Oudtshoorn South Africa
The connection of Alphen a/d Rijn with South Africa starts with Pieter
Baron van Reede van Oudtshoorn; born Utrecht The Netherlands 1714, Lord
of Oudshoorn, Gnephoek and Ridderbuurt . In addition to his functions
in the Netherlands he hold, since the tender age of 27, various senior
positions in the VOC (> more info>>>) in
the Cape a/o Chief Buyer ( Opperkoopman). He was also a member of the
Justice and Policy council of the Cape. In 1760 he was appointed vice
Governor (secundus). Six years later he returned to the Netherlands to
retire and settle his affairs after he had become sole heir of his wealthy
great-uncle, the English Peer, William Ferdinand Carey, Lord Hunsdon
(who used to live in Alphen !).
At that time he purchased the castle
of Drakenburg of which he became Lord. In 1772 he decided to return once
again to the Cape, to take up his old position which was still vacant.
When word came that the Governor had died ,he was appointed as such.
As faith would have it, he himself died in January 1773 during the voyage
and was subsequently buried in Capetown with great ceremony. A remembrance
plate was added in the "Groote Kerk".
His son William Ferdinand , born 1755 in the Cape, worked for the VOC,
like his father before him. He was Treasurer and Member of the
council of Policy in the Cape when in 1795 British troops landed
in order of making the Cape a British Protectorate. He was the
only member of the council not to sign the articles of capitulation and
was called "a bold Baron of Seven Tails". He died in the Cape
in 1822 and was buried in a tomb in the grounds of his home "Saesveld".
His home has been rebuild in 1967 and houses a museum. William
Ferdinand is also remembered on a hatchment in the Church of Oudshoorn
in the Netherlands His branch of the family is still extant in South
The youngest daughter of William Ferdinand named Geesje
,born 1799, married Bertus Bergh in 1820 in Cape town. In the
middle of the nineteen's century Bertus became one of the founders
of a town , in a village originally pioneered by a/o Pieter Nel
(1749-1814), which he named Oudtshoorn in honor of his
famous family in law.
The history and development of Oudtshoorn became intertwined with
the growth of the ostrich-feather industry. By the turn of the century,
these feathers were in fashion and commanded high prices
in Europe. The resultant prosperity had a profound effect on all sectors
of the community. When the ostrich-feather market crashed in 1914 with
the outbreak of the First World War, many wealthy merchants and farmers
lost their fortunes almost overnight.
The town is situated in the" Klein Karoo" in the South part
of South Africa, some 55 km from the coast. It lies in a valley, with
the Swartberg mountainrange to the North and the Outeniqua mountain range
to the south Today, the town with its many beautiful sandstone buildings,
is regarded as a tourist destination. Cultural highlights include the
annual Klein Karoo National Arts Festival.
In 1962 an official of Oudthoorn S.A. who visited Alphen aan den Rijn
presented a copy of the coat of arms of his municipality as a gift
to celebrate the common tie. After that visit there have been a number
of contacts both official and unofficial. In the spring of 2002 a
twin City agreement was signed.
- D.C. Peters. "Pieter en Willem Ferdinant van Reede van Oudshoorn:
Ambachtsheren vanuit de Kaapkolonie. Viersprong nr 33 nov 1992.
- J.Ph. Labordus. "Tweemaal Oudshoorn" Viersprong nr 53 nov.
- On the South African branch of family Reede van Oudsthoorn :
Articles in Familia Quarterly Journal of the Genealogical Society
of South Africa 1972 No 2 and also in 1977 No 2/3 by Robert.A.
Laing of Colington S.A. (P.O. box 81011, Parkhurst 2120)
- www.oudtshoorn.com for
general information on Oudtshoorn S.A.