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Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

Baron, J.

Who can help; this is a very elusive captain as I have not been able to find a single photo of him although he sailed for a considerable amount of time on the passenger ships.

Please contact me on Captalbert1@aol.com if you have any information or photos.

Captain Jan Baron was born on 21 of October in Kampen, the Netherlands.  As a son of father “Rijk Baron” and mother “Geesje Hoeve”. (a) His father is mentioned as being a skipper. I have not been able to trace his school days yet or with which company he had his cadet ship and then sailed. Which he must have done as he joined Holland America on the 14 October 1890 as a Fourth Officer. Council records indicates that the married on 28 June 1888 with Berber Burghout (aged 24) (a) From the announcement in the newspaper upon his death we know that there were 3 children in the marriage and his wife was still alive when he passed away in 1924.

In February of 1890 year he had obtained his Captains ticket (Class A ticket as it was called then) so he must have been sailing for about 10 years when the made the step. In what capacity we do not know, but in 10 years of sailing he could have made captain/skipper of a sailing ship. So it must have been a special reason that at the age of 30 he joins as 4th. Officer with the company. Then his promotion goes very fast as in 2 years’ time he is chief officer and in 11 years’ time Captain. He had the age and he must have had the experience.

There is also very little information in the archives, so what I know at the moment comes mainly from newspapers. An early entry was for 1903, when the papers advise that the Captain and his ship the Sloterdijk (I) are overdue and missing. But he safely arrives eventually. This was voyage 7 of the Sloterdijk (Jan Baron was the first captain of the ship when it was new) and it turned out he had to sail at a very slow speed as the crankshaft was broken and the ship had only one propeller. So instead of making a crossing of 14 days, it took almost a month to cross the ocean and then he called at New York for repairs instead of Newport News where the ship was supposed to go.

The ss Sloterdijk (I) The neutral lettering on the side of the ship indicates that this picture was taken  during the First World War. The Netherlands was not involved in that conflict so the arrangement was that neutral flagged ships would display ships name and home port on the side. And then one had to hope that the U-boat captain would first put his reading glasses on and then omitted from pulling the trigger.

In 1909  he is back in the newspapers, or better said his ship the ss Soestdijk is. This ships transports a replica of the “Haelve Maen” to New York.  This was a full size repblica of the ship that broguht Henry Hudson to the Manhattans, where then the fort of Nieuw Amsterdam (later New York) was founded. In 1909 the Hudson-Fulton celebrations took place and hence the Dutch Government send the sailing ship. The captain as appointed Knight in the order of Orange Nassau. (Note a Dutch knight is not the same as an English Knight, it is a lower ranking as the Dutch higher ranking and comparable is Officer. The Dutch and British system work the other way around)

The Haelve Maen being loaded on board the ss Soestdijk (I) for transport to New York.

By 1911 he is captain of the 2nd largest ship of Holland America, the ss Nieuw Amsterdam (1) and that lands him in front of the Maritime Board of Inquiry in 1913 when he is accused to be complicit in the suicide of an engine room rating. The man had been admitted to hospital for diarrhea and vomiting but on his own request (!!!) the doctor discharged him a day later. He must then have jumped overboard as he was not found again. A colleague assisted by his father then put in a complaint. The captain had not even known about this until he was informed about the missing person. As was expected the Captain was cleared of all blame.

By 1914 the First World War broke out and the Netherlands, and thus its fleet, was neutral.  Thus the ships could continue to sail and should not be torpedoed. The question was how good was the U boat Commander in keep to the arrangement ? The ships sailed full with passengers trying to get home or out of Europe and the passengers on the voyage just after the outbreak of the war, were so grateful for a safe delivery to the USA, that the Captain and the ship received a special Board as an acknowledgment.

Presented to Captain Jan Baron by his grateful passengers.

The Nieuw Amsterdam (I) was one of the few ships which sailed throughout the war, even after the unlimited Submarine war was declared by Imperial Germany. It carried eastbound full cargo holds of grain which were a life line for the Dutch population, especially in the West of the Netherlands. The ships speed made it reasonably safe against torpedoes. Captain Jan Baron stayed with the ship until 1918. Then there is the transfer to the Flagship the ss Rotterdam (IV)

the ss Nieuw Amsterdam I of 1906. When she entered service, she was the 10th. largest ship in the world.

In 1920 he is promoted to Commodore of the company and remains in command of its flagship the ss Rotterdam (IV) here he stays until he falls ill in late 1923. In the same year he is again in the newspapers as know having received the “De Ruyter” medal in Silver. This is the highest civilian order the Dutch Maritime Industry has available. (Apart from the Gold version). The announcement does not say why he got it, but my educated guess was that he honored for his state of service and being commodore of the Holland America Line.

The ss Rotterdam (IV) flagship of the company from 1908 to 1929

In November 1923 he is listed as “temporary” ashore due to illness. Temporary in HAL language indicates that it was expected that he would return in due course to his ship. Otherwise the entry would have read dismissed to due ill health.  Cause of the illness is unknown but sadly he passes away on 04 February 1924 in Voorburg Holland.

Sailing List

Came from other company.

14 Oct. 1890       4th. Officer                         P.Caland                                           40,–

First mate (captains ticket A class) 13 feb 1890

22 May 1890       3rd Officer                           P.Caland                                            50,–

19 Oct. 1890       2nd Officer                          P.Caland                                            70,–

05 Feb. 1891       2nd Officer                          Veendam                                           70,–

05 Jun. 1891       2nd Officer                          Obdam                                               70,–

Transferred in New York.

11 Jul. 1891          2nd Officer                       Veendam                                              70,–

Transferred in New York

11 Sep. 1891       Chief Officer                      Veendam                                           100,-

21 Jan. 1895       Chief Officer                      Werkendam                                      100,-

15 Jun. 1895       Chief officer                        P. Caland                                             100,-

30 jun. 1895        Temporary dismissed for Royal Navy duty six months leave

01 Oct. 1895       Chief Officer                      Amsterdam                                       100,-

19 Aug. 1896      Temporary dismissed for Royal Navy duty,

21 Mar. 1897      Roundtrip on the ss Pennsylvania until 26 Apr. 1897

13 May 1897       Chief Officer                      for ss Rotterdam to Belfast   100,-

17 Jan. 1898       Chief Officer                      Rotterdam                                        110,-

15 Feb. 1900       Temporary dismissed for Royal Navy duty. 3 months duty.

26 May 1900       Chief Officer                      Rotterdam                                        110,-

30 May 1901       Temporary dismissed

12 Jun. 1901       Chief Officer                      Statendam                                        110,-

24 July 1901        Chief Officer                     Soestdijk                                            110,-

01 Oct. 1901       Captain                                Soestdijk                                            200,-

22 Feb. 1902       Temporary dismissed and to Hartlepool for ss Sloterdijk

10 Mar. 1902      Captain                               Sloterdijk                                          200,-

13 Sept. 1902     Temporary dismissed due to Illness.

23 Oct. 1902       Captain                               Sloterdijk                                           200,-

01 Jan. 1903       Promoted to Lieutenant first class Dutch Royal Navy.

28 Jul. 1903         Captain                               Soestdijk                                            200,-

14 Sep. 1903       Captain                               Sloterdijk                                           200,-

29 Nov. 1904      Captain                               Soestdijk                                            200,-

17 Feb. 1905       Captain                               Amsteldijk                                         200,-

31 Jul. 1906         Captain                               Soestdijk                                            200,-

10 Jan. 1908       Captain                               Noordam                                           200,-

19 Feb. 1908       Captain                               Potsdam                                            200,-

07 Aug. 1908      Dismissed and put on standby

03 Sep. 1908       Captain                               Soestdijk                                            200,-

31 Oct. 1909       Temporary dismissed due to illness

22 Mar. 1910      Captain                               Noordam                                           200,-

01 Jan. 1911       Due to changes in wages, new pay                                          300,-

15 Jul. 1911         Temporary ashore and on standby

30 Jul. 1911         Captain                               Nieuw Amsterdam                          300,-

24 Nov. 1915      Captain                               Rotterdam                                        300,-

01 Jan. 1916       wages increased to                                                                      350,–

01 Sep. 1916       Captain                               Noordam                                           350,-

13 Oct. 1916       Captain                               Rotterdam                                        350,-

30 Oct. 1916       Captain                               Nieuw Amsterdam                          350,-

30 Jan. 1917       Captain                               Rotterdam                                        350,-

21 jun. 1917        Captain                               Nieuw Amsterdam                          350,–

05 Jan. 1918       Captain                               Rotterdam                                        350,–

01 Aug. 1918      wage increase to                                                                          400,-

01 Jul. 1919         wage increase to                                                                          800,-

01 Jan. 1920       wage increase to                                                                          825,-

15 Oct. 1920       wage increase to                                                                          850,-

01 Jan. 1921       wage increase to                                                                          900,-

15 Nov. 1923      Temporary ashore due to illness

04 Feb. 1924       Passed Away.

a. HAL Archives and Mr. Bert Kruidhof

b. HAL Archives for the sailing list

c. Newspaper articles : NRC Handelsblad, De Nieuwe Tilburge Courant.

2 Comments

  1. Goedemorgen Capt. Albert,

    Uw Blog over de gezagvoerders van de H.A.L. is zeer interessant.

    Momenteel zijn wij met een 40-tal personen bezig om alle Nederlandse koopvaardijschepen “vanaf 1813 tot heden” in kaart te brengen en in onze database marhisdata.nl in te voeren. Niet alleen de gegevens van de schepen, maar ook de afbeelding en historie van het schip en hun gezagvoerders.
    Inmiddels zijn de meeste gezagvoerders tot 1900 door een van de medewerkers in kaart gebracht. Nu ben ik zelf begonnen met de gezagvoerders vanaf 1900 tot 1940 en enkele daarna op te zoeken en vervolgens dan in onze database op te nemen. Een zeer intensief werk, maar ook wel zeer interessant.
    Ik neem aan dat U er geen bezwaar tegen hebt als ik Uw gegevens overneem en daarbij de bronvermelding vermeldt ??
    Graag zou ik met U gegevens uitwisselen over de gezagvoerders.
    Inmiddels heb ik al vrij veel gegevens gevonden van de H.A.L. captains.
    Hierbij de eerste – Jan Baron.

    Jan werd geboren op 21 okt. 1860 te Kampen als z.v. Rijk Baron (schipper) en Geesje Hoeve.
    Jan (27) trouwde op 28 juni 1888 te Harlingen Met Berber Burghout (24) – geb. te Harlingen als d.v. Jan Burghout en Jantje Strak.
    Jan overleed op 04 febr. 1924 te Voorburg (63).

    Rott. Nieuwsblad 07.01.1924
    Rechtszaken. Arrondissement Rechtbank. Politierechter.
    Zitting van Maandag 7 januari. Het beloofde land van Hoboken.
    Nadat twee varensgezellen, de 20-jarige C. v.d. E. en de 21-jarige C. B. wegens desertie bij verstek veroordeeld waren tot respectievelijk 7en 14 dagen hechtenis, moesten achtereenvolgens terecht staan 2 varensgezellen, die monsterden voor een reis met de ROTTERDAM, gezagvoerder de heer J. Baron, van Rotterdam naar New York en terug. De beide beklaagden J. V. en J. A. v.d. B. deserteerden te Hoboken waar zij dachten, zoals zij voor mr. Yssel de Schepper beweerden, hun levenspositie te kunnen verbeteren. De toestand in het beloofde land van Hoboken bleek echter van dien aard te zijn, dat J. V. en J. A. v.d. B. zich genoodzaakt zagen, naar hun bakermat terug te keren, met het gevolg dat het O. M., waargenomen door mr. J. G. Holsteyn, tegen J. V. 14 dagen hechtenis eiste, hetgeen gehandhaafd bleef, aangezien beklaagde zich reeds eerder schuldig heeft gemaakt aan desertie, en tegen J. A. v.d. B., die „nog nooit gedeserteerd geworden geweest was”, 7 dagen hechtenis, hetgeen in een vonnis van 2 dagen gewijzigd werd.

    Alg. Handelsblad 07 febr. 1924
    Jan Baron †
    Te Voorburg is, 63 jaren oud, overleden de heer Jan Baron, gezagvoerder bij de Holland Amerika Lijn, waar hij 34 jaren gevaren heeft. Op 1 februari 1890 trad hij in dienst der Maatschappij als vierde officier op de P. CALLAND. Na op verschillende schepen de diverse rangen te hebben doorlopen, werd hij op 1 oktober 1901 kapitein, commandeerde als zodanig een aantal vrachtschepen en vervolgens de passagiersschepen POTSDAM, NOORDAM en NIEUW AMSTERDAM, om in 1915 de ROTTERDAM onder zijn bevel te krijgen. Dit bleef zijn boot tot november jl. toen hij door ziekte gedwongen, het varen er aan moest geven. Bij de Hudson-Fulton feesten heeft hij als kapitein van de SOESTDIJK het scheepje HALVE MAEN naar New York overgebracht. Bij die gelegenheid werd hij benoemd tot ridder in de orde van Oranje-Nassau.

    In de Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant van 07 febr. 1924 staat de overlijdens advertentie.

    Met vriendelijke groet,
    Bert Kruidhof.

    • Mijn dank voor uw reactie

      Ik werk gaarne mee, aangezien wat uw aan het ondernemen bent een enorme klus is. Ik moet nog steeds veel informatie op de blog zetten want tot de 50er jaren heb ik de bio informatie aardig compleet. Allesn mist er vak de familie achtergrond en dat kost veel tijd.

      Ik neem contact met uw op via mijn hobby email.

      mvg

      Capt. Albert

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