Jan Willemsz VERMEULEN <1>, Utrecht, Nederland ±__.__.1659, † Kaapstad __.__.1713.Jan was the son (zoon) of Willem and came from Utrecht, the Netherlands. He was born about 1659. Jan arrives in South Africa before 1680. (The exact date is not known, because no record exists in the Cape Town Archive Repository and the records of the General State Archive, The Hague, of the V.O.C. before 1691 were not preserved.)
Jan was a soldier employed by the V.O.C.
He takes his dismissal from the service of the V.O.C. in about 1684 and became a free burger (vryburger) in 1684. The free burghers were dependent of existence on their own initiative. However, the laws of the Cape prohibited free trade. The free burghers, for example, had to wait three days after a visiting ship landed before they could sell their produce to the visitors. During this 3 day period, the V.O.C. could sell their produce.
On November 5, 1685, Jan appeared in court on a charge of smuggling. One source stated that he had violated the above waiting period, while another reported that he had bought a cabbage from a slave Valentine from Madasgascar, unaware that the cabbage was stolen from the garden of Lieutenant Olof Bergh! The free burghers were forced to obtain all their seed and implements from the V.O.C. After the above-mentioned complaint against Jan, he could no longer make a living as a farmer.
He then became a fisherman. The fishermen made a living from the tear of the bacon of seals. The tear was shipped to the Netherlands, but life was still difficult because the Netherlands could obtain tears more easily and cheaply from Greenland. Jan married Catharina VAN BENGALE, * Bengal ± __.__. 1663 in Cape Town on 07.11.1694. Catharina VAN BENGALE was also known as Catharina OPKLIM (However, the surname OPKLIM does not appear in official documents). The following inscription appears in the Cape baptismal book: “sijn in den huwelijken stant bevestigt Jan Willemse Vermeulen, jonkman geboortigh van Utrecht met Catharina VAN DE CAAP, vry swartinne jongedochter”.
The following information indicates that Catharina van Bengale married Jan Willemsz VERMEULEN was in all probability the next person. A Catrijn VAN BENGALE, 26 years old, is sold on 23 December 1677 by Hester WEIJERS van Lier to, her son-in-law, Tobias VLASVATH, for Rds 80. Catrijn with two of her daughters, Martha 6yrs. and Magdalena, 3yrs. old, were sold. This Catrijn was therefore born ca 1651. (“Visits, slaves and free blacks - p 134”.) Helena Weijers was the widow of Wouter Cornelisz MOSTERT, (MOSTAERT), who remarried on 12 March 1684 to Jan Holsmith VAN SITTER. Tobias VLASVATH was the son-in-law of Hester WEIJERS, widow MOSTERT. Tobias' wife was Grisella MOSTAERT. Vlasvath returned to Patria in 1682. There are no release documents or evidence that Catharina was resold with VLASVATH's departure. She was probably released then. On April 16, 1681, Hester WEIJERS, her slaves, Manuel and Elizabeth, released "born of the landscape of Angola". Martha Manuels is therefore in all probability the child, who is sold at the age of 6, with Catrijn and of whom Manuel of Angola is the father and Catrijn of Bengal the mother. On March 18, 1691, Martha Manuels baptized Catharina. Witnesses: Jan Vermeulen and Maria Bartende (unclear). (This is the same day that Wilhelmina Vermeulen is baptized). On April 4, 1694: two slave children baptized of Jan Holsmidt, whose mother is named Martha Emauels, were witnesses, Sara Claesze and Catarina WILLEMS (sic). His name is one Jacob, the other Helena. On 19 May 1695: a child of Marta (sic), gent Christiaen, witnesses Jan Willemse Vermeulen and Catharina VAN BENGALEN (sic). On 10 November 1697: baptized the child of Marta Manuels slave of Johannes Holsmit (former husband of the late Hester Weijers van Lier, previously married to Wouter Mostert) of whom Christian as father under the tide of Louis van Bengale and Beatrice Cornelisse van Coetzien (mostly sic) The child's name was John. On 16 May 1700: a child of Marta Manuels under witness Jacob Maurits and Catharina VERMEULEN (sic) takes Willem. February 15, 1705: by Christiaan Mijn and Marta Manuels under the testimony of Sybrand Vermeulen and Maria Vermeulen, named Maria Magdalena. The fact that Jan Vermeulen, his wife and also some of his children act as witnesses at this baptism further supports the suspicion that Matha Manuels may be one of Catharina's (later married to Jan)'s children.
Catharina van Bengale is referred to in some writings as: “Catharina Opklim” Hester WEIJERS 'father was “Weyert KLIMP” (KLIM). Catharina therefore, probably on occasion, used the surname OPKLIM, derived from her owner's father's surname. In the Cape sample rolls the following occur: VC39, Vol. 1 Bl. 68. 1685 “An het Fort”: Jan Willemsz Vermeule; Bl. 100: 1691 Jan Willemsz Vermeulen Catrijn van Bengale; Bl. 115: 1692: Opgaaf nr. 136: Jan Willemsz Vermeulen; Catrina of Bengal; 2 boys, 3 girls, 2 horses, 1 snap, 1 sword. Bl. 135: 1693 Caabse district Jan Willemsz Vermeulen Catrina Vlasvat 5 children. (Here she uses her owner's surname, namely the surname, of Tobias Vlasvath. It was not common practice for slaves to adopt / use their owners' surname. This indicates that there was a good relationship with the Vlasvath family. Probably also with Helena Weijers and her family - because she also occasionally used the derivation of “KLIMP” as a surname.At the baptism of Jan and Catharina's first child, Sijbrand, on 27 May 1685, one of the Mosterts , namely Maria Mostert, as a witness. Another proof of the good relationship that existed with the Mostert family and Catharina. On February 8, 1693, a Catharina from Bengal was baptized with other fellow elderly people. On November 7, 1694 The following marriage takes place: “His marital status is confirmed by Jan Willemse Vermeulen, young man born in Utrecht to Catharina VAN DE CAAP, free black young girl.” Note: Marriages in the Cape between white men and full-breed women have since aris Ijsbrand Goske's visit in 1671 banned. The ban was renewed during Van Reede's visit, during Simon van der Stel's governorship. The Catharina married Jan Willemsz Vermeulen must therefore have convinced the authorities of her half-slaughter. However, she and Jan Willemsz Vermeulen had four children together from 1685 to 1691, before their marriage. However, the fact that European men were not allowed to marry heathen / full-breed slaves had to be weighed against the real reality under the circumstances. The two have lived together and already have children together. This could probably persuade a pastor to confirm them in a marriage.
The reference in the marriage register to her as "Van de Caap" was probably a handy arrangement to justify such a marriage "on paper". All official documents refer to the woman married to Jan as Catharina / Catrina / Catrijn VAN BEGALE. Even in Jan Willemsz Vermeulen and her joint will, reference is made to Catharina VAN Bengale and not Catharina OPKLIM. The surname, VAN DE CAAP is also used only during marriage. If we assume that Catharina van Bengale, sold on 23 December 1677, is the same person as Catharina van Bengale married Jan Willemsz Vermeulen, we must take into account that in 1677 she had two daughters. The one Martha, 6 years old, born ca 1671, in all probability Martha Manuels, to whom has already been referred and Magdalena, 3 years old, born ca 1673 .: When Jan Vermeulen and Catharina married on 7 November 1694 these children therefore had to: Martha, 20, and Magdalena, 17. Jan and Catharina probably lived together since about 1684. The two daughters would thus in 1684 be 13 and 11 yrs respectively old. These children are not referred to in the Vermeulen household, as in the case of Jan Mauritz, nor later in their joint will. Jacob MAURITSZ (MAURITS) (In the LDS registers he is indicated as Jan Maurits VERMEULEN and also only as Mauritz VERMEULEN - * ca 1697/1698).
On April 12, 1682, a child was baptized on the ship Africa by Bortholomeus Heinen as "Maurits Jacobzn". Although the baptism was observed by Heinen, the baptismal inscription was made in the signature of Rev. Johannes Overney. The mother is referred to as: Catharina of Bengal. ” Of which his skipper Jacob Maurits would be the father, so they say. " He was not Jan's child, but is nevertheless raised by the Vermeulen couple as their child. In Jan and Catharina's will and also in Jan's liquidation and distribution account dated 15 November 1717 Jacob Maurits is one of the heirs. He is referred to as "her son Jacob Maurits, young man, foreigner". In the Dutch dictionary, Koenen en Endepols, 1960, foreign appears as an alternate form for "abroad". The example given is “I was then a foreigner, i.e. abroad ”. He was therefore not in SA around 1713, when the will was drawn up. "Her" could also have been the intention of "our" son Jacob. There are e.g. also refers to "her deceased son Zijbrand Vermeulen" In the "Ship data of the ship Africa - 1673", we find; “That ship Africa was in use at the VOC until 23/04/1684 (Vergaan, Indian Ocean) Built at the shipyard in Rotterdam. Load capacity 1100 tons ”Africa was among other things in the Cape Harbor over the following periods: “26/05/1680 Goeree Batavia 18/11/1680, Amsterdam, Maarten Wildvank, via; Cape of Good Hope from 18/09/1680 to 01/10/1680 ”“ 26/11/1681 Batavia Goeree 30/08/1682, Amsterdam MAURITS JACOBSZ VAN EIJK, via: Cape of Good Hope from 16/02/1682 to 28/04/1682. ” With the visit to the Cape during 1682, the Cape resolutions, among others. signed by: “Saturdagh den 4 April 1682”, MAURITS JACOBSZ. “Monday the 6th of April 1682”, Den Schout by Nacht MOURITS JACOBSZ VAN EIJCK ’and Den Fiscaal, TOBIAS VLASVATH.
From the above we can therefore deduce that: The ship Africa, with the baptism of the child, was in the harbor at Cape of Good Hope. The father was in command of the ship and probably preferred that the child be baptized on the ship. The child was probably conceived with a previous visit of the child's father to the Cape. It is clear that Tobias VLASVATH, to whom Catharina VAN BENGALE, the child's mother, belonged and the child's father, knew each other. The Cape sample rolls indicate that the couple provided the following number of children. 1692: two sons, three daughters (Children b1 to b4) as well as Jacob Maurits. 1695: two sons and four daughters. (Children b1 to b5) as well as Jacob Maurits 1700: two sons and 3 daughters). For the daughters b2 to b4 we have marriages after 1700- so they all three were still alive in 1700. For Jannetje, b5, no marriage could be found and there is no further record of her. She probably died before 1700. Jacob is therefore also mentioned in the return roles as the couple's son, but never wore that of VERMEULEN.
THE FOLLOWING IS IMPORTANT: In SAG, book 5, p. 507 the following occurs: “MAURITZ: Jacob MAURITZ - from the Netherlands, arrives 1718, Burger 1724. Died 25 March 1725. Married 18 June 1724 to Clara VAN KONINGSHOVEN, baptized 27 November 1695. Clara is a younger sister of Susanna VAN KONINGSHOVEN , baptized June 26, 1689. b1. Sijbrand VERMEULEN, married on 21 Oct 1708 to Susanna VAN KONINGSHOVEN. Sijbrand therefore has a brother-in-law with the names of Jacob MAURITZ, who is also his half-brother. THIS JACOB MAURITZ IS IN ALL PROBABILITY SIJBRAND'S HALF BROTHER ?? (Evidence must be obtained, however) Jan Vermeulen and Catharina van Bengale's will refer to Jacob Maurits as "Uijtlandig" He therefore, in all probability, left the Cape before ca 1715, possibly to live with his own father Jacob Mauritz. The Jacob Maurits who returned to SA in 1718 is probably Catharina's son. After his return to SA, he probably met through his half-brother and his wife Susanna, Susanna's younger sister, Clara VAN KONINGSHOVEN and he married her.
Jan's will and liquidation and distribution account were filed during 1713 and 1715 (MOOC 85/1715) respectively at the office of the Master of the Supreme Court in Cape Town. Although the exact date is unknown, we can assume that he died about 1712/13. In the liquidation and distribution account of Jan filed during 1715, only Jacob Mauritz (b6), Jan Rogier (Maria) (b3), Sijbrand (c3) and Johannes (c1) - sons of deceased Zÿbrand (Sybrand) (b1) inherit ) and Dorothea Raats (dv Wilhelmina (b4). It also confirms that Jannetje (b5) died young. During 1712/3 about 25% of the White inhabitants of the Cape died as a result of a smallpox epidemic. We are convinced that Jan and Catharina are part of this statistic.
We thank everyone who contributed to help gather and make available information regarding Jan Willemsz VERMEULEN, but especially Catharina VAN BENGALEN, and Jacob MAURITZ, especially the following people: Dr. Helena Liebenberg, André van Rensburg, Lorna Newcomb, Mansell Upham, Richard Ball and all the members of Gen.Forum who made a contribution in one way or another.
The descendants of Jan and Catharina were spread all over South Africa and its economy. However, many of their descendants can be found in the Western Cape and more specifically in the Bredasdorp, Napier, Stanford and Gansbaai area. In Gansbaai in 2004 there were many descendants who, like their ancestor, were connected to the fishing industry.
Compiled by Johan Vermeulen, about 2011.