Johannes Larsen Franzsen, SV/PROG

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About Johannes Larsen Franzsen, SV/PROG

Johannes emigrerte sammen med sin bror Frans (kalte seg Frank i Sør afrika) til Knysna i Sør-Afrika.

He was born in Tysvær, moved with his parents to Stavanger in 1858, - 8 years old.

After his confirmation in Stavanger, Johannes accepted a position in a business in Haugesund. He met the Captain of the Thesens scooner, the Albatross and when they decided to emigrate to New Zealand, he offered to be ships cook and landed up with the Thesens on the Albatross which was en-route to New Zealand.

They sailed via England on their 78 day voyage to South Africa where they encountered a storm at Cape Agulhas. This necessitated that they had to turn back to Cape Town. On the advice of the Norwegian Consul, they shipped provisions to Knysna along the coast where there had been a devastating fire earlier in 1869 in order to earn extra money to repair their boat and to continue their journey. On their arrival in Knysna, the place made such an impression on them that they decided to settle there in april 1870.

Johannes and Ragnvald Thesen became firm friends on the voyage to South Africa with the result that Johannes eventually stayed on as clerk in the new business started up by the Thesen brothers. Johannes and three of the Thesen brothers became involved in diamond prospecting in Kimberley and Delportshoop. This however did not last long and Johannes and Ragnvald started a business in Suurvlakte now known as Rheenendal.

It was here where Johannes met a very beautiful Soth African girl by the name of Petronella Johanna Zeelie. Johanness relationship with Petronella was not approved by her parents because they felt that he was a foreigner. The couple were so in love that they continued their relationship and she gave birth to a son. Petronella died in childbirth and her parents, Ernst Johannes Zeelie and Petronella van Wyngaard raised the boy with substancial financial assistance from Johannes. The boys name was Petrus Jacobus Johannes Franzsen, the first Franzsen to be born in South Africa. He was very reluctant to speak about his father Johannes and any questions or attempts at discussion were brushed aside. According to his grandson Pieter who mentioned that it seemed that Johannes was never allowed to have any contact with his son. It is propably true to say that Johannes was blamed for the death of the boys mother by the grandparents who had forbidden the relationship. Even in old age, his son Petrus would never speak about his father. There is a bible in the family which Johannes had given his son and which is inscribed by him to his son. Wether Johannes had given it to him personally or not is not known.

In 1875 Johannes resigned from the partnership with Ragnvald and started his own business in Belvidere. He later met and married a very beautiful young lady, Sarah Susanna Hildebrand. His parents were to have arrived from Norway via Cape Town in time to attend the wedding but unfortunately the ship they were in was unable to enter the harbour through the heads and they had to wait for a smaller vessel to bring them through which meant they arrived just in time to see the couple leave on honeymoon. This would have been another source of dissapointment for Johannes.

After their arrival from Norway, the parents of Johannes and Frank were visiting them in Belvidere when their mother, Malene went for a walk and was attacked by a bull. She died from her injuries.

In 1879 Johannes hired a farm which he named Quarrywoods from Mr Palmer. He and his brother, Frank, went into business together but things did not work out and the business was liquidated on 20th May 1886.

Johannes started from scratch. He and his family stayed at Modderhoek now known as Brackenhill where he was manager of Thesens saw mills. He was appointed as an employee in the forestry department at Ysternek and later Buffelsnek.

The children attended school at Kruisrivier where his daughter, Constance eventually became a teacher.

It is also propably true to say that Johannes was an unhappy man. Firstly because he mourned the death of his first love Petronella, then he was not allowed any access to his son Petrus by the grandparents and also because there was some animosity between him and his brother Franks family possibly because of the child he fathered out of wedlock and which in those days was looked upon with scorn.

During March 1897 he decided after selling all his belongings by auction, to leave Knysna and move to Cape Town where he bought a house which he named "Stavanger" in 34 Rosmead Avenue, Gardens, Cape Town.

Whilst in Cape Town, amongst other things he was an agent for his nephew Olaf Franzsen, the son of his cousin, Johannes. They were general dealers and direct importers of wood. He was also involved with the supply of equipment for the alluvial diamond digging industry through a Mr Delport whom he met during the time he spent in Kimberley.

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Johannes Larsen Franzsen, SV/PROG's Timeline

January 4, 1850
Tysvær, Rogaland, Norway
February 24, 1850
Tysvær, Rogaland, Norway
June 20, 1874
Age 24
Knysna, South Africa
July 19, 1876
Age 26
Knysna, South Africa
July 27, 1877
Age 27
Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa
November 6, 1878
Age 28
Knysna, South Cape DC, Western Cape, South Africa
November 17, 1879
Age 29
Knysna, South Afrika
February 2, 1881
Age 31
Knysna, South Africa
August 7, 1882
Age 32
Knysna, Sør Afrika