Early forgers fled into the Karoo – 1791

The wagon route to Carnarvon wound through Schietfonteinspoort, which some called Kareeberge-poort, and past a lonely grave. This is the grave of Carel Kruger, or Krieger, once a veldwachtmeester of the Roggeveld. Together with his brother Jacob, he forged a large sum of money in the late 1700s. The two went to Cape Town and bought supplies with this, but their scam was discovered and they were arrested. They escaped and fled northwards into the Great Karoo. Nevertheless, in their absence they were sentenced – Carel to hang and his brother to 15 years with hard labour. They paid no heed and for years evaded the law. They wandered among the Korannas, fighting, stealing and generally living a hand to mouth existence. People of the area called them “the fearless nimrods,” writes M C Kitshoff in Kudde van Carnarvon. Then, one day, while out on a hunting trip in 1791, Carel shot and wounded an elephant. The enraged animal turned, charged and trampled Carel to death. Jacob, who was later granted amnesty, buried Carel’s remains right there and neatly packed Karoo stones on his grave. It became a landmark. Borcherds refers to it as Krugersfontein, Lichtenstein called it Graffontein, and others refer to it either as Karelsgraf or Kriegersgraf.


© Rose’s Roundup, vol. 2, no. 69, June 2009

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