A. The Journal of the Voyage of De Bever  1661

Read the  Transcript and translation of the Journal

The original document, 'Journael Behouden opt'schip den Gulden Bever en t'schip den Gulden Otter' is held by the New York Historical Society; Ref MSS.Ships.Journals.1600/Ships Collection Box 1 Folder #34.  The Journael contains descriptions of four voyages based on notes kept by an unknown author, probably an employee of the Dutch West India Company.

First Voyage : The Vergulde Otter Oct 10 - Dec 4 1660 New Amsterdam to Texel, in company with the Eyckenboom

Second Voyage : The Vergulde Bever May 9 -Jul 29 1661 Texel to New Amsterdam, at first in company with the St Jan Baptist

Third Voyage : The Hoop Sept 8 - Oct 26 1662 New Amsterdam to Texel, in company with the Trouw joined later by the Wapen van Stuyvesant

Fourth Voyage : The Rooseboom Mar 30 - June 3 1663 Texel to New Amsterdam


The section of the journal dealing with the voyage of De Bever can be divided into seven stages
1. Preparations for sailing                              9 May to 11 May
The journal writer travels from Amsterdam to Texel with an overnight stay at Den Helder.  The final accounts for the journey and a letter to Pieter Stuyvesant from the Directors of the West India Company bear a date of 9 May, indicating that he was carrying the last administrative paperwork for the voyage.  De Bever and the St Jan Baptist were both at Texel by this time, passengers, provisions and goods having been brought up by smaller boat.
2. Texel to Buchan Ness                              12 May to 19 May.
The ships set out on 12 May, with a favourable wind, intending to sail around the northern coast of Scotland.  The Netherlands were at war with Portugal at this time so this northern route was probably safer than that through the English Channel.  The route to the Orkneys would have been very familiar to Dutch navigators.  This part of the journey was uneventful and they were in sight of Buchan Ness, near Peterhead, by the morning of 19 May.  Distance travelled about 400 miles (approx 60 miles per day)
3. Caught in a storm in the Moray Firth      19 May to 21 May
In the evening of the 19 May, the wind changed to NE and the ships found that they were too close to the coast to clear the Orkneys.  During the night the weather worsened and they were forced further westward into the Moray Firth until the wind changed on the night of the 21 May and they were able to sail eastwards away from the coast.  At some point, the two ships lost contact and completed the journey independently.
4. Searching for the St Jan Baptist              22 May to 28 May
On the morning of the 22 May, De Bever encountered three escort vessels, waiting for ships returning from the East Indies and spent several days searching for her companion in the waters SE of the Orkneys before abandoning the search and heading NW between Orkney and Fair Isle in dark and foggy weather.  At noon on the 28 May, they reached the most northerly point of the journey, some 30 miles west of Shetland and then took a WSW/SW course which would take them to the west of Ireland.
5. Shetland  to Azores                                   28 May to 12 June
Favourable winds enabled De Bever to cover around 1800 miles in a 15 day period, an average of about 120 miles per day.  The weather was mixed with some good days and rain and the occasional squall on others.  On the 12 June they were in sight of the island of Corvo, the most north-westerly member of the Azores and a much-used and distinctive navigational marker.
6. Azores to Bermuda                                   13 June to 16 July
After an early setback, De Bever set a course for Bermuda, some 2100 miles away, a route pioneered by Sir Samuel Argall in 1609.  This was much shorter than the traditional southern route via the Caribbean and avoided possible contact with hostile ships.  However, the winds were much less reliable and De Bever spent several days in light winds and calm, accompanied by ‘unbearable’ heat.  Their course took them westwards along the 30 degree north latitude, finally sighting the island of Bermuda on 16 July. Distance travelled 2100 miles (approx 63 miles per day)
7. Bermuda to Manhattan                            17 July to  29 July
The final part of the journey was straightforward, covering the 760 miles from Bermuda to Sandy Hook, NJ around 10 days, and sighting the American coast at Barnegat on the 27 July.   However, after leaving Sandy Hook, De Bever ran aground on the West Bank, some 10 miles short of Manhattan.  A distress signal was fired and smaller boats were dispatched from Nieuw Amsterdam to take off the passengers and some of the cargo.  De Bever was refloated the following day and reached Manhattan to a salute from the guns of the fort.
The whole trip had taken 78 days and had covered a distance of around 5600 miles


B.  The West India Company Account Books

The voyages of De Bever are listed in a number "Passenger Lists" covering 1654 to 1664 which are drawn from the account books of the Dutch West India Company [Original Documents at NYCM Vol 14 Pages 83-123/Book KK]. These show the names of passengers who had arranged with the company to pay their fares after arrival in New Netherland. Many others who travelled are not listed because they were able to pay in advance. Each list carries the date on which the list was made up by the WIC account clerks in advance of the voyage.  These siummary lists seem to have been compiled from the account books of the WIC at some point after the British takeover of Nieuw Amstrdam.  
During the period 1654-1664, the accounts show that De Bever made the voyages shown in Table 1.

bevervoyagesHer captains are referred to as 'van der Beets', or 'van der Beest' which may indicate a link with Beest or another town with a similar name. Pieter Reyersz also made a crossing in March 1663 as captain of 'De Roseboom'. They could have been related to a Cornelis Reyersz who captained 'De Vergulde Otter'

The fare was 36 florins for an adult, 18 florins for children and infants travelled free.


Table 2 shows the list of passengers who had debit entries for the voyage of De Bever dated 9 May 1661.

Table 2
Huijgh Barentsen De Clein, wife and seven children, 21, 19, 17, 13, 12, 6, and 1 1/2
Pieter Marselis, from Beest, wife, four children, 13, 6, 4, and 2 years old, and two servants.
Aert Pietersen Buys, from Beest, wife and son.
Frans Jacobsen, from Beest, wife and two children, 3 and 1 1/2
Widow Geertje Cornelis, from Beest, and six children, 21, 19, 17, 15, 13, and 10
Widow Adriaentje Cornelis, from Beest, and daughter, 11
Goosen Jansen Van Noort, from Beest.
Hendrick Bries, from Beest.
Neeltjen Jans, from Beest.
Geertruyt Theunissen, from Beest.
Geertje Willems, from Amsterdam.
Aert Teunissen Middagh.
Jacob Bastiaensen, from Heycop.
Estiene Genejoy, from Rochelle, wife and three children, 7,3, and 1/2 years old.
Hendrickje Jochems.
Geertje Jochems.
Jan Lammertsen, from Bremen. (Credit entry in ledger says he paid the directors f36 on 11 Sept 1664)
Wouter Gysen, from Hilverson.
Gideon Jacobs. (Credit entry in Ledger shows he paid the directors f36 on12 Aug 1662)
The son of Evert Pietersen, Consoler of the sick. (Evert Pietersen himself was also on the voyage see below)

New York Colonial Manuscripts Vol 14 (Book KK 43-45)

Geertje Cornelis is not named as 'van der Hoeven' in the passenger list, but supporting evidence suggests that she is the mother of the original Van Der Hoeven family. Adrientje Cornelis[van Vulpen] is most likely Geertje's sister, the widow of Marcus Leendertsz Shuers. Huijgh Barentsen de Clein is the leader and organiser of the group (see below) and a close associate of Geertje's late husband, Cornelis Gijsbertsen. The two men were aldermen of Beesd and their names and seals appear together on several documents in the 1640's and 1650's. Also mentioned in the records of Beesd are Pieter Marcelis, Aert Pietersen Buys and Goosen Jansen.

C. Letters from the WIC Directors to Peter Stuyvesant

A letter of 2 May 1661 notifies Stuyvesant of the appointment of Evert Pietersen(NYCM Vol 14 p21), whose son appears on De Bever's passenger list. Another letter from Amsterdam dated 9 May 1661 (NYCM Vol 14 p 20) contains the commissioning instructions for Evert Pietersen.

Since then, nothing has happened here that is worthy of writing about, except that we, on Your Honours' recommendation and that of the magistrates of the city of New Amsterdam, have appointed the person of Mr Evert Pietersen to the position of Comforter of the Sick, Lay Reader & Schoolmaster at a salary of 36f per month plus 125f annually for his board, who has now embarked with the ship, 'The Gilded Beaver'. However, not with his wife because, according to him, she is prevented by her indisposition. [Lines 5-14]

This same letter provides further details of the voyage, the most significant part refers specifically to Huijgh Barents and the group from Beesd.

With these ships go over a reasonable number of[colonists] and other[passengers], and among these many good farmers who will be specially useful there, is found one Huijgh Barents de Kleijn of Beesd in Gelderland, baker, grocer and farmer who, by his enthusiasm, has brought from there about 36 souls with the expectation that more shall follow. We think it right not only to recommend Your Honours to accommodate and help all of them as much as possible, but would also like to see that Your Honours, when a suitable occasion arises, benefit the afsd. Huijgh Barents de Kleijn in some way or another, preferably at no cost to the Company, in order that he and his companions will write a favourable report so that more of their fellow-countrymen in Gelderland will travel there. [lines 55-61]

It is significant that this passage begins with the words 'in these ships' confirming that De Bever did not make the trip alone. The other  vessel to make the journey with De Bever was the St. Jan Baptist, whose passenger list is also dated 9 May 1661 and who arrived in New Amsterdam a week after De Bever, possibly due to the death of one of its passengers. There are other examples of ships making the voyage together (e.g. Trouw, Arent and Hoop in January 1661, Rooseboom and Arent in March 1663 and Trouw, Bever and Gekruijste Hart in January 1664)

The placing of Evert Pietersen and Huijgh Barents De Kleijn aboard De Bever in letters written on 2 May and 9 May is consistent with the 9 May 1661 making up of the passenger debit list. The statement in the 2 May letter that Evert Pieters had 'already embarked' suggests that De Bever was in Amsterdam before 2 May and had made her way up to Texel, arriving before 9 May.

D. Correspondence of Jeremias van Renssalear

The correspondence of Jeremias van Renssalaer 1651-1671 (CJVR) was translated and edited by A.J./ F van Laer and published by the University of the State of New York in 1932. Jeremias van Rensallaer was director of the colony of Renssalaerswijk 1658-74. CJVR mentions De Bever several times and provides additional insights into the link with the St John Baptiste in the 1661 voyage

E. Gunpowder Record of Fort Amsterdam

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 and departure dates of voyages between 1661 and 1664. The account date is taken from NYCM Vol 14 p83-123 (Book KK 1-90) The notes are based on the article by Dr K. Scott in DHM Jan 1968.

F. The Papers of Hans Bontemantel

Hans Bontemantel was a director of the Dutch West India Company's Amsterdam Chamber, which supervised the affairs and administration of New Netherland. In addition to official correspondence and accounts , this collection contains private communications from Director-General Peter Stuyvesant and his First Councilor Nicasius de Sille.  De Bever is mentioned several times including this reference from the accounts of 1660:  

[1021] Anno 1660 at Amsterdam
New Netherland is indebted to board or charges for the passage of 205 people, as well independent settlers as soldiers, men, women and children departed thither with the ships the Trouw, the Bever, the Otter, the Moesman and the Bontekoe, altogether ƒ 6698:-

An Adobe Acrobat version of this document is available from the  New Netherland Institute Website


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