General – Gerhardus Gravett

General Gerhardus Gravett
Gerhardus was one of several sons of the 1820 Settler who moved to
the Transvaal and were living in the Heidelberg/Boksburg area. He was
the great grandson of George Gravett, who arrived in Algoa Bay on the barque Brilliant , then married local girl Anna Adriana Woest. Gerhardus’s brother Willem Hendrik owned a farm just north of the Suikerbosrand at Tamboekiesfontein. One of his uncles was also farming close to Heidelberg at Schoongedacht. But of all the Gravetts in the area, Gerhardus Gravett was the
most prosperous. Besides several houses in Georgetown, Germiston, Gerhardus
also owned a large smallholding at Klippoortje, Germiston, where he grew maize
and raised cattle, and  he was the owner or part-owner of  a number of other farms in the Free State and Cape. He held several prospecting claims. Several of Gerhardus’s business ventures were done in partnership with his younger brother Willem Hendrik.  Besides farming, Gerhardus’s primary business was as a cartage contractor and money lender.His business had premises at the Germiston coal yards, and for the times was very modern in 1899 G H Gravett contractors not only had a telegraphic address, but also a telephone, which was a rarity in the Transvaal at the time.
War broke out in October 1899, and Boer Commandos invaded Natal and the Cape. Both Gerhardus, his first son Christiaan and his brother Willem joined the Boer commandos, and so did several other Gravetts from the area.
Willem was captured by the British, on 16th November 1899 and was sent into exile on Saint Helena, but Gerhardus continued to fight for the Boers, first as a Veld Cornet, then later as a Commandant and finally as Combat General in overall charge of the Boksburg Commando.
After the Siege of Ladysmith was lifted on 28/2/1900, the Boers retreated through northern Natal, back into the Transvaal.
It was at this stage that one section of the Commando under General G H Gravett moved to fight in the Cape Colony. Later, as the Cape and
Orange Free State front collapsed, Gravett took his men back by way of the eastern Orange Free State to the Transvaal to rejoin the rest of the Commando, which had remained active in the Transvaal.
On about 12th October 1900, Gerhardus Gravett was wounded while on commando near Roosenekal.
His comrades brought a Dr Neethling to attend to him but without medicines the doctor could not do much, and Gerhardus Gravett contracted bronchitis. He died on 26th October, aged 42. The famous Commandant,Deneys Reitz, was probably the last person to see the General alive.
He is buried at the Primrose Cemetery in Germiston. He left a wife, Petronella, and five children.
General Gravett