General – Andries Petrus Cronje

General Andries Petrus Cronje
A member of the Orange Free State Volksraad and Boer general, Cronje was the son of Johannes Daniel Cronje and his wife, Dina Judith Gertruida Woudrina Rahl.In 1839 the family moved to what was then the Trans Orange, and on 29.8.1848 , still a young boy, fought at Boomplaats. As an assistant field-cornet (from 1858) and later as a field-cornet he played an important part in the Basuto wars, prior to becoming a heemraad and a special justice of the peace. From 1879 to 1883 and again from 1887 to 1899 he was the member of the Volksraad for the Zand River ward. During the First Anglo-Boer War (1 880—81) he supplied ammunition to the commandos. In 1895 he became a commandant and upon the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War in October 1899, a combat general. As commander of a section of the Free State burghers on the Natal front C.he was present at the battles of Rietfontein (24.10.1899), Modderspruit and Nicholson’s Nek (30.10.1899) as well as in November 1899 at the siege of Ladysmith, and later at the battles of Colenso (15.12.1899) and Spioenkop (24.1.1900). On 16.2.1900 he left Natal for the Free State where in the same month, together with Gen. C. R. de Wet, he fought at Paardeberg in an attempt to relieve Gen. P. A. Cronjé’s beleaguered force. He was with De Wet at the battles of Driefontein (10.3.1900) and Sannaspos (31.3.1900), and attended the last great united general meeting of the War Council in Kroonstad (20.3.1900) as a member of the military commission. After the evacuation of Bloemfontein (13.3.1900) President M. T. Steyn appointed him as member of the Free State government in the field, and in September 1900 he accompanied the President to the discussions between the republican governments at Waterval-Onder, Nelspruit and Hectorspruit. He was appointed a member of the Executive Council on 25.1 .1901, after which he took an active part in the war until 11.7.1901, when he and the rest of the government, excepting President Steyn, were captured at Reitz and exiled to Bermuda. Cronje returned to South Africa via New York after the treaty of Vereeniging (31.5.1902). When responsible government was granted in 1907 he was appointed a member of the Legislative Council of the Orange River Colony, and served as such until 1910, when he withdrew from politics. Cronje enjoyed the respect and personal friendship of leading personalities such as President Steyn, General Louis Botha and General De Wet. He was a political leader as well as an able soldier. He died on 20 September 1916. Initially he was buried on his farm Welgelegen, but was re-interred when the Allemanskraal Dam was built at Winburg. Cronje ‘married his cousin, Cornelia Christina Cronjé (8.7.1838 — 28.3.1928), on 12.10.1858. She was the daughter of Izak Adolf Cronjé and his wife, Elsie Cristina van Coller. Cronje and his wife had twelve children, of whom five boys and three girls survived their father. During the 1914 Rebellion his son F. R. Cronjé  commanded government troops.