Given that his two brothers' marriages are both childless, Matthys, like his father Barent, defaults to being the man to ensure the survival of the family name Booyens in the country.
We do not have much clarity on his location after his baptism, but in 1787 we find him and his brother Barend on the Muster Rolls ("Opgaafrolle") of the Graaff-Reinet "Colonie". In that year he is listed as having 200 sheep and 10 cattle and has to pay "tol" [#1]. Unfortunately the men of the entire massive "Colonie" are listed together, and we do not know exactly where he is. However, a very useful clue comes from a strange event.
On 26 January 1789 Mattheus files an affidavit [#2] at the Graaff-Reinet Drostdy, testifying in the matter of the attempted suicide of a Khoekhoe mother who murdered her own child in the process. He describes that he was on his way to a General Commando in 1788 and went past the farm Brakkefontein, when the local Master of the Watch called on him to witness the scene. It so happens that this is exactly where the later town of Jansenville will be proclaimed. It is at the eastern end of the so-called Black Ridges "Zwartruggens", the district where we find his brother Barend in later Muster rolls. Furthermore, in 1792, Mattheus and his two brothers all owe money to Elsje Visser, as recorded in her inventory [#3] of that year. The key point here is that the late Elsje owns three farms towards the eastern end of the Zwartruggens, near the Sondaghs River; that is, at the Jansenville of the 21st century. This supports the above conclusion.
This places Mattheus in the dry part of the South Karoo; a country of extremely drought resistant plants, such as the ubiquitous noorsdoring (euphorbia coerulescens), the beautiful vaal plakkie, and the odd-looking vingerpol. It is also the indigenous home of the succulent shrub known in North America as the Money Tree (plakkieboom in South Africa) and other strange, prehistoric-looking euphorbia species, dotted with the odd sweetthorn, or flowering boerboon. This is country better suited to sheep and especially goats (Angora in the 21st century), and is certainly not good cattle range. It is excellent kudu country. Nothing could be more different from the origins of the family in the Danish Eiderstedt, or even Wellington in the Cape.
Mattheus and his brother Barend, together with Mattheus' two eldest sons, Pieter Johannes and Barend Matthys, appear as members of the Second Company ("Tweede Compagnie") of the Militia Dragoons ("Dragonders") in an undated Muster Roll [#4] which we believe to be from around 1796, when the two youngsters were at least 16. They are led by men such as Tjaart van der Walt (later to die in battle near Hankey), Adriaan van Jaarsveld (later to die in the Cape Castle in the hands of the British), and the father of Louis Trichardt, the later Voortrekker leader.
An undated Muster Roll document [#5] has more detail and states that Mattheus has 4 sons and 3 daughters at this time. This checks with his recorded child baptisms by 1796/7. It also confirms his wife's name as being "Anna Gous".
Mattheus and his sons make an appearance--their first--at the end of Chapter 9 of the book AmaBhulu.
In 1803 we find Mattheus and his eldest son Petrus Johannes listed separately in the Swellendam "Colonie", possibly near Schilpadbeen at the eastern end of that Colonie [#6]. This census shows Mattheus with his four youngest sons and two youngest daughters.
By 1807 his name is listed as operator of the government post (mail stop and requisitioning post) at the farm Schilpadbeen, shown below [#7]. This is where a mail rider or government official can get a fresh horse, a bed, and possibly some lead and powder on his way to the unstable Eastern Frontier. This would be the route taken 27 years later at the end of 1834 by Quartermaster General Harry Smith on his dash to the Eastern Frontier to shore up the defenses against the amaXhosa in the 6th Frontier War; Hintsa's War.
Mattheus, elsewhere referred to as "Groot Matewis Schilpadbeen", dies around 1816, because that is when his wife Anna turns up as widow at a baptism. There is no death notice for him.
The five wings of the Booyens family are based on Mattheus' five sons, of whom three will depart the Cape Colony to seek their future in the Boer Republics. Today, the Frisian surname Booyens is largely a Free State and Transvaal name. Only a tiny fraction of the Booyens family of South Africa remains in the East and West Cape, descendants of the two eldest brothers. However, the names of those two eldest brothers, Pieter Johannes and Barend Matthys, are propagated by the rest of the Booyens families as a conseqeunce of the Afrikaans naming convention. Many of the descendants of Pieter Johannes and Barend Matthys have also moved to the north of South Africa.
The 1843 Inventory of Mattheus' wife's estate records about D Booyens (son Daniel Jan Andries) and M Booyens (likely son Matthys Stephanus) : "The above individuals have left the district for Natal and are stated to possess nothing". In fact, both were in the Free State.
For the references, see below#