Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Who's who in Husum

Who’s Who in Husum: 

Husum, formerly part of Friesland, homeland of the Frisians and a mixture of Angles and Saxons and Dutch, later the Duchy of Schleswig, sometimes Danish and this and that, and now a seaport in northern Germany.

Husum, Google earth, North Sea

Abel, Duke of Schleswig and King of Denmark

He was the son of Valdemar II and brother to Eric IV. In 1250, Eric was murdered while a guest at Duke Abel's residence at Schleswig. Abel took his Eric’s throne after swearing an oath he had nothing to do with the death.

Abel ruled for a year and a half. Hearing that the peasants in Frisia, led by Sicko Sjaerdema, refused to pay the tax levy, he led a punitive expedition and was killed by a wheelwright named Henner on Husum Bridge.

People said, "Abel af navn, Kain af gavn" Abel by name, Cain by claim.

Jan Franz Van Husum

Jan was born in 1608. We may assume that for most of his life, he simply went by the name of Jan, or if further clarification was necessary, Jan, son of Franz. Jancalled himself as a seafaring man. We do not know for certain what fish he caught, but we can guess. As early as 1610, there  were reports of whales off the coast of Spitsbergen. Russians, Basque, French, English, and Dutch ships all vied for the trade. English and Dutch ships were often made up of North Frisians, who were known for their skills at sea.

The whale they hunted for was the bowhead whale, one that yielded large quantities of oil and baleen.

But this is idle thought, what we do know is this.

In 1634, a devastating flood, known as the second Grote Mandränke struck the Frisian coast, destroying the island of Nordstrand and much of Husum. After the flood, Jan would depart for Amsterdam. We know that he married his wife Volkjie there. She too was caught up in the devastaition of the flood, as she lived on the island of Nordstrand with her parents and sister.

Once married, Jan and Volkjie sailed for America.

Theodor Storm

Theodor Storm, a 19th century writer who called Husum, “the grey town by the sea.”

Die Stadt (1851)

Am grauen Strand, am grauen Meer Und seitab liegt die Stadt; Der Nebel drückt die Dächer schwer, Und durch die Stille braust das Meer, Eintönig um die Stadt.

On the grey sand, on the grey sea, Besides which lies the city, Press the mists heavy on the roofs, And in the stillness the sea roars, With one sound around tow.

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