John Van Burgh conducted the first hardware store in Hickman and had much to do with the early business development
of the town. He was highly esteemed by all who knew him and his demise, which occurred in 1897, was deeply regretted. A
native of The Netherlands, he was born on the 15th of November, 1839, a son of Andrew Van Burgh, who came to
America about 1850, settling at Dunkirk, New York. Later he was joined by his family and for some time he worked as a
laborer in New York but at length removed to Sheboygan county, Wisconsin, He passed away at the home of his son John at
Holland, that state.
John Van Burgh was a boy at the time of his emigration to the United States and completed his education at the
public schools at Dunkirk, New York. He also learned the shoemaker's trade and followed it for a number of years at Cedar
Grove, Sheboygan county, Wisconsin. While living there he also engaged in farming to some extent and was successful in
both occupations, In 1879 he removed to Buda township, Lancaster county, Nebraska, hoping that the change would benefit
his wife's health. He purchased three eighty acre tracts of land, buying part of the land from the railroad company and
part from a private owner. He improved his farm and devoted five years to its cultivation, at the end of which time he
removed to Hickman and purchased land on which he and Herman Leisveld and John J. Trompen built the first
grain elevator in the town. They were active as grain dealers for four years, but at the end of that time Mr. Van
Burgh sold his interest in the business and turned his attention to the hardware field. He also purchased a number of
city lots and bought an old school building, the first erected at Hickman, from the school board and removing this
building to his lots, established a hardware store which he conducted until September, 1897. He was the first hardware
merchant in Hickman and he drew his trade from a wide territory. He carried a good stock and his honesty could always be
relied upon. As the years passed his resources increased and he became recognized as one of the most substantial
residents of Hickman. He built a fine modern home and there he was living at the time of his demise in September, 1897.
At Holland, Sheboygan county, Wisconsin, on the 16th of October, 1862, Mr. Van Burgh was united in marriage to Miss
Anna Stryde, a daughter of Adrian and Nellie (Leifbroer) Stryde, natives of Holland, who emigrated to
America in 1854 and settled at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the mother passed away on the 5th of August, 1854. The father
subsequently removed to the vicinity of Holland, Sheboygan county, Wisconsin, and worked as a day laborer there until he
purchased eighty acres of land, which he farmed for some time. In 1879 he disposed of that place and came to Nebraska
with Mr. and Mrs. Van Burgh. He acquired title to eighty acres in South Pass precinct, Lancaster county but never
operated that farm. He rented it to others and made his home with Mr. and Mrs. Van Burgh, first in Buda township
and later in Hickman. His demise occurred on the 27th of September, 1903, and he is buried in the town cemetery. Mrs.
Van Burgh was born at Kartgeen, The Netherlands, on the 24th of August, 1843. By her marriage she has become the
mother of six children: Andrew Percy, who is farming in Wyoming; Adrian Edward, who is conducting the hardware business
established by his father at Hickman; William Frank, who is in the hardware business in Omaha; John Martin, a mechanic of
Denver, Colorado; Nellie Mae, who is a graduate of the School of Music of the Nebraska State University and is teaching
music in Hickman and Lincoln; and James Lloyd, a teacher in a commercial college at Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mrs. Van
Burgh still resides in her home at Hickman and has the warm regard of all who have been brought in contact with her.
Mr. Van Burgh was an adherent of the republican party but never had time or inclination to hold office. He was
characterized by industry, perseverence and sound judgment and also had the insight to recognize a good business
opportunity and the aggressiveness to take advantage thereof. In all of his dealing he was straightforward and upright
and personally he was popular.
Copyright 1997 - 2009 by Debie Blindauer