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NORWEGIAN EMIGRATION - THE DEBORA EXPEDITION

A Norwegian Colonisation Undertaking


SUMMARY

The Debora Expedition sailed from Bergen in 1879 to establish a Norwegian colony on an Indian Ocean atoll called Aldabra. The organisers endeavoured to find practical and Christian people to create a settlement based on the teachings of the Norwegian preacher Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771 -1824). The expedition was aborted in Madagascar - a few of the participants remained in Madagascar and the rest settled in the British colony of Port Natal (Durban). They were the first group of Norwegian emigrants to settle in Port Natal.

The forty-seven persons who took part in the Debora Expedition were:- Captain Tobiassen and wife, mate Berentsen and wife, mate Oftedal, A Olsen and wife, I Iversen and wife, O Heidalsvig and wife (Høidalsvig - Heidalewig), J Finsen and wife, K Bang and wife with three children (Amanda, Severin and Knut), F Larsen and wife with six children (Angel, Emil, Sigvart, the three sons of the late Sivert Andersen Hordnes, and Petra, Ludvig and Karl), H Johnsen and wife with three children (Sina, Josefine and Karl), A Andreassen and wife with three children (I don't remember their names), R Andersen, R Rasmussen, K Jensen, Hesselberg, Grang, O Fosdal, E Eriksen, P Bang, E Ellingsen, widow Egelandsdal and Miss Serene Larsen. Two children were born on the voyage: a son to Mr and Mrs F Larsen and a son to Mr and Mrs Andreassen.

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Norwegian Debora Expedition - Correspondence concerning the three vessels "Debora"

Subject:
Debora
Date:
28 Feb 1998 06:42:58 Z
From:
Yngve Nedrebø <[email protected]>
To: [email protected]
 

Dear Mr. David Larsen,

I think we have the information now to tell the story of the vessel Debora:

Built 1878 in Gravdal, Fjelberg (south of Bergen). Bought for 20.000 Norwegian kroners by A. Grung and associates in Bergen in August 1878. L. Christophersen was made master of the vessel for a trip to Spain August 23, 1878, from Spain the vessel went on to South Africa. The vessel returned from Carlstown to Bergen with coal March 26, 1879.

April 20, 1879 the news-paper Bergensposten told the story of Norwegian colonisation of a few islands north of Madagascar (see enclosed copies), and there they also told the readers that the emigrants just these days are buing the vessel Debora for N. kr. 11.600. The vessel is new, and bought just seven months ago for 20.000, the paper states. The journey to Madagascar was scheduled to the last days of May, but as several of the members of the Debora company with-drew, the departure was delayed. At the departure they still had debtors in Bergen, so A. Grung is still registered as the owner of the vessel in Norwegian papers 1880 and 1881.

The vessel made the trip to Madagascar, went on to Natal, and they put the vessel up for sale Dec. 4, 1879. After several rounds of disappointments, the vessel was sold (February 1881) to Torstein Tobiassen (Egeland) (born 1842, died 1936). He owned the vessel for a few years, then sold it to a Creole around 1884, and soon thereafter Torstein Tobiassen returned to Lyngdal in Norway. Tobiassen told his son Tobias Bernhard Tobiassen (born 1891 in Lyngdal, Norway) that Debora had sunk at the coast of South Africa soon after the vessel had been sold.

We send in an envelope:
Copies from Bergensposten April 20, 1879, Jan. 5, 1880, and Feb. 11, 1880. (The typed version is attached to this mail). Copies from the 1875 census with the entries of Fredrik Johan Larsen and family, maps showing Leirvik in Laksevig (Askøy), and ]Ørstad with Krohnviken.
 

Sincerely
 

Yngve Nedrebø


Part 1.2

Subject:
The three vessels "Debora"
Date:
25 Feb 1998 14:02:28 Z
From:
Yngve Nedrebø <[email protected]> To:
[email protected]

Dear David Larsen - Salbu

Thanks to Bjørn Davidsen and Odd Henriksen of Det Norske Veritas the mysteries of the three vessels Debora has found its final conclusion:

Debora (1) was built in 1855, owned Jan. 1, 1879 by M Hansen in Trondheim, 38 tons and mastered by C. Christoffersen. This vessel was classified by Veritas as "B1 2 years".

Debora (2) was built in 1872, owned by P. O. Dyrdal, 88 tons, mastered by P. O. Dyrdal. This vessel later came into the ownership of Johannes Vangsnes, and ended up in Porsgrunn, Norway 1926. This vessel was classified as "A1 3 years".

Debora (3) was built in 1878, owned by A. Grung in Bergen, 81 tons, registered in Bergen and mastered by L. Christophersen. The ship was registered by Veritas in August 1878 and classified as "A1 7 years". This vessel made one trip with Christoffersen to Spain, and returned from "Carlstown" in Feb. 1879. This vessel was bought in March/April 1879 by the "Debora company", changed into 92 tons, and sailed to Madagascar in July 1879. This Debora never came back to Bergen, and was offered for sale in Natal Mercury Dec.4, 1879.
 
Sincerely
 

Yngve Nedrebø.


DVL Note: See Yngve Nedrebø E-mail dated 28 Feb 1998 : "The vessel [Debora (3)] made the trip to Madagascar, went on to Natal, and they put the vessel up for sale Dec. 4, 1879. After several rounds of disappointments, the vessel was sold (February 1881) to Torstein Tobiassen (Egeland) (born 1842, died 1936). He owned the vessel for a few years, then sold it to a Creole around 1884, and soon thereafter Torstein Tobiassen returned to Lyngdal in Norway. Tobiassen told his son Tobias Bernhard Tobiassen (born 1891 in Lyngdal, Norway) that Debora had sunk off the coast of South Africa soon after the vessel had been sold."


Subject:
Debora - once more!
Date:
22 Feb 1998 08:41:37 Z
From:
Yngve Nedrebø <[email protected]> To:
[email protected]
 

We have looked into the Veritas system of classification. A1 is the highest class - 7 years refers not to the age of the ship, but to the period the classification counts for.

This means there is no contradiction in the Natal Mercury notes, and I will have to accept that there were two Debora's in Bergen in 1879, both of which travelled to South Africa, and that the one built in 1878 must be the one that left Bergen in July 1879.

Sincerely

Yngve Nedrebø


Borge Solem wrote:

Hi David

I fund a picture of the Debora in "Norge pa Havet", a book of 4 volumes about Norwegian maritime history. The same picture is printed in a magazine "Slekt og Data", no. 4 1997, in an article written by Yngve Nedrebø. Here is some information from the article:

Debora was built in Kvinherreds Prstegjeld (Parish) in Sondre Bergenh. Amt, (Rosendal) 1871-72, by Torris Knudsen Skaaluren age 49, and Jens Knudsen Vaag, a 38 year old farmer. Torris Knudsen Skaaluren was the boss. The ship hull was "kravel" built (I don't know how to explain this, but it means that the planks were set side by side, not overlapping each other) She had a length (keel) of 67 feet, from bow to stern 77 feet. (Length also given to be 20 m. by Nedrebo) Dept by the mast was 9,4 feet, and beam 21,4 feet. (ref. Sunnhordaland tingbok I.A. 57a, 1870-1874, fol. 116)

The article mentions that the son of Larsen born on the ship Aug. 17th, was given the name "Atlanter". (from the Erik Ellingsen account 1925)

Regards, Borge Solem

DVL NOTE : The above would be Debora (2) and not Debora (3)


DEBORA of BERGEN (fort) of Capt. L T HANDELAND
See Image attached:  DeboraHandeland.jpg
 

Debora Information file

Jagtgaleas Debora.
Signalflag:  X 24
Kjendingbokstaver: 1. P. K. B.
Bygget 1872 i Rosendal, Sondhordland. Indkjopt fra Skudesneshavn I juni 1872.
Draegtighet:  42 kommercelaester ifolge maalebrev av 26de juni 1872.  - 81.16 netto og 95.02 brutto reg. ton.
Forere:  T. Torbjornsen, S. P. Handeland (1875) og I N Vangsnaes.
Rederier:  Erik Schmidt m. fl., Karl Lehmann m. fl. (fra 1876), senere I N Vangsnaes, Sogn, og Lars N Solberg (Bergen) m. fl. (1904).
Billedet er malt I vandfarve 1875 av F S (F Sorvig) I kapt Handelands foretid.  Jagten sees seilende for bidevind (baade for styrbords og bakbords halser).
Kompanimerket E S (Erik Schmidt) sees I flaget paa agtermastens top.
Fartoiet foretok I sin tid en reise fra Bergen til Kapstaden med utvandrere til Natal.


DVL NOTE :

We now know there were three Norwegian vessels called Debora - the first Debora was circa 45 ton - the other two were circa 90 ton.

The above Debora Information file may, or may not, be associated with the photograph with the title DEBORA of BERGEN (fort) of Capt. L T HANDELAND (see image titled Debora - Cpt LT Handeland.jpg) This photograph  of Jagtgaleas Debora together with the Debora Information file was given to me Mr Falck of the Historic Museum Bergen. He told me that there were two "nearly identical" vessels called Debora. The newest "Debora" was the vessel that left Bergen for Aldabra.


1971-06-10 Visit to Historic Museum
David Larsen visited the Historic Museum in Bergen and met with Mr Kjell Falck. Mr Kjell Falck told me the Debora Story,  he showed me a copy of Ludvig Larsen's Book called "Life Before Death",  this book is the autobiography of Ludvig Larsen and gives information about the Debora Expedition. Mr Falck gave me copies of a German newspaper article about the Norwegian Debora Expedtion and showed me a model of a ship called Debora in a large glass case - this was not the Debora that sailed for Aldabra. Mr Falck gave me two photographs of "Jagtgaleas" as per the Debora. He told me that there were two "nearly identical" ships called Debora and that the Debora Expedition to Aldabra was of historic interest.

David Victor Larsen - 981030
 

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