A small town in the Eastern Free State, close to the border to Lesotho. Its geo-position: 28.6221°S, 28.2068°E and 1788m altitude
The start of the town was made by a number of enterprising inhabitants who felt that a town and a church are needed. The farm Groenfountein was bought from Christoffel Gerhardus Fourie for £5000, a surveyor was called to measure out the future town. That was at the beginning of 1891, the first stand was sold on the 6 October 1891 for £2750. All that happened without government approval, that only came on 1 June 1893 when the volksraad (parliament) proclaimed the town after being informed that the new town had already been established. Building of a church commenced at the same time, more about this under 'NG church'.
The building of a church was done in a similar way as that of starting the town. The people of the area were mostly part of the Ficksburg congregation. They collected money so that a small church could be build. A tender to build it for £ 2000 was accepted. The church council in Ficksburg only became aware of this after the event. The corner stone for the church was laid on 31 December 1892. The congregation ceded from Fickburg 1894.
The first preacher was Michiel Heyns who served the congregation from 1894 to 1906. He had to retire because of ill health and died 1907. His remains were buried at the local cemetery.
The clockwork was supplied by E.Burmester in Cape Town, 1909. I have seen those clockworks in other churches, Bethlehem and Vrede. It is driven by weights that have to be winched up once in a while, remember physics class Epot=mhg. The weights can be seen in the background.
It is not the Anglican church any more, it is called the United church of Fouriesburg. This is a multi denominational church of English speakers, they do get preachers from different religions, Anglican, Methodist and Catholic (if I can remember correctly) to conduct the service every Sunday. And, according to my informant, it works very well for everybody.
There was an influx of English speaking people into the area since the 1860's. This is the origin of family names such as Middleton, Reid, Morkel and others. It was the start of an Anglican congregation. With a collection money, of which Mr Middleton was the major donor, a church was build. His wife had the honour of laying the corner stone, see picture.
In English the rectory, a house built for the minister of the NG church. I can't find any information on when it was build. It's one of those pleasant sand stone building. It is now owned by Mic and Judy Andrews who are running it as a guest house.
Fouriesburg was the provisional capital of the Free State after Bloemfontein had been occupied by the British in March 1900. Pushing further hey trapped the major Boer forces in the Brandwater Basin and with it also the government. Some of the Boer forces made a run for it to escape the encirclement. The major group was under Christiaan de Wet, who took about 3500 men over Slabbertsnek into the direction of Bethlehem on the 15 July 1900. With him was President Steyn and some of his government. The appeal court and some of the personnel, as well as the wife of the president, stayed behind in the town and were captured by the British when they occupied the place on the 26 July 1900.
A remnant from those days is the block house situated in the church ground. It originally stoot at Retiefsneck but was re-purposed to be used as a store room on a farm. In 1980 it was moved to the church ground. It was one of the types used by the British army. Also in the church grounds is the Burger monument of the men who lost their lives during the Anglo Boer war.
The railway station is about 10km out of town. It looks like the trains are still running, judging by the shininess of the rails, although not very frequently. During our visit to the disused station we saw no rail traffic.
Construction of the rail link from Bloemfontein through to Bethlehem via Ficksburg was started soon after the end of the Anglo Boer war in 1902. The stretch from Ficksburg to Fouriesburg on to Bethlehem was completed in 1907.
What I found of interest in this cemetery is the grave of the first preacher of the NG church, Michiel Heyns, see above under NG church. The second picture is that of a single British war grave of Bombr.F.H.Owen 77 BTY Ro Fo Ao 9-5-1901. I am not sure of the abbreviations. I am surprised to only find one grave here, there was a fair bit of war action in the area.
Ref 1: Standard Encyclopedia of Southern Africa, Nasou Limited, 1974
Ref 2: Louis du Preez, Fouriesburg 120 Jaar, Entrepo Publishers, 2013
Ref 3.: "Ons Kerk Album van Hollandsche Kerken en Leeraren", publisher: unknown, printed in the 1920's