A Snoek travels from Amsterdam to Curaçao
('Een Snoek op reis' was writted by journalist Norbert Hendrikse in 2003 in Curaçao. Translated by Dr. Jan Beaujon from Charleston, South Carolina)
The diaspora, a Greek word signifying 'spread or dispersion' began in the sixth century before Christ. Jewish settlements left Palestine beginning with the fall of the Kingdom of Judah and the closing of the First Temple, as a result of the Babylonian attack. A large-scale 'deportation' began and Jews were sent to Babylonia (Iraq). Following the war, many Jews wished to return to Palestine, but owing to inordinate growth in the Jewish population their former country could not accommodate them. They were 'spread' over 127 provinces (according to the book of Esther) in the Persian Empire. Subsequently a large colony arose in Egypt, about the fifth century before Christ. As a consequence of the culture unification in the eastern Mediterranean area and also owing to the conquest by Alexander the Great, a great many Jews made their home in various settlements. Beginning in the second century before Christ, Jews left for Syria and Asia Minor. The Roman conquest began during this same period, giving the Jews a more Latin influence. During the diaspora, Jews left for Spain, northern France, the Rhineland (Germany) and North Africa. A significant Jewish center remained in Babylonia (Iraq). Because of the wars between the Islam (Turkey, among others) and the Graeco/Roman peoples in the Mediterranean area, the diapora in the Middle Ages shifted to northern and western Europe. Because of the persecutions ('pogroms') in eastern Europe and Turkey, most Ashkenazi (High German) Jews left for western Europe.
Sephardim and High Germans
At about 1600, Jews from Spain and Portugal settled in the Netherlands. Among them were many wealthy merchants who had connections in the Mediterranean area as well as in the New World. The Sephardim, also called the 'Portuguese Jews', established in Amsterdam the basis for the diamond and tobacco industry and allied industries. In the seventeenth century the Portuguese made Amsterdam a renowned center of Hebrew typography. In the eighteenth century it was once more the 'Portuguese' who, by creating a new technique, developed the trade in securities.
In the year 1670 two synagogues were built, the Nederlandse Israëlitische Grote Synagoge (Dutch Israelitic Great Synagogue), a simple but monumental building, designed by Daniel Stalpaert. The largest Portuguese/Israelitic Synagogue was the creation of Elias Bouwman. In 1750 a new High-German Synagogue ('Neie Sjoel') was built. Designed by G. F. Maybaum, it was completed in 1757.
A magnificent synagogue situated at the Jonas Daniel Meyerplein attests to the glory of the Portuguese Jews. It bears the name of a great Jewish legal scholar (1780 - 1834). One would be lead to believe that all members of the 'Portuguese Jewish Nation' were wealthy. However, there were many poor people as well, also among the Portuguese Jews. During the eighteenth century, Amsterdam had an economic decline owing to a malaise in international trade. This lead to financial problems for many members of the Sephardim. It appears that in 1799 a startling 54 percent were on the dole.
The Sephardic Jews prepared the way in Amsterdam for the Ashkenazim or High-Germans, who originated primarily from Germany (Rhineland) and Poland. The Ashkenazim first settled in Amsterdam in 1620, approximately a quarter of a century after the Sephardim.
In 1621 the community of the great High-German synagogue already had 7,500 members and was approximately three times the size of the Sephardim. According to the census of 1796 there were in Amsterdam more than 20,000 High-German Jews as compared with 2,800 Portuguese Jews. Thus there were more than seven times as many Ashkenazim than Sephardim in Amsterdam. The entire population of Amsterdam consisted of approximately 200,000 souls.
The High-German Jewish families living in the seventeenth and the eighteenth century were quicker to attain a high economic status than the Sephardim. Through hard work they worked themselves up from the bottom to the top. Although the Ashkenazim had fewer economic opportunities than the Sephardim and dealt primarily in second-hand goods, in street stalls and markets. But they had to continue 'pinaring'; two out of three High-German Jews were on the dole; i.e., they received alms from the Synagogue.
The Ashkenazim from Germany had in the 17th century musical ensembles: Klezmerim.This term derives from the Hebrew 'kli zemer'; i.e., 'musical instrument'. In the plural form this became the name of ensembles of Jewish musicians, which blossomed in the second half of the 17th century in central and Eastern Europe. These musical groups played at family events and important social occasions. Initially consisting of amateurs, they gradually became more professionally accomplished. They were widely known for their versatility and their virtuosity.
They became popular in Jewish as well as in non-Jewish circles.
They played string instruments as well as wind instruments; cymbaloms were their most characteristic 'anchor'. The music varies from religious melodies to frivolous dances, because they didn't participate only in processions and solemn occasions, but also at carnivals and in inns.
They widened their initially Jewish repertoire to include songs and dances from the countries where they performed. Hearing klezmerim music today, one cannot miss the kinship with Gypsy music. The Gypsies routinely adopted folk music from the countries through which they traveled, adding many embellishments, in the manner that they changed the canto hondo in Spain to the canto flamenco. Similarly, the klezmerin were also an inspiration for the Gypsies. A cymbalom is absolutely necessary in acsardas. It's an instrument in the form of a trapezoid. The ancestor of the cymbalom is the hakkebord or dulcimer, which is in the form of a trapezoid as well, but much smaller and is plucked, similar to a zither.
The famous hakkebord virtuoso Pantaleon Hebenstreit designed a large hakkebord that produced much more volume. Named after him, this pantaleon is still used today.
Almost all Amsterdam Jews resided voluntarily in one neighborhood that was built around what is today the Waterlooplein (Waterloo Square). At the end of the eighteenth century the area of this 'Jewish neighborhood' was significantly smaller than in the twentieth century. For example, the Antoniebreestraat was then inhabited primarily by Christians. Only the section of Weesperstraat bordering on then-called 'Deventer Houtstraat' had a Jewish majority.
An old widow had to push an old, worn handcart to the market at four o'clock in the morning to buy her foodstuffs. She returned home at nine. A Jew declared in those years. 'If there was no money, there was no breakfast'..
In the Jodenbreestraat and the St. Anthoniebresstraat, all stores were open on Sunday morning. One could buy everything: there were stores that sold meat, chickens, bread, candy, pastries, cloth, etc. In the Visstraat, fruit and fish were sold. At the market there were from 30 to 40 stands selling anything. From decks of cards to little whistles.
In the Uilenburgerstraat, a couple sold many different kinds of chocolate; their specialty was blocks of nougat. All morning they sang: 'Two cents for a nougat block, two cents for a nougat block'.
In the famous market at the Jodenhoek, the real elite of the stand workers could be found on Sunday morning. While walking from one stand to the next, one could laugh continually. That is where real life could be found. The public came there to be amused. They bought some items for a quarter, others for ten cents. These were real artists. Sunday mornings, people brought about two guilders, which they spent on razor blades while they had a closet-full of knife sharpeners. They had at least five strange tie clips.
Cigars and diamonds
Most men in Amsterdam sought jobs as cigar rollers or diamond cutters and polishers. Wages were very low and they were not paid when they were on strike. But they had to put food on the table. So, a diamond cutter rented a stall at the Nieuwmarkt and put his personal books for sale.
If he was somewhat religious, a Jewish boy was educated through books. Jews generally had to read a great deal in order to practice their religion
Jewish laymen read much more than Christians. They have always had a connection with books. Also, book selling had always been a free trade. Although there existed a book dealers' guild, this was not a business in second hand books. Old books, used books, second hand books and the selling fruit and fish had traditionally been a free trade.
The Rapenburgstraat was a remarkable street. It was in fact the real center of Jewish Amsterdam. The seminary and rabbinate were located there; also the Jewish kindergarten and a kosher wine store. Also situated there was the Nederlands Israelitisch Meisjesweeshuis (the Netherlands Israelitic Orphanage for Girls) and in the Rapenburgstraat was the Beth Hah Midrash, which was open for anyone to come and study.
In the Napoleonic era, Jews were forced to adopt a surname, which they did not always have.
For example Aron Arons Terveen had a first name before he had a surname; he then took his father's first name as his surname. Similarly, Mordechai Ben Mordechai is in Dutch: Aron Aron's son. At a certain moment a license was issued to allow the sale of ribbons in Amstelveen. It was said that of a person that he was a vendor in 'Veen'. That was the origin of the surname 'Terveen'.
Heijman Levie was simply the father of Levie Heijman and we assume that he had a fish store in Houtstraat. Since he was required to have a 'real' surname, he became Heijman Levie Snoek (Pike) fitting his profession as a seller of fish.
Levie in Curaçao
Levie Heijman Snoek was born in Amsterdam on October 13, 1830, at ten o'clock in the morning. His father, Heijman Levie Snoek, then 29 years old, owned a grocery store at Heerengracht 5 in the heart of Amsterdam. His ancestors had been living in Amsterdam for many years.
In 1663/64 Amsterdam was devastated by a plague epidemic, which originated in the East and proceeded towards the North Sea coast. In Amsterdam alone there were more than 10,000 victims - almost ten percent of the population. In August 1664, Charles II prohibited all commerce with Dutch harbors. This caused great hardship for Dutch trade, particularly in Amsterdam. Charles II was extremely superstitious. He was convinced that comets were omens of great impending disasters. Around Christmas 1665 when the great 'Comet' appeared, many people ventured outside to look at the phenomenon, despite the freezing cold. So-called curers of the plague, swindlers of every kind (sellers of pills, potions, powders, etc.) began to profit from the great fear among the people.
One 'eminent High-German (Jewish) medicine master' declared that he had cured hundreds of people in Italy.
But life continued essentially unchanged in Amsterdam. Levie Abrahamsz (born circa 1625) probably came from the German Rhineland and went to live at the Raamsgracht in Amsterdam. On October 9, 1682, he married Rachel Arons DaFonseca. Her father was Aron Joseph Dias DaFonseca. Her mother was Gamma Joseph. One of the witnesses at the wedding was Gamma's brother Abraham d'Aron Dias DaFonseca. Abraham, 29 years old at the time, was a merchant who lived in the Weesperstraat 13.
Leendert Elieser and his wife Rachel had three sons and one daughter. The eldest son, Levie Leendert Elieser- Leiser (born circa 1683) married Catharina Hijmans (born circa 1689) on August 14, 1706. Levie Leendert was then 23 years old; they lived in the neighborhood of Uylenburg. Catharina, 17 years old, had been living in Uylenburg. Witnesses at the wedding were father Leendert Isaac Snoek and Catharina's mother, Betje Salomons. The couple had three children: Isaac Levie, Betje/Bonele Levie and Jacob Levie.
Levie Heijman Snoek grew up in a milieu of merchants. His father Heijman Levie (according to tradition, father and son took turns with a name, reversing the order) was first an 'assistant' and later a grocer.
The Jews dealt in cattle, textiles, coffee, tobacco, snuff, rags, hides, gold, silver, watches, and eyeglasses as well as in many other items. They sometimes sold only one item, but usually they dealt in multiple items. They often had a store as well as a 'pack' with which they went door to door. They sold in their hometowns but also in remote areas. Jews were usually dealer in rags, seller of textiles and peddlers. They also sold fish and vegetables. Furthermore there were professionals such as shoemakers, carpenters, blacksmiths, etc
Life in Amsterdam was difficult for Jews; there were long work hours, low earnings, many types of disease and large families. But father Heijman Snoek had business contacts and the family was living fairly well. At the beginning of the eighteenth century a lot of business was conducted in de Heerengracht and Rapenburgerstraat. Many goods were exported from Amsterdam to Curaçao.
Among others, the ships brought beer, gin, brandy, clothing (from all over Europe) and furniture.
Heijman Levie bought and sold many different products, which earned him good money.
Levie Heijman's grandfather from his mother's side, Salomon Benedictus Berclou, was born 1762 and was married to Mariane Francis. Salomon was a shoemaker by trade, a profession that provided a good living in those days. He and his brother Jacob Salomon Beclou had a busy shoemaking concern.
Daughter Elisabeth Salomon Berclou married Heijman Levie on August 22, 1827. He was the son of Levie Heijman. Witnesses at that wedding were: Marianne Francis, Jacob Samuel Bernard (67), schoolteacher, and a sister of Elisabeth.
Levie: a traveling Jew
Levie Heijman wanted to move and one day he decided to go on an adventure, into the wide world. In Amsterdam he had become aware that the possibility existed to organize trade between the Netherlands and the West Indies. He had heard that several men had gone to the West Indies while in the military service. This was possible since the Jews had obtained from Napoleon III the freedom to change their domicile, to practice trade and to go to sea. Many, including Jews, joined the military service in order to get away from the difficult situation in the 'Jewish neighborhood'.
Levie Heijman very much wanted to go to Curaçao. That island had a contingent of 250 men ('Jagers' and Artillery men) and 20 officers. They constantly needed replacements, for protection during the various wars against Spain and England, and Venezuela's revolutions and political actions.
In 7 May 1852, at the age of 22, he joined the 2nd Regiment Infantry as milicien. He was a volunteer and was exchanged for one 'Barend Willem van Straten', for at that time one required permission from the authorities to change places with another man. As volunteer he became a 'reserve' with the number of 2825.
Note: Military service was not personal. A man who drew a low number in the lottery and passed the physical examination could expect to be called up for military service within a short time.
Exactly one year later, on May 15, 1853, Levie became a civilian again (from: Soldatenboek van het Centraal Historisch Archief Curaçao - The general Military Archive in Curaçao)
His mother Betje Berclou passed away on April 3, 1855. She was 50 years old and died at 8 o'clock in the morning, in the house at Lange Leidse Dwarsstraat 344, in Amsterdam.
Levie Heijman signed up again for military service, but now in the 'Koloniale Depot', with a contract for 6 years. In 1858 he became a corporal with a premium of 100 guilders, after he had declared to be willing to go to the West Indies. He traveled to Den Helder and took the physical examination in the Marine barracks. It was noted that his height was: '1 ellen, 6 palmen, 7 duimen and 8 strepen'. Description of his physical characteristics included: a high forehead, brown eyes, a small nose, a round chin and brown hair.
Levie took leave of his father, Heijman Levie Snoek, who was then 52 years old, and went on board the 'Elise' in Nieuwendiep near Den Helder. At that time, a voyage from Amsterdam to Curaçao was not an easy trip. It took a sailing ship at least 60 days, and heavy storms were to be expected on the North Sea as well as the Atlantic.
Men were warned beforehand about the many dangers; not only the storms, the wars and the possibility of buccaneers in the Caribbean, but also the threat of various epidemics. The captain indicated that at a certain moment, during an epidemic in the Willemstad Fort (1803), the majority of the serviceman died from yellow fever. In 1818 there were 177 fatal cases on shipboard alone.
Women and children who traveled along died from illness or malnutrition. The voyage proceeded via Suriname, where a number of military men were put ashore. They were housed in the Dutch Garrison in Paramaribo. At sea, the weather was fairly good and on July 20, 1858, he first saw along the coast the rainforest with its huge trees.
It was pouring rain when the 'Elisa' sailed into Paramaribo via the Suriname river. At Fort Zeelandia he saw the large canons and people, mostly service men, waved at the ship's passengers. Levie had to recuperate for a while from the one-and-a-half-month-long journey. He was quartered in Fort Zeelandia and regularly took walks in the town of Paramaribo, in spite of the heat and humidity. With his friends he walked in Paramaribo and was astounded by the busy colored population at the waterside. In the market he bought unfamiliar fruit; they tasted good. On Saturdays he took the opportunity to visit the Synagogue. After the service he met a friendly Jewish Suriname man, Abraham de Mezas, who spoke fluent Dutch. But he was also familiar with 'Djoe Tongo'. This was a language spoken by the Amsterdam-Portuguese Jews who in the seventeenth century had relocated from Brazil to Suriname. Abraham explained that on the plantations the language 'Nigre Tongo' (Negro English) was spoken at the time when there were many English plantation owners. They spoke this language to communicate with the slaves. After the Portuguese Jews arrived, they spoke Portuguese-Dutch with the slaves. From this mixture a new Creole 'Djoe Tongo' developed. (Jew Language)
On August 21, after a month in Suriname, Levie was finally able to go on board the 'Coronie' and set sail for Curaçao.
Ten days later, on August 31, he saw the southern coast of the island of Curaçao. Along with 21 other service men on
board he could sail into the Annabaai and immediately saw on the right-hand side the large Fort Amsterdam, his new
'home' in the Garrison. He was surprised by the number as well as by the variety of ships. The hawsers were fastened
at the Handelskade and Levie walked ashore, on still wobbly sea legs. Along with his friends, he was quarantined for
about two weeks, in order to avoid an epidemic.
In 1855 there was a threat of cholera. Fortunately, this didn't spread. However there was an epidemic of yellow fever. In the hospital a great many sailors and service men died. They had arrived from Holland on ships such as the Arend, Lynx, Medusa, Kenau, Hasselaar, Ceres and Pallas. On the Pallas, 135 out of 150 fell ill; in all, 33 died.
From a report by Commander Jhr. H. J. de Vayness van Brakell, we learn that yellow fever broke out on the Lynx while sailing from St. Eustatius to Curaçao. Thirteen men succumbed, among whom lieutenant Pomp van Meerdervoort. According to Vayness' report, the Lynx took 40 days to travel from Curaçao to Suriname, sailing against headwinds as well as the sea current.
During Napoleonic years many died due to yellow fever spread by a mosquito. It was sometimes called the 'Curaçao's friend'. It represented a threat for newcomers from Europe. From the Caribbean, the illness spread on board ships to North America (even New York).
Levie Heijman and other service men are quarantined in the Military Hospital in Mundo Nobo, the building that much later became the Curaçao Museum. More than a month later they are allowed to go to the Garrison in Fort Amsterdam. He is pleasantly surprised by the new 'Willem III' Garrison, which had been completed that same year. The new garrison with a modern sick bay and a sizable canteen could accommodate 175 persons. The old garrison became a school for the military.
The military force consisted of an infantry company, six officers and 207 men of lower rank and an artillery company with 5 officers and 124 men. Additionally, there were four medical officers, of whom one served as pharmacist.
Military service as an artilleryman was not strenuous for Levie; he had to stand watch, clean canons and other weapons, and check the supplies of weapons and munitions and replenish the stock when necessary. There was ample time to look around in Punda, a densely built-up 'fortification' with narrow streets in which there were many houses and stores. Most of all, he enjoys the Handelskade, a busy mooring place with many small and large ships with noise of crates, boxes and barrels that were being unloaded.
Around 1850 no less than 450 sailed ships into the harbor: vessels of all sizes and types. The Dutch ships brought
tons of food: salted meat and dried fish, as well as beans, peas, etc. Also boxes with clothes, cloth, hats, and
even furniture in larger boxes. The merchants in Punda were mostly Jews. The imported goods were transported to
their stores and warehouses by large horse-drawn carriages, sometimes by powerful freed slaves.
Around 1850 Curaçao had 10,000 inhabitants, among whom were 5,000 freedmen and 2,500 slaves. More space was needed in Punda, so the old walls and gateways were torn down and the debris was dumped into the sea, in order to fill the water in the Scharloo area and thus to build the Handelskade. The neighborhood Pietermaai (named after Pieter de Mey) was built, with stately houses along the water.
Levie Heijman walks along the 'De Gezelligheid', a beautiful club of Jews and Dutch Protestants, who get together in the late afternoon to chat or do business. Then he proceeds to Scharloo with its magnificent patrician residences owned by wealthy Jews. But first he pays a visit, his first, to the Snoa, the oldest synagogue in the western hemisphere, dating from 1732. It reminds him of the Great Synagogue in Amsterdam with sand on the floor, the beautiful woodworks, the crystal chandeliers with their candles, the shining 'banca', the dark-brown mahogany canopy of the Parnassim (the leaders of the congregation).
Most impressive is the 'Hekhal', made by the master cabinetmaker Pieter de Mey. It contains the holy scrolls of the Torah, which are opened during the Sabbath services. When he sees 'his' Synagogue he is filled with emotion and he thinks about his family in faraway Amsterdam.
A few weeks later he looks around some more in Curaçao. Otrobanda is a revelation for him. While crossing over in a small ferry-boat (the pontoon bridge had not yet been built) he sat in his dress uniform and held fast to his high military cap, to avoid having the strong breeze blow it into the Annabaai..
The 'Awasá' or Brionplein was a large area; the Sint Martinusschool of the Franciscanessen Sisters of Roozendaal, providing education for young girls, already existed. Close by, in a smaller building, was a school for boys, directed by Bernardus Huycke, a teacher who in 1844 had come to Curaçao with the intercession of Mgr. Nieuwindt.
In 1707, building in Otrobanda was official permitted. In 1732, Jews began live there. Services were held in a house
that was remade into a synagogue. It was first named 'Beth Shemuel' (House of Samuel). Later the name became 'Neve
Shalom' (House of Peace). The 'synagogue' stood at the corner of Breedestraat (nr. 129) and the Rifwaterstraat.
The property was bought for 2250 pesos by the Jewish community on the account of Catharina Anthony, and endorsed by Policarpus Overlijn. The deed was signed on May 3, 1746, by secretary Pottey of the WIC (Akte OAC 817).
In the Breedestraat, Levie takes a look in the then one-hundred-year-old Santa Anna church. Although he is not Catholic, he looks with interest at the statues, the altar and the organ. He had heard of admiral Pedro Luis Brion, a hero in the civil war, who had fought with Simon Bolivar against the Spaniards. So he knew that Brion had been baptized in this church, but he still knew very little about the history of Venezuela.
He feels a little hot and decides to get a refreshment in a shap (bar) in the Breedestraat. He would like to drink a beer to slake his thirst. The smell of alcohol hits him in the face. The bar was very busy. There were no tables or chairs; men were standing around and talking. He thought: 'These are very serious drinkers'. They preferred to drink cheap, white rum: 'ròm koriente' and emptied their glass in one draught. If he had enough money, a man bought good Dutch gin, 'young' or 'old' in brown stone jars (butishi).
Levie Heijman didn't particularly want to drink, he was not a real drinking man; he came from a strict family in Amsterdam. He had his first beer on board ship while sailing to Curaçao. To be honest, he didn't particularly like it, but encouraged by his fellow soldiers he still finished it.
In the shap he gets into conversation with a white young man with a sunburned face who asks Heijman where he came from. He says he is a 'schutter' (a volunteer soldier). His father who owned a plantation in the 'kunuku' had sent him into military service in the 'Schutterij' because he didn't want to go to school but preferred to play hooky and hunt iguanas and birds. His name was Pieter, but everyone called him Pedro. He thought that was a better name in the kunuku Sixteen-years-old Pedro loved it in the service, far from his strict Dad who regularly punished him with his belt if he had done a bit of mischief. Levie learned his first Papiamento words . . . curses and dirty words. Pedro promised they would go to the knoek as soon as they both had a free weekend from the Garrison.
Levie had become entirely used to life in Curaçao. In 1860 he was promoted to sergeant and made many friends in the Garrison. They 'stepped out' in Punda and Otrobanda. According to the captain, they needed to learn more than marching and shooting practice. 'Civilization and Culture' is what the 'old man' said. They were more or less coerced to read the newspaper in the canteen. 'De Vrijmoedige' and 'De Onafhankelijke' were the Dutch-language newspapers. News from Holland was then three months old, because the information came by ship. From America it was a little faster: one month. Dissemination of the local news was very slow as well, especially from the outer districts and from Aruba and Bonaire.
In order to supplement 'culture' there were stage plays in the Dutch language in 'Teatro Naar'. In 1850 and 1852 there were productions by the 'Militair Toneelgezelschap' (Military Theatrical Company) and also by 'Toneelschap van Liefhebbers' (Stage Company of Enthusiasts). They usually performed light comedies and not serious, heavy drama. The boys really enjoyed it because it gave them a chance to admire the young ladies. At a great distance, of course. They were usually chaperoned by their parents or on older brother or sister.
The boys made music when they were off duty. There was a piano in the canteen and they sang while accompanied by various proficient pianists. There was also the music chapel of the 'marechaussees' and de 'Jagers' who practiced on their off days.
The commandant had given the captain permission to order a new piano. To unload the piano from the ship onto the pier, they needed a couple of strong fellows who also needed to lift it onto a cart and lug it to the Garrison. He had cleverly inquired beforehand who knew anything about music. Most men signed up. But then they found out that they had to do some heavy work, carrying the 'music'. The 'volunteers' griped as they transported the piano.
Levie enjoyed everything but he had no musical talent whatsoever. Neither did he have the patience to learn to play a musical instrument.
In Otrobanda there was sometimes a Sunday Soirée by the orchestra 'de Harmonie' directed by Agustin Bethencourt. This very talented literary man, journalist and musician was from Venezuela and he started a bookshop in Heerenstraat in Punda, as well as a small print shop. He also organized a string quartet. He later created a Musical Academy and helped in the development of the 'Philharmonic Union'. Additionally, there were in Willemstad a musical corps of the 'Schutters' under the direction of Gerrie Palm and a military musical chapel under the direction of Mathias van Dinter
During the Soirées on Sunday afternoon, people strolled to Awasá to listen to the marches, mazurkas and polkas, which were very popular at that time.
Most young girls walked along with papai and mamai and smilingly winked at the handsome officers who bowed stiffly and very politely at the passing potential relatives. They got their chance on holidays during the Queen's birthday to get better acquainted with their prospective 'fiancée'. As noncommissioned officer in the Artillery, Levie was present at exactly six o'clock, along with his colleagues, to fire the gun salutes from the cannons situated along the shore. Afterwards there was a parade with officers and other men from the Garrison, which was 'received' by governor Johannes Dedericus in front of the Willem III Garrison. The governor, accompanied by important guests such as members of the Koloniale Raad (Colonial Counsel), judges, Rabbi Joshua Naar and Chief Rabbi Aron Mendes Chumaceiro, Protestant minister Anton Meijer and Mgr.Kistenmaker and business representatives then proceeded to Club 'De Gezelligheid' to drink a champagne toast to the Queen.
Levie was somewhat uncomfortable among these important people, in his tuxedo and cutaway coat, while listening to their haughty conversations.
For those who were invited, there was a ball later that evening. Wearing his gala uniform he carefully tried to become acquainted with some of the ladies and ask for a dance. But first everyone had to wait for the official Quadrille, organized by some of the older ladies who had selected the most experienced married young men and women to give a demonstration. Levie was astounded; never before in his life had he seen so much beauty, elegance and joy all at once. He dared ask a young lady and, yes, after a gallant bow and with a shy but loud tone of voice 'Madame, may have this dance?' he risked a Curaçao waltz. It was as if he had been doing nothing else in his whole life.
At exactly 10 o'clock the Wilhelmus (Dutch National Anthem) was played and the party was at an end after some stunning colorful fireworks along the Anna Bay. Levie walked back to the Garrison fort, smiling and satisfied, after taking leave of his new acquaintances. Now he belonged in Curaçao, with a New life and a New future, a Snoek who had set off on a great journey but now was home at last.
The crowing rooster awoke Levie; light comes early in the knoekoe. A cool fresh breeze is blowing. He climbs out of his hamaka (hammock) and stumbles out the door. He urinates under a tree and stretches easily, to limber up his muscles. They have to get back to the city.
Pedro is still asleep. He had secretly risen during the night and had gone out to watch and listen to the 'tambú' and the melancholy notes of the 'muzik di zumbi'; it had been a late night for him. Papai had warned Pedro several times: 'Stay away from there. Those Negroes cannot be trusted. And don't touch those black women'. But this had just the reverse effect on Pedro; it was like an extra challenge. He had met a mixed-blood young girl and at the beach under the trees he had learned for the first time the meaning of passion.
Levie had not gone along. He was extremely tired of the hunt in the mondi. They had shot a couple of yuwanas (iguanas) and some birds with a chincha (catapult) and had taken turns using the rifle that Papai had let them borrow this once. After a long walk over a fairly high hill they had first taken a dive in the sea, after which they roasted the iguanas and the birds over a fire made from gathered wood. The sun was low at the horizon and it was nice and cool at the beach. Levie thought: 'These are the nicest hours of the day'. He enjoyed the quiet and the twittering birds in the tress and the relaxing rippling sea.
He tasted the sea salt on his lips and realized he was still hungry. It was time to get back to the landhuis (plantation house) to have the evening meal with Pedro's family.
Very early the next morning they had to take the long road back to town.
Levie was invited for a long weekend in the knoek by Pedro's family. Before heading there, they had put on neat sporty clothing, because according to the captain, service men had to be neatly dressed also when they were off-duty. They left at 6 o'clock in the morning, after the Great Gate was opened after being closed all night.
Along Otrobanda they walked in a westerly direction till they reached the edge of where there were buildings. Under a wabi tree there were a few mules. An old Negro greeted them with 'Bon dia mi shon'.
Pedro paid him some money so they could continue their trip on the back of the mules. He knew the way so they rode further on the back of the mules, after agreeing to return the 'mulas' to the same place. On the way they met men and women riding donkeys who were going to sell their ware at the market: vegetables, fruit, fish and yòrki (salted fish). 'Bon dia mi Shon blanku'.
Because he had been busy exercising in the Garrison and standing watch, Levie had not spoken to Pedro during the preceding days. He inquired the other Schutters about him and learned that Pedro was ill and had been hospitalized in the Garrison.
He was shocked when he visited Pedro, seeing him in bed, very thin, pale and extremely agitated. It was hot in the room and Pedro kept turning right and left in his bed; he was delirious and his speech, at times in Papiamento, at times in Dutch, was incoherent. 'Bad fever, yellow fever' the military doctor said, and shook his head with a very somber face. Pedro had been sick a total of four days when he died; he was buried the same day in the cemetery in Otrobanda.. The protestant minister spoke words of consolation. Levie gave Papai an abraso (embrace) and wished him strength, after which he and his friends went to the shap to 'wash their hands'..
The year was almost over. It was December and Otrobanda was bustling. In the tiendas all sorts of delicacies were being sold: ham, sour fish, pastries and in Punda people were buying dresses and shirts for Christmas and New Year. The Jewish merchants were doing a lot of business, because at the beginning of December ships had arrived with many crates and barrels.
The Protestants had a service in the Garrison with a sermon by the minister and Christmas carols were sung. Levie sat unmoved and thought about his aunt in Amsterdam and the few letters he received. His family received his letters six weeks after he had written them and he received a reply only three months later. Furthermore, mailing letters was quite expensive: F.1,29 for mailing a letter from Curaçao to Holland! The other way cost four guilders.
Levie had guard duty on Aña Nobo (New Year). Above the fortification he looked at Brionplein and listened to the music. Exactly at the stroke of twelve the steamships began to bellow. He assisted with the shooting of the canons, twelve in number and then the friends embraced each other. They could hear shouting and some small fireworks coming from 'De Gezelligheid'. He could not be present there; military service took priority.
The year 1863 was an important date. By Royal Decree on January 16 of that year, the emancipation of the slaves was announced. In fact, the difference was more judicial rather than socio-economic. The Negroes and mulattos now had the right to purchase land and houses. The emancipated slave continued to live and work for their Shons, but it was not until July 1, 1863, that this became de facto law.
For Levie the year 1863 was also an important year. The year before he had made the acquaintance of a young lady and they has soon fallen in love.
Elizabeth Bos-Webb was the daughter of Jan Bos and Wilhelmina Elizabeth Bos. Jan Bos was a real Frisian (from the Dutch province of Friesland). He was born on May 16, 1798 in the Frisian harbor town of Harlingen. His parents were Marten Bos and Trijntje Sijbrens, both from Harlingen. Jan had two brothers and two sisters. In 1829 he left for Curaçao and on June 24 of that same year he married Wilhelmina Webb. She was the daughter of the merchant Hieronimus Durer Webb and Elizabeth de Jongh. Wilhelmina was born in Curaçao on September 20, 1794. The witnesses at her baptism were Nicolaas de Jongh and Elizabeth Durer.
At that time Harlingen was a busy town with many ships and much commerce. There was a high school, a technical school, and a maritime college. After Jan Bos finished his studies, he became first mate and was captain in the merchant marine by the time he left for Curaçao. In 1846 he became captain of the schooner 'De Curaçaosche' and sailed to Suriname. The ship had recently been put into service at the shipyard of Herman van der Meulen & Co. Herman van der Meulen had taken over the shipyard from the widow of Henry Basden who in 1817 had started the shipyard.
Jan Bos and Wilhelmina had four daughters in Curaçao. First they had twins: Elizabeth and Anna Catharina (August 13, 1830). Then came Henriëtte Nicolina (March 13, 1831). The notification of birth was by midwife Maria Thomas; witnesses were Pieter Muller Dammers and Johannes Baptista Antonius van Hall (1977 - 1863). Johannes van Hall came arrived from Middelburg as a sailor.
Henriëtta later married Casper Hendrik van Delft. Casper was born in The Hague (November 1, 1834); he entered military service in the Garrison in Curaçao.
Finally, Jeannette Petronella was born on July 19, 1834. In 1863 she became engaged to Willem Johannes Petrus 'Pieter' Peiliker. They were married shortly thereafter, on July 30, 1863.
On Sundays, when Jan Bos was not at sea, he went with his family to the Protestant church (V.P.G.) in the Fort. The minister was Cornelis Conradi who been assistant minister in Leeuwarden, and Jan enjoyed chatting with Conradi in the Frisian language. Minister Conradi started a reformed school but because of financial reasons this vanished soon. Finally, minister Conradi began in 1846 doing the New-Years eve service in the Fort, because the first street lamps were installed. Conradi remained in Curaçao until 1855; shortly thereafter he left for Suriname.
Near the house of the Bos family, in southwest Otrobanda, was a dilapidated neighborhood by the name of Carthagena or Waterloo. There were some collapsed walls and some thorny bushes. At the creek there had been a military and civil hospital for Marines and sailors.
The land and house in Carthagena were property of Hendrik Jansz Schotborgh Jr. who was born on June 20, 1784. He had rented the house for two years from the government. Hendrik Jansz was 1st lieutenant in the Schutterij, created in 1821. He married Jeannette Kikkert in May 9, 1813. The couple bought the property at a public auction for the sum of F. 13,625.
The father of Jeannette was Albert Kikkert, married to Anna Maria van Utrecht. Kikkert, born in 1761 in Vlieland, was a naval officer and a Freemason. He was appointed governor on March 4, 1816, at the end of the English war. Kikkert died on December 18, 1819, and buried in the Protestant cemetery at Roodeweg. On June 28, 1820, Lammert Kikkert, a son of the deceased Albert Kikkert, had bought the house at auction. Hendrik Jansz Schotborgh was the executor of the will (OAC 1124).
On 28 March, 1833, Schotborgh purchased the plantation Santa Barbara near the Tafelberg (OAC 813:20). After the death of Hendrik Jansz Schotborg the Carthagena property was parceled out and some large house were built there. The street leading to the Breedestraat got the name 'Hanchi Carthagena'.
Captain Jan Bos died around 1850, probably at sea because there is no death certificate on Curaçao and neither in Holland. His wife, Wilhelmina Webb, died four years earlier on January 2, 1846. After the death of Jan Bos, Geertruida de Jongh, a daughter of Nicolaas de Jongh, had made her will on January 25, 1852. She was a niece of the widow Wilhelmina Webb. Geertruida was a sister of captain François de Jongh and of Elisabeth de Jongh. That is how her four nieces 'Betsy' Elisabeth, Catharina Bos, Henriëtte Nicolina Bos, Jeanette Bos, were able to inherit. Captain Bos had good acquaintances in Bonaire involving the captain's family De Jongh as well as the family Dammers. As previously mentioned, Henriëtte Nicolina Bos was the godmother of Pieter Muller Dammers when she was born.
Pieter Muller had a large plantation at Lagoon on Bonaire. He was married to Anna Maria de Jongh. The family moved to Curaçao and lived in Pietermaai where he worked as a civil servant. During a raging fire at the plantation on Bonaire, the house was completely destroyed. According to legend, Pieter had buried much treasure in a big barrel, and gold and silver coins were discovered in the ruins. Pieter was a son of Christiaan Gerard Dammers, born in Neuburg Hannover, Germany. In 1784 he became 'commander' of Bonaire.
At the birth of Jeannette Petronella Bos on July 19,1814, a witness was Salomon Elias Levy Maduro 'Momón Blo', a prominent businessman who was married to Rebecca Curiel. He was a good acquaintance of Jan Bos. A brother of Momón was Salomon Mordechai Levy Maduro, called 'Sol or 'Momón Guigi'.
On January 24, 1834, Salomon Elias started a grocery store with a loan of more than 5,000 guilders. Shortly thereafter the brothers had a fleet of schooners that sailed to New York. Subsequently the two brothers started S.E.L. Maduro and Sons with a bank near the harbor.
The other witness at the birth of Jeannette Petronella Bos, was Johannes Mathias Pletsz, who stood for Wilhelmina Webb, the wife of Jan Bos.
During the nineteenth century in Curaçao, life started early in the day. At five thirty in the morning people got up to drink coffee and eat a little biscuit. The stores opened at seven thirty, but before that the 'country folks' had already spread their fruit and vegetables at their usual spot.
Between 8 and 9, government workers and officers went to their offices. Between 10 and 11 they had a 'second breakfast', a hot meal consisting of meat or fish. After 3 o'clock when the offices and stores had closed, they took the hot midday meal, again with meat or fish. Occasionally they had a light supper before going to bed. The siesta was fairly common but was taken somewhat late in the afternoon. In contrast to the offices and stores, the school hours were from 9 - 12 and 14 - 17. Around noon the school was converted into a sort of restaurant where children, big and small, dined while being attended by the maids who would bring the food in wooden bins toted on their heads. At that time funchi was already the main staple. Potatoes and vegetables came from Holland, but those were not very appetizing after a long voyage of five to eight weeks in the ship's hull. 'A little ball of funchi tastes ten times better and is much more healthful,' according to minister Van Dissel (1857).
In the evening there was not much to do: chatting and playing cards. Most people went to bed between 10 and 11 o'clock. It was Elizabeth's custom to have tea around three with the whole family, a real British tradition coming from the Webbs. It was a sort of 'ceremony' in which they could choose among various kinds of tea, and of course a biscuit or scone or a salty snack.
In the Garrison, on July 30, 1863, the official act of matrimony of the couple Levie Heijman and Elizabeth Bos Webb was signed. It was signed by the witnesses: his best friend and padrino Pieter Peiliker in name of the groom and Henriëtte Nicolina Bos as the madrina. Others signing the act were Governor Crol and the Colonial Secretary Jan Beaujon.
At the 'ondertrouw' (official preliminary notification) on July 28, the witnesses at the Town Hall were Pieter Peiliker and his wife Jeanette Petronella Bos as well as Willem Dennick and his wife Christina Hesse.
The bride was radiant on her wedding day and Levie Heijman wore his gala uniform for the occasion. When they emerged from the Town Hall they were given a salute by six officers with drawn sabers. They drank champagne and the festivities continued with friends in the canteen of the Garrison.
It was not common for a Jewish man to marry a Protestant woman. Intermingling of Jews and Protestants did not take place and their social contacts were very limited. But a handsome Jewish young soldier and a beautiful Protestant girl can fall in love. They had no parents on this romantic island and each they kept their own faith. Levie went to the Synagogue on the Sabbath and on Sundays Elisabeth visited the Protestant church in the Fort.
After they were married they lived in a house in Otrobanda. Pieter Peiliker and Jeanette Pieternella Bos had a roomy apartment, inherited from the parents of Jan Bos and Wilhelmina Webb. The top floor was not being used by them and so Levie and Pieternella could move in the apartment. They had a balcony with a view of the harbor where ships were continually coming and going.
Pieter Peiliker arrived as a sergeant from Harderwijk where he was born in 1833. His mother, the widow Wilhelmina Peilike, bore a son from an unknown father. The child was given the name Peter. His birth certificate (nr. 55; April 18, 1833) states ' on Thursday April 18 at 3:00 a.m., Wilhelmina Peilike, 37 years of age, without profession and unmarried, in the residence at Hondegatstraat 419, bore a son whom she gave the name 'Peter'.
In Harderwijk there had been a wharf depot since 1844 and large groups of servicemen came from Hellevoetsluis. Many
were mercenaries from Belgium, Germany and even from the town of Kunnen in Denmark. When Peter was 15 years old he
signed up (May 13, 1848) as volunteer for a period of 10 years without earnest-money. Three years later, on July 14,
1852, he was relocated to the Instruction Battalion as Infantry man. One year later, on July 14, 1852, he was promoted
to corporal (see Koloniale Landsverordering, Curaçao).
After a training period, Peter was promoted to sergeant (January 28, 1853) and he and his companions at arms left on the brig 'Gouverneur Elsevier' to report to the artillery division in the Garrison.
The mother of Peter, Wilhelmina Peilike, was born circa 1796 in Seehause Maagdenburg, Germany. There is no information about her parents. Possibly her father was Wilhelmus Peiliker and her mother Wilhelmina Josephina Beeker.
Pieter arrived in Curaçao in September 1853 on board the ship 'Elisa'. He came from Holland via Suriname and entered military service at the Garrison. He had bought a house from Jan Hendrik Rhode. It was located on the road to Vianen (Pietermaai) and had three rooms, a kitchen and even a well with brackish water.
Six months after the wedding of Levie Heijman and his wife Elizabeth, Levie served as witness at the birth of Johan
Gijsberth Bos, a son of Henriëtte Nicolina Bos who was unmarried. Johan was born on January 28, 1864, and a mere year
later Henriëtte married Hendrik van Delft who was a good friend of Levie. Johan was registered at kranshi on January
At the same time, Elizabeth and Levie received an inheritance from an aunt, Geertruida de Jomgh. Geertruida was the widow of Casper Hensle, a wealthy German from the north-west part of the Grand Duchy of Baden. They were married in Curaçao on June 18, 1824. Witnesses were Willem Prince, Jr., her brother François Martinus de Jongh and her sister Anna Catharina de Jongh.
Geertruida died on October 3, 1863, at the age of 85. She was the daughter of Nicolaas Erasmus de Jongh and Anna Boom Franken, Geertruida's parents owned the plantation Ronde Klip. On January 5, 1798, the family sold the plantation to Isaac Capriles (the real owner was the well-known Dr. Joseph Capriles who in 1795 lived south of Breedestraat (OAC 2097, 30-1- 1795). It was a large plantation with one thousand sheep, six horses, more than one hundred cows, 12 donkeys and a lime-kiln. There were fifty slaves working on the estate.
Note: Dr. Joseph Capriles, a wealthy Jewish medical doctor and merchant, was born in Naples in 1723 and died in 1807 on Curaçao. He narrowly escaped at a huge explosion from the Dutch war vessel 'Alphen' in the Anna Bay on 15 September 1778. Dr. Capriles was invited on board by the captain of the 'Alphen', but he was late for the breakfast time. On this day 230 officers and soldiers died instantly.
At that time Otrobanda was a nice place, with a maze of little streets and alleys. These were given names of noted people who had lived there. With the assistance of Governor de Rouville, a street-name commission was appointed in 1866. It was a long time before people got used to the new names, because the streets already had Papiamento names such as Tumba Cuater (IJzerstraat near the Langestraat)., Hanchi Bientu (Consciëntiesteeg near the Brionplein) and Hanchi Warda (Sebastopolstraat) because formerly there had been a guard house there.
A little further 'up' on the Ser'i Otrobanda there were more expensive stately houses in the Hoogstraat. Living there, were Protestants, government officials, high officers and a few plantation owners. The latter kept two houses; living in the knoek was not always comfortable, certainly not in the rainy season with all those mosquitoes. So they lived temporarily in town. A little bit higher, at the end of the Hoogstraat, was the Belvedère with the small palace belonging to Governor mr. A.M. de Rouville who previously had been the Queen's solicitor. In the direction of the harbor, at the corner of de Rouvilleweg and Hoogstraat was a stately house, the 'Keizershof'. That house came by its name because it was built by the former black emperor of Haiti, Faustin I. He did not enjoy his emperorship for a long time; the people revolted shortly afterwards. The black emperor fled to Curaçao on board the schooner 'Rigolette' and used the funds he had brought with him to build the 'Keizershof'.
A year later, on February 1, 1864, Hendrik Marten Snoek, the first child of Levie and Elizabeth was born. Not more than four months later, the little boy succumbed to fever. On May 30, Levie decided to sign another six-year contract for 120 guilders.
The couple was still very sad about the death of Hendrik Marten, but the arrival of Louis Henry Snoek, on July 21, 1865, eased their pain. It was a strong baby with large green eyes. He was given the name Heijman Levie, the reverse of his grandfather's in Amsterdam: Louis Henri; those French names that were popular since Napoleon III.
In that same year Levie's friend Casper Hendrik van Delft married his sister-in-law Henriëtte Nicolina Bos. Levie had known Casper going back to the time when in, August 1858, they had arrived in Curaçao via Suriname on the 'Elisa'. Casper and Henriëtte were married on January 25.
Elizabeth was expecting Louis Henry Snoek and during the wedding celebration she walked around with a large belly and danced gaily with her husband Levie. She loved clothes and sewed her own dresses, skirts and blouses, as well children's clothing for the arriving baby. Elizabeth enjoyed looking at the pictures in the British magazine Punch, which featured ladies' fashions from around 1855; formal gowns with crinolines and toward the end of the 1850s hoop skirts were in the shape of a dome.
A properly worn crinoline was in fact an extremely flattering garment. It moved rhythmically along with every movement of the lady wearing it, emphasizing her grace. Levie thought she was a beautiful, charming woman, in spite of her big seven-month stomach.
John Wilhem Snoek, Levie's second son, was born on March 19, 1868. He was a strong baby as well, with long legs and the blue-gray eyes of his mother Elizabeth. Wilhelm was given the name of his mother Wilhelmina Webb.
Life continued without major events in Curaçao; Levie was busy with his friends and occupied his leisure time with his boys, Louis Henri and John Wilhelm. When they were 5 and 6 years old, Louis Henry and John began to attend the widow Jutting's kindergarten. Later they went to the public school run by teacher Juan M. de Pool in Otrobanda. When the Hendrikschool was opened at the Pietermaaiweg (1885), de Pool's school was closed. The boys had to get up early in the morning so that they could walk with father Levie as he went to the Garrison. Elizabeth Bos spent her time doing needle-work, sewing dresses, and she took piano lessons.
There were various teachers in Otrobanda; she chose 'Shon Matheu' who lived close to the Langestraat. He also played the organ in Santa Anna church in the Breedestraat. She began with classical works; Chopin was her favorite, but she especially enjoyed Curaçao waltzes, danzas and mazurkas. She did think the latter were somewhat difficult.
On May 30, 1870, Levie Heijman signed another six-year contract; he retained his salary of 120 guilders and did not get a raise, despite the fact that on January 29 he had received a bronze medal with gratification, and a silver medal on October 24, 1861.
One year later, on February 21, 1871, his father Heijman Levie died at ten o'clock in the evening. This was in his residence at Keizersgracht nr. 401, Amsterdam. The news reached Levie only a few weeks later. He read that his acquaintances, Meyer Hes (30) and Mozes Marcus Koster (diamond cutter, aged 27) had been the witnesses at the signing of the death certificate in Amsterdam. Heijman Levie was buried in the Muidenberg cemetery in Amsterdam, alongside his wife Elisabeth Berclou.
Only six months later, on September, 1871, Henriëtte Nicolina Bos died, the sister of Elizabeth. Levie and his wife supported Casper in his grief. Casper served out his military time and then departed on May 7, 1878, for Holland on the Pakketschip 'Curaçao', to live in The Hague where he was born.
Johan Herman Meijer married Anna Catharina Bos. One week before their wedding, they went for a visit to La Guaira. They were married on November 1, 1876; however Herman died only one month later, on December 18, 1876. Meijer was a noncommissioned officer in the Garrison. After retiring in 1874 he was a member of the Lodge Igualdad. A cousin of his, David Casten Meijer, had been trained as cabinetmaker by his grandfather, Carson Meijer, who in those years was a teacher of furniture making.
On March 20, 1872, Levie (41) was a witness at the wedding of Catharina Elisabeth Peiliker (daughter of Pieter Peiliker and of Jeannette Bos) with Casten Lodewijk Timmer. The other witness was Casten David Meijer (27), a cousin of the groom. David was the first professional journalist on the island.
He published the weekly paper 'Civilisado' from 1875 and 'De Vrijmoedige' (1875 - 1920) and 'De Wekker' (1875 - 1915). His son Johan Frederik Gerlijn Meijer was the editor of the twice-monthly paper 'Curaçao Amusant' and another son Eduard published 'Ons Blaadje'. Influenced by his friends, David joined the faction that opposed the Catholic Church. His wife Carolina Gerlijn was of German origin and a very devout Protestant. David was educated at the Colegio Leon, a Freemason's school in Punda. During his years as a journalist, David lived in the Naniesteeg and later across the street from the Sta. Anna church. David and his wife had six children. On March 21, 1877, he became a member of the Lodge Igualdad and an active Freemason. (Journalistiek leven in Curaçao. Authored by dr. Joh. Hartog)
In September 1877 Curaçao was hit by a great catastrophe.. The weather was very stuffy without the usual refreshing breeze. Everyone complained about the heat. On September 23 at ten o'clock in the morning, the wind began to blow very hard, without any warning. The children were inside and the jalousies began to flap very hard. It became dark. Looking out the window, Elizabeth could see how the small ships had difficulty sailing into Annabaai harbor. She thought about Levie; he was on duty. 'I wish he were home'. She was getting more and more worried. Within an hour the hard wind had grown into a hurricane and was blowing furiously along the South coast of the island. She had never heard so much noise from the howling wind and the roaring of the sea. At the same time hard rain began to pour; large drops were pounding against the closed wooden jealousies. She heard the cracking of branches as they broke off from large trees. Levie still was not home. Elizabeth lit the candles, sang songs with the boys and told them stories, trying to forget her own fear.
It was the next day, many tense hours later. The boys had fallen asleep in her lap that night and she had taken them to bed. The weather began to clear and the sun was trying, with some difficulty, to bring about a new day. Elizabeth looked out the window in the direction of the harbor. She saw the rudderless little boats on the still rough sea break up against the shore. On the Punda side there was a large brig lying on its side with broken masts. The Handelskade was under water. Barrels and other debris were floating on the water. She couldn't see a living soul.
It was not until that evening that Levie came home, tired and his face ashen; he looked years older. After the sea had calmed somewhat he and a platoon of 'Jagers' and a large group of 'Schutters' and 'Marechaussees' had crossed over to Otrobanda in small rowboats. They had gone to check out the damage and to help clear the rubble created by the hurricane. Elizabeth and the boys hugged him tight and cried with joy that he was home again. 'That's something I never want to live through again,' said Elizabeth. The sea had washed over the Rif. The Lazarus House had disappeared, leaving only part of a wall. The lepers had saved themselves by clinging tight to the mangrove bushes. Sister Tecla, one of the nuns of the Lazarus House, kept holding on to a patient and they both survived.
The Rif itself was protected by the houses in Otrobanda, but roofs, windows and doors had been damaged considerably. At the eastern side of the harbor entrance, Punda had been somewhat protected by the battery walls of the Fort.
Pietermaai suffered the most damage with regard to buildings as well as fatalities and wounded. The whole length of the street stood two feet under water. Buildings such as the Teatro Naar had been completely destroyed. Three ships belonging to the firm Jesurun, the 'Condor,' the 'Sarah,' and the 'Juliette' were destroyed and five smaller ships suffered great damage. In the city, damage totaled more than seven hundred thousand guilders (a huge sum for that time).
Lots of life-stock drowned, especially sheep. The number of fatalities was estimated at 200. Assistance came from the entire country, from Aruba, Bonaire, St. Maarten, Holland, even Venezuela in the form of food, medicine and clothing. A commission from the Lodge Igualdad, under leadership of P. Leon, teacher A. Brusse, and Willem Pierre, Lucien Kranswinkel and Gabriel 'Gabi' de Pool, organized a large collection to help the victims. The English Lodge pprovided a donation of 100 pounds and the Paris Freemasons, the Alliance Israelite Universelle, gave 1,000 francs. In the Consciëntiesteeg, Gabi owned a gold and silver shop. He was one of the co-founders of the Lodge Igualdad (October 28, 1855).
The Schutterij and the Corps Volontair lent assistance and took turns standing guard at the ruins. Levie Heijman and his friends were very busy the following months, helping to repair the damage. He had inspected the temple Emanu-El; there was damage amounting to 5,000 guilders. The house of Hazaam (rabbi) Haim Joseph Israel Santcroos was entirely destroyed.
Near Klein Curaçao a tragedy occurred. In those days there were Englishmen on the island, digging for guano (phosphate). Anton Piar from Rincon had entered into a contract with the Englishmen to deliver food every week to Klein Curaçao in his small sailboat 'Francisca'.
On Saturday, September 22, 1877, he had arrived again. While carrying ashore the groceries, he suddenly began to feel a terrible pain in his back, so that he could hardly walk. He decided to remain ashore on Klein Curaçao. Piar gave first mate Pourier instructions to sail back to Bonaire with the sailboat and to return on Monday or Tuesday to pick him up.
That same evening the 'Francisca' sailed for Bonaire, heading for its destruction. Pourier and crew were never heard of again. Early Sunday morning the storm passed over Klein Curaçao. Two enormous wave surges violently hit the island. After Piar had recovered from his fright he found two Englishmen with bleeding head-wounds, caused by a section of a wall. Piar treated the wounds with the primitive resources at hand and bandaged their wounds. Shortly after that, he saw another huge wave approaching the island. In desperation he dropped to his knees and yelled, 'La Birgen del Carmen, yuda mi'. Just before reaching the island, the wave subsided and he was saved.
Because of the number of his service years in the tropics, Levie Snoek was able to get his pension when he was only 40 years old. He received an honorable discharge on September 4, 1876. He had made many business contacts and exchanged his profession for that of merchant.
On January 31, 1880, not more than two years before his death, Levy had sent a handwritten 'request' to the governor, signed simply 'Snoek'. He wrote literally:
'The undersigned, qualified to solicit payment from persons in Curaçao who are behind in their tax payments, has done his duty since the year 1878, without recompense from the the part of the government. Although the expenses incurred during solicitation are brought to the account of the debtors, Your Honor is aware that a great number of the debtors are absolved of payment, so that large portions of the undersigned's earnings are lost. That is why the undersigned respectfully requests your Honor to allow him to receive a gratuity or yearly stipend for his efforts.
Most respectfully, yours truly,
Signed by Snoek in his elegant handwriting. (NAC Koloniaal Archief/Gouverneur/Rekwesten, 3217 (=1879 en 1880), nr. 32)
On April 1881 Levie was taking a look at the dredging project in the harbor at the mouth of the Rif. A Dutch dredging mill was digging at the mouth of the harbor, later also at the Waaigat and the Spaanse Water, the coral banks being a great nuisance. It took a couple of years of digging at the rate of 3,000 to 5,000 square per year. ('Geschiedenis van de Curaçaose Scheepvaartmaatschappij',G. W. Bakker, Emmastad 1962).
And in March 1882 Levie saw that two steam pontoons, the 'Willemstad' and the 'Otrobanda' had been put in the water for a test trip around the harbor. Shortly thereafter he fell ill and died at the age of 51.
Two of Levie's acquaintances were Mordechai Salomon Levi Maduro and Moses Haim Penso. They also called him Levy Haim, and that is the name they gave as witnesses of his death.
Mordechai and Moises were brothers-in-law. On March 17, 1817, Moses married Hannah Ester de Salomon Levi Maduro y Curiel. Mordechai paid a dowry of f. 16,000.
(History of the Jews, deel 2; page 972)
Levi was buried in the Jewish cemetery at Berg Altena (second door to the right, fourth row to the right, number three). This cemetery at Berg Altena resulted from a combination of two graveyards: the oldest was consecrated in 1865 by Temple Emanu-El; the other was consecrated in 1880 by Mikvé Israël.
Mordechai Salomon Levy Guigi Maduro.and Haim Moises Pnso were prominent and wealthy Jews. Mordechai Salomon was president of Maduro & Sons. Moises Haim Penso, married to Hannah Ester Maduro, was one of the three greatest moneylenders in the history of those years. He was the executive editor of 'El Imparcial' and, like Salomon Maduro, he was a member of the Koloniale Raad (Colonial Council). He died on February 12, 1912.
When Levie Heijman Snoek died, his two sons Louis Henri and John Wilhelm were 14 and 15, respectively. At an early age both boys wanted to go to sea; they were often allowed to accompany Levie Heijman to go look at the ships that were moored in the harbor. Once in a while they were allowed to go on board, which was real treat.
Louis Henri Snoek was 16 years old when he declared that he wanted to go to sea. He was still crazy about ships, and trading was also in his blood. He received permission from his mother and signed on as sailor on one of the ships owned by the firm J. and D. Jesurun.
As a sailor at the age of 20, Louis Henry regularly sailed to Bonaire. There he met Anna Carolina Elisabeth de Groot. She was an illegitimate child of Henriëtte de Groot, but after she was born, Henriëtte married Samuel Esser, who was born in 1825 and died in 1885 in Bonaire.
The father of Samuel Esser, Rutger Esser, was born in March, 1801, in Utrecht. He arrived on the island on January 27, 1816, as a 16-year-old cadet on the ship 'De Prins van Oranje' from Vlissingen. Five years later he went to Suriname, after which he became a major in the battalion of Jagers. In Suriname he married Catharina Schotborgh and they had 4 children. In 1823 he and his family left for Holland, but he returned later as commander of the Garrison in Curaçao. Subsequently he was appointed Governor of Curaçao (April 1845 - December 20, 1848). Rutger was well-liked by the Jew but due to many disappointments he desired to leave; he said: 'I wished I had remained in Suriname'.
Louis Henry married Anna Carolina on July 27, 1881. She was of mixed blood and Catholic. The witnesses at the wedding were Pieter Peiliker and Lodewijk Christoffel Boyé (born 1831). Lodewijk was a member of the Lodge Igualdad (nr. 131), installed on June 27, 1867, in Curaçao.
He was a ship's captain and sailed regularly from Curaçao to Bonaire. A younger brother of Lodewijk, Willem Ernst Boyé, was a well-known merchant in Otrobanda. He had a house built in Frederikstraat nr. 81, and did good business in Venezuela in the years of President Guzmán Blanco. Willem took the initiative to transport the remains of the famous admiral Pedro Luis Brion to Caracas.
Henriëtte de Groot was the son of captain Adriaan Martinus Michiel de Groot, born in Bonaire on December 30, 1808. He was captain on a sailing ship named 'Jane', owned by Cornelis Boyé.
A son of Cornelis was Lodewijk Christoffel Boyé who was a witness at the wedding of Louis Henry and Anna Carolina. (information from Zeebrieven van OAC, September 26, 1851)
Christoffel's grandfather, Ludwig Christoffel Boyé, was born in Gôttingen (Germany) on December 19, 1773. After coming to Curaçao he entered the service of the WIC. He became a cavalryman and subsequently captain-lieutenant of the Indians. In 1816 he was appointed Commander of Aruba, through 1819.
In the 1850s there were many captains who sailed back and forth to Bonaire: among others Barend Dirksz Kock (with the sailing ship 'Union' in 1856), Michiel de Groot (with the ship 'Jane' in 1851), Nicolaas Erasmus de Jongh and Martinus Michiel de Groot ('June' in 1864) and Kasper Pieter Kock ('Diamante' in 1851, of the Jewish proprietor David Abraham Jesurun).
Martinus Michiel de Groot was married to Anna Andrea Kock, daughter of Theunis Dirksz Kock who was Commander of Bonaire. During that same period a ship by the name of 'June' sailed regularly to Bonaire. The captain was Nicolaas de Jongh (zeebrief OAC July 2, 1856).
Nicolaas was born in Bonaire on March 26, 1806. He married Henriëtte Specht. After her death Nicolaas married Barbara Elisabeth Dammers. She died in Bonaire on May 22, 1849.
Nicolaas sailed to Curaçao as captain the island's 'Cargo Hauler'. In 1816 the island had 8 small sailing ships of about fifteen ton; they carried products to and from Curaçao. The captains also sailed to the Aves and Roques islands in order to fish, but also to smuggle.
For example, on July 21, 1864, the same ship 'June' sailed to Curaçao, captained by Michiel de Groot. Bad weather caused the ship to hit the rocks west of Fuik and it sank (zeebrief returned on July 26, 1864, OAC)
A son of Nicolaas Erasmus, François Martinus de Jongh, born in Curaçao on September 20, 1778, was a captain as well. He lived in Bonaire and became involved in an incident. François fell in love with an Indian slave girl and he abducted her. The police picked him up because the owner de Greef had reported it. François paid de Greef 800 guilders for the Indian girl's freedom and he married her; she got the name Regina de Greef and they had eight children in Bonaire
Grandfather Nicolaas Erasmus de Jongh gave a sailing ship the name 'June', after granddaughter June Erasmus de Jongh.
In 1825 François was the captain of a sailing ship by the name of 'De twee zusters' and he regularly sailed to Puerto Cabello and Rio Hacha to conduct business. On January 15, 1824, François was sailing from Curaçao to Bonaire to take inspector Casper Lodewijk van Uytrecht. Van Uytrecht was Collector General and a former member of the Police Counsel; he wanted to report on his findings in Bonaire. It soon became apparent that the ship did not have sufficient ballast to sail against the current and the headwind. The ship drifted westwards, forcing the captain to attempt to cross north of Curaçao. After 48 hours of fruitless efforts, François decided to drop anchor west of Curaçao and to wait till the current had lessened.
They finally reached Daaibooibaai and Van Uytrecht was able to reach Willemstad by land, with nothing to show for his trip to Bonaire.
Later Van Uytrecht viewed Nicolaas de Jongh's garden at Lagoen in Bonaire (now called 'Wachikemba'). Van Uytrecht had much praise for the plantation with its corral that contained almost three hundred sheep.
François had earned sufficient money as a ship's captain to begin a plantation in Zapateer in 1850. He was one of the co-founders, circa 1851, of the Lodge Perfecta Igualdad nr. 10 in Curaçao. Subsequently Francois was also one of the co-founders of the Lodge 'De Harmonie van het Oosten' in Bonaire. François died at the blessed age of 97, on March 5, 1875. One year later, on August 7, 1886, a hurricane passed very close to Curacao. There was great destruction and two fatalities. In 2003 his grave in the Protestant cemetery in Kralendijk was restored.
Louis Henry Snoek decided he had been at sea long enough and he settled as a merchant in Curaçao. He was a witness for the birth of a son of Lorencia Dario Corsica (20) on November 20, 1890. On the birth certificate of John Moses Alexis Corsica, Louis Henry's occupation is listed as merchant. The other witness was Karel Peiliker (23), shopkeeper.
Louis Henry bought and sold just about everything; he regularly attended auctions to obtain good deals. On March 19, 1892, he bought and sold (in an underhanded deal) a large stable; he delivered to merchant Johannes Emanuel Pierre no less than twelve horses and six carriages via notary Jan Hendrik Schotborgh. He made an arrangement to have Pierre pay him 4,000 guilders within four years, with10 percent interest per year. Johannes Emanuel was a member of Igualdad from the year 1871. His brother, Willem Frederik Pierre, worked in agriculture. When the slaves were emancipated the brothers received a sum of 5,800 guilders from the government (see Krafft, page 358).
On April 8 Snoek sold (underhand) to John Peiliker, a son of Pieter Peiliker, a large share of the furniture etc. of Hotel Brion at Brionplein. Louis Henry delivered an impressive list. He was a merchant but also a banker of sorts. Beautiful antique cabinets, tables and chairs he kept for himself. He had excellent taste. He was primarily interested in items built by Curaçaoan furniture builders. He was acquainted with the family Chapman: William Paul (1898 - 1880) who had a shop in Consciëntiesteeg, and William Jr. Tiburcio (1831 - 1926).
William Paul, also known as William Paulus, was a cabinetmaker by trade and the family lived in Sebastopolstraat nr. 9. He was married to Ann Margaritha de Lima, a daughter of Isaac Abinum de Lima. In an advertisement in the July 22, 1865, issue of the Curaçaosche Courant, one can read that 'he requests everyone not throw garbage at 'Rootje', between the carpentry shop and the waterway. ' Rootje was evidently an area near the Chapmans' house at Sebastopolstraat 9. Owned by Phillip de Haseth Chapman (1895 - 1977), this was purchased in 1958 by the Curaçao insular government, and various houses were torn down in order to make space for a small plaza and a bus station.
The first Chapman in Curaçao was Henry Chapman, born circa 1780; he settled on the island during the period of English rule (1807 - 1816). William Tiburco Jr. was married to Rosa Domitilia de Lima. Her father, Genereus Jacob Richard de Lima (1811 - 1878), was a well-known ship's captain, as well as a ship owner and merchant. His father, Isaac Albinum de Lima, was Jewish and his mother, Regina Jesurun, was of mixed blood. In the 'Societeit de Gezelligheid' he was called Shon Genereus. William Jr. became Genereus' partner in the firm G. J. R. de Lima & Co. William Chapman 'Wiwi' inherited from his father-in-law four buildings at the Brionplein (nrs. 226, 228, 229 and 230). These houses were rented out to three hotels: 'Curaçaosche Hotel', 'Amicitia' and Hotel Brion.
On February 20, 1893, (reg. member 254) Louis Henry (28) became a member of the Lodge Igualdad. His brother, John Wilhelm Snoek, had been a Freemason for some time. He became a member of the Igualdad on July18, 1891 (from register member 246). When John Snoek joined the Igualdad nr. 653 E.C., the Lodge had not more than 30 members. Ten years earlier there were only 20 members, but through a campaign to solicit members in 1890, various young members joined up, such as the dentist Gustavo A. Nouel (22) who was living in the Breedestraat; John Ecker (36), a bookkeeper from Panama; the printer Benjamin Veeris (28); and the dentist E. Pinedo (21).
One of the founders of Igualdad was Genereus de Lima. On August 13, 1866, Genereus was a member of the committee of the 'Universelle' cemetery situated at the Roodeweg. For meetings the two brothers initially utilized the building in the Frederikstraat. In 1892 the Lodge 'Acacia' nr. 35 received a gift consisting of swords, silver candelabras, furniture and various necessities.
Some years later, under the Igualdad chairmanship of Henry Pietersz, the building was sold to Jan Frederik Gorsira for the sum of 10,000 guilders. The executive committee decided to purchase another building, located in the Gravenstraat. While this building was being renewed, Lodge 'De Vergenoeging' gave permission to hold meetings in their building. On December 22, 1894, at seven o'clock in the evening, the renewed building in Gravenstraat was officially inaugurated. A military band conducted by Thomas S. Pietersz provided the music.
One year later, in 1896, Louis Henry applied for permission to open a hotel 'Gran Hotel' in Scharloo; however, this was not granted.
The Lodge Igualdad in the Frederikstraat installed a 'water meter' in order to control the sale of fresh water from a cistern. The members wanted to sell the water. Ten percent of the yield was for the Lodge. A foreign Freemason, a physician, considered it was an excellent idea since everyone needed two cans of water to bathe and thus prevent disease.
Louis Henry also dealt in Otrobanda real estate. He bought and sold houses as well as land at various public auctions. For most transactions he used 'notaris' Cornelis Gorsira (in the Breedestraat: acts nrs. 40, 42 and 44 and in the Consciëntiesteeg: acts nrs. 127, 131, 145, 152 and 153). He had various 'neighbors' among whom: Maria Isabella Touro, Jaco Cohen, Jan Martin Ellis, Rigobertus Boom, Johannes Daal, Francisco Abdries, Cornelis and Anthony Raven, Isaac Gaatman, R. D. Schoonnnenwolff, C. R. Vaerst, Mathilda Elisabeth de Windt, the widow A. Bonart, Anna Maria Morales, and Constancia Schotborgh.
Louis Henry bought also from Gerard de Haseth Daal (June 12, 1894) a parcel of land with a house at the north side of Breedestraat. He paid a sum of 5,400 guilders. One year later, on July 3, 1895, he bought at public auction two houses including land in the Consciëntiesteeg at the western side (in the direction of the harbor) in the 'fifth neighborhood' with street numbers 336 and 346. In act nr. 153 the description read 'a parcel of land consisting of one house, gallery, front room, kitchen and a small room, also a small yard in which an oven (no longer existing) and a well with brackish water'. His neighbors on the Breedestraat were: Pieter Clarenberg, Jurriaan Crisson, Salomon Bulté (a lawyer at the College of Commerce and Maritime Affairs) who lived initially in Winkelsteeg 10-11 in Otrobanda. The house was built in the eighteenth century. In 1809 he sold the house to Petronella Duyckink, a brother of Gerard Duyckink. After the death of Petronella Duyckink, the owner became Roelof Dirk Schoonewolff at a public sale in 1837.
'Ice Cream Saloon'
Louis Henry then opened an 'Ice Cream Saloon' next to the 'Hotel Americano' and across from the music kiosk 'Wilhelmina' on the Brionplein. In a booklet written by Henry A. Leyba on the occasion of the crowning of Queen Wilhelmina (August 31, 1898) one reads among others: 'Ice Cream Saloon de L. H. Snoek, Helados, Cerveza fria, Refrescos i Cigarillos. Frente al kiosko de Otrobanda'.
Around 1920 the kiosk was moved in the direction of West End, across from, St. Martinus Gesticht. Louis Henry renamed his business 'Summer Garden'. In addition to ice cream he sold lemonade, beer and cigarettes. In the afternoon, especially during the weekend, children as well as adults came to enjoy some ice cream or sip a cool drink. 'Summer Garden' was a beautiful small building with a special gable and a pointy roof. In 1905, after the death of Louis Henry Sboek, Alberto Badaracco opened the Hotel Americano and took over the 'Ice Cream Saloon'.
The successful businessman Louis Henry and his wife Anna Carolina had two sons: Michael Levi Henry Snoek and John Jozef Marie Snoek. Louis Henry had hoped that the eldest son would become his heir, but sadly Michael died when he was only 14 years old, on September 10, 1900. His brother John and his friends Kai Peiliker and the family Penso (John Peiliker was married to Julia Penso) and other families attended the funeral. Kai (Karel Wilhelm Peiliker) was a member of the Igualdad Lodge (nr. 250) inducted on May 12, 1894.
Michael was buried in the Protestant cemetery and Louis Henry made arrangements for two burial plots (crypts, cellars?), nr. K 154. Just one year later, Anna Carolina first died (March 28, 1901) and two months later Louis Henry Snoek (May 25, 1901) at the age of 35. He was buried in another plot, nr. K 154, in the Protestant cemetery. In the registry of graves of the VPG (United Protestant Community) it is recorded that Louis was a sailor, with the additional note: 'from Alphen'.
The other son, John Jozef Marie Snoek, was born on October 15, 1898, and baptized on March 27, 1899. His godfather and godmother were Aurelio Bouwmeester and Julia Boom. After the death of his parents, John Jozef received a savings account at the 'Curaçaosche Hypotheek en Beleenbank'. He was only 3 years old; from 1902 the interest was added yearly in the account by his grandmother Elisabeth Snoek - Bos. In 1907 the balance was F. 1,066 and the interest was F. 142.34.
When John Marie was 19 he decided to go to sea.. He traveled to New York and arrived on September 30, 1918, at the Marine Harbor in Brooklyn. On October 15 he signed on the ship 'Coamo' that was bound for Puerto Rico. The 'Coamo' was a ship of 4,275 gross tonnage, measuring 385 by 46 feet and sailed at the speed of 14 knots. The ship was built in Scotland in 1891; she sailed under the British flag and was initially called 'State of California' - later just 'California'. In 1900 the ship went to ground near Portland; after being tugged free it was repaired and later sold to the New York & Porto Rico Steamship Company. It then sailed under the American flag and was renamed 'Coamo' a town in Puerto Rico. In 1925 the ship was sold as scrap iron.
On April 6, 1919, in New York, John M. (22) signed on the ship 'Maracaibo' of the Red D. Line; it sailed the route New York - Mayaguez Pt. Rico - Maracaibo - Curaçao - New York. Thus John M. had the opportunity to visit his grandmother Elisabeth during a very short stopover in the harbor of Willemstad. A year later he sailed on the ship 'Santa Maria' and arrived on September 30, 1920, and on July 28, 1921,from Kingston Hilton. Finally, John M. sailed on a new, large ship the 'Orizaba', a 'Mail Steamship' that sailed back and forth between New York and Havana.
The 'Orizaba' had a capacity of 7,586 tons and was 444 feet long, 60 feet wide. It had steam turbines and double propellers. It sailed at the speed of 17 knots and could carry 430 passengers (360 in in first class, 60 in second class and 63 in third class). The 'Orizaba' was owned by the 'Ward Line' that owned the popular twin ship the 'Siboney'. In 1924 the 'Orizaba' was transformed into an 'American Hotel' with a large lounge, expensive floor coverings, antique furniture and real palm trees. On January 30, 1923, John M. Snoek was a 'mess boy' on the 'Orizaba'. According to the manifest, he was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 135 pounds. (List of manifest of Aliens U. S. Department of emigration service)
There were several colleagues from Curaçao on board, among others Henrique Pietersz, Albert Rosario, Aldolphe Henriquz (25), Miguel Kroon (19) and Antonio Wagner.
During the Second World War the 'Orizaba' was converted into a warship (1941). Finally, in 1945, the ship was sold to the Brazilian Marine; one year later it caught on fire near the Brazilian coast. It was repaired but later sold as scrap iron.
Steward John Snoek
John Wilhelm Snoek, the youngest son of Levie Snoek and Elizabeth Bos, also wanted to go to sea. It was in his blood. At the tender age of 16 he decided to go to sea. At first he made small trips within the Caribbean area. Later he became a steward (in charge of meals and the cabins of a ship) on the board the sail/steamboat the S.S. 'Philadelphia' of the 'Red D Line that sailed from America (New York) to La Guaira and Puerto Cabello. The 'Red D Line' delivered freight as well as mail. It carried a small number of passengers, mostly businessmen, among which Dutchmen from Curaçao and an occasional American. John had his own little office on the 'Philadelphia' where he did his administrative work.
The Philadelphia's schedule didn't allow Jophn Snoek much time to visit his family in Curaçao.
He left New York on March 7, 1889, and arrived in Curaçao on March 14. One day later the ship left for Puerto Cabello and on March 16 for La Guaira. Already the next day, the ship left for New York where it arrived on March 24. The return voyage from New York to Curaçao began on March 26 and arrived on the island on April 2. The 'Curaçaosche Courant' of May 31, 1889, announced that the Philadelphia had been built 'specifically in the city of Philadelphia with comfortable passenger cabins'. The American Hopkins was captain of the ship.
Agent of the 'Red D Line' was Rivas Fehnson & Co with an office at the Rouvilleweg 38 - 41, at the Matheywerf The Matheywerf was owned by Anthony Mattey since 1823. Mordechai Salomon 'Guigi' Maduro (born October 30, 1851) became executive director of Maduro & Sons. Guigi and his wife, Emma Lopez Penha, were good acquaintances of Levi Heijmans. Moises and Emma were married on June 16, 1880. Guigi Maduro died on September 15, 1918, on board the S.S. Philadelphia.
John had just started a job on a ship when, on July 5, 1884, he witnessed a serious accident in the harbor of St. Annabaai. John was close by when he heard a deafening noise. It turned out that the German steamship 'Thurginia' had sailed into the harbor and had rammed the S.S. 'Mediator' at great speed. The 'Mediator' under command of captain Robert Ellis had just arrived from India with a cargo of piece goods bound for the West Indies. The route was via Barbados, Trinidad, La Guaira and Porto Cabello. After a wrong maneuver, the German ship 'Mediator' proceeded to starboard and sank. The 'Thurginia' did not suffer appreciable damage. The crew was assisted by some workmen in unloading the cargo and bringing it to shore. Large waves streamed into the ship through a hole 8 feet long and 3 feet wide, and at four-thirty in the afternoon the 'Mediator' sank. John and his older brother Louis Henry described to their father Levie Heijman what had happened; the disaster made a deep impression on mother Elizabeth.
Subsequently, John made many trips through America. He acquired many American acquaintances. He called himself 'John William' at that time and this became his permanent name. One of the acquaintances was the well-known Leonard Burlington Smith, who had been a sailor himself. He was born in the little town of Mill Creek in Massachusetts. At the age of 20 he was already a captain of a ship that sailed from Boston to the Mediterranean, Africa and also the West Indies. On one of his voyages he came to know Curaçao and immediately fell in love with the beautiful harbor and the friendly inhabitants of Willemstad. So he decided to stay. Using his technical skills he started a company that manufactured blocks of ice.
On March 9, 1886, he made a request to the Colonial Counsel and to Governor Nicolaas van de Brandhof to obtain a concession for building the first pontoon bridge in Curaçao; this was granted. Subsequently he also received concessions for electricity and the distillation of water. Additionally, he became the American consul while working for S. E. L. Maduro & Sons.
In the meantime, in 1880, Gustaaf Hellmund introduced a plan to have two ferryboats going between Punda and Otrobanda. In 1882 the 'Amsterdamse N.V. Maatschappij tot exploitatie Haven- en Brugdienst ' was established (Amsterdam company to execute the harbor and bridge service).
In October 1882, the two steamboats arrived, complete with first and a second class, and different compartments for 'ladies' and 'gentlemen'.
On July 5, 1888, Governor Van den Brandhof appointed a commission consisting of three persons: the Harbormaster, the head of Constructions and the commandant of the Garrison's Artillery. They had calculated that constructing a pontoon bridge across the Annabaai would be a remunerative project. They estimated that daily about 7,000 people would walk across. Construction began at the Otrobanda side. The pontoons wee built in Camden, Maine (USA); along with the motors and accessories they were brought to Curaçao by means of sailing ships. On April 8, 1888, Smith wrote a letter to the Governor stating that the bridge was ready for the first inspection. He proposed to have the bridge named the 'Alliance', because it united Otrobanda and Punda. However, the Governor decided otherwise; the bridge would have the name of 'Queen Emma of the Netherlands'.
On May 8, 1888, the bridge was to open, with addresses by the Colonial Counsel and, of course, the Governor. However, the Governor was ill. So the honor fell to (Sol) Cohen Henriquez, vice-chairman of the Colonial Counsel.
Captain Leonard Smith had organized a committee for the festivities, consisting of Jan Beaujon of the Court of Justice, the Harbormaster Petrus de Gorter, Alejandro (Chandi) de Pool and Mark Calish. After numerous speeches and a reception at the office of the Harbormaster, the public finally had the opportunity to walk over the bridge; from Punda to Otrobanda and vice versa. Military personnel were in charge of controlling the public; it was feared that the bridge might not hold the great number of people, but everything went fine.
Leonard had decided that the first three days there would be no charge to use the bridge. After that, there was a toll: 2 cents to walk across. There was no charge for poor people or persons not wearing shoes. Some jokers hid their shoes in order to get away with not paying.
Leonard Smith was an enterprising man. He took the initiative to organize electrical light instead of gas in Otrobanda as well as Punda. He also had a company that manufactures ice at the Rif and a charcoal depot near the wharf. Later he started with a waterworks company.
On a tract of land near Plantersrust, Smith dug a number of wells and installed some windmills. A reservoir of 360 cubic meters was filled with water that was conveyed to house in town. The depth of the wells was about 150 meters below sea level. The pressure was sufficient to bring the water to all stories of the houses. The quantity was sufficient, but eventually the water became brackish and unsuitable of human consumption, only for bathing and washing clothes. Rainwater was quite expensive: 30 to 35 cents for a (large) can. Water was sold door to door in a large barrel pulled by a donkey. Poor people still drank the brackish water, which was a health hazard. Most plantations brought water to town in large galleys ('aleafates'); a donkey could carry two at the same time. Located north-east side of the Schottegat were the water plantations: De Hoop, Valentijn, Asiento and Groot Kwartier. The water was transported by means of canoes or pontoons. The plantations had cement chutes through which the water flowed, drawn out of the well by means of a hand-driven water wheel.. The water flowed through the chutes to the shore of the Schottegat, to the waiting canoes and pontoons.
Around 1873 the plantation owners demanded 50 cents, sometimes 75 cents for a 'boco' (vat) and transportation to town cost F. 1.20.
John Snoek was not present at the opening of the Great Bridge on May 8 and so he did not participate in the celebrations; he was on the way, on the ship the Philadelphia of the 'Red D Line'. After having been for a week in Curaçao, he walked for the first time across the bridge, from Otrobanda to Punda.
John personally knew James Reith, a Scottish businessman who regularly sailed between Maracaibo and Curaçao. He married a Venezuelan woman by the name of Maria del Rosario. In 1887 they bought a house from the widow Johanna de Rochemont Jutting. Her husband, Jan Ernst van der Meulen, had bestowed the land situated at the Wetwerf to his son Jan Willem van der Meulen. James Reith paid the considerable price of 16,500 guilders for the house. One year later James Reith bought some land abutting the back of his tract (now Hoogstraat 10 -12).
He added a story on top of one of the annexes with a high observation post on the western side. This gave the captain an excellent view of the sea and he was able to see ships entering the St. Annabaai. Reith died in 1903; he was buried in the Protestant cemetery at the Roodeweg, in a grave enhanced with an obelisk of pink-colored granite bearing his name.
Before the death of James Reith there were often parties in the Hoogstraat. There was abundant cold beer from the 'Red D Line'. After the death of captain James, his beloved wife was allowed to continue living in the house with all the furniture and other contents. On the western side there was a coach-house with horse stables and some of annexes.
John regularly met Leonard Smth in Otrobanda where they lived not too far from each other. John grew up in the house at Langestraat. Before leaving on one of his voyages on the S. S. Philadelphia, he had a photograph made by the famous photographers Felix Roberto Soublette. Roberto was born on October 9, 1816, and eventually entered military service at the Garrison. His father was Anthonie Soublette, married to Maria Johanna Voss. Felix was also a sailor and thus he knew John well. The photographer had his studio 'La Fotografia Cosmopolitana' at the waterside (now Rouvillweg). The building was torn down to make space for a new police bureau. This building was also later razed. Despite their French name, father and son were of Venezuelan extraction. They were probably related to general Soublette who fought alongside Simon Bolivar during Venezuela's war of independence. John's wife, Henriëtte De Vriendt, later received a beautiful photograph made by Soublette. The picture shows John Snoek with an elegant mustache, wearing his beautiful steward's uniform. On September 1, 1887, Soublette closed his studio.
John Snoek was a good friend of Karel Wilhelm Peiliker. 'Kai' was a resourceful businessman. He sold musical organs, among other.. In those days, organs were much in fashion, especially at parties. 'Kai' was the son of Pieter Peiliker and his wife Jeanette Bos. Pieter was the brother-in-law of Heijman Levi Snoek. 'Kai' was an active, loud man, but he could also be serious, at funerals for example. He was a 'reader' at the reformed Protestant church and ensured that death certificates were presented at the population center. At a certain moment during a funeral, 'Kai' Peiliker would announce loudly: 'Gentlemen, family, friends and acquaintances are courteously requested to proceed behind the deceased'. After which he led the mournful procession to the cemetery.
Circa 1908 Kai Peiliker moved to Aruba. A picture shows him as a football player: a tall, skinny fellow wearing a cap. He was on the first team of the Aruba Football Club.
At a soiree at the Brionplein John Wilhelm Snoek made the acquaintance of Henriëtte Elisabeth DeVriendt. He told her about his adventures at sea and his travels to far-off America, and that he was always happy to return. He continued to consider Curaçao an ideal place with a very nice climate, when compared to cold America. He compared quiet, small Curaçao with the bustle of large cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
When he was not at sea, he went to the Freemason's lodge on Saturday evenings. He had very long conversations with his 'brothers' at the Lodge Igualdad, among them the Chapmans, De Jonghs, Nouels, Peilikers and Prince. And also with Jewish 'Hazzam' Moise Leao Laguna (born in Amsterdam in 1840) who arrived in Curaçao in June 1884. He became a teacher and co-director of the Colegio Baralt, a school for boys. He wrote a catechism in the Dutch language and in Spanish, but it remained a manuscript. He worked in Curaçao till his death in 1917.
Henriëtte in turn told that she was Protestant and that she went to kèrki (church) every Sunday. She hardly knew her parents because father Charles Louis DeVriendt died when she was one year old and Mother Sophia died five years later. As an orphan, Henriëtte grew up with her guardian 'Wewe' Johannes Jolley. His father, James Jolley, became the supervisory guardian with his wife Adriana Rosina van Hall. At that time they lived at the Roodeweg in Otrobanda.
The family DeVriendt came from West Flanders. The first DeVriendt in Curaçao was Carolus Ludovicus DeVriendt (Charles Louis), baptized on December 8, 1818. He served in the Belgian army and fleed from Belgium to Holland. His parents were Franciscus Josephus DeVriendt (born circa 1793) and Coleta Verhelst. Franciscus was a goldsmith in the little village Diksmuide located near Ieper.
Franciscus regularly read the Brugge Gazette and as a young man he witnessed the execution in Ieper (1812) of Jacques Deckmyn. This 45-year-old man, born in Roubais, was a peddler; he was accused of arson during the night of April 15 to 16, in Oostnieuwkerke. He was sentenced to death on September 11 and was executed on February 6, 1813, in a public place in Ieper. A guillotine was brought Brussels for the execution. During the period of 1811 to 1867 there were 284 death sentences, 8 by guillotine.
In view of the poor economic and political circumstances in the 1840s, the 26-year-old Carolus Ludovicus decided to flee to Northern Holland. In 1845 he went to Breskens in Zeeland and signed up at the 'Colonial Depot' for duty in the West Indies. A few months later (July 16) he arrived in Curaçao on board of a transport ship. He was incorporated in the artillery in the Garrison. Shortly thereafter he was transferred to the 'Jagers' and the Garrison's music corps.
At the age of thirty he married Cornelia Nicolina van Hall (19) a daughter of Joannis Baptista van Hall and Petronalla Borgstrom. Joannis van Hall was a Belgian as well. He originally came from the small village of Kalmhout, near Antwerp; he became a fisherman in Vlissingen. He departed for Curaçao as a cadet. The first son of Ludovicus was Charles deVriendt (20). He became a brigadier with the 'Marechaussees'. On February 3, 1867, he married Sophia Hasselmeijer (18). Witnesses at the wedding were James Jolley, a good comrade in arms of Charles and Josephina Henriëtte Vliers. Witnesses for the bride were Christiaan Frederik Garmers and Johanna Pieternella Boom.
Charles and Sophia's first baby was born on July 23, 1868; they called him Charles Dirk. He died six months later, however. On February 13, 1868, father Ludovicus died. He was Catholic and his funeral included a service in the Santa Anna church in Breedestraat. He was buried in the Catholic cemetery at the Roodeweg. (information obtained from the funeral registers of the St. Anna church)
The parents of Sophia were Carl Dirck Hasselmeijer and Henriëtte Elisabeth Dam. The first Hasselmeijer in Curaçao was Christoffel Hasselmeijer. He came as a serviceman from Kunnen, a small peninsula near the border between Denmark and Germany; he married Anna Frederika Abel (born October 6, 1787). Her father, Jacob Frederich Abel (born circa 1760) was married to Anna Elisabeth Werner. The grandfather of Anna Elisabeth, Johannes Willem Werner (circa 1730) came from the town of Halle in the German province Saksen. Jacob Friederich Abel and Friederick Werner were not only brothers-in-law and great friends, but also colleagues: both were gold- and silversmiths. The Hasselmeijers, Abels and Werner were of the Lutheran religion.
Christoffel Hasselmeijer was the signal master of the Garrison. In 1809 he bought a house from Jan Hendrik Rhode at Vianen (Pietermaai). The house had three rooms, a kitchen, a patio and a brackish well. Christoffel died suddenly while working at his signal post at Oostpunt.
John Snoek and Henriëtte Elisabeth DeVriendt were married at the kranshi (population center) in Willemstad on January 25, 1893, at eleven o'clock in the morning. Witnesses were John's brother Louis Henry Snoek and his mother Elizabeth Bos-Snoek, James Jolley as supervisory guardian, Richard Joseph Hoyer (49), merchant, George August Laan Ferguson (68), professional Health Officer in the Garrison, and Manuel Penso Curiel (61), merchant.
At that time, the legal guardian of Elisabeth DeVriendt, Willem 'Wewe' Jolley (24), lived in Santa Barbara, Maracaibo. He was required to give his signed permission for Elisabeth's wedding because she was a minor. On December 15, 1892, he wrote a letter in Spanish for the municipal secretary Rafael Gallegos Celis, with the necessary information about Elisabeth and her prospective husband John Wilhelm Snoek. The Dutch vice-consul in Maracaibo, M. D. C. Gomez then certified Rafael Gallegos' declaration.
The marriage was performed in the Fort church by minister D. H. Snel in the presence of John's brother, Louis Henry, and his wife Carolina de Groot. Also present were John's best friends and acquaintances of Henriëtte Elisabeth. On December 2, 1895, the couple had a daughter Sophia Adriana, named after her stepdaughter Adriana Rosina van Hall. She was baptized a year and a half later (March 19, 1896). Godparents were James Jolley and his wife Aadriana van Hall. Adriana Rosina was born on August 16, 1836. On June 17, 1857, Adriana (20) married James Jolley (25). James was a musician with the Jagers in the Garrison. He came originally from St. Christopher (St. Kitts); his parents were James William Jolley and Anna Kung. James and Adriana were not yet married when they had a son, Willem Johannes Jolley. When Willem was 20 years old when he signed on with the Schutterij. He met Zephier Fraai and in 1874 they had a son, Willem Hans Jolley.
In 1885 Willem (23) became a sergeant in the Schutterij and with Jan Monsanto sold 'Victoria Water' imported from Germany. At that time, there was a Schutter Counsel composed as follows: S. Senior (captain), H. Gerlein (1st lieutenant), Richard Joseph Hoyer (2nd lieutenant), Johan Julian Ecker (sergeant major), A.J. Brouwer (sergeant), J. W. van der Meulen (corporal) and W. de Jongh, Leon Leyba and Henry Hypolite Richard Chapman (schutters).
(Curaçaosche Courant, December 13. 1882)
Willem 'Wewe' Jolley continued to be a family friend of the family Snoek. He was the flautist in a musical trio, with Jacob van Kleunen (clarinet) and Gabriel. Jacob van Kleunen (born 1794 in Borsselen) arrived as a soldier in 1815 on the HMS brig the 'Valk' and served in the Garrison. His son, Willem Hans Jolley, become an employee of the Arend (Eagle) Oil Company in Aruba. On December 22, 1928, he married Bertha Casilda Kuiperi. In 1937 Hans founded the Sociedad Bolivariana that opened its building on December 17. The Centro Bolivariana in Caracas sponsored the building with a donation of 20,000 bolivars. There is a picture showing Hans and Cai Winkel who was then president of the Sociedad. Later Willem Hans negotiated with tax functionaries and businessmen from Ecuador and from Panama. In the thirties he was vice-president of Banco Arias Ferraud.
In February 19, 1938, the couple moved to Curaçao and went to live in Trapsteeg nr. 23 in Otrobanda. Willem Hans died in 1945 either in Curaçao or in Cuba; his widow died two years later in Havana, Cuba.
On April 8, 1899, Henriëtte Elisabeth Snoek was born; she died the same day. The baby was buried in the Protestant cemetery (Kinderkerkhhof, number 63). The 67-year-old James Jolley gave official notice of the death at the population center. Henry Louis (Dei), the first son of John Snoek and Henriëtte, was born on October 27, 1900. One year and a half later, on May 18, 1902, Dei and Fichi also had a sister: Henriëtte Rosina Snoek. It was a nice little family, with father John now working as a businessman with more time at home. He and his wife Henriëtte Elisabeth really enjoyed the children. Henry Louis was given the name of his brother Louis Henry.
On March 5, 1900, John bought a house from retired hospital-master James Jolley. The house, bought for 400 guilders, was situated at the end of Conscientiesteeg (nr. 144) at the Makaya. It was a very unimpressive small house, bought for his first child Adriana Sophia Elisabeth Snoek who was five years old at the time. His wife was expecting their second child.
Two months later John observed the celebration about the official unveiling of a statue of Queen Wilhelmina in Wilhelminapark in Pietermaai. Governor Charles Barge held a speech concerning the situation in Curaçao. He spoke about the declining business and shipping, the drought and unsuccessful crops; also about the uncertain political situation in surrounding republics, such as Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. According to Barge, there were no bright spots that might indicate a favorable turn.
On February 19, 1901, Curaçao was visited by the German luxury yacht, 'PrinzessinVictoria Louise'; it was making a cruise from New York , carrying 200 passengers. The passengers were able to ride around the island in 4-passenger carriages. This cost two dollars per hour. With the addition of a guise, this cost five dollars per day. A tourist attraction was the plantation Hato with its cave, where the owners personally led guests around.
Another possibility was to go hunting for a full day on plantation Groot St. Joris. Additional attractions included various hospitals (!), institutes at Welgelegen, St. Thomas College at the Roodeweg. The Jewish cemetery Beth Haim and the technical school at Santa Rosa. (Olie als water: Dr. Jaap van Soest. Curaçao, 1976 page 48)
Willem Johan (46), son of James Jolley died quite suddenly on March 14. He was married to Maria Wilhelmina de Jongh; they had a daughter Helena Adriana, born on January 28, 1884. A witness at the death of Willem Jolley was Gustaaf Adolf Schrils (49), retired military, married to Amelia Carolina Peiliker.
Just two months later Louis Henry Snoek died. It was a truly catastrophic year, because on January 9, 1901, Henriëtte de Groot, wife of Louis Henry, died. He was buried with his son Michel Levie in grave number 134 in the Protestant cemetery at the Roodeweg. In the register of graves of the VPG, there was a note with 'communicable disease' and the name 'from Alphen'.
Apparently there was an epidemic, because one month after the birth of Henriëtte Rosalina, her father, John Snoek, died (June 16, 1903). He had recently read that during the eruption of Mont Pelée ('Pealed Mountain') on the island of Martinique a terrible catastrophe had taken place. There were at least 30,000 fatalities and the entire capital of St. Pierre was covered by a thick layer of deadly ash. The sudden eruption of the volcano had taken the population completely by surprise. People suffocated because of the poisonous sulphurous gasses and were burned by the hot lava that streamed from the mountain down to the sea. The event made a great impression on John Snoek. He had not been sailing for some time and his health had deteriorated considerably.
John (34) died in the afternoon of June 16. The funeral procession began from his house; the families DeVriendt and John's friends were present. According to tradition, four Masons guarded the open casket. The death notice at the kranshi was delivered by two of John's friends, Kai Peiliker and sergeant Willem de Vroede. The evening before the internment there was a wake. The men wore black suits and black neckties and the women wore black or white dresses, their head covered by a white head cloth. The men sat and whispered in the garden and on the stoop, out of respect for the deceased. They drank black coffee served in small cups and the men ate burned peanuts. The liquor was served later at night, usually till the very late hours.
John Snoek was buried the next afternoon in grave nr. 154 at the Protestant cemetery; it had originally been reserved for his brother Louis Henry and his wife Carolina de Groot, but was used for their son Michael Levie Henry Snoek who died on September 10, 1900. It was now also used for John Snoek. Carolina and Louis Henry died within two months of each other in 1901 and they were buried in another grave.
On December 12, 1902, widow Henriëtte Elizabeth DeVriendt Snoek bought a mansion at Breedestraat nr. 318 (now Roodeweg nr.11) for the sum of 5,000 guilders. The house stood next to a street that led to Rifwater near the St. Elisabeth Hospital. Early in the twentieth century the street was called 'Hanchi di Kanchi' (Lace Alley); now it's called the St. Thomasstraat, after the St. Thomas College.
Henriëtte bought the house from her 'step-grandfather' who at the time was a well-known businessman. Jolley paid for all costs, including the mortgage,
In that house the family Snoek lived, with the small children Adrian Sophia (Fichi), Henry Louis (Dei) and Henriëtte Rosina (Jèchi). The location of the house was described as 'somewhat toward outside of town, north of Roodeweg, east of a street without name that led to the Rifwater, south of the cemetery pertaining to the Family Raven and west of a beautiful wall. The family Jolley owned more houses in Otrobanda; for example, Wewe Jolley had a house at Frederikstraat 123 and there he also had his office where he conducted business involving various agencies.
The deed (nr. 1305) by notaris Cornelis Gorsira was signed by James Jolley, Henriëtte Elisabeth Snoek- DeVriendt, witnesses Johannes Petrus Gerardus Ecker (bookkeeper) and Wenceslao Simon Pillip (Shon Fifi) de Jongh (businessman). Ecker and De Jongh were both members of the Lodge Igualdad. Ecker was, among others, member of the committee for thecelebration of the 25th anniversary of the slave emancipation. In 1920 he owned a bus company (Joh. Hartog, part II Curaçao, page 945).
On January 4, 1905, both Henriëtte Rosina and Henry Louis Snoek were baptized in their parents' home. They were 2.5 and 5 years old, respectively. The reformed minister came from Bonaire. Godparents were Theophilo Penso and Ana Schrils-Peiliker. Also present were Johan Schrils and grandmother Elizabeth Snoek-Bos who by then was 75 years old. Adriana Sophia had previously been baptized. Seven years later, on August 18, 1912, Elizabeth Snoek-Bos died at the blessed age of 82. She was the widow of Heijman Levie Snoek. She was buried in the Protestant cemetery at the Roodeweg, in a grave of the family Peiliker (number R191).
In the grave register it is noted that the church had paid for Elizabeth's funeral, since she was 'bedeeld', i.e. indigent.
For the funeral, Henriëtte Elizabeth (Frou), the widow of Johan Wilhelm Snoek were present at home; also the children Adriana Sophia, Henry Louis and Henriëtte Rosina. There were many acquaintances who came to bid the deceased farewell.
A nervous bride
On December 28, 1912, Adriana Sophia (17) married Carlos Alfredo Rincón Nebott (26), a businessman from Maracaibo. He was born on February 19, 1886, son of Alberto Rincón and Otilia Nebott.
At the official engagement the bride was so nervous that she became ill and was unable to go to kranshi (population center). Mother Henriëtte declared at the Town Hall that she was officially giving her permission for the marriage. (John was no longer living.)
The marriage was officially consolidated in the presence of the then 80-year-old James Jolley, retired 'hospital master'. Witnesses were the bookkeeper Willem Adrianus Romein (27), the painter Anthony Eustachio Vinck (32) and the pharmacist Sabio Silvestre de Lannoy (36). The wedding took place at home at Roodeweg 11.
James Jolley (86) died on May 22, 1919 at 2:15. The death certificate was signed by undertaker's assistant Andries Frederik Wansing (35). Andries had arrived on the island as a sailor; he had a younger brother, Willem frederik Wansing. Andries and Willem were witnesses at the death of Wilhelmina de Jongh (62) on June 16, 1910; they were evidently good friends of the family Jolley. James Jolley's wife Adriana Rosina (86) died on August 3, 1922, in Curaçao. The young couple Carlos Rincón and Sophia Snoek remained childless. During all this time they continued to love with the family Snoek at Morgenster. Carlos was a businessman and owned a café and a bar situated nearby; afterwards he became an office clerk. Fichi helped Carlos with his work and did the cooking. Her only sister, Henriëtte 'Jèchi', finished the MULO (high school) ; she was good at office work and got a job with Boekhandel Mensing in Punda.
Henry Louis was not a sailing man. As a child he lived in Otrobanda and never knew his father; he was only 2 years old when John died. He liked to play with his friends in the narrow alleys of Otrobanda and he ran errands in the stores in Breedestraat. Every morning he bought fresh bread from the 'Aurora' bakery of Mau de Jongh. Maurens was first an apprentice baker and then started his own bakery. He was busy early every morning baking all kinds of bread, pastry etc. In front of the bakery was his 'Kitoki' (carriage); in the afternoon when he went riding he wore white trousers, a black jacket and a vest with a gold watch chain. Maurens' father, François de Jongh, came originally from Bonaire; the family later moved to Curaçao. Henry bought ham for sandwiches in the 'tienda' (store) of Shon Ijzick (Isaac): delicious boiled ham and before going home he would buy two-cents-worth of sweets: kokada, kakiña, peperment, etc for his sisters Fichi and Jèchi.
During weekends Henry walked around in the alleys in Otrobanda and he went to Molenplein Nearby, there was a large area , the Kurá di Wewe Lieder, also called Amsterdam. At that time Jan Hueck and his brother Louis ran an open-air movie theater where one could enjoy the music of a kaha di orgel while watching 'Odette' or a picture about Romans. The movie theater did not last long; later houses made of stone or wood were built in the tract.
When Henry went to watch football he walked along the Rifwaterstraat to the Rif stadium over the swaying hanging bridge Kòrta Orea (Adultery) or over the little bridge Kontrami (Meet me). He had played football himself for the club Sparta, but not for very long, because it was kind of a rough sport. He preferred playing music or listening to the Sunday concerts in the music kiosk on the Brionplein, across from the St. Martinus Gesticht a school run by the Catholic Sisters.
Henry was a resourceful man and was able to acquire quite some jobs, but then an economic downturn began in Curaçao. Because of the problems with Venezuela following the overthrow of Antonio Guzmán Blanco's regime, the island lost one of its most important economic underpinnings. Fewer and fewer Venezuelans visited the island, and business and shipping plummeted, causing much unemployment among young men. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, thousands of men left for Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Venezuela. In 1919 an astounding 50% of the local workforce was in foreign countries. Many young men from Curaçao departed to look for a living in Cuba.
Life was hard in Cuba: cutting cane in the hot sun for little pay.
Henry was fortunate, because in 1910 when he was 18, he was hired by the Curaçaosche Petroleum Industrie Maatschappij (C.P.I.M). He began in the electrical power station. On January 15, 1920, he was transferred to the Blikkenfabriek (can manufacturing plant), which was created by Shell for the exportation of oil. Gasoline, petrol, etc. were shipped via de 'lichters' to Bonaire, the Windward Island and other sites in the Caribbean. Henry eventually became manager of the can manufacturing plant.
On January 1, 1936, Dei was promoted to 'local employee' and on January 15, 1945, Dei celebrated his silver anniversary in the plant, in the presence of the all directors and personnel.
Jèchi Snoek made the acquaintance of Willem Hendrikse. He arrived as the first mate on a Dutch ship. In Vlissingen, where he was born, he had been educated at the Zeevaartschool (Nautical College) and he had been sailing on long voyages all over the world, but had also worked as a pilot in the Schelde river. He was a first mate with the Curaçaosche Scheepvaart Maatschappij, the C.S.M. (Curaçao Shipping Company), sailing on board of tankers back and forth between Curaçao and Venezuela.
Willem Hendrikse and Jèchi Snoek were married on January 22, 1927, at in the house in the Langestraat, the home of her mother widow Henriètte Elisabeth Snoek. The marriage was performed by Protestant minister W. H. Eldermans. Witnesses were: Henry de Jongh (sporting goods store), Willem Frederik George Mensing (bookstore), Charles Lorenzo Juliao (who later owned a pharmacy in Aruba) and Jèchi's brother, Henry Louis Snoek (Dei) (employee of the C.P.I.M
In that same year, May 14, 1927, Curaçao received its first direct radio report via short wave. Philips Gloeilampenfabriek (Manufacturer of incandescent light bulbs) in Eindhoven invited the Colonial Minister, Dr. Koningsbergen, Queen Wilhelmina and princess Juliana to address Curaçao and Suriname via radio. The princess thanked the people for their good wishes in connection with her 18th birthday on April 30.
Mr. and Mrs. Hendrikse had six children: Rudolf, Willem, Gerda, Norbert, Elizabeth and Marie Céline. Rudolf died while still a four-day-old baby on February 30, 1930.
Right after they were married, Willem Hendrikse and Jèchi Snoek lived in the house located in the Langestraat with mother/mother-in-law 'Frou' Henriëtte Elizabeth; Sophia (Fichi) and Henry Louis (Dei) lived there as well. After Willem Jr. was born, Willem Hendrikse, who by then was employed as a ship's pilot at Caracasbaai, had a house built at Witteweg nr. 81, on the 'hill' of Otrobamda. The house was large enough so the whole family moved with them.
During the Second World War, Willem decided to become a government employee and he went to work as a bailiff for the income tax department. He was sorry not to be able to sail anymore, but his wife thought the times were too dangerous for that. Because of submarine warfare by the Nazis, several ships had been sunk in the Caribbean basin and many sailors from Curaçao and Bonaire had died when their ships and tankers were destroyed. Near the Rif in Otrobanda a large Norwegian ship had sunk after being torpedoed by the Germans.
Gerda, the first daughter of Jèchi and Willem was born on December 29, 1933. Two days later, on New Years Eve, December 31, 1932, Carlos Rincón came home after a lot of business with his customers. He lay down to rest in his 'hamaka' (hammock). 'Wake me when it's almost New Year,' he said to his wife Fichi and immediately fell asleep. A little before twelve, Fichi went to wake him. She shook him hard to get him to wake up, but he never woke up again.
Willem was much too busy with all the arrangements surrounding the birth of Gerda to go to the kranshi to give official notice of Carlos' death.
The witnesses were Clothilda Janboos (washerwoman) and Gerardus Wanga (policeman). According to the official act, Carlos was an office clerk. After her husband's death, Fichi left the house at Morgenster and went to live in the Langestraat. It was a two-story house in Otrobanda, located next to Trapsteeg, an alley from the Breedestraat.
Sophia (Fichi) usually stayed home. She enjoyed cooking and she walked every morning to the market to buy fresh vegetables, meat or fish. Along the way she would stop to chat with acquaintances in Otrobanda. Back home she spent hours preparing and cooking meals, because everything had to be just right: on a low burner, a pinch of salt, a little bit of pepper, and fish and meat had to be fried at just the right temperature. For Sophia 'Fichi', cooking was a real art.
When she became seriously ill and was in great pain she was hospitalized. She was operated on, but the surgeon said he could not do anything more and he sewed her back up. Fichi lived 30 more years without any health problems!
One warm day, August 22, 1953, Sophia Snoek suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. She had risen early and as usual had gone to the market so as to do the cooking afterwards. However, she complained about a very bad headache. After taking an aspirin she fell asleep in her bedroom. The doctor came and saw immediately that it was hopeless. Late in the afternoon she suddenly opened her eyes, her big intense blue eyes, as if she were seeing the whole world before her. Sophia was buried in the Catholic cemetery at the Roodeweg. She had become Catholic after marrying Carlos Alfredo Rincón who was quite a bit older.
Henry 'Dei' Louis retired in September, 1954. He had worked hard the whole time at the C.P.I.M. in the Blikkenfabriek (can manufacturing plant). Henry Snoek was a man who enjoyed life; he loved music. As a young man he played the kwarta, the mandoline and drums. In a trio with pianist Albert Palm and Wewe Hellburg they played in the 'Recreation Park' at Mundo Nobo. Being a bachelor, he often went out with his best friend, the Dominican Chichi Curiel. Sometimes they took the kwarta or guitar with them to make some music. Chichi had a beautiful voice and he sometimes sang his romantic boleros on the radio station Curom. On holidays they went to 'Casa Dominicana' at the Scharooweg, particularly on Mother's Day. Consul Don Julia Espinal would give a speech about his beloved 'Quisqueya', after which Chichi sang romantic boleros. Finally Rafael Pichardo recited some poems and the sòpi mondongo really tasted great with that. In addition to being a musician, Dei was also an excellent dancer. He told that in the twenties he had been a champion Charleston dancer.
Henry didn't like a lot of noise and bustle. He loved to tell jokes to the children at home and he loved his radio. He listened to boxing matches on American short-wave stations. This was at the time of the legendary Joe Louis.
Henry and Chichi had another good friend in Otrobanda: Ito Mauricio. He owned the car dealership in Breedestraat, Otrobanda and he imported the American beer Pabst. He composed a new national anthem for Curaçao. He sings about the 'pearl' of the Caribbean, 'the picturesque landscape, the hills and valleys, the fruit orchards, flowers and songbirds. This land of eternal sun is arid, but at time rain falls and then everything blooms. Strangers from all parts come here and they never leave; there is trade and industry. Oh Curaçao, when will you remember us who have loved you like a faithful son? God bless our country and give us eternal prosperity'. He was a businessman but a poet as well. Mauricio's business was taken over by his Johnny who later became president of the Chamber of Commerce.
After retiring, Henry got Parkinson's disease. He could hardly use his hands anymore and went to live in an 'old folks apartment' in Zeelandia. The family went to visit him every Sunday. On one of his last days he took out his kwarta and also the new strings from the pocket of his coat that was hanging in the closet. He had always kept them. On February 9, 1973, Henry died in his sleep while napping. He was buried in the Protestant cemetery at the Roodeweg.
'Shon Jèchi', Henriëtte Rosina Snoek, reached the age of 87. Her husband, Willem Hendrikse, died on February 23, 1969. He was buried in the Protestant cemetery at the Roodeweg in Otrobanda, in the same grave as Henriëtte Elisabeth DeVriendt and brother Henry Louis Snoek.
Note: Following the death of 'Shon Jèchi' there were no more members of the Snoek family on the island. There are probably no more relatives in Amsterdam; during the war years Jews were murdered by the Nazis and deported to concentration camps. There were 123 Jews bearing the name Snoek, primarily in Amsterdam, who were murdered; see In Memoriam (Lezecher) database.
John Jozef Snoek, son of Louis Henry Snoek, departed for New York. He had at least one son John Jr. Snoek, born on August 14, 1932, and died in 1969 in New York. It is not know if John Jr. had any next of kin in America.
(see also family tree Snoek.)