Johannes Louis Breet (JL Breet) Rustenburg Commando
BIRTH: 10 March 1862
Rustenburg, Transvaal, South Africa
DEATH: 22 November 1948
Zandfontein No 256 District, Rustenburg, Transvaal, South Africa
Johannes Louis Breet had the unfortunate distinction of having both his grandfathers murdered alongside Piet Retief on the 6th February 1838 by the Zulu King Dingane.
His grandmothers, both pregnant at the time, survived the follow-up massacre at present day Weenan on the 16th February 1838 culminating in the Battle of Blood River on the 16th December 1838.
Both their names are remembered on the Monument on 'Moordkoppie' at Hloma mabuto, uMgungundlovu, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa:
Pieter Mauritz Retief (12 November 1780 – 6 February 1838) was a Voortrekker leader.
Settling in 1814 in the frontier region of the Cape Colony, he later assumed command of punitive expeditions during the sixth Xhosa War.
He became a spokesperson for the frontier farmers who voiced their discontent and wrote the Voortrekkers' declaration at their departure from the colony.
He was a leading figure during their Great Trek (Voortrekkers) and at one stage their elected governor.
He proposed Natal as the final destination of their migration and selected a location for its future capital later named Pietermaritzburg in his honour.
The massacre of Retief and his delegation by the Zulu King Dingane and the attacks on several Voortrekker laagercamps in the area of the present town of Weenen led to the Battle of Blood River on the Ncome River.
The short-lived Boer republic Natalia was eventually annexed to the British Cape Colony.
Early Life / Breet Family Tree
Father: Johannes Lowies Breet, born 1832
Mother: Barendina Jacoba Petronella (nee van den Berg), born 1838
During the 19th century his family name was spelt 3 different ways; namely Breedt, Breed and finally Breet. From the start of the 20th Century all records including those of his siblings used the “Breet” spelling.
Voortrekker “Van den Berg” family:
‘Barend Jacobus Petrus van den Berg’ was born on the 27th December 1807 in Rietfontein, Graaff Reinet, and along with his wife (Maria Dorothea Magdalena) and other members of the van den Berg family were part of the original Voortrekkers.
As noted previously Barend was murdered along with Piet Retief on the 6th February 1838; his wife was pregnant at the time and she, and her 6 children, luckily survived the follow-up massacre at Weenan on the 16th February 1838.
She gave birth to Johannes Louis Breets mother on the 7th June 1838 and was named ‘Barendina Jacoba Petronella’ in honor of her late father.
The widower, Maria, who by this time had 7 children married C.C.H.J Fourie and continued with the Great Trek finally settling in Zandfontein, Rustenberg, in the Transvaal in 1845.
Voortrekker "Breet" family:
Petrus Gerhardus Breet was also born in Graaff-Reinet, Cape Colony, South Africa on the 6th June 1795. In 1815 he married Susana Maria Fourie and had a total of 13 children together.
Johannes Louis Breets father was 6 years old when his father Petrus was murdered alongside Piet Retief; his pregnant wife also survived the massacre at Weenan and had her 13th child on the 13th October 1838.
Susana and her family also left Natal and settled alongside the van den Berg families in Rustenburg, Transvaal.
There is a chance that Johannes Louis Breets parents knew eachother as children and were bonded together by that infamous day in 1838.
Johannes Louis Breet & Second Anglo Boer War
Johannes Louis Breets parents married in 1854 and he was the 3rd eldest of 13 children; 11 sons and 2 daughters.
Johannes himself married Maria Elizabeth Magdalena Fourie in 1890 and their son Matthys was born in 1894.
When the Second Anglo Boer War started in 1899 all 11 brothers joined the Rustenburg Commando.
During the war they served under Commandant Steenkamp with Veld Cornet’s Fourie and W.H.du Toit and according to his Vorm B took part in the following battles:
1. Siege of Mafeking - 13 Oct 1899 to 17 May 1900
2. Maanhaarrand (Mountain Range)
3. Slypsteenkop (Battle of Quaggafontein / Kwaggafontein) – 31 August 1900
4. Battle of Nooitgedacht – 31 December 1900
5. Battle of Middlefontein (Rustenburg) – 22 to 25 January 1901
All 11 Breet sons survived the war with the third youngest Pieter receiving the LVL (Wound Ribbon).
Links to Breet Family ABO Records:
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Later in Life:
After the war Johannes had one more son, David Johannes, born in 1904.
Sadly his eldest son Matthys, a teacher, passed away at the young age of 22.
Johannes himself passed away in 1948 at 85 years old having witnessed or being involved in some of the key dates of modern South Africa.
Speak my name so that I may live again
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