In 1803 we find Pieter in the Opgaafrol (Census) of the Swelendam "Colonie", which extends all the way to the Groot/Gamtoos River, and includes the Schilpadbeen area. He is around 20 years old [#1], single, with no children, and owns one horse and 26 head of cattle [#2]. Regrettably, that census does not identify the location of the individuals over this vast "colonie".
Pieter Johannes spends his earlier years at Schilpadbeen in the Ghwarriepoort southwest of the present Willowmore. In the 21st century it is practically on the border between the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. The Ghwarriepoort is generally seen as the gateway to the Little Karoo.The Graaff-Reinet "Colonie" is later divided into a number of smaller units, one of which is the Beaufort District, centered on the later Beaufort-West. Pieter later moves to the Gouph wyk ("-wick") of the Beaufort District.
He first marries Susanna Human, daughter of his sister Magdalena's sister-in-law, Anna Bezuidenhout. There is a single son and three daughters from this marriage. Susanna dies in 1820 at the age of just 26 on the farm Keurfontein on the southern bank of the Upper Olifantsrivier, at the foot of the Great Swartberg [#3]. The farm is 10 km southwest of the present Towerwater Poort, where the railway line to the Cape passes through the Great Swartberg mountain range. This is crop growing country between the Swartberg and the Kammanassie Mountain (below). This is a world of aloes and the plant known in North America as the Money Plant (Plakkieboom), which grows here to profusion.
Pieter remarries to Sophia Aletta Jacoba Fredrika Snyman, who gives him two sons and three daughters, and eventually outlives him to remarry twice, first to Christiaan Jacobus Behr, and then to Leendert Barend Deysel. Of the two sons, only the first, Pieter Johannes Ernst, has progeny alive in the 21st century.
Pieter briefly features in Chapters 9 and 13 of the book AmaBhulu. Sophia's difficult grandfather, Coenraad Bezuidenhout, appears in Chapter 4. He is very active on the Eastern Frontier of the Cape Colony where he is accused of being the reason for the Second Frontier War. A price is eventually put on his head, dead or alive, during the so-called Van Jaarsveld Rebellion of 1799, treated in Chapter 5. Coenraad's younger brothers are central figures in the infamous Slagtersnek insurrection of 1815, treated in detail in Chapter 7 of the book. Coenraad's ancestor, Wynand Wynandsz Bezuidenhout was the leader of the first party of Western men to meet Black people overland in 1702 in Chapter 3. Pieter has certainly married into a bloodline steeped in the complex and volatile history of the Frontier.
When Pieter eventually dies in the Gouph "wyk" of the Beaufort district--the plain between Prins albert and Beaufort West--no one notices that his earlier sale of Wilgebosch farm (adjoining Schilpadbeen) to Ignatius Willem Ferreira is not accompanied by formal transfer of the title deed. The Master's Office in Cape Town duly issues a notice on 31 May 1836 to heirs and creditors that the Distribution account is laid open for four weeks [#4].
Decades later, in 1881, the missing title deed leads to a major commotion when the estate of Ferreira is settled and it is discovered that he does not have evidence of title to his own farm. In the process of attempting to address the situation, no death notice can be found for Pieter Booyens either. In consequence, the following statement is extracted from Pieter's eldest son, Matthys Johannes [#5]:
Reit vlei de strek outs hoorng 9 maart
Ek on der ge tee ken de verklaar bey dese dat ik kan sweer dat myn vader Pieter Booijen gestorven is en het jaar 1833 en dat myn moeder S.A.J.F Deÿsel wede van Peiter Boeysen is gestorven in het jaar 1849 in Kamnaasei in dat in de vaaders boedel en ook en den moeders boedel geen exeke teeur was ik was self op mijn moeders begrafnes tegenwoo[rdig]
Rietvley M.J. Booijjens
District of oudtshoorn
9th March 1881
Ultimately, the authorities, however, do not accept this statement as suitable evidence. By 1891, none less than "Onze Jan" Hofmeyr, Master of the Supreme Court of the Cape Colony, has to call a meeting of the families and interested parties at the Magistrate's Office in Willowmore to thrash out the details of the Booyens and Ferreira estates [#6]:
Master's Office, Cape Town,
12th October, 1891.
THE Next of Kin and Creditors of Pieter Booijens or Booysens, formerly of Wilgebosch, of the George District, deceased, are required to take notice that a Meeting of the Next of Kin and Creditors of the Deceased, and subsequently deceased Spouse S. A. J. F. Booyens, born Snijman, and all others whom these presents-may concern, will be held before the Resident Magistrate, at his Office, at Willowmore, on Tuesday, the 24th November next, at 10 o'clock in the forenoon precisely, and all such persona as aforesaid are hereby required to attend at the time and place afore-said, then and there to see some Person or Persons selected by such Magistrate, for approval by the Master of the Supreme Court, as fit and proper to be by the said Master appointed Executor or Executors Dative to the Estate of such deceased Person as aforesaid.
Master of the Supreme Court
In reality, Pieter dies on 4 August 1832 somewhere in the Gouph district and the death notice is indeed eventually located [#7]. At the time he is incorrectly identified as "Booijsens" and "Booysen". This all-pervasive switching of the family name by all and sundry from "Booyens" (and its phonetic variants) to "Booysen" (and its phonetic variants) is the source of much frustration, both for the living and for those dealing with the genealogy of the dead.
In the 21st century there are several Ferreira graves on Schilpadbeen near the homestead, but none marked "Booyens". Indeed, when Pieter's mother Anna dies in 1843, it is on the nearby farm Georgida of Ockert Brits d'Oude [#8].
For the references, see below#