Johan Michael SOWIETSKY, SV/PROG (c.1765 - d.)

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Birthplace: Tarnow, Poland
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Managed by: Tony De Buys
Last Updated:

About Johan Michael SOWIETSKY, SV/PROG

Johann Michael Sowiecky (Jan Michał Sowiecki) originated most probably from Tarnów, a middle sized town located in the southern part of Poland. In 1772 this area was incorporated into the Hapsburg’s Austria. It can be supposed that Sowiecki, just like other Poles, was enlisted in the Austrian army and had to fight against the army of the revolutionary France or against the Belgian revolutionaries. He might have deserted in Belgium and made his way to The Netherlands. Probably, along with other deserters from the intervening armies, including a Pole, Ignatius Weretycki, he entered the service at VOC. This group went aboard the ship “Enkhuizer Maagd”, which left Texel on January 15th, 1793, and came to the Cape on April 16th. Sowiecki was allowed ashore on May 2nd and started his service in the Cape Colony as a soldier with VOC. After four years he was already so well rooted in the Colony that on 29 July 1798 he married Joanna Katharina Heyts. This couple had three sons: Matthias Burger, Frederik Godfried and Johan Michiel (the last one died young). In 1809 he married again – Elisabeth du Buis. The son of them, also Johann Michael (born c. 1810) married in Cradock, on January 31st, 1836, Hilletje Magdalena Margaretha De Beer (born 1811). His stepbrother, Matthias Burger died in 1856 (MOOC 6/9/75 3978). The given names of Johann Michael reappear in the subsequent generations particularly frequently. The successive Johann Michael Zowietsky (probably a grandson of the first one) was married with Wilhelmine Wichmann (d. 1918). Their son, also Johann Michael Zowietsky (or Zowytsche) (1860-1937), lived in Kingwilliamstown with his wife Auguste Brüssow (1870-1949). Their son was Alfred Albert Zowitsky (or Zowytsche) (d. 1956) married with Doris Muriel Baines. Nowadays the name appears in South Africa most often in the form of Zowitsky (Zovitsky, Zovitskey, Zowytsche).

Source: Kowalski Mariusz, Polish soldier-immigrants to South Africa in the period of French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars (1789-1815), Familia 2009, 46, 3, p.147-164. (with corrections - MK)