kolff: history: geography: 4: 3

kolff family coat of arms

The Youngest Branch at Middelharnis (part 1: 3/4)

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In 1810, to start with the first, he was one of the founders of the Middelharnis-Sommelsdijk department of the MiddelharnisMaatschappij tot Nut van 't Algemeen (Society for Public Welfare), which dated from 1784 and was soon after active all over the country. At this department the atmosphere must have been quite liberal, contrary to other parts in the Netherlands which later so often showed segregation over the denominations. One of the founders and active members was the (Catholic) pastor of Oude Tonge, who immediately suggested to appoint the (Protestant) minister of his village; a suggestion that was accepted without balloting. Adrianus Quirinus became the first treasurer until 1819, the year of his golden wedding jubilee, when he resigned because of old age. He was then appointed honorary member thanks to him "being a model in accuracy and ecellent bookkeeping".

Whether he ever addressed the members, I do not know. He did show his progressiveness by asking in 1812 the medics of his fellowship to check one of his cows, that "was maybe infected by cow pox", this only fourteen years after the publications in England by Edward Jenner on the advantages of vaccination.

Already in the 1770's he had his children treated against smallpox by 'variolation', which shows that he was a man with great confidence in modern science. Three years after Adrianus Quirinus' request to the medics the department of the Maatschappij tot Nut van 't Algemeen ordered 200 leaflets to be handed out across the island. These leaflets treated the on the advantages of vaccination of cows against cow pox. An initiative he must have supported wholeheartedly.
One of his children, Cornelis (CBB XIIIf) (1776-1830), who in 1809 already once leased the patented Bank van Leening at Middelharnis, succeeded him as treasurer. He would keep that function until his death in 1830. As bookkeepers or treasurers, for instance also in the boards of the polders, the Kolffs of Middelharnis enjoyed great confidence. Sometimes one may still hear the description of this branch of the Kolffs of being 'economical', a result of the reputation that started in those years? Cornelis' son Gualtherus Constantinus Marius (CBB XIVi) (1819-1890), "in difficult times always a man of deeds", became treasurer of the Maatschappij tot Nut van 't Algemeen in 1848 and held that position until 1862. Several successors followed but they were not Kolffs. But in 1895 "the department returned to her former love and trusted C. Kolff A.Cz. (CBB XVk) (1860-1923) with the care of the treasury as well as the accounting of the savings bank. 'Young Cor' (G.C.M. was his uncle), who now [1910] has proven, for many years, to give honour to his dynasty to try to be equal in accuracy and policy to the first treasurer." This sound like he still had to wait for the highest honour, but nobody ever questioned his position.
Image: Townhall Middelharnis (presently Rien Poortvliet Museum)