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Interesting stories about the town of Paul Roux
Geographical Information

Paul Roux is situated in the Eastern Free State, South Africa.  The town is situated next to the N5 (the National Road between Durban and Bloemfontein - the Capital of the Free State), approximately 30 km from Senekal and 40 km from Bethlehem. 

Paul Roux is a small town with a lot of old sandstone buildings. The Paul Roux population consists of more or less 300 people and the total population together with Fateng is round about 7500. 

How did it all start?

Paul Roux was situated on the old stagecoach route between Harrismith and Winburg and served as a halfway post for changing the horses of the stagecoach.  Whenever the stagecoach were nearing the town, a horn sounded, and the new set of horses were prepared so to exchange the horses of the stagecoach that no delay is experienced.

Mosten Cleaver, an Englishman, was born on the farm Zuuringkrans .  His parents had a small shop as well as the post office, where the horses were exchanged for the stagecoach.  This shop and post office was the only place where people could sell their wool and grain.  Bethlehem was the closest other town. 

The Cleaver family built a small church in Senekal, west of where the parsonage of the Dutch Reform Church of Senekal is standing today.  Unfortunately this building was never declared a heritage site.  The Moslem community of Senekal today uses the building. 

How did the town get its name?

In 1911, the newly formed community was divided about the name of the new town.  One group wanted to name the town, Du Plessisville - after a respected citizen, while the other group wanted to name the town after their minister - Paul Roux.  Paul Roux was the minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in Senekal.  Because the town had no church, the people went to the church in Senekal to worship.

The people decided to get a big piece of dolomite (ironstone).  On the one side they wrote the initials PR and on the other side the initials DPV.  One of the men, Mr Koos Smit,  was asked to throw the stone as far as possible - the side on which the stone lands will indicate what the name of the town would be.  The town was called Paul Roux after the stone had fallen with the initials PR on top.  This historical event took place on the ground west to where the AP Church is standing today. 

Places of interest

The school in Paul Roux was built in 1912 and opened its doors on 8 October 1912, with 52 pupils and two teachers.  In 1923, five new classrooms were built and in 1945 a new school hall was erected.  The school at this stage is hosting 580 pupils.

The building of the Dutch Reformed Church in Paul Roux was started in 1914.  The Rebellion interrupted the building of the church and before long sweet-grass started to grow on the walls of the church. 

Prinsloo received the farm Holhoek in 1842 with the primary purpose of populating the Free State.  What makes this farm so important is that it has an open cave in the mountains.  This cave gave shelter for many women and children during the Anglo Boer War.  Late President P.W. Botha's mother was one of the women who sheltered there and it is here where his half brother H.G. Prinsloo was born.

People of Interest:

P. W. Botha grew up on the farm "Telegraaf" in Paul Roux.  His parents were Hendrina and Piet Botha. Hendrina was the wife of one of J.J. Prinsloo's sons - Johannes Prinsloo - who inherited the Farm - Telegraaf.  The other sons inherited the farms Welgevonden (the farm J.J. Prinsloo came back to after England took over Natal), Marthinusdal and Kwarriekop.  P.W. Botha became the Minister of Defence then Prime Minister and later State President.

The 1938 symbolic Trekkers erected a monument on the farm Marthinusdal.  The monument was erected in honour of the two children who died of measles during the Trek of J.J. Prinsloo. 

Other places of interest near Paul Roux

Biddulpsberg has a rich history, with a lot of interesting stories.

Dinosaur footprints were discovered on the farm Uniondale. What was interesting about these footprints is that some scientists from America tried to remove the rock to take it for further studies.  Luckily for Paul Roux they could not succeed.  All that is left of their attempts are the holes they drilled for the removal of the rock.

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