The Vermeulen men of Stanford distinguished themselves as excellent builders, and many of the older houses, and especially the Victorian ones in Stanford, were built by them. There are also many buildings in Hermanus still standing as a testimony to their skill and excellence.
The progenitor of the Overberg Vermeulens was Christoffel Johannes Vermeulen, baptised 1749. He was the great-grandson of Jan Willemz Vermeulen who came to the Cape in 1680 from Utrecht in the Netherlands. In 1771 Christoffel married Cornelia Johanna van Straaten in Paarl, and they produced nine children. He obtained grazing rights for his cattle on Awila, a farm between Uylen- and Hagelkraal in the Overberg Strandveld in 1785.
Forty-six years later, in 1831, the same farm, Awila (1912 hectares) was granted to Christoffel’s youngest son, Hendrik Johannes Hermanus Vermeulen, who lived there until his death in 1881. Hendrik and his wife, Anna Susanna Matthee whom he married in 1820 when they were both just 14…
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