Tomb of Susanna Anna Marinas, Chinsarah, WB no record to show she had 7 husbands.- Colonial Dutch India

Have you ever heard of a Dutch lady in the colonial era purported to  have seven husbands in her life span, exchanging  wedding rings 7 times with her fiance?  It may sound like  vintage Hollywood  heroines and the first one that comes to an elderly person like me is the persona of Elizabeth Taylor. (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011). Her legendary violet eyes, tantalizing gait and penchant for expensive jewelry took her fans by surprise.  Her scandalous love life,  romantic escapades and her eight marriages to seven men,  hyped up by the scoop hungry American media people, made her a legend  more visible in public life than other stars.  

Chinsurah cemetery, WB. Tomb of Susanna Anna
The colonial Dutch woman Susanna Anna Marina Verkerk based in the Dutch settlement of Chinsurah, now a suburb of Kolkata, West Bengal is said to have married twice. Her first husband  Pieter Brueys was the director of Dutch administration, Bengal. They had two daughters and a son.   After the death of Pieter Brueys in 1783, Susanna married Thomas Yeats, an Englishman with EIC. She died in 1806 and because of two marriages she inherited rich estates, one close to the Dutch factory and the other one at Taldanga, (present day G T Road with sixty bighas of land) called Ayesh Bagh where she was buried in 1809. Under The EIC rule the property along with the land was sold in 1833, leaving only her tomb as a solitary structure

However, in the bygone days rumours worked overtime and  Susanna was credited with having seven husbands in her life span. There is no conclusive evidence to prove that she married seven times and had seven husbands. I don't understand why this misinformation about the Dutch lady is thick in the air notwithstanding the fact there is no iota of historical records to prove her personal like. 
wedding with a groom with two brides.

Weather Susanna was alluring and  led a sordid love life or not, however this purported scandalous rumor  gave inspiration to Ruskin Bond’s famous novel Susanna’s Seven Husbands based on on which a Hindi film was made in 2011. The source of the plot is that of  the most popular and striking   Tomb of   Susanna Anna Marina .Susanna (d. 1809) in the Dutch cemetery of Chinsurah a dutch settlement established  adjacent to Hooghly by the  Dutch company  to trade in opium, salt, muslin, and spices. 

The Dutch cemetery has more than 200 tombs including many Britons who were settlers in that town.  The Dutch Company, (VOC -Vereenigde Ostindische Compagnie),  had a flourishing business and made it an important export center. In 1656 it established a factory. The trade center in Chinsurah was active between 1615 and 1825. In the same year, this settlement became a part of East India company. 

Chinsurah cemetery, WB.  Tomb of Susanna

 Tomb of Susanna Anna Marina.Chinsurah cemetery, WB

Chinsurah cemetery, WB. Tomb of Susanna Anna Marina

Built on a  high plinth accessed by a flight  of steps, Susanna's Mausoleum in the middle of a large garden is an interesting one  designed  in Indo-Dutch architecture. Octogonal in plan this two story structure has a big dome atop, arched gateways and large  pairs of Corinthian columns on the ground floor and similar, but slender pairs of columns on the second floor. With a fine dome and steeple, the design of  this tomb appears to be very much similar to that of  Tammerus Canter Visscher’s tomb in Cossimbazar (formerly Kalkapur), WB Tammerus was Chief Salesperson secunde of the VOC Bengal direction and Cief of the VOC in Kalkapur ; he died on 31 January 1778.lll

Surprisingly, there is  no epitaph in the tomb but there is an inscription on the dome that reads as : "SUSANNA ANNA MARIA YEATS REBOORE VERKERK OBiIT 12 MAY ANNO 1809"-   locally popular  as 'Saat Saheber Bibir Kobor' (Grave of the Wife of Seven Europeans).

(Courtesy: Aishwarya Tipnis Architects,