Catharina Ustings, SM/PROG

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Catharina Ustings, SM/PROG

Also Known As: "Tryn Ras", "Ufftincx", "Catrijn", "Ustinghs", "Claas Oftings", "RAs", "Rasch", "Chafeleur", "Tryn Ustings", "Trijn Ustings", "Tryntie Ustings"
Birthplace: Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Death: Died in Swaaneweide, Steenberg, Cape Town
Immediate Family:

Wife of Francois Champelier; Hans Ras, SV/PROG; Laurens Cornelissen, SV/PROG and Mathias Michels, SV/PROG
Mother of Nicolaas Ras, b2; Maria Ras, b3 SM; Johannes Ras, b4; Hendrik Ras, b1; Hans Rasch, b3 and 4 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Catharina Ustings, SM/PROG

USTINGS CATHARINA. –Lübeck. Arr. 1662 as widow in the ship t’ Hoff van Zeeland. (Spoelstra, I, p. 24.)

Remarried (1) Hans Ras (q.v.);

  • XX (2) 16.4.1672 Francois Schanffelaar of Gent;
  • XXX (3) 29.10.1673 Lorens Cornelis of Gotenburg (two daughters, Maria and Laurentia X Martin Mecklenburg (q.v.);
  • XXXX (4) Matthias Michels (q.v.). Cf. J. L. M. Franken, “Tryn Ras”. “Tydskrif vir Wetenskap en Kuns,” VI Jaargang, pp. 148 ff. and Leibbrandt, Letters, pp. 266, 455.

TANAP MOOC10/1.46 Testator(s): Catharina Ustings 19 en 20 September 1708 Inventories of the Orphan Chamber Cape Town Archives Repository, South Africa Reference no.: MOOC8/1.1 Testator(s): Francois Chamfelaer 20 October 1673 In Januarij 1675 gebouct J: Valckenrijck Staat en inventaris mitsgaders taxatie des boedels en naelatenschap van den borger Francois Chamfelaer salig:r (onlanx nevens andere borgers in 't lant door d' Hottentots doodt geslaegen) sodanig als deselvs bij hem met t' er doodt sijn ontruijmt en naergelaten ten behoeve van Catrina Oftings desselfs naergelaten weduwee voor d' eenre, mitsgaders voorsoontjes en dochter van vorige man voor de wederhelfte Hendrick Claes Hans en Marina Rasch ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Catharina Ustings

Born. circa 1641, d. July 1708 See more at First Fiifty Years Project

Verkopinge der goederen nagelaten en metter dood ontruijmd bij Catharina Ustings, ten voordele van haare nagelatene weduwenaar Mathijs Michilsz: ter ener, mitsg:s vijv kinderen als kindskinderen, voor de wederhelvte, als

Claas Ras, gehuwd met Maria van Stade en de drie voorn: geprocrieert bij haar eerste man, Hans Ras Marina Ras met Joost Strijdom ende kinderen van Hendrick Ras die op Ceilon overleden is als mede Lourentia Cornelisd:e, huijsvrouwe van Marten Mekelenburg en geteeld bij deselve derde man Lourens Cornelis Anna Elisabet Michielsz: geprocrieert bij Mathijs Michielsz:

Judi Marais-Meyer register


-------------------- Catharina (Trijn) Ustings(Ufftinex)

In July 1662 the "Hof van Zeeland" brought to the Cape, Catharina Ufftincx, a young woman immigrant from Lubeeck in eastern Holstein.

Aged twenty-one and already a widow, she was to loose three more husbands before marrying the fifth who survived her.

She created a considerable impact in her new country home and even impressed the Netherlands Commissioner Hendrik Adriaan van Reede tot Drakenstein, Heer van Mijndracht, when he was on an official visit to the Cape in 1685. In his private journal van Reede succintly describes the tragic deaths of these three men thus:'den eerste van een leeuw, den tweden door de hottentots en den derden door d'elephanten om hals gebracht'Such experiences would have overwhelmed a lesser woman but Catharina Ufftincx was aremarkable person, and as Tryn Ras, became a legend in her lifetime in the land of her choice.

Catharina Ustincx, later bekend as Trijn Ras, het op 25 Julie 1662 as weduwee by die Kaap aangekom in die Hof van Zeeland, waarskynlik as 'n weduwee - haar man het waarskynlik in Duitsland ontkom. Ufftincks was waarskynlik haar nooiensvan. Verwys Familia Vol 15 nr 4 bls 97 -------------------- Steenberg - The fascinating story behind the oldest farm in The Cape and the feisty widow Ras Mon, Jul 29, 2013 12:03 CET

Catharina Ras, the feisty foreigner who survived many tragedies, challenged the rules - and pioneered her way to being the very first woman in South Africa to become a land-owner and Steenberg the first registered farm. Today Steenberg still has this strong sense of place and sets new trends - which we will see yet again when Catharina's fine dining restaurant relaunches on 2nd August 2013.

Catharina Ras was the first owner of Steenberg and her story is a fascinating one – of a young woman who pioneered land ownership in South Africa, and who did things her own way in an era when women had no legal rights. Her fiercely independent and indomitable spirit, which led her to marry no less than five times in her lifetime and give birth to six children, while retaining her own individuality, set the precedent for our farm that is today known as Steenberg – globally recognised for its distinct sense of place and inimitable style.

Born in Lubek (Germany), Catharina Ustings was one of the most controversial and daring figures ever to settle at the Cape. Newly widowed at just 22 years old, she stowed away on board a sailing ship dressed as a man, and sailed into the Cape just ten years after Jan van Riebeeck, landing here in 1662. Dramatic overtones marked the course of her life until she passed away at the age of 67 in 1708.

The Cape was a fierce, wild place with laws to match, and no place for a young widow on her own. She lost no time in finding a second husband, and within two months of her arrival, Tryn, as she was known, married Hans Ras, a soldier and free burger (citizen). Although Hans survived a knifing incident on their wedding day, he was killed by a lion in 1671. Legend has it that Catharina hunted the lion on horseback and killed it the same day. Left to fend alone with four young children, she married her third husband Fancois Champelaer van Ghent, a rather unsuccessful farmer, in 1672. This short-lived marriage ended in July 1673 when he was murdered by marauding tribesmen. Her next husband was Swedish-born Laurens Cornelissen, and she moved with her four children to live with him in the Table Valley, where they had another two daughters. He died tragically underfoot of an elephant while hunting hippos at nearby Zeekoeivlei, although there are no records of exactly when this occurred.

At the age of 36 Catharina was left with five children to care for, after one died during early childhood, she drew on her seemingly undiminished inner strength and continued undaunted. It was during this time that she and her children moved to the Tokai valley, below the Steenberg Mountain, and according to historical records, she farmed a tract of land here, with the assistance of Matthys Michelse, a hardy German who outlived her as her fifth and last husband.

By this time Catharina had learned that marriage couldn’t be looked on as a source of security, and set her sights on owning land herself. In 1682 she approached the governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, requesting 25 morgen of land at the foot of the Steenberg Mountain. It is hinted by some that the Governor was her lover, and others say he simply liked her unconventional style.

Either way, he granted her request, and presented the land to her as a gift. She called it Swaaneweide – The Feeding Place of Swans, and lived here happily according to her own whims and fancies. She later approached the Governor for a legal Title Deed for her land, which he granted in 1688. The title deed, which today is displayed in the original Manor House of the Steenberg Hotel, granted her mandate ‘to cultivate, to plough, to sow and also to possess the farm below the stone mountain’.

And so it came to pass that Catharina Ras became the very first woman in South Africa to become a land-owner, and Steenberg the first registered farm. Every so often visitors and staff at Steenberg swear they can still feel the spirit of Catharina Ras blowing through the historical buildings, and whispering softly as the breeze blows through our vineyards… --------------------

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Catharina Ustings, SM/PROG's Timeline

Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
February 25, 1652
Age 10
New Amsterdam, New York, NY
February 25, 1652
Age 10
New Amsterdam, New York, NY
July 25, 1662
Age 20
September 3, 1662
Age 20
Suid Afrika, Kaap
August 23, 1665
Age 23
September 12, 1666
Age 24
Age 27
Kaapstad,Kaapkolonie,Suid Afrika
Age 29
October 29, 1673
Age 31
Kaapstad, Suid Afrika, Kaap