Pieter's marriage entry in the Drakenstein Church Books [#1] identifies him as being from "Blokzeijl". The baptisms by Joen Pieter, his father, are taken from the "doopboek" of Blokzijl, where they are the only Booyens family in that parish in the last decade of the 1600s. Father Joen Pieter arrives at the Cape on the ship Wijnendaal on 27 Sep. 1710.
By 13 Aug 1712, father J.P. Boijens is schoolteacher in Drakenstein. By 31 December 1712, "Joen Pieter Booijns" appears on the Stellenbosch Muster Roll and "Pieter Boeijens" appears on the nearby Drakenstein roll. Pieter's name is absent from the 1713 Muster Roll, but "Joan Booijer/n" is listed in Drakenstein, immediately following the couple Pieter Erasmus & Maria Lijsebeth of that parish. From the 1714 Muster roll onward, Pieter appears on the Drakenstein Muster Roll as "Pieter Booijs" in the company of the exact same Erasmus couple [#2], but "Joen Pieter Booiens uit Blokziel" departs the Cape for Batavia on 22 Feb 1714 on the ship Middelwoud [#3], long before the Muster Roll of that year.
The arrival of Pieter, or not:
On 27 April 1712, the VOC ship Huis te Hemert leaves Texel, sailing for the Chamber of Enkhuizen under the master Kornelis de Ka [#4]. The Huis te Hemert arrives at the Cape on 29 August 1712. On board is a soldier named "Pieter Boijs" [#5]. The records of the Dutch Nationaal Archief show the status "Pieter Boijs" as "weggelopen", specifically at "Kaap de Goede Hoop". However, upon closer reading it turns out the VOC is convinced he fled the Cape on a passing French fleet, after serving six months on Robben Island.
All of this information is consistent with Joen Pieter Booyens arriving at the Cape on 27 Sep. 1710, relocating to Drakenstein, and arranging for his eldest son Pieter to depart Texel in Holland on 27 April 1712 on the Huis te Hemert, arriving at the Cape on 29 August 1712 to be at Drakenstein by 31 Dec 1712 for the Muster Roll. The father then leaves in 1714 after arranging for his son to work, likely as knecht, with the Erasmus family, with whom he himself has stayed while a teaching in Drakenstein at the time of Pieter's arrival.
The shortcomings of this theory have now been shown to be twofold:
Firstly, "Pieter Boijs" is stated on VOC records as being "van 't stigt Bremen". That is the Bishopric of Bremen, a considerable distance east of Blokzijl, but also in the region of influence of the Hanseatic League. As we may see from studying the life of Pieter Boijens' father, Joen Peter, the Saxons of the Dithmarschen were less given to staying with a single origin in their formal paperwork. The father was variously "van Katharinenheerd", "Van Blokzijl", "van Rotterdam" and "Van Holsteijn". Then again, Pieter was born Dutch, and not Saxon.
Secondly, the muster roll of company men also later show Pieter Boijs van 't stigt Bremen on those rolls at the same time as "our" Pieter appears on the roll of free men. As consistent as this Huis te Hemert arrival may be with the appearance of "our" Pieter Boijens at the Cape, Pieter Boijs van 't stigt Bremen is not "our man".
We therefore return to the uncomfortable situation of not knowing exactly how and when Pieter arrives at the Cape. We assume it was not as VOC employee. He may nevertheless have arrived on the Huis te Hemert or another ship in the same 1712 fleet.
Beyond the unreliable use of foreign ships to convey personal messages, there are only two means for father Joen to get the message to his son Pieter in time to do this before the 1712 Muster and after that of 1711, where Pieter is absent. The first is the Return Fleet led by Admiral Pieter De Vos aboard the Noordbeek, which sails into Table bay on its way to Holland on 6 March 1711, with some stragglers arriving up to the 26th. This fleet leaves the Cape on 15 April 1711 arrives in Texel on 3-7 August 1711 [#6]. That gives Pieter Booyens 8 months to receive the message overland from Texel to get himself on the next outbound fleet. The second [#7] is a unique lone sailing by the Huis ter Leede, starting from the Cape around 18 June 1711 and arriving in Texel on 9 October 1711. This option gives Pieter 6 months to do everything. This particular ship has been anchored for seven months at the Cape since November 1710. Six weeks after this ship leaves the Cape, father Joen's relocation to Drakenstein is approved.
Pieter's life after arrival:
Pieter lives with the Erasmus family, as shown by the Muster Rolls, even after marrying Geertruyd Blom, the neighbouring farmer's daughter. The Erasmus farm, Groenkloof in the Wagenmakersvallei (the later Wellington; farm scene below), is right next door to that of the Blom family. Geertruyd gives him four daughters and three sons before she dies in 1730. One of these sons, Jurrien Petrus, dies young.
In 1734 Pieter marries his second wife, Maria Marais. She is of 100% French Huguenot extraction and is the daughter of Claude Marais and Marie Avicé. She is also the widow of Pierre Taillefer, and brings with her 4 remaining children of her own, one of whom (Pieter Taillefer) is mentally challenged [#8]. She also brings a strong estate. One daughter, Anna, is born from this marriage.
By 1737, Pieter is at the peak of his life. The Drakenstein Muster Roll of that year [#9] shows him with his new wife, 2 sons, seven daughters and the (now mature) Pieter Taillefer. They have no fewer than 16000 vines in the ground. This is one of the most extensive vineyards to be found at the Cape of Good Hope.
Four of his seven surviving children marry into the French Huguenot Du Plessis family, and two marry into the de Villers and Marais Huguenot families. Most of Pieter's estate ends up in the hands of his daughters married to Du Plessis men. It is left to his youngest son, Barent, married to Elizabeth Catharina Stijdom, to propagate the name Booyens in South Africa.
Some points from Pieter Booyens' public life and career:
On 28 October 1728, Pieter is promoted to Sergeant in the Drakenstein Militia [#10]. Seven years later, on 13 October 1735, Pieter is promoted to Cornet (Second Lieutenant) in the Militia [#11]. We find his signature on a memorandum dated 26 November 1737 as a member of the joint body of Heemrade (regional Councillors) and Krijgsoffisiere (Military Officers), requesting that action be taken against seven individuals described as vagrants. The decision is that the men be rounded up and press-ganged onto VOC ships to serve in India [#12]. On 21 March 1739, he is one of the witnesses listed in the case against the infamous Estienne Barbier [#13]. By 3 November 1739, he is among the members of the Heemraad asking that attention be given to the abuse of the scheme by which people are paid for animal skins as evidence of having killed lion, leopard and hyena. [#14]
On 8 December 1739, he retires as member of the Heemraad [#15], but is reappointed as member of the Heemraad a year later on 13 December 1740 [#16]. On 17 October 1741, he is promoted to Luijtenant in the Militia [#17]. On 11 December 1742, he finally retires as member of the Heemraad [#18]. In 1744, at the age of 49, he retires from the militia for reasons of health [#19].
In 1745, Pieter sells the farm Klip Vallei to Jacob Naudé and he and his family move to Lieuwen Valleij (Leeuvlei). Here he stays until his death on 19 May 1777.
Like his father, Pieter makes an appearance in the book AmaBhulu.
For the references, see below#