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Weilbach farm

The official name of the farm is Leeupoort, or also spelled Leeuwpoort, but that name would not get me many hits I thus prefer to call it after the family that has owned it for about 150 years. The farm is close to Heilbron and I could have included it into that page, but there is so much on this farm that I decided to treat it separately and to link it to the Heilbron page.

History of the farm

The first occupier of the farm was mentioned to have been a Drodtski, he was followed by Stapelberg in 1861 and Engelbrecht, in 1867 CA Pistorius bought the property. This is the same Carl August Pistorius who owned the farm Maccauvlei other side of the Vaal across from Vereeniging. His claim to fame there is that he sold the farm to Samuel Marks for an amazing and unheard of price, check the Viljoensdrift page subheading Maccauvlei for details. This C.A.Pistorius is also mentioned as being on the village committee for Heilbron in 1872 (Ref 3).
Farm ownership changed from Pistorius to Weilbach when Johan Frederick Weilbach married one of the Pistorius daughters, Catherina Johanna, and took over the farm.
JF was a very successful farmer, so much so that he got a special mention covering more than one page in Ref.2. An extract: The guiding principle with Mr.Weilbach is the full use of his land, and nearly all which is open to cultivation has been ploughed, harrowed, drilled, and sown with different seeds, with excellent and encouraging results.


main house old picturemain houseWhat I would call the main house is a beautiful structure build from sandstone blocks, and it is a national monument. I make it easy for myself and just quote from ref 2: 'The homestead at Leeuwpoort is a charming retreat nestling in a profusion of ornamental trees, and, as it is built on a commanding position of the estate, the views from the windows are exceedingly pleasing.'
original farm houseJF Weilbach declaration of allegianceThe house was built by a Scottish building contractor, Sharpe, for JF Weilbach and his wife Catharina Johanna in 1894. During the Boer War the house was not burned down as many of the others. That was because in the house lived Johan's wife (Kato) and 12 children, Colonel Delzeal, the commanding officer in Heilbron, had given instruction that they should not be harmed.
When and by whom the old residence was built is not certain. One possibility is mentioned in ref 1, it was constructed by CA Pistorius for his daughter, Catharina Johanna, and his son in law JF Weilbach, and they got married in 1875. Other sources ascribe the house to Engelbrecht, Stapelberg and even Drodtski. Which one is correct is not certain. It was a typical farm house of the period, which is the reason it is also a National monument.
JF Weilbach was taken prisoner during the war and sent to Bermuda. From there he was released after signing the 'Declaration of Allegiance to the British Crown'.

Old Graveyard

gravestone Stapelberggravestone StapelbergOne has to look very carefully to find this grave yard, it is being taken over by nature. I guess there are about 10 graves with three grave stones, only one readable. And that one is on a double grave, translation: Mari Jachoba Älida Stapelberg, born 20-Sept-1857, died 22-May-1872 and Margrieta Magdalena van Schalk Wyk, born 2-Feb-1869, died 23-May-1872.

the not so old grave yard

gravestone Johan Frederick Weilbach gravestone Catharina Johanna Weilbach Here it gets very interesting. On the left is the stone of Johan Frederick Weilbach, the first Weilbach on the farm. And on the left his wife Catharina Johanna Weilbach, born as Pistorius, born 27-Aug-1859, died 17-April-1943.
In the background is a combined grave stone of some of the Pistorius people. And that came about because the remains were transferred from Maccauvlei to this site. The grave stones from that location were collected and are placed around the perimeter of this site. I have written down the names and dates as far as I can read the inscriptions, from right to left: 1. Gerrit J W Pistorius, geb 1853 gest 1861
2. Karel August Pistorius, geb 1851 gest 1861
3. can't recognise a name given, geb.en gest.1858
4. can't read it, only one part, gest 1861
5. Heinrich Julius Pistorius, geb 1856 24 June, gest 17 July 1858
6. (dogter) A n E Job Pistorius, geb 1819, gest 1861
These were all children of Pistorius and what is tragic is that four out of the six died in the same year, 1861. I am not aware of any epidemic going around at that time, but this would be the most obvious explanation.
All the names plus others are also found on the big stone. That one was placed at the time of the re-interment of the remains. I am not sure when that was done. There are eight names on the stone under the heading "Hier rust onze Broeders en Zusters", here rest our brothers and sisters.

railway line

The interest in old railway installations is what brought me to the farm. There was actually a siding on the farm with the name Weilbach. More details are covered by my web page on the disused rail.

British fort

British fortBritish fortStrictly speaking it's not on the farm, but just over the fence. Thus where else do I mention it?
The fort is in a commanding position on top of the hill overlooking the bridge, which was possibly one of the purposes, and with a good view over the country. It could well have been part of the line of block houses and fortifications stretching all over the Free State to keep de Wet in check.
Its usually not easy to take pictures of those fortifications that show the extend of it. Much easier on Google Earth, picture on the left, which shows the walls and dimensions.

national road

old national roadTraveling around the farm we came to a bridge over the Elandsspruit. This bridge was fairly substancial made from concrete, not what I would have expected for a farm road. I was then informed that this used to be the road to Cape Town. Not sure about that, I consulted a road map from the 1930th and there it is shown as the main road between Heilbron and Wolwehoek.

Ref 1.: Heilbron Herald 24-Nov-2006, Leeuport, article by Quarta Pretorius
Rev 2.: 'The Orange Free State - its pastoral, agricultural and industrial resources', compiled by Somerset Playne, printed by the foreign and colonial, compiling and publishing company, 1912
Rev 3.: J.C.Steenkamp, 'Die Geskietenis van Heilbron en Distrik tot 1952', Uitgegee tydens die van Riebeeckfees te Heilbron, 29 January 1952.
Rev 4>: Heilbron Herald, 9-April-1999

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