Street names reflect history 6 – I & J

by | May 7, 2021 | Forgotten Heroes, Street names | 0 comments

A father and son – both historians – a war hero, a cartographer and a long-standing dominee all lent their names to Potchefstroom street names starting with an “I” and a “J”.

Iris Street (Grimbeekpark)

Senex is of the opinion that Iris Street was named after one of the Dickenson sisters. See Dickenson street. The street is, however, situated in Grimbeekpark where all the streets were named after flowers. Hence the origin of the name of Iris Street might not be Miss Dickenson.

Jasper van der Westhuizen Street (Potchindustria)
No information on who Jasper van der Westhuizen was could be found in the archives of the Potchefstroom Museum or publications on the history of Potchefstroom. After posting a question on Facebook Peter Coulter and Piet Badenhorst replied and said that he was a former magistrate of Potchefstroom.

More trouble than any Boer

Jack Hindon Crescent (Kanonnierspark)

Although Jack Hindon (1874-1919) does not have any direct ties with Potchefstroom, this crescent was named after him probably due to his ties with the military. The suburb of Kanonnierspark was named after the Gunners Memorial situated just left to the southern entrance to this suburb. The area, from the memorial to Meyer Street, was initially part of the military camp. When the military presence in Potchefstroom was reduced, this area came into the possession of the city council.

Jack Hindon’s story is nevertheless an interesting one. He was born in Scotland and had served with the British Army as a young man, but was dedicated to the Boer cause from the time of the Jameson Raid in 1895/6 to the end of the Anglo-Boer War in May 1902. He risked his life during the battle of Spioenkop and later during his many attacks on trains. Lord Kitchener said that Hindon caused him more problems than any Boer. To commemorate his brave deeds, the Jack Hindon Medal was implemented on 24 February 1970. It was awarded to lower ranks of the South African Defence Force (SADF) for bravery, but was discontinued in 1975. Read more about Hindon here.

This photo is a screen shot from the Afrikaans movie Dis Lekker om te Lewe, which was shot in Potchefstroom in 1956. It shows the original main access road to the military base, with the Gunners Memorial near the entrance as it was at the time. Kanonnierspark, which was developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, lies to the left of the street, then as now, known as Jan Smuts Street

Jack Pauw Street (Central)

Mr JC (Jack) Pauw was the first permanent headmaster of Hoër Volkskool. The school was founded in April 1922 with only 38 pupils, all in Standard Six (Grade 8). It was then known as “Die Afrikaans Medium Hoërskool”, for short “Die Medium”.

The school was then housed in a church hall on the corner of Berg Street (later Van Riebeeck, now Peter Mokaba) and Potgieter Street (Nelson Mandela). Mr PM van Lingen was the first temporary headmaster. He was assisted by two full-time teachers.

Mr Pauw became headmaster on 11 October 1922 and remained until 1934, when he became a school inspector. He was succeeded by Mr JD Naudé.

One of the hostels at the school was named Jack Pauw. It burned down in 2015, but was later restored.

Mr JC (Jack) Pauw was the first permanent headmaster of Hoër Volkskool, from 1922 to 1934. Photo: Potchefstroom Museum

The Jack Pauw Hostel at Hoër Volkskool. The sketch was made by Philip Bawcombe and was published in 1988 in a book depicting historic buildings in Potchefstroom.

Father and son record history

Jenkins Street (Dassierand). Both Ernest Jenkins and his son, Geoffrey, had a lion share in recording the history of Potchefstroom. Ernest Jenkins (1889-1964) came to the town in 1925 and became the editor of the Potchefstroom Herald. He resigned from this position 34 years later, in 1959. On his tombstone in the Potchefstroom cemetery is this epitaph: “Editor and historian of Potchefstroom for 40 years.” When Potchefstroom celebrated its centenary in 1938, the city council published a history on the town. Ernest Jenkins was one of three authors who contributed to this and his contribution is titled: The Commercial Section of the History of Potchefstroom.

His son, Geoffrey (1920-2001), wrote the book A Century of History on the history of Potchefstroom when he was a matric pupil at Boys High. This was also published in 1938. He later became a famous fiction writer and was regarded by Ian Flemming, author of the James Bond series of books, as an inspiration. Read the obituary of Geoffrey Jenkins in the Dispatch Online.

Ernest Jenkins. Photo: Potchefstroom Herald

Geoffrey Jenkins. Photo: Potchefstroom Herald

Street named after the youth

Jeugd Street (South), meaning “Youth Street”. According to Senex and TC de Klerk, who researched the origins of Potchefstroom streets names in the 1960s, this street was named after the Armenschool (school for the poor) that was founded on 30 July 1890 in the WD Pretorius House on the corner of Jeugd Street and Kerk Street (Walter Sisulu). It was the predecessor of ML Fick Primary School.

The WD Pretorius house on the corner of Church (Walter Sisulu) & Jeugd Street, is regarded as the oldest extant dwelling in Potchefstroom and dates from 1853/54. Considering the cars, this photo might have been taken approximately 1948. The house, which originally stood on 8,57 ha, became the property of Willem Daniel Pretorius on 31 May 1888. The boundaries were Jeugd, Smit, Greyling (OR Tambo) and Gouws (Sol Plaatjie) Streets. The original dwelling had a thatched roof. Pretorius was a speculator. During the Anglo-Boer War he was taken as a prisoner of war and sent to St Helena. His wife could continue farming on the property to keep the family together. Photo: Potchefstroom Herald

Looking, however, at the 1863 map that Fred Jeppe (see below) drew, it appears that the street was then already called “Jeugd Street”. The reason why the early city planners called this street “Jeugd Street” is now lost.

Jeppe Street (Potchindustria) was named after Mr Fred Jeppe (1834-1898) who was postmaster of Potchefstroom until 1867 when he was appointed as postmaster-general of the ZAR. In 1863 he drew a map of Potchefstroom, showing not only the streets, but extant structures at the time, which provides a wealth of historical information.

In 1877 he published the first Transvaal Book Almanac and Directory. This directory provided a wealth of information on the Transvaal, including agriculture, municipalities, banks, conveyancers, all postal matters, a timetable and fares for “passenger carts” (to travel between towns) and an extensive list of advertisers for each of the principal towns. The advertisements for Potchefstroom gave a good overview of businesses active at the time.

When a copy of the 1877 Transvaal Almanac and Directory was republished in 1977 the assistant state librarian, PE Westra, wrote a preface which gives background information on Jeppe:

Friedrich Heindrich Jeppe, the author of this Almanac was born in Rostock, Germany in 1834. In 1861 he emigrated to South Africa and was appointed Postmaster of Potchefstroom in 1866. Two years later he became the Postmaster-General of the Transvaal, a position which he held until he resigned in 1875. He appears to have been an excellent organiser and an energetic worker. Jeppe is generally regarded as the most important Transvaal cartographer of his time.

When the ZAR was occupied by Shepstone in 1877, Jeppe became the Government Translator and Controller of Statistics in the office of the Colonial Secretary. During this year he published the Transvaal Book Almanac and Directory for 1877, a reference guide . . . of the Transvaal. Enlarged editions of the Almanac appeared in 1879, 1881, 1887 and 1889.

Fred Jeppe, who was not only postmaster at Potchefstroom until 1867, but drew a map of the town in 1863. Photo: Potchefstroom Museum

Serving for more than four decades

Johannes Dreyer Street (Heilige Akker)

Dr Johannes (JGM) Dreyer (1898- 1988) served the Hervormde Church, Potchefstroom as minister from 1938 until 1979, when he retired. The street named after him is in the area that became known as the “Heilige Akker”. It acquired this name due to the fact that the land on which the suburb was laid out formerly belonged to the Hervormde Church.

Dr Johannes Dreyer served the Hervormde Church, Potchefstroom for more than four decades from 1938 to1979. Photo: Potchefstroom Museum

He was born in the Potchefstroom district and had an identical twin brother. He was one of the early matriculants of the Potchefstroom Gimnasium and then completed a BA degree at the University of Pretoria and a BD in 1922. He then travelled to Utrecht in the Netherlands to complete a doctorate degree. Dr Dreyer’s first congregation was at Lydenburg, where he was ordained in 1924. He then served at Ermelo, before he came to Potchefstroom.

In an article, that appeared in the Herald on 6 January 1978, when Dr Dreyer celebrated his 40th year serving the Potchefstroom congregation, he said that the first years were difficult. His congregation had 2 000 members and he visited each one every year. Subsequently, in his time, from 1938 to 1979, four other congregations originated out of this one.

The Hervormde Church across from the town hall is the oldest church building across the Vaal River. The founding of the congregation is regarded as 26 March 1842 when the first church service was conducted in Potchefstroom by the visiting Rev Daniel Lindley. The first permanent minister was Rev Dirk van der Hoff, who arrived in 1855. This is the second church building. Building work started in 1859, but the church building was only completed in 1866. The first church stood on the south-west corner of Church and Potgieter Streets (Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela). It was built in 1851, but was soon too small. It was demolished some years after completion of the new building.

In a memorial book, published in 1992 by the Church, it is said that Dr Dreyer had a strict routine: Mondays was set aside as a day of rest after preaching the previous Sunday. On Tuesdays he visited ill congregants, both those in hospital and at home. On Wednesdays he did his rounds of visits to congregants. On Thursday he would start preparing his sermon, on Friday he would write it and on Saturday memorize it.

He married Elizabeth Hendriks in 1925 and the couple had two sons.

Jooste Street (Bult) was named after Willie (WJ) Jooste (1856-1906), a member of the Volksraad of the ZAR. He was also a prominent businessman and the family farmed at Eleazer.

On 29 June 1896 Jooste donated £1 000 to the school commission of Potchefstroom to build a school. He himself bought the property on which the school was to be build. It is where the President Pretorius Primary School stands today. The school, previously known as the Meriba School, was then named the “WJ Jooste Gift School”. After the Anglo-Boer War, the school was renamed the “North School” and in 1929 acquired its present name.

WJ (Willie Jooste (1856-1906). Photo: Potchefstroom Museum

The corner stone indicating the school being the “WJ Jooste Gift School”, which was unveiled in 1897, is still in the possession of the President Pretorius Primary School. This was a former name of the school after WJ Jooste donated £1 000 to build a new school.

Joubert Street could have been named after General Piet Joubert. It could also have been named after one of the earlier residents of Potchefstroom, Hendrik Joubert. One of his sons, Jan Joubert, was an estate agent and conveyancer. He was also town councillor and was a member of the Coronation Committee of 1901 that proposed controversial wide-ranging street name changes.

The original source of these articles is a series of 13 columns written by “Senex” for the Potchefstroom Herald on the origins of the street names of Potchefstroom, published from 17 December 1974 to 24 June 1975. Senex was the pseudonym of Mr Jurgens Smith, a long-time history teacher at the Potchefstroom High School for Boys. The archives of the Potchefstroom Museum provided a rich source of information. Smith’s primary source of information was gleaned from Mr TC de Klerk, who researched the origins of the street names of Potchefstroom to write a master’s dissertation. He sadly passed away before completing his studies.