In life, Johannes operated the pont over the Berg River. The sketch below of the pont is from Burchell's (First) Travels through Southern Africa, which take place some sixty years after Johannes' death.
Burchell personally describes the sketch as follows:
The level country seen on the left in the distance, is a part of Wagenmakers Valley. The mountains are those of Klein Drakenstein. A farm-house, with a few large orange trees in front, is seen on the bushy plain. A few white poplars stand on the opposite bank, and the foreground is shaded by a large many-stemmed tree of Kareehout, some of the branches of which are loaded with grass and rubbish left there by the waters, attesting the great height to which this river occasionally swells. All the figures in the foreground, excepting two, were Hottentots.
His book describes the area as follows:
The landscape here is rich and fertile: the beautiful flat country of Wagenmaker's Valley and Drakenstein, enlivened with numerous farm-houses, lay extended before us, bounded by a fine range of mountains, a part of the great western chain. The ground is well covered with vegetation, and abounds with shrubs. Very large bushes of Karree-hout, which, in growth and foliage, have a great resem blance to our common willows, grow along the banks.
The river, at this place, was deep and rapid, and might, at this time, be about seventy yards across. This stream is sometimes very suddenly and unexpectedly swelled by torrents, which descend from the mountains of Drakenstein and Fransche Hoek; on which account it is imprudent for travellers, at any time, to remain at outspan immediately on its banks. A melancholy accident of this kind had happened here about a month before, when a boor and his family, not suspecting danger, halted close to the ferry. The floods coming down in the night, swept away the waggon, while all in it were asleep, and three of the party were drowned. The ferry-boat is of a construction well adapted for conveying over cattle and heavier carriages. It may be described as a floating platform, with rails at the sides, and having its ends rising on hinges so as to lie at all times flat on the shore. It was sufficiently capacious to carry over my waggon with eight oxen, and six men, at one time. It was hauled to and fro, by means of a strong rope, strained from one bank of the river to the other, and was managed by a couple of men with great ease. The tolls were one rix-dollar for each waggon, with its oxen and men ; and one schelling for every single ox, and for each foot passenger. The ferry belongs to government, but was farmed to a neighbouring boor.
At the time of his death, Johannes owns two morgen of land at Paarl. When the estate is settled [#1], it is clear that it is completely dependent on the pont toll monies, which the widow has great difficulty in collecting:
"...over soo veel den overleedene weeg:s eenige jaaren agterstallige pontpenn:e van diverse persoonen te goed heeft, en tot welkers incasseeringe de wed:e Boijens betuijgde veele pogingen en moeijtens te hebben aangewend, en sig nog verplig vind te doen, sulx het selve alhier /: tot tijd en wijlen van deselve penn:e soo veel mogelijk sal zijn ingekomen:/ werd ter nedergestelt voor memorie Rd:s1839:6"
There is hardly anything from the estate for the two remaining children:
"...de vaderlijke erfportien der twee in den hoofde deeses gen:e kinderen niet meer is komen te bedragen dan t' samen een somma van een hondert en thien rijxd:s ofte ieder rd:s55 ..."
As a result Pieter du Plessis and Pieter Joubert commit to help collect these monies and they stand surety for the difference between monies collected and the amounts stated on the inventory.
For the references, see below#