When Jan Hendrik Jacobsz submitted his Vorm “B” application for the ABO medal in 1922 he gave his address as Krokodildrift in the Brakkloof district, which is about 60 km west of Rustenberg in the western Transvaal. He named Kommandants van Tonder and van Heerden under the heading of ‘Commando’, but these names were deleted and replaced by ‘Rustenberg’ by R J P van Tonder of the farm Rietfontein, Brakkloof, who was the certifying officer for the application. Van Tonder also corrected the service dates to read October 1899 to May 1902.
Kommandant van Tonder was an officer in the Rustenberg Commando throughout the war, and his correction of the dates implies that he knew Jacobsz had similar long service. This is to some extent contradicted by the fact that Jacobsz claimed to be present at only two actions in the Magaliesberg, namely Magatos Nek and Malegotha (Mamagotla). Although significant clashes took place in their vicinity, there were none of note at these places themselves. Had he been present at any of the important actions that involved the Rustenberg Commando, he is likely to have listed them. They included the following: Derdepoort on the border with the Bechuanaland Protectorate, Mafeking, Elands River, the Magaliesberg actions at Cyferfontein, Buffelspoort, Nooitgedacht, Vlakfontein and Moedwil, as well as others further afield in the western Transvaal, such as Kleinfontein, Tweebosch and Rooiwal. Rustenbergers were also present at Tugela Heights in Natal.
Little else is known about Jacobsz. He was married to Carolina Frederika Christoffelina Jacobsz (born Oosthuizen). Her Death Notice in 1942 recorded her address as the farm Krokodildrift, Rustenberg district. The couple had seven children. As was customary, their eldest son was named Jan Hendrik after his father. Jan’s Death Notice is missing, but his date of death was given on his wife’s Death Notice as 1 September 1939.
Nothing is known for certain about Jacobsz’ genealogy. There was, and perhaps still is a branch of the Jacobsz family near Davel in the Ermelo district of the eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga), which had a Jan Hendrik Jacobsz as patriarch. He was born in the Cape Colony on 6 August 1828, and he was buried on the farm Tweefontein 249 near Davel after he died on 13 October 1891. He had a son named after him, who was born on 8 July 1873, and he may have been the man who served in the Rustenberg Commando during the Boer War. He too is buried near Davel, but in a second family cemetery on the farm Uitzicht 266. There is another Jan Hendrik buried on Tweefontein, but he was born in 1890 and was too young to have served in the Boer War. He was probably a nephew of the Davel patriarch.
There is, however, a problem. The date of death on the tombstone of the Jan Hendrik buried on the farm Uitsig is given as 22 September 1941, which differs from that given above for the man from the farm Krokodildrift. This may simply be an error in one or the other, but it does suggest that there may be two men involved.
This interpretation of Jacobsz’ family relationships was gleaned from tombstones recorded on the Genealogical Society of South Africa website (
). The last word on the subject must await the more comprehensive attention of someone with access to family records.
I recently acquired Jan Hendrik Jacobsz' ABO, and a photograph of it appears with my post 'The Rustenberg Commando'