Johann Oberholster, SV/PROG
|Also Known As:||"Jan"|
|Birthplace:||Kanton, Zurich, Switzerland|
|Death:||Died in Cape, South Africa|
Son of Hans Jacob Oberholtzer and Lisabeth Oberholzer
|Managed by:||Private User|
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About Johann Oberholster, SV/PROG
•Name: Johannes Oberholzer
•Given Name: Johannes
•Birth: 1680 1
•Baptism: 16 Dec 1696 Lutheran Church, Elsenz, Switzerland? 1
•Note: Richard Warren Davis states, in "Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners, Vol 1, 1995 (An Aid to Mennonite Family Research)", "He was the son of Jacob Oberholzer the Wiedertaufer, age 16 when he was baptized into the Lutheran Church at Elsenz on 16 Dec 1696. He was given the new name of Killian Casper. He went to South Africa by 1699 as a soldier, butcher and citizen." 1 2
•Change Date: 27 Sep 2002 at 10:29:05
Father: Hans Jacob Oberholzer b: 20 Dec 1646 in Wald, Zurich, Switzerland Mother: Lisabeth Nauer
1.Title: Davis, Richard Warren. Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners. Vol 1 (An Aid to Mennonite Family Research).
Note: Richard Warren Davis, PO Box 50182, Provo, UT 84605. 2.Title: Basinger, Donna Null. WorldConnect Project: Clymer Connections.
From "The Swiss at the Cape of Good Hope 1652-1971"
Jan Oberholster of Zurich had the unique distinction of simultaneously serving as commander of both the
Stellenbosch and the Drakenstein Dragoons. [Page 23]
Jan Oberholster of Zurich acquired several farms near Klapmuts by marriage, proved himself a successful
farmer and businessman, and also died wealthy. [Page 23]
Quite a few set up in business. The most successful were the two butchers Michiel Ley of Basel and Jan Oberholster of Zurich. [Page 24]
A FORCEFUL CHARACTER Oberholzer/ Oberholster, Jan, originally Hans Oberholzer of Oberholz SG born at Aa near Wald ZH.[1 & 2]. Probably arrived 1696 aged only 16 as soldier in Company employ.
Although listed as soldier, he was probably employed in the butchery until 1701 when his contract ended. He received permission to settle as a free burgher and after abandoning his catholic faith was admitted as a member of the Grootekerk congregation. Soon thereafter he was elected as a deacon of the church.
Initially he made his living as a butcher and was associated with Michiel Ley and others in the meat contract which contributed to the recall of Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel in 1708. Nevertheless Oberholster was doing well financially. His business activities spread to Drakenstein (Paarl) and Stellenbosch. On 19.1.1706 he could buy a house between Heere and Berg Dwars Street  and six months later married Helena, daughter of the Huguenot Guillaume du Toit  who owned several farms in the Drakenstein and Stellenbosch districts and had recently also bought the farm Valley Lutry from Jan Margra of Lausanne.
Oberholster must have had a happy, outgoing personality. As he moved around the country, he was speedily accepted into the farming communities and entrusted with public office. When he was elected deacon of the Drakensberg church,  a clash with its dominee (parson), the Reverend Engelbertus Franciscus le Boucq, was inevitable. The Reverend had been sent from Batavia but turned out to be a troublesome eccentric whose behaviour angered the authorities so much that they sent him back within year.
Before his marriage Oberholster had lived with a coloured woman by whom he had several children. Le Boucq used this to excommunicate him. Oberholster defended himself by instituting a civil court action, and despite this being unresolved at Le Boucq's departure, he was reinstated as deacon.  Jan Oberholster is linked with Agnitie Colyn whose illegitimate children Johannes (baptised 24.10.1702, married Sara Coetsee) and Barbara (born later? and married Paulus Hartog) appear to bear what may have been Jan's parents' Christian names.
In 1709 Oberholster sold his house in Table Valley and moved to Stellenbosch  where he took over his father-in-law’s farms Valley Lutry, Watergang and Land adjoining Cloetesdal (sold to Johannes Heyns in 1715).
Within one year he was elected Heemraad. 
In 1711 he bought the farm Nietvoorby near Klapmuts from the estate of Westerkerke  and in the following year was granted adjoining land named Uitkyk,  over which he had held a grazing licence.  Possessing farms at Stellenbosch and near Klapmuts on the limits of the Drakenstein District, he managed to be a member of the mounted commandos both in Drakenstein and at Stellenbosch, and was elected Captain in 1713 of the former and 1715 of the latter. 
In a matter of only a few years Oberholster had become a wealthy farmer. On the Burgher Roll for 1712 he is listed with his wife Helena, 2 sons, 6 male slaves, 11 horses, 81 head of cattle, 500 sheep, 18 000 vines and 16 leaguers of wine. In the last growing season he had sown/harvested 10/30 bages wheat and he had six guns, a pistol and two swords. 
His wife Helena by whom he had 2 sons and a daughter died in 1714 and he married Judith du Plessis (born 1674 in Ireland), widow of Ary van Eeden. In this same year Oberholster also obtained a licence to graze his animals “beyond the 24 Rivers below the small round Elschenbosch forest”, where the town of Porterville now stands.  He sold his Stellenbosch properties and apparently moved to his undeveloped farms near Klapmuts. For the first and only time he hired a soldier from the Castle as a farmhand. 
In 1717 he reports having no vines  but 1719 lists 5 000 vines and 9 leaguers of wine.  Oberholster and his wife drew up a joint will in 1718  and three years later when he died about 41 years old, he was survived by three children:
- Guillaume, baptised 4.12.1707 and named after his mother's father. He became a farmer with 40 000 vines.
- Johannes, baptised 24.8.1710 and probably named after his father's father, became a cattle and wheat farmer in the Swartland.
- Johanna Barbara baptised 18.6.1713 and probably named after her father's mother, married Michiel Pentz, the progenitor of the Pentz family at the Cape.
References for above extract -
- 1 CH, Staatsarchiv Zürich: Visitationen und Untersuchungen and Historisch-Biographischer Lexikon der Schweiz Band V, p. 322-323;
- 2 Zürcher Kirchenbücher;
- 3 KAB, MR 1696-1701; 4 Kolbe 1719, p. 795;
- 5 KAB, DO, T670, 19.01.1706 from Abram van Dirksland and sold in 1709 by T784 to Hendrik Oswald Eksteen;
- 6 De Villiers, 1981, pp. 659-660;
- 7 KAB, VC 17 Journal, 18.12.1706;
- 8 KAB, CJ 4.II, nos. 7,11,14,17,19;
- 9 1/STB 15/2;
- 10 KAB, DO, T823, 7.9.1710 bought from Estate Guillaume du Toit (a) Valley Lutyu, 51,4 hectares, sold by T878, 27.10.1711 to Willem Bota; (b) the Stellenbosch farm Watergang, 24,8 hectares extending E.N.E. to Dekkers Valley; (c) (Cloetesdal) Aan ‘t Pad, 53,1 hectares extending S.W. to Watergang and N.W. to Dekkers Valley – b and c sold by T1063, 23.11.1715 to Johannes Heyns;
- 11 KAB, RLR 3:10;
- 12 KAB, DO, T874 dd. 08.10.1711 from Estate Westerkerke, Nietvoorby, 51,4 ha, "extending to the wild hills near Jan Viloen (Nazareth) N.E. to E. to the hills towards Stellenbosch, N.W. to the road to Stellenbosch; sold by T1384 dd. 09.06.1721 to Hans Hendrik Hattingh;
- 13 KAB, DO, Grant OSF 1.121, 20.10.1712, the Stellenbosch farm Uitkyk, 51,8 ha., extending S.E. to the wild hills toward Simonsberg, S.W. & S.E. to the wild hills and to Chris. Groenewald and others to Klapmuts, sold by T1362, 16.1.1721 to Abraham Coetzee;
- 14 KAB, RLR 1:230, 3.5.1710 to graze above the corner of Klapmutsberg toward the Simonsberg;
- 15 KAB, 1/STB 13/21;
- 16 A2250, Citizens Roll 1712;
- 17 KAB, RLR 3:10, 15.8.1714;
- 18 KAB, CJ 2877, 29.11.1714;
- 19 KAB, J 184, Citizens Roll 1717;
- 20 KAB, A2250, Citizens Roll 1719;
- 21 KAB, MOOC 7/1/3:67.
Johann OBERHOLSTER (OBHOLSTER), hy het gekom van Oberholz naby Wald in die Switserse kanton naby Zurich. Hy het by die Kaap aangekom as 'n soldaat in 1696. Hy word later 'n burgher en was 'n slagter. Hy trou 5 Julie 1706 met die 16 jarige Helena DU TOIT, sy was die dogter van Guillaume du Toit en Sara Cochet. Hy trou die tweede keer op 14 Januarie 1714 met Judith DU PLESSIS, sy was die weduwee van Ary van Eeden.
b1 Johannes gedoop 24 Oct 1702 (moeder Agnitie Colyn), X 6 Sep 1744 Sara Coetsee
b2 Barbara gedoop 20 Apr 1708 (moeder Jannetjie Marretje VAN DE KAAP), X 30 Nov 1727 Paulus Hartog (sien ook wat Spoelstra, Vol I, p 81 te sê het)
b3 Johannes gedoop 24 Aug 1710, X 2 Mei 1728 Elisabeth Prevot
b4 Guillaeme * c 1712, X 30 Des 1731 Johanna Margaretha Bergman
b5 Johanna Barbara gedoop 6/18 Jun 1713, 21 Okt 1731 Michiel Pentz, XX Dirk de Jongh, XXX 29 Nov 1767 Johan Anthonie Hitsman
Oberholster het 'n buite egtelike kind gehad met Agnitie COLYN (Haar moeder Maria was die dogter van die vorige slawe paar Evert en Anna van Guineë.) Jacob Pleunis se vrou het met Agnieta gepraat en gesê in Aug 1707 "Dit is mos Overholster se kinders. Jy kan gerus maar erken, want hulle is immers in Overholster se huis gebore", Pleunis sê toe ook vir haar "Jy kan dit maar sê dat hy die vader is, want ek het ook 'n kind by 'n swartvrou wat ek nog wil vrykoop". Agnitie Colyn was gedoop 5 Maart 1684, sy trou 21 Augustus 1707 Jan Janse van der Heyden. Weens hierdie geval het dominee le Boucq Jan Oberholster uit sy amp as diaken onthef omdat hy met Agnitie saamgeleef het en met haar kinders gehad het. Oberholster het hierdie verhouding ontken, want die kinders is nie op sy naam gedoop nie.
SAG, Vol 7
J Hoge Personalia of the Germans at the Cape
JL Hattingh "Beleid en Praktyk: Die Doop van Slawekinders en die sluit van Gemengde Verhoudings aan die Kaap voor 1720" Kronos vol 5, 1982
Karel Schoeman, Armosyn van die Kaap: Die Wêreld van 'n slavin 1652-1733, p 653
AM van Rensburg
Johan Oberholzer word ook na vernoem as Jan in die groot werke van navorsers. Weereens kan dit maar seker toegeskryf word aan die hoor en verstaan van die amptenare van die VOC.
Y. DROST, 24 APRIL 2015
Johann Oberholster, SV/PROG's Timeline
Kanton, Zurich, Switzerland
Cape Town, WC, South Africa
Cape, South Africa
Cape, South Africa