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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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Martinus A. Ketman

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 549 - 550

Martinus A. Ketman, a veteran of the late war, residing on section 35, range 22, is numbered among the few surviving earliest settlers in Holland Township, and dates his arrival from 1847, the year in which the first settlements were made in this portion of Sheboygan County. He is a native of Scetven, province of Guelderland, Holland, born March 27, 1839. His grandfather was an Englishman by birth, but in later life established his home in the above named province, where the father of our subject, Tony Ketman, was born June 5, 1803. The latter grew to manhood in his native land. He received his education in the common schools, after which he learned the trade of mason, which he followed until his emigration to this country. On reaching man's estate, Tony Ketman was united in marriage to Mary Johnson, who was a native of the same village, born November 29, 1805. Of this union there were eight children born, four sons and four daughters, two of whom survive: Harmanus J., born July 31, 1831, and Martinus A.

In 1847 Mr. Ketman, accompanied by his wife and family, which then consisted of four children, embarked on board a Dutch sailing-vessel at Rotterdam for New York, where they arrived after a rough and tedious voyage of forty-eight days. Coming direct to Wisconsin, they located in the town of Holland, Sheboygan County, where the father purchased eighty acres of land on section 35, which is now owned by John Van der Jagt. All was a wilderness; neighbors were few and far between, and Indians were numerous, far outnumbering the white settlers. In this new and unimproved country they began the labor of making a home, but in three short months the father was laid to rest, dying at the early age of forty-three years. Left with the care of a family of young children, the mother not only had to attend to the duties of the home, but to earn a livelihood. Bravely she met the hardships of frontier life, laboring and toiling as few women of this county have done. Ere the year was spent, two children were claimed by death, leaving the mother and two sons to mourn the loss of husband and children. To such noble lives all honor is due, and the influence they exert for good cannot be measured. Mrs. Ketman's death occurred May 31, 1878, she having reached the advanced age of seventy-two years. She was a woman much beloved and respected for the beautiful life she had lived, under circumstances calculated to discourage a more sturdy heart.

Martinus A. Ketman was a lad of eight years when he came to this county, and may truly be said to have grown up with it. His advantages for an education were the most meagre. Losing his father soon after coming here, his help was required to assist in providing for the wants of a family. When twenty-eight years of age, he was united in marriage to Miss Martha, daughter of John and Corina Verseput. Two children were born of this union, Toby and John, both of whom died in infancy. Their mother's death occurred in February, 1872. Some eight months later Mr. Ketman wedded Miss Nellie Hubregste {sic}, a daughter of Henry and Jennie Hubregste {sic}, who was born in Westcapella, province of Zeeland, Holland, July 22, 1852. Their marriage was celebrated October 30, 1873, Jacob Kiesel performing the ceremony. Mr. Ketman and his wife became the parents of eight children, as follows: Mary, born October 15, 1874; Jane, bora August 8, 1877; Susan, born May 31, 1879; Henry, born January 24, 1881; Tony, born April 24, 1883; Nellie, born May 9, 1885; Elizabeth, born October 19, 1887, and Harmanus, born March 8, 1889. On May 31, 1889, Mr. Ketman was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife. She was a good Christian woman, respected by all who knew her.

In political faith, Mr. Ketman has always been a Republican. When the call for troops to aid in putting down the Rebellion was made, he responded, becoming a member of Company E, Twenty-seventh Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers. He served with the company until August 29, 1865, when he was honorably discharged at Brownsville, Tex. With his regiment he participated in the battle of Spanish Fort, Ala., which lasted thirteen days, and in which so many of his comrades were left on the field.


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