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Gouws(Gauch)-family from Le Pont-de-Montvert Updated February 27, 2001
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The french Gauch surname has changed over the years to Gouws within South Africa and Namibia( South-West Africa). André Gauch was born in Le Pont-de-Montvert on the Tarnriver in Cévennes, Lanquedoc in France. He was a blacksmith from occupation and fled to Genève in Switzerland before Edik from Nantes was recalled on 22 October 1685. On 13 January 1683 in Céligne close to Genève André got married to Jacqueline Decre, a fellow refugee from Sauverney close to Gex in Bourgogne.
Their son Etienne was born in 1684 in Genève. The family moved to Amsterdam where a daughter, Marie ,was born is 1690. At the end of 1690 the family sailed for Cape Town, South Africa on board the Spierdijk. Jacqueline Decre and Marie Gauch probably died during this journey at sea, leaving André Guach to arrive at Cape Town as a widower with a five year old son. Four years after Jannetjie De Klerk arrived in Cape Town, this fifteen year old got married to André Gauch in Tafelvallei on 19 August 1691.
André Guach received a farm at Drakenstein close to the present Simonsium. The name of the farm is not known since Gauch died before he received a ?letter of ownership?. Here he farmed and practiced his occupation as a blacksmith. Gauch was one on the very few Hugenote refugees that did not receive any financial aid or agricultural stock from the Kompanjie. The reason being that he only arrived in the Cape after the aid was dished out and not being part of the main group of French refugees. Reverend Pierre Simond personally lend money to Gauch in 1694.
From the archive information it seams that André Guach had a precarious existence. According to the inventory of the estate the farm’s ground were not good enough to grow corn on. His blacksmith tools were old, one anvil was completely broken and the other one was in bad condition. He had three horses. One being an old lived out mare, the other one a young foal and the third a big stallion. He had one slave that was not paid for yet and owed f 300 to the Kompanjie as well as f1500 to Jean Legeret.
He also struggled to receive money from clients for blacksmith-work performed. On numerous occasions Gauch had to ?dagvaar? clients to appear infront of the ?Landdros and ?Heemrade of Stellenbosch and Drakenstein and even then he did not receive his money.
The following is only a few examples of this:
On 25 August 1692 and again on 18 November 1692 did Gauch sue Pieter Jansz van Marseveen for f30 ?smee- fee; between 4 November 1694 and 10 October 1695 he had to sue Thomas Monkvier four times for 36 gulde; On 4 November 1694 he requests money from Daniël Nourtier; between 3 October 1695 and 21 November 1695 he sued Louis Corbon four times for 8 gulde labourfee; and between 3 October 1695 and 10 October 1695 he sued Jean Le Longh twice for 31 gulde 14?stuiwers? regarding labourfee.
André Gauch made use of servants to help him with his Blacksmith work. On 4 January 1694 he signed a contract with Frans Franken, a soldier in the service of the HOIK. According to the contract Franken would be employed for one year as a servant in the blacksmithshop,at 12 gulde per month with ?behoorlike? ?huisvesting?, food and drink. This contract was renewed for an additional year.
On 16 january 1698 he signed a contract with Jan Baltusz van Miert, a soldier in the service of the HOIK for six moths. He is to help Gauch in the blacksmithshop for 13 gukde and one bag of tobacco per month. This contract was extended on 15 April 1698. Guillaume du Toit( Jannetjie de Klerk’s stephdad) sighed on behalf of Gauch.
A short time before Gauch’s death he purchased a slave called Claas.
Seven year after his arrival in Cape Town and after a marriage of seven year André Gauch mysteriously died on 26 February 1698 at the age of 39. Jannetjie was now left with a stepson of 13 years old and her own four children of which the youngest was only one month old.