My father's death

I can't remember much about my father, as I was still a young child at age of almost 4 years, when he died on 25 March 1835.

He spent the last months of his life in bed and often  called me to sit besides him on his bed and all I remember was that he looked at me and spoke words to me in a "strange" language which I could not understand. But his words flooded as a soft cooling breeze on me and I felt his love for me...It was Armenian, the language my father used when he was handling his business with other Armenian Kojakhs and or family members from Isfahan.


I do remember that there were always visitors in our house: people from Isfahan, people from Jakarta, people from India, people from Basrah, people from Constantinople and they all spoke to my father in his Armenian language and sometimes my older brothers and sisters were joining the conversations and they too could not understand much and my father patiently translated parts of the conversations to them.

Mostly my father used the English language and sometimes a little Dutch or Malay or even German. I remember too that all the visitors stayed many days at my father's house and sometimes the conversations were behind closed doors and nobody else was allowed to enter, nor the servants to serve food and drinks.


I remember the times that the people working in the fields had to come to the house everyday around noon and that they all sat down and were served their meals. All the tables and chairs were put in the huge garden in the shade of the trees and my father had 5 cooks enployed who took care of the cooking and feeding of the workers. (*According a list of possessions/belonging to Agha Hovsep, it was said to be:  a dinner set said to contain 100 plates, 100 mugs, 100 sets of spoons, forks and knifes.


Then one unfortunately and sad day in March 1835 hundreds of  people came by and all were mourning and I could not understand why my father was laying there quietly on his bed with his hands folded on his chest and although the house was fully crowded, the silence was present. I remembered the soft howling sound of a violin somewhere outside the house in the premises of the servants..... A servant called SPION (=Spy) was touching the strings of his violin and he knew that his servant duties were ended now, since he was my father's private violinplayer comforting my father with his music whenever he was needed to do so. (*SPION was sold in sept 1835, 5 months after Agha Hovsep's  death, together with his wife and 5 children. *Royal Netherlands Library


My mother and older brothers and sisters and all other family members and friends walked along his bed and said their prayers and even the servants stood there quietly keeping their watch.....And there was a priest mumbling his prayers...


In the afternoon we all walked to the mountain called Gunung Mlaja where our graveyard was located and when all arrived, people dressed in black cloths carried my father to his final restplace and I could not understand it. My nursemaid was holding my hand and she too cried.


I remember that some 2 weeks before, I was also there and that time we all cried, for my brother David was placed in his thomb.... I remember a woman standing there apart and she cried too, because David was also her son and she was his mother.... And I remember that my mother took her hand to comfort her like any mother would do because every mother would grieve for a lost son.


Later on in my childhood, I often passed by my father's grave and from time to time I said hello to him. His grave was besides the grave of my eldest brother David and both were looking over the hills and the farmland to the Java Sea.

(After my marriage I moved to Batavia and I seldomly visited my father's grave as the roads were not comfortable in those days and many often there were no roads anymore due to rainfloods and earthquakes.)


After the death of my father, my brother Frederik Daniel, now being the head of the family, decided that we all should move to another house which we own, as this house was bearing too much sweet memories which now taste so bitter.

That was no problem at all for all of us, since father owned several big houses and yards located around  and in Semarang Town.


It was a hot warm day on the 15th of July in the year of 1846 and again there was sadness and grieve in the house. Mama was coughing for months and day by day her body weakened and this time too the doctors were not capable to heal her. Her coughing was accompanied by some blood and more and more she was loosing blood till one day she could not breath anymore as she was choking.

And like 11 years earlier we made our walk to the graveyard and thombed our mother besides our father.


I was 15 years old and my brother Frederik Daniel had to arrange all. I was sent to Batavia to a boarding school in order to complete my education. All my other brothers and sisters were adult and stayed at home or got married. Except my younger sister Louise Elisabeth; she was taken care of my brother Frederik Daniel till she got married to on 4 aug 1852 and she followed her husband to the city of Pekalongan.


I myself returned home to Semarang in 1851 after having completed my education at the boarding school and married on 24th March 1852 to Tiemen; the same day as 16 years before I was called to my father's death bed. Soon after our marriage Tiemen got promoted in rank and I lived my life as the wife of a highranked military officer till 1861 in the upper echelons of Semarang's society.


Tiemen was transfered to Batavia and we moved into our house assigned by the Army for a couple of years. It was a sort of palace located besided the Army Headquarters and after some years Tiemen decided that we should built our own house. And so we did.


Pls continue reading at the page GROWING UP.



Our new house at the crossing of the Gang Scott Road and Koningsplein Noord at Batavia.


The right wing of the house are our private spaces like sleeping room, bathroom and so on.