivist until seven years before his retirement in 1901 when these two posts were separated. During a small portion of his working life he had temporary assistance, but never the less he was able to classify 3440 documents and these documents were bound between 1881 and 1906. Undoubtedly Hendrik was a giant of a man when one considers the amount of work he accomplished in his lifetime not only for the Cape Archives but also for the outlying districts. His work earned him the title of honorary member of the 'Historische Genootsschap' of Utrecht.

Many references of Hendrik Leibbrandt and his work can be found in the Cape Archives. C J Rossouw wrote 'Die werk van Hendrik Carel Vos Leibbrandt as argivis en Suid Afrikaanse geskiedskrywer' and this is one of the many written monuments of the great South African.

Douglas Paul LEIBBRANDT, South Africa, 1990. http://www.leibbrandt.com

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Hendrik Leibbrandt, b5c8's Timeline

1837
December 31, 1837
Cape Town
1860
February 24, 1860
Age 22
Cape Town
November 29, 1860
Age 22
1862
June 7, 1862
Age 24
1863
October 28, 1863
Age 25
1865
March 27, 1865
Age 27
1868
March 26, 1868
Age 30
Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
1871
1871
Age 33
1873
June 13, 1873
Age 35
1875
January 13, 1875
Age 37