Kmdt. Johannes Willem Viljoen

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About Kmdt. Johannes Willem Viljoen


Page 342 “SA Genealogies” vol 13, Genealogical Institute of SA, Stellenbosch, 2006”

b4c2d2e9f2 - Johannes (Jan) Viljoen born 14 5 1812

Jan Viljoen (There is a lot of discrepancy over his birth date - 1815/1822/1826 - Needs establishing! I will get his DN which should clear this up. )(See gravestone inscription below)

See DN under sources. Grave inscription out with one year. He died on his farm Vergenoeg, Marico, North West South Africa at the age of 80.10.16 - that means the date of birth will be 14/5/1812

He was one of the best-known hunters of Ngamiland and Southern Matabeleland. His friendship with Mzilikazi led to his obtaining permission to hunt in Mashonaland in 1865, and he was the first European hunter in that part of the country. He conducted Selous on his first visit to Southern Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, as well as James Chapman on his first hunting trip into the interior.

Johannes Willem Viljoen (Jan) was a big-game hunter, commandant, politician and scout. He died in the Marico district, Western Transvaal. Together with three other hunters, Viljoen was allowed to hunt in Mashonaland by Mzilikazi, going to regions where no other Whites had been before. Many people, as well as his relatives, claim that it was on one of these trips that he and not David Livingstone, as is commonly believed, became the first White person to see the Victoria Falls.

During the civil war in the Transvaal in 1863-64, his people's army was defeated by Paul Kruger's government forces between Rustenburg and Pretoria. He led a Boer commando in the First South African War (First Anglo-Boer War) against Montshiwa. In 1848 he fought at Boomplaats against the British forces under Colonel Harry Smith, and being one of the wanted men after the fight, he immediately trekked north to where the town of Zeerust now stands and settled on a farm which he called Ver Genoeg (Far Enough), where he died in 1904. [He died in 1893 according to his gravestone]

Links - *


Ramotshere Moiloa District

Die posisie van die VILJOEN huis

25 Deg 35' 34" S

26 Deg 1' 23" E

Die posisie is uitgewys deur Abraham KGOMELO 0832530822 wat vir die eienaar van die plaas, Derek PELZER 0836756445 werk.

In 2004 is 'n 3 klaskamer skool opgerig op die bestaande fondasies van die VILJOEN huis.

Begraafplaas op Sameul HARMAN [Virrie] 0834213446 en Estelle se plaas se posisie:-

25 Deg 35' 32" S

26 Deg 1' 22" E

Posisie by die grafte van Johannes Willem VILJOEN en sy vrou Maria Catharina VILJOEN gebore MESSER.

Die grafstene lees as volg:-

Ry 4A

Hier rus Maria Catharina Viljoen (Geb. Messer)

Gebore op 18 NOV 1816

Oorlede gedurende 1900

Opgerig deur die Ned. Herv. Kerk 1992

Ry 4B

Hier rust Johannes Willem Viljoen c. zoon echtgenoot van M. C. VILJOEN, geb. Messer, geboren te Uitenhage, Kaapkolonie, 14 Mei 1812. Overleden te Vergenoeg distr. Marico 30 Maart 1893, na een echtverbintenis van bijna 60 jaren. Deze ware patriot heeft zijn volk als veldcornet en commandant generaals gediend.

Die alles opofferde voor vrijheid en recht. Gof geve hem een zalige rusplaats.

Opgerig deur die Ned. Herv. Kerk 1992

Sien ook Echbertus Hendrik Daniel GREEFF, Altatjie JOUBERT en Seun van C. C. CLOETE en S. BARNARD, Jan Christoffel FAURIE en sy vrou Amalia Carolina Magdalena FAURIE, gebore VILJOEN.

Inligting versamel deur Y. DROST 17 OKT 2011 in samewerking met Maria Adriana DROST, gebore BROOKS, William Henry Edward BROOKS en Albert Edward BROOKS.


TAB/ZTPD/LEER/5/120/01/704/1887/1 - Dispute over Map of farm Vergenoeg. Daniel Johannes MALAN versus Johannes Willem VILJOEN. 1887.




Full name. Trekker Leader Jan Viljoen

Life span. 1815-00-00 to 1893-00-00

A biography of Trekker Leader J. . Viljoen.

JAN VILJOEN. 1815-1893.

Viljoen was probably the most significant of the Marico Trekkers who moved into valley in 1848, settling on his farm Vergenoeg, near Zeerust. In 1836 he had been a bywoner (free tenant) on his brother's farm near Outshoorn in the Cape. In 1848 he was captured at the battle of Boomplaats during their conflict with the Orange Free State. As he was a marked man, he trekked into the (later) Transvaal.

From 1850 to 1860 he was Field Cornet for the Marico district, and had a close relationship with most of the local African leaders, in particular Setshele of the baKwena who lived beyond the borders of the South African Republic (SAR). In 1860 he became commandant.

In 1885 he wrote that, "When I settled here with my family everything was wild and I held the frontier so that we now have churches and schools in safe surroundings". It was largely due to his efforts that relatively peaceful relations pertained along the western Transvaal border. However, this does not appear to have been a constant position. In 1853, he seized, as a captive, the son of Setshele, which led to a general state of instability in the Marico.

Part of Viljoen's reason for wanting an undisturbed frontier was because he needed safe access to the trans-Limpopo hunting fields. This required being on good terms with Setshele and his northern ally, Sekgomo of the bamaNgwato. He was indeed an indomitable hunter, hunting for ivory in Shoshong and further north near the Zambezi as early as 1851-1852. Folklore in the Transvaal contends that he saw the Victoria Falls before the explorer David Livingstone, but he never made the claim personally. By 1855 he had entered into an agreement with Mzilikazi of the AmaNdebele granting him access to hunting grounds in Matebeleland. Despite his avowed antipathy to the British, he was on good terms with a number of English "ivory entrepreneurs" such as George Westbeach George "Elephant" Phillips and Courtney Selous.

Viljoen was known to have a short temper and this was revealed on a number of occasions. In 1863-1864 a civil war broke out after M.W. Pretorius became joint President of the Orange Free State and the SAR. Many in the SAR saw the move as an incitement that might provoke British intervention, to the detriment of the political future of both republics. Viljoen backed Pretorius and led a party of Marico boers (the so-called Volkslaer-army of the people) which attacked Paul Kruger's force in Potchefstroom in 1864. In 1868 a party of clerics lead by Ds Lion-Cachet attempted to ride into Marico and establish a branch of the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK) in Zeerust. Viljoen, who belonged to the more conservative Gereformeerde Kerk (so called "Doppers") turned them back at the Marico river but they returned a few days later, whereupon Viljoen assaulted Lion-Cachet and his companion with a sjambok, attempted to ride them over with his horse and threw them for a few days into gaol. After these incidents he began to fall out of favour with the SAR's authorities. (See also Zeerust, M.W Pretorius, Mzilikazi)

Project sponsored by the National Heritage Council

Website sponsored by the Department of Economic Affairs & Tourism, North West Province

Compiled By B. Mbenga and A. Manson


13 JULY 2011

Names: Viljoen, Johannes Willem (Jan)

In summary: Hunter, commandant and politician

Johannes Willem (Jan) Viljoen was born in 14 May 1812, Winterhoek. Having moved from Oudtshoorn to the present Orange Free State in 1843, he settled near Winburg, where he joined the Voortrekker group of the population, hostile to H. D. Warden. Together with five others from among the Voortrekker element in Transorangia, he was imprisoned at Colesberg in 1846 for anti-British activities. Released after a few months, he took part in the Battle of Boomplaats and because of this had to flee across the Vaal River. He settled near present-day Zeerust and called his farm Ver Genoeg. His wife, Maria Catherina Messer, daughter of the German missionary J. G. Messer (in the service of the L.M.S.), presented him with fifteen children.


Potgieter, D.J. et al. (eds)(1970). Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa Vol.11, Cape Town: NASOU.

Source:- 13 JUL 2011


TAB/MHG/LEER/0/01/O/7842/1 OF 1893 - Johannes Willem VILJOEN. Surviving spouse Maria Catharina VILJOEN born MESSER.


Y. DROST, 14 NOV 2011




Bruikleen van C. J. BORNMAN, Zeerust.



Skenking van F. A. VAN JAARSVELD.

Leier van opstand teen ZAR 1863 - 1864


Y. DROST, 14 NOV 2011


Profiles of individuals who died on farm Vergenoegd:-

Petrus Cornelis Jacobus PELTZER, a1b2c4d1e6

† Vergenoegd, Marico 11.11.1897

Listed in the About Me section of his father Abraham Jacobus PELTZER, a1b2c4d1 : Abraham Johannes Peltzer, a1b2c4d1 .

His second wife, Alida Maria OBERHOLZER † Groot Marico 27.3.1897

Y. DROST, 7 SEP 2012


view all 18

Kmdt. Johannes Willem Viljoen's Timeline

May 14, 1812
Winterhoek Farm, Uitenhage, District, Cape, South Africa
August 16, 1812
Graaff-Reinet, EC, South Africa
August 19, 1834
May 8, 1836
March 14, 1838
June 23, 1839
January 30, 1841
Oudtshoorn, South Africa
January 24, 1844
Winburg, Orange Free State
February 10, 1846