The old Dutch Reformed Parsonage across the AG Visser residence on the corner of HF Verwoerd and Van der Westhuizen Streets, was the result of a brotherly strife and church division. After the First Anglo Boer War, the Afrikaners tried to unify the Reformed Churches. The old cross church had to make place for this new denomination. Paul Kruger donated 100 pounds to build the Klipkerk. He would later be unsuccessful to mediate in the struggle on the church property and made his famous remark in August 1891: “Kon man niet eengesind in een huis wonen, laat men dan in vrede naast elkaar wonen.”
Reverend von Warmelo was the first pastor of this united church or the newly built Klipkerk and his wife was initially appointed as the first organist. After traveling abroad, his wife was re-appointed as organist by the rebellious Reformed Church. On his return Mrs V Warmelo and their children attended the rebellious church and would no longer support her husband in this rife. The division was there for personally felt. It would later take its toll when he died in 1892 and she refused to evacuate the parsonage. This struggle would keep on for years, only to be settled eleven years later by a court order.
The court decided that the parsonage next to the Klipkerk belongs to the rebellious church. The church struggled to get funds to pay them out and was lucky to receive a donation from their well-known church member, F J Bezuidenhout of De Rust farm. They then bought this stand and used the buildsing material of the old parsonage to complete it. Ds A J Louw moved in on 5 November 1897. His neighbour, dr A G Visser became a lifelong friend.
Apart from the internal church rife, another Van Warmelo fought the struggles to the bitter end. Johanna, their second youngest child, was born in Heidelberg on 18 November 1877. She would later became known as South Africa’s first female spy. She used lemon juice to write her diary entries and in a similar way wrote letters to her fiancé to inform him about the plight of people in the concentration camps during the war. In this way it would go undetected across the border. He would then use a hot iron to disclose the hidden message and took it to international journalist to put pressure on the British Government to stop the practices. She was also known for her patriotic quotes. When Pretoria surrendered, she told a British officer the following: “Tommie Atkins, the war has just begun.” She later married her fiancé, Louis Brandt an Olympian from Holland. They received telegrams from Boer generals and were officially congratulated by President Kruger and Queen Wilhelmina. She became well-known for her wonder cure in natural medicine to treat certain cancers known as “The grape cure”. President Henry Ford paid all her expenses to promote the cure in America and is she still recognised in the Ford Memorial Hospital for her efforts. She wrote many books and it was also translated into various languages. She was even reckoned as South Africa’s female prophet and published her visions under the title, ‘Millenium”. This was parallel to her contemporary, Siener van Rensburg. It is worth mentioning that she grew up in the old parsonage. She was in the midst of the struggle and looked forward to a time of peace and prosperity – the Millenium. The old parsonage reminds us that even woman featured richly during the struggle and has been a fortress for many.