The Wreck of the Schonenberg.

I finally updated our story about the Wreck of the Schonenberg.  Stamvader Philip Morkel and his brother Willem hosted 80 shipwrecked crew on his farm Onverwacht in 1722.   An epic poem, Liefdekrans, was composed and printed in 1725 to thank Philip.  This historic document hangs on the wall at Die Bos.  Thorough research on the wreck, done by Dr Jan Malan in the Cape Archives, is documented in two papers in Afrikaans and posted on our website with permission.  I used this together with the accounts in P.W. Morkel’s book on the family for our story.  It also gained a bit of sparkle with charts showing the route of the unfortunate ship, a photo of the rocky Agulhas coast where it happened, and a chart of the likely route the crew took overland to Philip Morkel’s farm – taken from Malan’s articles.  Jan originally became interested because Eric Rosenthal claimed that his ancestor Jacques Malan of Morgenster (who was also second generation Willem Morkel’s father-in-law) took part in looting the wreck and was banished from the Cape in chains.  As he commented, a more unlikely  robber and conspirator could scarcely be found.  French Huguenot Jacques Malan was a prosperous farmer and family man in his mid fifties, and a deacon (elected elder in the following year) in the church.  He found the stories by Eric Rosenthal and Lawrence Green figments of the imagination.  The real events are fascinating enough and do not need fantasy and embroidering.   I have removed these stories from our article and have focused on more reliable accounts by P.W. Morkel and Jan Malan.

Posted by andre

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