Willem Barentsz: Wilant1

M, #13846, b. circa 1630

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Last Edited22/08/2015
Birth*Willem Barentsz: Wilant was born circa 1630.1


(Passenger) ShipVoyage On 24 December 1651 the Drommedaris and the other ships of the fleet, Goede Hoope and Reijger departed Texel under the overall command of Johan Anthoniszoon van Riebeeck enroute to de Caep de Goede Hoop where they docked on 6 April 1652. Among those on board the Drommedaris were Willem Barentsz: Wilant.2,3,4 
Company Journal28 January 1654 in the Company Journal, as translated: S. East. No work on the fort possible, so sent the men to the forest for wood for platforms for the guns. Sent, in consequence of their repeated requests 19 armed soldiers and the Catechist Willem Barentsz: to the Saldanhars with some wire to obtain as much cattle and sheep as possible; also some bread, wine, tobacco and pipes to treat them. Set a silversmith at work to discover whether he can extract silver from a certain mineral found Has been so far successful that he has obtained a better species than tin. The Catechist returned in the afternoon with 2 head of the stolen cattle. The Saldanhars not at all willing to trade, very likely, as last year, influenced by Herry, who is allied with the Captain, as we found at the time and now see as clearly as daylight; neither saw Herry nor the Captain, but the latter's father, an old and very stout man who had last year lived with Herry under the fort and now appears to be Chief of the whole gang, and among whose cattle all our stolen beasts were; also all the watermen and one of Herry wives, who is very deaf, and all his children, among them a girl who had lived with us and whom we called Eva. Said old man had come to the fort with a wife, to bring the news that the Catechist had obtained the two beasts, and to get some tobacco which was given him with as much wine and bread as he could consume. Could only gather from him that Herry was far inland, but our opinion is that he and the Captain were hiding in the bushes, afraid of being caught; assured them that such would not take place, though it is as much as can be borne to see our cattle and the thieves, and show them friendship instead of taking vengeance and paying ourselves for the losses and insults suffered, and the shedding of Christian blood, which could easily be done as they have about 12 or 1,300 head of cattle and 5 or 600 sheep which by breeding would provide the ships and the garrison abundantly as they are not more than 50 persons whom we might catch with 14 or 15 men. Of this they were very much afraid, though having 20 armed men among them, continually asking whether we intended to seize them or their cattle; they were told that such were not our intentions. We shewed them copper and tobacco with which we intended to buy, treating them likewise with bread and wine. As they came of their own accord, we decided not to do them any harm this time, though we suffer much annoyance from them as they meet no one that is unprotected without robbing him, and in case of his showing any opposition, they threaten to murder him with the assegai on his breast; cannot bear this much longer, it would pay better to punish this guilty gang, taking their cattle for our support and their persons as slaves in chains to fetch fuel and do other work to relieve our men, who have unceasingly to suffer much from them, and daily beg us to pay them off. Not one Councillor who would object, consequently dare not moot the subject at the Board as we would be outvoted, though that would not trouble us much as we would at once obtain sufficient cattle. The natives are too lazy to trouble themselves with ivory or musk, those which they bring being found on the road. It is the same with musk, what they carry around their necks they take from cats found dead or caught in snares, not keeping them alive, but feeding on the flesh. It is the same with feathers, a saleable quantity will hardly be gathered in 100 years, so that if we revenge ourselves on this troop the others would know the reason and not mind it; would therefore like our masters to weigh this matter, as next season we will have the same opportunity for revenge as now, and in the meantime we will continue to bear the nuisance, and do our best to keep our men away from them. Went before dark to the mountain where the mineral had been found, with picks, crowbars, &c; dug up some stones and found said mineral in large quantities apparently, and took various samples home, shining most extraordinarily, to see what is in them. Feared the South-easter would blow down all the houses during the night.5

On 6 March 1654 in the Company Journal, as translated: Heard from the woodmen that Herry's allies were squatting on the mustard grounds about a mile away. Sent the Catechist (Willem Barentsz: Wilant) with copper and tobacco, bread and wine, to see whether they would trade, found they only had about 200 head of cattle and 150 sheep, saying that all their cattle had been robbed by the Fishmen (called by them Soaqua), and pointing to wounds on many of them obtained in the battle. Could therefore not part with any stock. If copper-plate could be had, some cows might have been obtained. Would only give sheep for wire. Could only obtain a calf for about two lbs. wire. These Hottentoos hard at work boiling oil from the dead whale, which they preserved in dry “sea bamboo,” drifting everywhere about the Cape, and washed ashore. They told us they rubbed it on their bodies, and if we gave them bread they soaked it in it.6


  1. [S654] Mansell Upham 'What can't be cured, must be endured … Cape of Good Hope - first marriages & baptisms (1652-1665)', First Fifty Years, Uprooted Lives - Unfurling the Cape of Good Hope's Earliest Colonial Inhabitants (1652-1713), (http://e-family.co.za/ffy/ui66.htm), January 2012. "Son of chief surgeon & sick-comforter (1652-1656) Willem Barentsz: Weilant / Weijland / Wijlant / Wilant & unidentified European wife."
  2. [S654] Mansell Upham 'UL01 What can't be cured, must be endured …', Uprooted Lives - Unfurling the Cape of Good Hope's Earliest Colonial Inhabitants (1652-1713),.
  3. [S673] Precis of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope, December 1651 - December 1653[5], Van Riebeeck's Journal, &c. Part I, H.C.V. Leibrandt; (Cape Town, South Africa: W. A. Richards & Sons, Government Printers, Castle Street, 1897), p.15. Hereinafter cited as Precis of the archives, JVR Journal 1651-1653[5].
  4. [S795] Website The Dutch East India Company's shipping between the Netherlands and Asia 1595-1795 (http://resources.huygens.knaw.nl/das/search) "Number     0738.2
    Name of ship     DROMEDARIS
    Master     Koning, David
    Tonnage     560
    Type of ship     jacht
    Yard     Amsterdam
    Chamber     Amsterdam
    Date of departure     24-12-1651
    Place of departure     Texel
    Arrival at Cape     06-04-1652
    Departure from Cape     25-05-1652
    Date of arrival at destination     22-07-1652
    Place of arrival     Batavia
    Particulars     With van Riebeek on board. The ship was laid up in 1661."
  5. [S673] Precis of the archives, JVR Journal 1651-1653[5], pp.175-176.
  6. [S673] Precis of the archives, JVR Journal 1651-1653[5], p.180.
  7. [S672] NGK Baptism Records Cape Town 1652 to 1695: Den 17 augusti in't jaer 53 is hijer gekomen mit schip Die Fenicx domine Ironte uth gevaren van die camer Amstelred heeft hijer. Den 24 een predicatie gedaen ende het heijlige avontmael des uth gedeilt heeft ock mijn soontien gedoopt out sijnde jaer en tin weken genaemt Bernert Willemsz Wilant en is die eerste gebor[...] christen die in dese voortresse geboren is., (1652 to 1695), unknown repository, unknown repository address. Hereinafter cited as NGK Baptism Records Cape Town 1652 to 1695.
  8. [S673] Precis of the archives, JVR Journal 1651-1653[5], p.233. Ditto [Heavy N.W.]. Catechist's wife delivered here for the second time of a son, and all the other women are preparing to follow suit, so that everything here turns out fruitful.

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