kolff: history: geography: 2: 2

kolff family coat of arms

Three skippers on the river Waal - 1600-1740 (2/3)

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This transaction left them with a debt of 525 guilders, a sum they promised to pay back in five years. This financial obligation did not stop them from buying - in the same year - a houseDe Drie Colven, that is to say: three-quarters of it, in the Steenstraat. The house well-known in the family, with the sign "De Drie Colven". In 1626 they bought a second house at Nijmegen. It is likely that they thanked their fortune for the greater part on the transport of building materials, aspecially tuff, at their own account.
So they were also merchants. In 1628 - and most likely on other occasions as well - Wouter bought from the city of Nijmegen, at the price of 1 guilder a ton, a certain quantity of tuff that came from the ruins of the Ten Hessenberch convent (2). However the year before already shows that he had sailed downstream towards Tiel - along the toll - at least four times with quantities of 80, 100, 60, and again 80 tons of tuff, on his own account. The following year, of which the registers are incomplete, shows him sailing twice along Tiel, one time with 170 tons of tuff (in two ships) and the other time with 160 (in one ship) tons. Of this last account 100 tons were on account of another citizen of Nijmegen. Although many of the registers are lost this pattern seems to continue up to the death of Wouter in 1635.
Upstream he usually did not take much more that some cargo such as cargoes of beer, at times eleven cargoes of rye (these eleven on another persons' account), some cargoes of barley, a few tons of herring and a vat of brandy, all for his own account. The constant factor is the downstream transport of tuff, most likely the greatest profit came from that. (3)

After Wouter died Peterken continued the business. For a number of years she is noted as "the widow of Wouter Colff, citizen(ess) of Nijmegen" in the toll registers of Tiel and Zaltbommel. The transport of stones on her own account remained of great importance; however now they were more bricks and, less in quantity, flagstones (so called "estrikken") and tiles, and they were transported upstream.

Image: The House De Drie Colven at Nijmegen

2. See the booklets, printed by the Kolff Family Association at Tiel, containig the results of research by W. Wynaendts van Resandt, I (1927), 15; II (1928), 10; VII (1932), 2, 3; VIII (1937), 6, 7. (sorry, not translated:) Een kaag moet men zich waarschijnlijk voorstellen als een overnaadse platbodem met een ronde spiegel, één mast en zwaarden, terwijl een karveel groter was, gladboordig was gebouwd, mogelijk een platte spiegel had en meerdere masten zal hebben gehad. De registers gebruiken deze termen echter alsof ze inwisselbaar zijn, zodat men wel concluderen moet, dat voor de tolklerken het scheepstype van geen belang lijkt te zijn geweest.
3. A ton is slightly more than 1.000 kgs (note that a ton of herring only weighs about 100 kgs); when it is cargo it is approx. 2.000 to 2.500 kgs.