Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 532 - 533
John Fonteine is one of the honored pioneers of Holland Township. He is a native of Zeeland, Holland, his birth
having occurred March 31, 1824. His parents, Adrian and Johanna (Van Klooster) Fonteine, were natives of the same
country. The father followed the trade of carpenter throughout his life. He died when his son John was but four
and a-half years old. The mother, who is still held sacred in the memory of her son, reached the age of sixty-five
years, when she was laid to rest beside her husband. In his native land John Fonteine grew to manhood and received
a common-school education. When but nine years of age, he began to help earn a living for himself and his mother,
for whom he continued to provide until her death.
Having decided to come to this country, Mr. Fonteine took shipping at Rotterdam on the 10th of August, 1854, and
after forty-two days spent on the briny deep landed at New York Harbor. Making his way Westward through Buffalo,
Detroit and Chicago, he reached Sheboygan, where he made his home until May of the following year, when he removed
to the town of Holland. During the first seven summers he worked at the carpenter's trade, and in the winter cut
wood and made shingles. For ten years he worked for wages, and by strict economy accumulated enough to buy fourteen
acres of land, which was covered with stumps and timber, and for which he paid $350. As his finances would permit,
he bought from time to time other tracts of land, until he owned eighty-eight acres, of which he still retains
forty-nine acres. This farm is well improved and fertile.
Mr. Fonteine was married, in 1864, to Elizabeth Muelendyk, a native of the same province as her husband, born
November 18, 1824. Mrs. Fonteine is one of ten children, six sons and four daughters, nine of whom accompanied
their mother to this country, and of whom six are living. One child was born to Mr. and Mrs. Fonteine, who bears
the name of Adrian. The son, who is a native of the town of Holland, was born July 14, 1865. After attending the
common schools, he took a course at the Spencerian Business College at Milwaukee. Having farmed until December,
1890, he embarked in the lumber business at Cedar Grove, where he is receiving a liberal patronage. He has served
his fellow-citizens in a number of official capacities, having been Town Clerk two years (which office he still
holds), Assistant Postmaster of Cedar Grove for some three years, and Census Enumerator in 1890. In his community
he is popular and is recognized as a young man of ability.
During the late war Mr. Fonteine, Sr., was called upon to serve his adopted country, being a member of Company G,
Thirty-fourth Wisconsin Infantry, in which he served for about ten months. He was again called into service in
1864, and assigned to Company H, Sixth Wisconsin Regiment, serving until discharged, July 14, 1865. All the family
are members of the Presbyterian Church, and both father and son vote the Republican ticket.
Copyright 1997 - 2009 by Debie Blindauer
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