Lorenz Campher, SV/PROG

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Lorenz Campher, SV/PROG

Also Known As: "Lourens", "Kamfer"
Birthplace: Gdańsk (Danzig), Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland
Death: Died in Stellenbosch, Cape, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Partner of Ansela van de Caap, SM/PROG
Father of Cornelis Campher, b1; Antoinetta Campher, b2 SM and Jacoba Campher, b3

Occupation: Besit die plaas MURASIE naby Koelenhof, Farmer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Lorenz Campher, SV/PROG

See also the Apr 2016 research review of facts surrounding Lourens Campher's wife Ansela van die Kaap at Ansela van de Caap, SM/PROG

Stamvader Lorenz/Lourens Campher

Campher is believed to have been a German from Morrouw/Mohrow. The town was in the former Pomerania, a historic region of north-eastern Europe. It is situated on the Baltic Sea and most of it today is part of Poland.

According to Dr J Hoge’s Personalia of the Germans at the Cape: LORENZ CAMPHER (signature of his children Kamfer).- According to CJ 1254: 107 of “Morrouw” (i.e. Mohrow in Pommerania ?) Burgher of Stellenbosch, owner of the farm “Murasie” near Koelenhof. ~ Ansela of the C. Children: Cornelis (13.10.1686, see G.R. nr. 73), Agnitie ~ Gerrit van der Swaan, Antoinetta ~ (1) Ary v. Wyk, (2) Joachim Scholtz (q.v.); Jacoba ~ (1) Joost de Klerk, (2) Christoffel Ameen (q.v), (3) Rudolph Frechen (q.v.). (MR. Vrye Lieden of 1695 and 1.700.)

We know Lourens was already at the Cape in 1676 when he negotiated a loan at the Castle. [KAB: CJ 2750 Procuratien 1686-1694:102]. Lourens was apparently illiterate, he signed this agreement only with a cross (Sheffler, 1991).

Since the majority of the early immigrants came to the Cape as soldiers or seamen (Heese, 1984) it can be assumed that Campher also followed one of these callings. He settled originally in Tafelvallei where he presumably would have met the young Company slave girl Ansela.

It seems Lourens could have been living on the farm De Driesprong since 1685 (Fransen and Cook: The old Houses of the Cape, 1965) when it was promised to him by Governor Simon van der Stel (Van der Byl,1963). He is recorded in the 1688 Stellenbosch Opgaafrol (Sheffler, 1991: IHN Opgaafrol 1688) and the 1690, 1691 and 1693 monsterrolle. From1695 onwards he is recorded with Ansela and their children.

Exactly what he was doing is unknown, but a reference has been found in the “Stellenbosch Kasboek” of Lourens also working there as a ‘messelaar” – mason/bricklayer. (Corney Keller: 1 STB 12/15 for the year 1704).

The De Driesprong’s title deed was officially signed over to Lourens on the last day of February 1699 by governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel. He may have lived there since 1685 but only farmed the land since 1696 as indicated in his 1716 tax return (Sheffler, 1991)

The Stellenbosch citizen Force which Lourens belonged to exercised annually in the Cape [Smuts 1979]. Campher may have visited Ansela on these and other occasions.


Lourens Campher and Ansela van die Kaap lived in Stellenbosch on the farm De Driesprong for most of their lives, raising the 3 children born in the slave lodge prior to Ansela’s manumission:

  • Cornelis, baptised 27/10/1686
  • Angenietie, baptised 29 January 1690, with 6 other Company slave-children
  • Jacoba (“kastijse” – ¾ European) baptised on Sunday 7 September 1692, also with 6 other Company slave-children.

As was the custom at the christening of Company slave children, the father’s name was not recorded in the church register.

All 3 these children, like Ansela, appear in the 1693 Slave Lodge Census (Shell Dr. RCH., Changing Hands : A Calendar of Bondage, 2008):

  • Cornelis, male, child, casties, scholar
  • Angenitje, female, child, half-cast, scholar
  • Jacobje, female, suijgeling, half-cast, dependent infant

This information agrees reasonably well with the baptismal records of Company slave Ansela’s children. It does raise the possibility that Ansela’s second child Angenitje/ Angenietie may have been a toddler rather than a baby in 1690 when she was baptised, for her to be in school in 1693.

It also highlights that the racial classification so prevalent at the time was very subjective, with Jacoba being clasified “castijs” by the minister who baptised her in Sept 1692, and “halfslag” by the person who recorded the 1693 census in the slave lodge. It was likely based on how the person recording the information interpreted features including skin colour. It can not be considerd accurate.

Dr Sheffler felt convinced that Lourens Campher met Ansela van die Kaap prior to 1686 and that he was the father of all 3 Ansela’s children. This is of course possible but to date no documentarty evidence that this was definitely the case has been uncovered. We are also unable to use DNA evidence to investigate this further since Lourens and Ansela did not have any more children together after she joined him in Stellenbosch in 1695. They appear together with their 3 children in the Stellenbosch muster rolls from 1695 onwards.


Dr Sheffler believed that Lourens and Ansela had been married, although no record of the ceremony can be traced in Stellenbosch or the Cape (Unfortunately the Drakenstein records had not survived).

Their marriage could also have been a civil ceremony by the “Raad”. Unfortunately the Matrimonial Court records also have not survived. (Corney Keller)

Lourens and Ansela are recorded as husband and wife in opgaafrolle (eg 1700,1713), and after Campher’s death she was referred to as his widow. (Sheffler, 1991)

Life in Stellenbosch

Around 1695/6, the Campher family went to live on De Driesprong. Lourens not only sought a picturesque place for the homestead, but a practical one as well. Their home (originally a thatch cottage) was built on a rise near the mountain stream, beyond the reach of flood waters but near enough for the purpose of fetching water. There was a small drift and convenient scooping place just below the house. The house had an excellent view of Simonsberg and down the valley Table Mountain could be seen in the distance. (Sheffler, 1991)

View of Simonsberg from Muratie (originally De Driesprong):


It must have been very exciting for the slave girl to be free, to marry Campher and be able to live with him and their children in their own house. After life in the slave lodge, this humble dwelling must have felt like a palace. (Sheffler, 1991)

At this time there were comparatively few marriageable women at the Cape and there were accordingly in 1700 several mixed couples. Freed slaves were well-received in the social and economic life of the settlement and were not seen as a separate group isolated from the free-burghers. (Heese, 1984)

Campher homestead at De Driesprong (Wikitree: Ansela van de Caep):



Later Years

Lourens, Ansela and later their son and his family lived and farmed at De Driesprong. They did all their farm work themselves and struggled to make a living some years according to tax registers.

In time all 3 Campher children grew up and got married:

  • Cornelis x 7 Jan 1709 Dorothea Oelofe, lived and farmed on De Driesprong with his parents
  • Angenietie (Agnietie, aka Antoinetta) x 5 Sept 1705 Gerrit v d Swaan xx 27 Dec 1711 Arij van Wyk xxx 31 Mei 1733 Joachim Scholtz.
  • Jacoba x 10 Nov 1711 Joost de Klerck, xx 13 Des 1713 Christoffel Ameen, xxx 17 Jun 1725 Rudolf Freschen

During 1720 Lourens gave up farming. He died 9 years later between 3 May 1729 and 1 may 1730. He is probably buried in the new churchyard in Drosdy street in Stellenbosh. (KAB: J 187 Stel 1729; J 188 Stel 1730) (Sheffler, 1991)

Campher homestead at De Driesprong (David Ellis: Historic Muratie Wine Estate a Vintage Tale):


If we assume that Lourens was 22 when he negotiated his first loan at the Castle, he would have been 75 when he died.(Sheffler, 1991)

Cornelis continued to farm for another 5 years before the farm was sold. During the last year (1734) he had to manage without a single ox, planting 1000 vines and sowing 2 muids of corn. By November he was too sick to take part in the military exercises on the Braak, and he and his mother must have decided to give up the struggle. (Sheffler, 1991)

Ansela sold De Driesprong for 2500 Cape guilders cash to farmer Conrad Samuel Rudeman on 25 February 1735. (Transfers 44: T2230; KAB: 1/Stb 13/22 1734).

It is noted here that Ansela was literate – she signed the sale document in her name. (Sheffler, 1991). It is not certain whether Ansela would still have been school age in 1685 and was taught to write in the school founded in 1685, or whether she was taught to write by someone else, possibly the person who manumitted her.

[In 1658, the first school for slave children was started by Pieter van Stael, the local sick comforter and brother-in-law of the first Dutch commander, Jan van Riebeeck. However, this school did not last for long and another attempt to establish a school was only made in 1685, after the slaves were moved to the slave lodge.….Children from the Lodge younger than 12 attended the school while children between the ages of 12 and 16 attended school two afternoons a week for religious instruction. (Heritage of Slavery in South Africa – Slave Lodge http://media1.mweb.co.za/iziko/sh/resources/slavery/slavelodge_life.html )]

In 1735 Cornelis again could not attend the military manouvres, and by the year after he was deceased. (KAB: 1/Stb 13/22 Stel 1735 & 1736) Cornelis died between 3 May and 1 November 1736 aged 50. His eldest children were then in their twenties and his youngest daughter only 7. (Sheffler, 1991)

The Camphers had lived on De Driesprong for 39 years. After the sale of the farm Ansela was a relatively wealthy woman (2500 guildres was equivalent to 23 years’ salary for a seaman or soldier). It’s thought she probably went to live with one of her daughters.(Sheffler, 1991)

Compiled by Martina Louw (Em Lo)

Reviewed by Corney Keller and Rassie Rascher


Lourens Campher

born Werenhold


Lourens Campher first appears in 1688 in the Cape District, but by 1691 he was resident in Stellenbosch (Opgaaf and Muster Rolls). A wife is not mentioned until 1695 when he is listed along with Ansela van de Caab and three children. From their opgaaf returns they seem not to have been great farmers, starting with sheep and moving onto vines.

In 1702 they still had the 3 children with them but by 1709 (the next available opgaaf), just one daughter remained living with them and by 1712 she had left home too.

In 1719 the Council of Policy, in a list of unpaid debts, listed Lourens Campher van Werenhold, stating that he was still living, that he had a farm in 't Cleijgat, north of Clapmuts, and owed 156 gulden.

(C. 51, pp. 53-65. 21 November 1719)

I assume that their three children were Lourens, Antonetta and Jacoba Campher, although there is no documentary proof (that I have yet discovered). in 1705 Cornelis Campher appears for himself as a single man

in Stellenbosch on the opgaaf returns and on the 5th September 1705 Antonetta married Gerrit van der Swaan in Stellenbosch, and on the 10th November 1711 Jacoba married Joost de Klerk, all three thus tying in well with the statistics of the children above.

Cornelis, Antonetta and Jacoba all appear as baptismal witness for children of one or more of the others. Given that baptismal witnesses were, where possible, chosen from very near relations, such as grandparents and aunts and uncles, this is a furher argument for their being brothers and sisters.

Quoted from - Richard Ball http://www.ballfamilyrecords.co.uk/kfp/I641.html married Ansela van de Caab

Lorenz CAMPHER / CAMFER - he was from Mohrow born 1650 in Germany, and his wife Ansela van die Kaap, was a former slave who was freed by Lorenz CAMPHER - they lived on the farm Murasie near Koelenhof.

He was given the farm Murasie near Koelenhof -- http://www.stamouers.com/campher.htm

Sources: Heese en Lombard


The story of Ansela van de Caab still resonates through the South African winelands as one of the most endearing chapters in the history of this country’s wine culture.

When the Cape of Good Hope was established as a Dutch colony in 1652 by Jan van Riebeeck, the international slave trade was in full swing. With a new port at the southern tip of Africa, slave ships trafficking people from African countries to a life of slavery at the Cape and other parts of the world were a common sight. Ansela’s story begins during this dark period in history with the Dutch colonists capturing a Portuguese slave ship carrying slaves that had been forcibly taken from their home country of Guinea.

One of the slaves, a woman, was enslaved in the Cape’s notorious Castle. Here the woman gave birth to a baby girl who was named Ansela. During those time slaves born in the Cape were only given Christian names, followed by Van de Caab – Dutch for “from the Cape”.

Ansela spent her infant years as a child slave in the vicinity of the Cape Castle, the Cape Gardens and the market area of Greenmarket Square. Yet each evening she and hundreds of other slave children and women were locked up in the notorious slave quarters.

Having reached womanhood, Ansela fell in love with Laurens Campher, a dashing German soldier in service of the Dutch East Indian Company. They obviously had to keep their illicit love affair a secret and could not even afford to dream of getting married.

Laurens had a deep love for the soil and had always dreamt of becoming a farmer. So when the Cape Governor Wilhelm Adriaan van der Stel granted a farm to Laurens in 1658, he moved to this piece of land at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountains, some 40km from Cape Town and 6km from the town of Stellenbosch.

Whilst setting up his farming venture, Laurens was, however, committed to the love of his life. He would regularly set-off on the three day trek by foot to visit Ansela in the Cape’s slave quarters. Three children were born to Laurens and Ansela, and Laurens’s one wish in life was to see his family set free from slavery and to bring them home.

In 1699 Ansela was released after being baptised in the Castle. Laurens came to collect her and their three children – Cornelius, Jacoba and Agenetjie – and to take them to their new home of Muratie.

During her lifetime on Muratie, Ansela played a major role in building-up the farm into a successful enterprise where the family spent the rest of their lives celebrating their freedom in the shadow of the Simonsberg Mountains.

Today, Ansela van de Caab, Muratie’s multiple award-winning wine, pays tribute to one of the most remarkable stories – and individuals – in the history of South Africa’s wine culture. http://www.muratie.co.za/index.php?id=41

Lourens (Lorenz) Campher (ook Campfer en Kamfer gespel) v. “Morrouw”. Burger te Stellenbosch en eienaar van die plaits “Murasie” by Koelenhof. Volgena Hoge was by getroud met Angela, K., maar volgens Moritz was haar van Hanselaar, het sy uit Middelburg (Zeeland) gekom en sou hy in 1695 met haar trou. In 1693 is by besitter van die plaas “Driesprong”, Agnita Camfers, miskien sy suster, x 3.9.1705 Gerrit van der Zwaan.

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Lorenz Campher, SV/PROG's Timeline

Gdańsk (Danzig), Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland
October 27, 1686
Age 26
Cape, South Africa
Age 28
Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

Born before 1698

Age 30
Morrouw, Netherlands
Age 32
Cape of Good Hope
Age 45
Stellenbosch, Cape Province
May 3, 1729
Age 69
Stellenbosch, Cape, South Africa