The Beijen/Beyen Family Site
by Laurens Beijen
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The Nieuwkapelle family

Remigius Beyen from Nieuwkapelle

Petrus Jacobus Beyen and his family

Nieuwkapelle is a town in the Belgian province of West Flanders, near Diksmuide and Veurne. Nowadays it is a part of the municipality of Diksmuide. In the past, Belgium was called the Southern Netherlands. It was governed for many years by the Spanish and the Austrians.

On April 20, 1698 a certain Petrus Jacobus Beyen (1.1) married Jacoba Stoet in Nieuwkapelle. Petrus (also called Pieter) and Jacoba had no less than nine children. On September 30, 1717 their youngest child, Remigius (2.1), was born; he was baptized on October 1. His first name is most likely derived from Saint Remigius of Reims, whose feast is celebrated on October 1 as well.
Jacoba died at Remigius' birth. In the next year Pieter married Jacoba Snick in the neighbouring town of Oudekapelle. From his second marriage he had four other children. In 1730 Pieter died in Nieuwkapelle.

Six of Pieter's thirteen children died in infancy. Some of his other children had many offspring. Many Belgians who have the name Beyen descend from them. A separate page deals with the surname Beyen in Belgium.

Remigius moved to the (Northern) Netherlands and had many descendants there. He is the ancestor of what is called on this site the Nieuwkapelle family.

Remigius Beyen in the Dutch army

In 1741 the Southern Netherlands got involved in the War of the Austrian Succession. France, Prussia and Spain were opposed to Austria, England and the Dutch Republic. For some decades the Dutch Republic had garrisons in a number of "barrier towns" in the Southern Netherlands along the French border as a protection against possible attacks from France. Veurne was one of these barrier towns.

When the war began the garrisons had to be reinforced. On April 9, 1742 Remigius Beyen joined a Dutch regiment in Veurne.
The barrier towns had little effect. In 1744 and 1745 most of the fortresses were conquered by France without much effort. The Dutch troops withdrew to the north.
In the autumn of 1745 nearly 6000 Dutch soldiers, including the regiment in which Remigius served, were transported to England. They were there to help the English king who was threatened by a revolt from Scotland. After the Battle of Culloden in 1746 the revolt failed and the Dutch regiments turned back to the Netherlands.

In 1748 the war ended with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Remigius continued to serve in the Dutch army. The regiment in which he served was stationed in many different garrison towns in the (Northern) Netherlands. It was only in 1779, after a period of service of as many as 37 years, that Remigius retired and received his pension.
Below is the registration of Remigius in a military register. His name is written there as Remisius Beijens.

Married to Johanna van Kempen in Nijmegen

From 1751 to 1754 and from 1758 to 1761 the regiment of Remigius was stationed in Nijmegen. In 1753 he married there the Nijmegen-born Johanna van Kempen. They had seven children; some died at an early age. Even though Remigius served in different towns, Johanna and their children continued living in Nijmegen.
Remigius must have died between 1779, when he retired, and 1799, when the registrar of the wedding of one of Remigius' sons noted that the mother of the bridegroom was a widow.

Remigius' children and grandchildren

Only three of the children of Remigius and Johanna reached the marriageable age:
  • Joanna Huberta (3.3) (1758-1829) became a widow thrice. At first she was married to Johannes Peter Wassing, afterwards she married Philips Christiaan Hartman and next Gijsbert Hopman. She lived in Nijmegen all her life.
  • Henricus (3.5) (1763-1815) was an ensign in the army and afterwards a shoemaker. With his wife Margaretha Slims he had two sons. We do not have further information about these sons.
  • Gerardus (3.6) (1766-1850), who was also called Gradus, was a bricklayer. In 1795 he married Theodora Helena Grevers. They had seven children. Gerardus died in 1850 at the age of 84.

    The eldest son of Gerardus and Theodora, Remigius Adolphus (4.3), took in 1815 as a conscript part in the Battle of Waterloo. He survived the battle, was a shoemaker's servant in Nijmegen and married there in 1819 Maria Catharina Gertrudis Theunissen. They had five children, three of whom deceased very young and the two others shortly after their twentieth. Remigius and his wife did not reach an advanced age as well: they died at 34 and 44 years, respectively.

    The Battle of Waterloo

    The participation of Remigius Adolphus Beijen in the Battle of Waterloo is evidenced by the fact that his name appears in the register of the bonuses that are paid from 1817 to the Dutch participants in the battle. The bonuses were not determined by the military achievements, but by the ranks of the soldiers. The generals received the highest sums (14,453 guilders and 34 cents), the corporals, drummers and ordinary soldiers, among whom was also Remigius, the lowest (29 guilders and 10 and a half cents).

    All present members of the Nieuwkapelle family descend from Henricus Hubertus Beijen (4.7), one of the other sons of Gerardus. He is discussed on the next page.

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