De Bever

The van der Hoeven family made the journey to America on the ship De Bever, also known as De Vergulde Bever (The Gilded Beaver), whose  captain was Pieter Reyersen from Beets. De Bever left Texel on 12 May 1661 and reached Manhattan on 29 July 1661.

To encourage migration, many passengers were not charged in advance for the voyage but were expected to repay the West India Company for their fare when they had become established in New Netherland. The amount owed was entered in the account books of the West India Company before the ship left and transferred to a list at some later date, probably after the British had taken control of New Netherland in 1664. The original account books have not survived, but the consolidated list of debit entries and a few cases where repayment was made has been preserved. (NYCM Vol 14 p83-123). For more information on this document, see the sources page.

The first entry for the 1661 voyage of De Bever is for Huijgh Barents De Cleijn and his family and this also shows the name of the ship and its captain.

Fifty-one passengers are mentioned in the list for De Bever, although only heads of families and single people are named.

By the first week in May 1661, De Bever and her companion, the St Jan Baptist, were moored off the southern  point of Texel awaiting final cargo, provisions, passengers and documents. It was intended that the two ships would make the journey together and passengers had been allocated between the ships in roughly equal proportions of families, children, and single men and women. In addition to the passengers, the ships carried manufactured goods, hardware, tools, spirits, wine, clothing and other items that were difficult to produce in the colony.

A Journal of four voyages, kept by an unknown writer exists in the collections of the New York Historical Society and includes the 1661 voyage of De Bever.  This document suggests that De Bever was probably a three-masted merchant Galleon similar to the one shown in the contemporary painting below.

The writer mentions that 99 'souls' were on board at the time of her departure from Texel.  Her crew was probably around 30, implying about 60-70 passengers, 51 of whom are recorded in the West India Company debit accounts and one other, Evert Pieters [Keteltas], is mentioned in correspondence.

In favourable conditions, a speed of around 5 knots could be maintained. At one stage of her journey, a distance of about 1800 miles was covered in 15 days. 

She carried some guns - maybe about 10 - which were used for signalling and defence.

The journal mentions  that she had mainsails, topsails, topgallant sails and bowspritsails. There was a mizzen mast probably with a triangular sail and a small sail above.  In calm weather, studding sails were used and a sail known as a 'bonnet' was fastened to the bottom of some of the lower sails to catch the light winds.


Date of Departure

1656 Dec 20 Not Known
1658 May 17 Jan Reyersz
1659 Apr 25 Jan Reyersz
1660 Mar 29 Jan Reyersz
1661 May 9 Pieter Reyersz
1664 Jan 20 Pieter Reyersz

Other Voyages of De Bever

The West India Company used De Bever for several voyages to New Netherland in the period 1656-1664 and was owned by a private company, possibly operated by a family who used the patronimic 'Reyersen'.  Jan and Pieter Reyersz were probably related to a Cornelis Reyersz who captained 'De Vergulde Otter' on its voyage to New Netherland in 1660.

Beets is a small town in North Holland, in the area known as 'West Friesland, close to the important port of Hoorn.  A family using the patronymic 'Reyerse' (son of Reyer) were actively involved in the Baltic trade earlier in the 17th century.  For example, a Reyer Claesen van der Beets was contracted by Amsterdam Merchants to trade in the Baltic 1615-1620. He and his family are metioned in the records of the Reformed Church of Beets.

Voyages 1660-1664

After the takeover by the British in 1664, there seems to have been an issue about how much gunpowder had entered New Amsterdam and how much had been used (DRCHNY 452-471). A careful examination of the records was undertaken, some of which related to the amounts used by the fort to salute ships arriving and departing. The following table indicates the arrival  of ships in New Amstardam/York based on the gunpowder records (1661/64)and departure dates from the Netherlands taken from the debit account summary of the WIC (NYCM Vol 14 p83-123) 

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