S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Schoch, Mr Herman Eugene (surveying)

Born: 10 September 1862, Herisau, Switzerland.
Died: 12 September 1947, Pretoria, South Africa.

Herman Eugene Schoch, surveyor, was a son of Wilhelm August Schoch and an elder brother of the mining engineer Edward Rengers Schoch*. He came to South Africa with his parents in May 1868 and grew up in an Anabaptist religious community in Wellington (1868-1873) and on the farm Boschdal in the Rustenburg district (1874-1878). His father and aunt educated him at home. In November 1878 he was apprenticed to Carl Schunke, a land surveyor at George, in the Cape Colony, where he remained until 1883. During 1884-1887 he continued his education at the Neuchatel Gymnasium in Switzerland and the University of Edinburgh. In 1888 he attended classes in surveying at St Andrew's College, Grahamstown, and passed the examination for the certificate of proficiency in the Theory of Land Surveying of the University of the Cape of Good Hope. He qualified as a surveyor in the Cape Colony in 1889, while the Board of Examiners of the South African Republic (Transvaal) admitted him as a land surveyor in September 1890.

Schoch worked as a surveyor in the Transvaal, in a partnership with George Greathead, from 1892 to 1899. During the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) he fought with the Boer forces for some time, but then swore allegiance to the British crown. From 1901 he worked as a computer in the Mapping Section of the Field Intelligence Department of the British military. In April 1902 he was appointed examiner of diagrams in the office of the Surveyor-General of the Transvaal Colony and the next month was admitted as a land surveyor by the British administration. In December that year he became registry surveyor. He was appointed Assistant Surveyor-General of the Transvaal Colony in May 1905. After the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 he became acting Surveyor-General of the Transvaal province in April 1912, and was appointed as Surveyor-General of the Transvaal and Swaziland in 1913. He retained this position until his retirement in 1922. During this period, from 1918 to 1919, he served as the first South African Surveyor-General of South West Africa (now Namibia) in an acting capacity.

Schoch was a member of the Institute of Land Surveyors of the Transvaal by 1905. In 1912 he qualified also as a mine surveyor. He and F.E. Kanthack* served on the Angola / South West Africa Boundary Commission of 1920. In 1923 he helped to survey the region that is now the Kruger National Park. That same year he published a paper on 'Principles of town planning''in the South African Survey Journal (1923, Vol. 1(1), pp. 25-29).

In 1916 Schoch became a foundation member of the South African biological society. A few years later he published an article on 'The egg-laying of a chamaeleon' in the South African Journal of Natural History (1920, Vol. 2(1), pp. 113-115).

In 1898 Schoch married Elizabeth du Plessis, with whom he had a son and a daughter.

List of sources:

Cape of Good Hope. Report of the Surveyor-General, 1889.

Journal of the Institute of Land Surveyors of the Transvaal, 1905, Vol. 1(1), pp. 24-27 and 1909, Vol. 1(8), pp. 338-341: Lists of members.

Linder, A. The Swiss at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-1971. Basle: Basle Afrika Bibliographien, 1997.

National Archives Repository (TAB), Source MHG, Vol. 0, Ref. 4610/47, death notice, Herman Eugene Schoch.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS), at http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Herman Eugene Schoch / H.E. Schoch.

South African Journal of Natural History, 1918, Vol. 1(1), pp. 8-15: Roll of Foundation Members [of the SA Biological Society]; 1920, Vol. 2(1): Article by H.E. Schoch.

South African Survey Journal, 1923, Vol. 1(1), paper by H.E. Schoch.

South African Who's Who, 1908, 1909, 1917/8.

Transvaal Civil Service List, 1906 and Transvaal Public Service List, 1909.

Union of South Africa. Public Service List, 1914. Pretoria: Government Printer, 1914.

University of the Cape of Good Hope. Calendar, 1893-4.

University of the Witwatersrand, Historical Papers. http://www.historicalpapers.wits.ac.za Search for Schoch, H.E.

Van den Heuvel, P.A.L. A short history of the survey and registration of land in South West Africa. Part 2. South African Survey Journal, 1984, Vol. 20(1), pp, 20-29.

Compiled by: C. Plug