National Trust of Guyana

Groete Creek Tombs

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Location: Groete Creek, Essequibo 

Classification: Funerary Structures 

Period/ Year Built: 1760s 

Historical Background / Description: 

The Groete Creek tombs are two well preserved Dutch tombs located along Groete River, a tributary of the Essequibo River, situated some 24 kilometres (15 miles) north from the town of Bartica. The tombs are those of Cornelius Boter, owner of Plantation New Vredenburg and his wife, Elisabeth Hollander. Cornelius Boter, born in Middelburg, Zeeland, was a councillor of civil and criminal justice in the colony of Essequibo. In 1739, the Dutch West India Company (DWIC) granted him permission to operate on a tract of land located on the left bank of the Essequibo River. The area now known as Groete Creek was part of his New Vredenburg Estate. Mr. Boter died on September 18, 1764, at the age of 68 and was buried near the river embankment on his plantation. 

Elisabeth Hollander, the wife of Cornelius Boter, was born in Essequibo on July 15, 1698. Her marriage to Boter was her second; her first was to Hendrik Spoors. Spoors was a civil servant who acted as the Secretary and Bookkeeper for the Dutch West India Company (DWIC) upon his arrival to the colony on April 7, 1713. Their marriage took place on October 19, 1714 and Hollander’s first child, Adrian Spoors was born on July 24, 1715. Hendrik Spoors died on January 4, 1720. Adrian Spoors would later become the Director of the Plantation De Pilgrim; and eventually Secretary of Essequibo in 1744, succeeding Commander Laurens Storm van’s Gravesande. Hollander later married Boter and lived on his plantation until the time of her death on October 18, 1769. She was buried next to her husband.