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Articles: Church of Our Lady of Hope, Vypin

Vypin - Johan Hendrik Medeler

Trumpeter in the service of the VOC

In the winter of 1739, Johan Hendrik Medeler from Braakel[i] boarded the ship Gaasperdam of the Chamber of Amsterdam to sail to Ceylon as a trumpeter. Sub-merchant Jacob Balde immediately had his hands full with sick crew members who wanted to make their wills, but also with statements from various passengers about the behaviour of the quartermaster Jacob Jansz Kerkemijer who threatened, deceived, defrauded and mistreated the ordinary people "with great inflation on their character" in all kinds of ways. The ship's council had to be involved while the ship was in disarray at a boatyard in Portugal[ii]. Kerkemeijer was condemned to [iii] be beaten with a rope and demoted to sailor for nine guilders a month. The belongings of all the deceased crew members were immediately inventoried and sold at the mast. After the death of the second master on 7 May 1739, Johan Medeler bought his 8 "medicineese" books for three guilders. [iv] A curious purchase for a trumpeter.

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Fort Kochi - Isaac Pieterszn van Dielen and Lea de Kouter

Articles: St. Francis Church Kochi

On 6 April, 1663, little Lea de Kouter walked with her mother to the cabin of a ship on the roadstead of the Cape of Good Hope. A girl with the beautiful name Virena would be baptized that morning. [i] The vicar who was to baptize the child, Balthasar de Meter, had just arrived from Holland and was due to sail on to the Indies. She had just arrived from the Indies and was going to travel through to Holland, a unknown country to her. Would they have consciously seen each other? Would Lea remember him when, years later, she arrived at Cochin and found his tombstone in the church, not aware that they would soon be buried together in the same church forever?

Detail slab Lea de Kouter
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Fort Kochi - Adriaan Poolvliet (bef.1736-1799)

Adriaan Poolvliet was born before 1736 in Cananor and died on 10 September 1799 in Kochi. His parents were the surgeon François Poolvliet van Cochin[i] and Francina Danzer.

Adriaan lost his mother early on. In 1736 his father François had to deposit all the maternal inheritance in the orphanage for his young sons Adriaan and Johannes.[ii] As far as we know, his father has not remarried. Because Adriaan still had his grandmother in the house for a while, it is not inconceivable that this Ina Ringenkamp, also a young widow of François Poolvliet Sr., already lived in the house with her son. Because Francois Jr. spent a large part of his life in Cananor, this partly escapes the administration of Kochi.

Testament of Sara Harmensz (NA)
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Fort Kochi - Jacob Krantz (1735-1787) and Maria de Rode (1771-1798)

Jacob Kraus van Edenburg, captain-lieutenant and commander of the artillery, was born on 13 February 1735 in Edenburg and died 26 January 1787 in Kochi. He was married to Klara Elisabeth Schaak. Maria Elisabeth de Rode was born 22 October 1771 and died on 10 January 1798 in Tranquebar. She was married to Johan Casper Kautz and adopted daughter of Jacob Krantz and Klara Elisabeth Schaak.

Overview of the Dutch Cemetery (photo René ten Dam, 2020)
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Fort Kochi - Daniel van der Sloot (1737-1807)

Daniel van der Sloot was the youngest of ten children of Abraham van der Sloot and Maria Weijns. An exact date of birth or baptism is unknown, but he must have been born in Kochi around 1737 and was buried there in July 1807.

Abraham Abrahamszn van der Sloot was baptized on 10 March 1690 in Amsterdam and came in 1711 as a soldier with the Wateringen to Batavia (modern day Jakarta, Indonesia). Once arrived, he was able to show that he had more to offer. In 1716 he was appointed as a schoolmaster in Kochi and was later also appointed as a sexton.[i] He married Maria Weijns around 1716, who was probably born in Batavia. The six sons and four daughters of this marriage all received a good education and were good at reading, arithmetic and writing. They all reached adulthood and most of them married partners who in almost all cases also came from VOC families. An extensive network was created from which they will all have benefited for a number of generations.[ii]

Overview of the Dutch Cemetery (photo René ten Dam, 2020)
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Fort Kochi - Dorothea Lambertina Zeijsig (1774-1800)

Dorothea's date of birth and death is only known from her tombstone at the Dutch cemetery in Kochi. She was born 6 November 1774 and died 10 November 1800. She was only 26 years and 4 days old at the time. From the fragmentary preserved baptism and marriage records of Kochi we know that she was baptized in November 1774 as the daughter of Jeremias Zeijsig[i] and Cornelia Elisabeth van der Weijden. The baptismal witnesses were Jan Lambertus van Spall and Maria Margaretha Prins. Dorothea had an older sister named Cornelia Ernestina. She was born and baptized in November or December 1770.[ii]

Tomb of Dorothea Lambertina Zeijsig
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Fort Kochi - Overview of Dutch-related tombs at the Dutch Cemetery

Articles: Dutch Cemetery Kochi

Over the past 130 years, several inventories have been carried out at the Dutch Cemetery, of which Cotton's List of inscriptions on tomb and monuments in Madras (1905/1945) is the most famous. However, Cotton did not identify all monuments as Dutch, which were recognized in later inventories. Some monuments, on the other hand, have disappeared or their text plate is no longer legible. The table below offers an overview of several inventories of the Dutch Cemetery. And presented here is an visual overview of grave monuments found in 2020 by the joint team of (René ten Dam) and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (Leon Bok and Nanette de Jong). Also are mentioned the two monuments previously recorded by Cotton and the one by Singh, which all three not found by the 2020-team. 

Overview cemetery
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Fort Kochi - Jacob Bernard Weinsheimer (1745-1790)

Jacob Bernhard Weinsheimer was born on 25 November 1745 in Solsenheim, Germany and he died on 1 March 1790 in Kochi. He left on 19 May 1763 as a soldier with the Vrouwe Petronella of the Enkhuizen chamber as Jacob Bernard Weijns Heijmer van Sassenheim for Colombo.[i] He made a career in Ceylon and in January 1781 he was transferred to Kochi. He was in the prime of his life and got to know Wilhelmina van Harn. At first sight an attractive match, because she was the daughter of Reinier van Harn, titular chief merchant, ‘secunde’ and principal administrator of Mallabaar.[ii] There was one blemish about this young lady, however, and that was that her parents never married. Her mother was the free woman Elizabeth van der Werff.

Fort Kochi - Jacob Bernard Weinsheimer (1745-1790)
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