Pieter Callenbach (8.2)
article first appeared in De Waarheidsvriend of the 1st October 1998
Dr. Willem Callenbach was the Dutch Reform Minister in Bergschenhoek. While he was there the congregation founded their own cemetery. The following article was first published in the aforementioned publication.
During the ministry of the Rev. W. Callenbach, not only was the new church occupied but also a new organ was consecrated. Bergschenhoek also got a general cemetery in Bergweg.
Here follows, in relation to the above, this heart rendering story, which is still told from father to son in Bergschenhoek. With the official handing-over of the cemetery it is self evident that the Rev. Callenbach would be present, accompanied by his two small sons, Cornelis Carel and Pieter. During the tour of the cemetery four year old Pieter suddenly asked; “Daddy who do you think will be the first one to be buried here?” The Rev. Callenbach quietly replied; ”My dear boy, I have no idea, only God knows that!”
On a beautiful summer’s evening Pieter was allowed to play in the garden of the manse after dinner. When it was bedtime his father called him, but got no response. The Rev. Callenbach went looking and found his son had drowned in the pond. On the 11th July 1871 Pieter Callenbach was carried by members of the Church Council to be buried as the first one in the new cemetery. This tragic event made a great impression on everybody.