Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dutch immigrants on the Jan van Brakel


Appearing in the same column of the Natal Mercury as the passenger list of the Hermanus Izaak (1st voyage)  there is the first mention, under 'Vessels Expected', of the 'Jan Van Brakel, barque, from Amsterdam, to sail in December' (1858). However, there was evidently some delay as this 327 ton ship, commanded by Captain De Reever (Der Oever in some sources), only left Amsterdam on 15 March 1859. The Natal Mercury of 23 June 1859 announced that the Jan Van Brakel had arrived at Simon's Bay on 2 June 'with 74 immigrants'. The vessel sailed from Simon's Bay on 25 June and was eventually reported to be 'standing off' Natal by 14 July:

The Jan Van Brakel: a barque, supposed to be this vessel, has been off the port since Tuesday morning, standing off and on, though from some cause or other she had not last night come to the anchorage. A barque, with a large number of passengers on board, probably the same vessel, stood in for the mouth of the Umlazi on Tuesday, and anchored just outside the breakers, about 300 yards from shore. Mr Stafford, with others, went down and telegraphed to her that the port was 12 miles off and she must go to sea, which she did yesterday morning. Had there been any swell, or had the wind set in from the east, her danger would have been imminent. Several residents remained on the beach all night, fearing the possibility of a catastrophe. 

The Jan Van Brakel reached Port Natal safely, but having lost both her anchors, others were supplied from shore. The Natal Mercury of 21 July 1859 reported: 'This vessel brings nearly fifty Dutch immigrants, who seem likely to turn out hardworking industrious settlers' and listed the passengers as follows:

Mr G Freislich
Mr & Mrs Freriks [sic; Freriksen] & child
Mr & Mrs Gielink & 5 children
Mr & Mrs Warsink [sic; Wassink] & 4 children
Mr & Mrs Weber & 4 children
Mr & Mrs Reuterink & 4 children
Mr & Mrs Bouwmeister
Mr & Mrs Kusteroff
Messrs. Velthuizen, ... (illegible), Bank(?), Wantink, Hanning, Bendink, Bakking (Makkink?), Van Hasteroff & Theunissen.

Goods carried included 100 boxes of pipes, a case of cigars, 36 cases of cheese, 1 anvil, 2 vices, 4 iron rasps, 1 grindstone, a wagon, a cart and 10 pieces of 'machinery'.

By 1860 about ninety Dutch emigrants had settled at New Gelderland. A large area of land had been put under sugar cane, a mill was in operation and sugar was being produced for export.

Colenbrander homestead New Gelderland


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