Rural constable Jan Kelderman

Like all villages in our community, Bennekom also had several authority figures who were responsible for peace and order.
One of them was Jan Kelderman, a man who has been told about before, but who, with permission and the necessary information from a grandson, already passed over eighty by now, wants to get us out of oblivion again.

Jan Kelderman was born in Bennekom on November 18, 1832, and appointed as a Rural policeman in Maurik on 1 January 1864.
On December 24, 1864, he married Elisabeth Braafhart, a descendant of a well-known Edese family, Elizabeth was born on Sunday January 17, 1841 in Ede.
Elizabeth died on Sunday January the 1903 in Ede (Gld), aged 62 years
In March 1877 he was appointed constable municipality of Ede, based in Bennekom so he returned to his hometown after an absence of more than thirteen years.

People soon got to know him as a strictly honest policeman, who met all the requirements of his profession, albeit with his own unique way of acting. For the youth he occasionally caught bash on litters, lit fire, vandalism or other mischief in the woods, he knew only corporal punishment.
A favorite game of the boys of that time was to try to hit the dial of the tower with a stone.
If that succeeded, a cheer went on, but as soon as Kelderman appeared they flew like a bunch of sparrows.

That was also advised because if he could grab one of them into the collar, a short club would be followed by a beating on his butt so that the victim could hardly sit for several days of pain.
Even in the case of violations of adults he was often not immediately ready with a ticket, but the perpetrator, by means of a number of powerful curses, on his wrong acts, with the assurance that he repeatedly had something else in store. The pastor from Bennekom , Rev. Eisinga, told him once about the sometimes blasphemous language he could use, but Kelderman thought, "from the pulpit you keep them under control, in the street I only differ our methods".
A drunk, he usually brought to the lockup to sleep it off after he let him go with the words.

"I will not draw up an official report, that drinking will have cost you enough money, but disappear like a fart before the wind and leaves no stink".

Much praise

For example, the policeman Kelderman maintained the order in Bennekom with a stick and mouth, and the villagers spoke of him in praise.
When he went into the woods on surveillance, he carried a stick that also functioned as a secret weapon.
If an aggressive poacher or thief, using the remote environment and had the brutality to oppose a possible arrest, Kelderman resolutely stuck out his stick.
The recalcitrant gripped it, but to a great surprise, followed a moment later by fright, he held only the lower part in his hands while the policeman held the top, which now suddenly sparkled a kind of bayonet.
When seeing this dangerous weapon, conveniently concealed in the hollow base, all opposition was almost immediately broken.

Kelderman must have had several such batons in his possession, but they have disappeared without trace over the years. The work of a village constable was extensive, clear robberies, quarrels between neighbors lull, handling complaints, sometimes even at night there on to sit the poachers behind the rags at regular intervals to Ede to report to the chief constable and that all against a very moderate reward.
Although there was a slight improvement during the council meeting of October 28, 1878.
A proposal from the Mayor and Aldermen was adopted to the annual salary of the constable in Ede, Bennekom and Otterlo by raising with fifty guilders.
As a result, with effect from January 1, 1879, the constable in Ede, as chief, would receive three hundred eighty guilders annually and both others. three hundred and fifty.

Their colleagues from Lunteren and Veenendaal, Utrecht fell out of the boat, according to the council, they were already on age, had no more care for young children and their performances gradually became less with climbing of years, so they stayed on the old salary.

Glory days

Sometimes the usually quiet village life was alternated by heyday, as once in 1882.
King Willem III wanted to visit "Oranje Nassauoord" under Renkum and continue from the train station in Ede by coach and drive through Bennekom.

A whole event that brought the village into party mood, on the appointed day the flags were put out and the people gathered in the Village street.
Among them is also baker Hannes Otten, the best shooter of the local shooting club.
He thought, in order to stay in style, His Majesty had to be received with salvos shots and so had taken his rifle with him.
The relatively small procession, two heralds on horseback, followed by the carriage in which the King had taken place and behind it a Landau (a suspended carriage) with some members of the household approached. When the party reached the church, the baker considered his time, hidden behind the village pump, he completely unexpectedly fired two shots, albeit in the air, but the panic was no less.
An attack on the King, how was that possible here in Bennekom!.
The heralds leaped from their horses and had caught the astonished baker.
The man did not understand it, he meant it so well and, as a thank you, he was called a murderer.
But now constable Kelderman came into action, this time because of the High visit, in full dress complete with long saber.
He hurried to the king's carriage, stood stiffly in the position, and declared that the shots were intended as a welcome to His Majesty and his companions.
King William III, at first initially confused, accepted this explanation.
The baker was released and the procession moved on, waved by the many people who, partly because of this incident, had the chance of their life to quietly watch their monarch.


Kelderman obviously knew when and how to act and thereby possessed of pronounced investigators talent, indispensable to a good constable and that even his former chief of Maurik once made use

At the mayor of that place, late in the fall, just as the nights got colder, the bedpan was stolen, a device in which a previously well-heated stone was done to keep the feet warm.
The mayor was furious, not so much about the loss of his heater but because of the brutality with him as head of the police to break into his house.
He did not want to publicize the matter, he asked Jan Kelderman to come to Maurik for a day, maybe he could solve the case.
So Kelderman went on foot early one day via the ferry over the river Lek, to Maurik.
During the long walk he had in mind several inhabitants of Maurik, which could be capable of theft, pass by, until he stuck to a certain name. Arriving in the village he went straight to his house and was received as an old friend.
They drank a cup of coffee, collected memories, and even later the bottle came to the table.
After a few drinks, Kelderman turned the conversation to the stolen bedpan and saw that his host blushed.
He felt that he was on the right track, suddenly let go the calm conversation tone and thundered, "You know more about that Chap."
A hit because some admiration sounded: "You also look everywhere behind, I have that thing removed, but more out of poverty".
My wife has always cold feet and the mayor is better off buying a new bedpan than me.

A reasoning for which to say something, but which did not make the theft good.
Kelderman, resolutely as always said: "Give that thing here then I will take it to the mayor and we will not talk about it anymore."
The mayor was amazed and grateful, also promised secrecy and loaded with a good stew, it was just during the slaughter time and our constable Jan Kelderman went back home.
Jan Kelderman died on Sunday November the 1911 in Ede (Gld), aged 79 years.

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