On 4 September 1901, during the South African War, Commandant JC Lötter and his right-hand man, Lieutenant Pieter Wolfaardt along with most of the members of their commando were captured south of Graaff-Reinet.
One of the top commandants in the Cape, Lötter was known for his daring “hit and run” tactics. Earlier in the war, after the British had introduced their shocking scorched earth and concentration camp policies, Lötter and the commandos had been allowed to retaliate. Having burnt houses belonging to loyalists, executed spies and whipped those he considered traitors, Lötter stood accused of “murder, marauding and disgraceful conduct of a cruel nature” and was charged with human rights violations and war crimes.
The two men received the death sentence in Middelburg on 11 October and the following day Lötter was taken to a spot next to the Richmond Road where he was tied to a chair and shot. He was buried there and this is where the Stoel Monument (Chair Monument) still stands. Three days later Wolfaardt was taken to the same place, where he shared Lötter’s fate. The two were buried in the same grave. Six years later, the remains of both men were dug up, placed in one coffin, and reburied in the Middelburg cemetery.