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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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This article was contributed by Kay Reitberger

Sheboygan Press - April 29, 1929

Holland / Cedar Grove / Amsterdam


Thrifty Hollanders Made Settlement In 1841

Rev. Peter Zonne And Countrymen Had First Colony Along The Lake

The town of Holland stands out unique among all towns in the county. It is situated in the extreme southeastern part of the county and is divided into a large number of small farms populated principally by Hollanders.

The soil is clay, black muck reed marsh, generally rolling, except in the extreme western part bordering on the town of Sherman, where the area is broken, rough and stony. Along the lake the land lies low and swampy, although the thrifty Hollanders, noted for their successful gardening and farming, manage to raise a maximum of crops from the soil.

The town is well supplied with streams and springs of pure water. The Onion river enters the town from the north and flows almost to the center of the town before making a wide curve, and reversing its course flows in a northeasterly direction, emptying into Lake Michigan in the town of Wilson. Mud creek and other small streams empty into the Onion river. Bar creek has its source in Section 11, and flows southeasterly to Lake Michigan.

Settled In 1841

The first permanent settlement of the town dates back to 1841, at which time the first frame house in the town was built by David GIDDINGS in Section 25, Township 13, Range 22. A family named ELLSWORTH moved in when the house was completed, and was the first white family to settle in the town. A daughter of ELLSWORTH was the first birth of a white child in the town. Benjamin GIBBS, a son of John D. GIBBS, was nearly killed when the frame of the building fell on his back.

In 1844 G. H. SMITH and his family settled in the southeastern part of town, near the lake, and became a prominent fisherman in the section. The WILCOX family, John OWEN, and David SOUL were other early settlers.

The first school house was a log building located in Section 25 and was erected in 1845 or 1846. Later the log school house and also the building erected by Mr. GIBBS were converted into barns.

G. H. TE KOLSTE was the first Holland settler in the town and county. The following year a large number of his countrymen settled near him. They came under the leadership of the Rev. Peter ZONNE, in the summer of 1847. The arrival of these Hollanders was marked by a grim tragedy, when one of their number named VENENDAAL actually stepped off the Kirkland (???), near the mouth of the Sheboygan river and was drowned. The body was recovered and was buried in Sheboygan.

That year a large colony settled in Sections 24 and 25, then a government reserve called "Salt Spring Land." According to available information, the early emigrants were induced(?) to purchase the land upon the supposition that there were valuable deposits of salt in that location. This proved without foundation, and it is supposed some sharp land speculator threw a quantity of salt into some pond or springs in order to carry out the deception.

During the years of 1847 and 1848 a large portion of the town was settled by emigrants from all areas.(?) Germans located in the southwestern part of the town, Hollanders in the eastern part while the north and western parts were settled by a number of Americans, English and Irish. There was quite a settlement of Americans who came from Ohio at what is known as Amsterdam. Fishing and trapping in winter was the main occupation. Beaver, otter, wildcat, muskrat, deer, wolves and bears were plentiful. The emigrants were pestered by immense swarms of mosquitoes during the summer.

The Phoenix Tragedy

The burning of the propeller Phoenix, which occurred on November 20, 1847, within sight of the town of Sheboygan, was a horrible tragedy well known to almost every resident of Sheboygan county. It will be recalled that out of the 253 passengers, only forty-two or forty-three were saved from this disaster.

Among those who were rescued from the burning vessel was Johanna LUNDEWEERT who, with her parents, six sisters and two brothers, was a passenger on the ill-fated vessel. Johanna, then only two and a half years of age, was thrown from the propeller into the arms of an older sister, now Mrs. VOS(KUIL???), who resides in town Holland. Two of her sisters and both brothers lost their lives at that time. Johanna later (in 1869) became the wife of Henry MEENGS. She passed away on December 3, 1915, but Mr. MEENGS still resides in Cedar Grove, where at the age of 81, he is well and hearty and enjoys life with his daughter and the frequent companionship of his grandchildren.

Mr. MEENGS was born in Holland on January 31, 1846, and came to America with this parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dirk MEENGS, in June, 1855. The family settled on a farm near the west limits of the present village of Cedar Grove. For eleven consecutive years he served as town assessor and knew every resident of the town. The information contained in this review of town Holland was furnished principally by him and may be accepted as authentic, including even the numerous names of the early settlers.

Zeefelt First Family

He said that the village of Cedar Grove was named by the Rev. Mr. ZONNE because of the dense growth of cedars which covered an area of more than forty acres in that vicinity. While there were a few scattering settlers along the Sauk trail, he said the main settlement was at Amsterdam, on Lake Michigan. He claims the first family in the town of Holland was that of John ZEEFELT who built a shanty on the northwest quarter of Section 36, in 1845.

There was quite a settlement at Amsterdam, comprising several stores, a hotel and saloon, besides a few log houses occupied as residences. The merchants were Henry WALVOORD, and man named MULDER, and another named HOYT. Mr. WALVOORD dealt extensively in cord wood, which was the principal industry during the early settlement and development of the town. Mr. WALVOORD had a large pier from which the wood was loaded on the vessels. While measuring wood early one morning before the arrival of the expected vessel, Mr. WALVOORD slipped and fell from the pier and was drowned in the waters of Lake Michigan. It was always his custom to go alone to the pier early in the morning, and when he failed to appear at regular breakfast time nothing was thought of it until some time later when the family became alarmed at his protracted absence. A search was made, resulting in the discovery of the drowning.

The school house where Mr. MEENGS received his early education was a frame building, and was taught by a Hollander named VAN KEULEN. The pupils were mainly Hollanders, but the teacher also instructed the few English-speaking children who attended the school, which was then located directly opposite the present interurban station at Cedar Grove.

Sturgeon Plentiful

Fishing, said Mr. MEENGS, was an important industry among the settlers of Amsterdam. Sturgeon were numerous, but had little value, the largest sized being sold as low as fifty cents each. He related an exciting experience with a large sturgeon. One day while the fisherman were hauling in the pond-net, they told Mr. MEENGS, who was then a boy, that he could have one of the sturgeon if he pulled it out of the net. When he attempted to land the fish it was so powerful that it dragged him into the net and into deep water. He was rescued by the fishermen and proudly carried the large fish to the home of his parents.

After the railroad was completed and building started at Cedar Grove, the settlement of Amsterdam, was gradually abandoned until at the present time only meager evidence remains of that one-time active community.

In 1845, it is said, John JOHNSON, James WOOD, Messrs. SHAW, BURNETT, EANY, OWENS and WILCOX were the only American families in the town of Holland. In 1846 G. H. TE KOLSTE, Apolonia VAN DEN DRIEST, with her sons, Daniel and William; John CALJOUW and Hendrick VRIJHEID were the Holland families.

Two tragedies which left their impress of sorrow in the hearts of the settlers, are recorded during the early history of the town. A man named MENTINK was felling trees along the Sauk trail when one which he had cut toppled over and lodged in another tree nearby. While chopping at the foot of the second tree, it suddenly gave way and the one which had been lodged among the limbs dropped before MENTINK could get out of its path. His dead body was found later by friends living nearby.

In the winter of 1854, a young man named Jacob PATTEST, while felling trees was hit on the head and died from the effects of injuries sustained.

Johnny DAANE, an eight-year old brother of the late Peter DAANE, who came to America with his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Apolonia VAN DEN DRIEST, a year before his parents arrived in the town of Holland, died during the winter of 1846, and was the first death among the Hollanders. The VAN DEN DRIEST family settled on the northwest quarter of Section 19, Range 22.

Town Election In '49

The town was first organized in the spring of 1849, and the first election was held in Sweezy BURR's house. There were sixty-five voters present and the following officers were elected: Edwin Palmer, chairman; William MITCHELL and Peter SCUFFROUW, supervisors; Joseph Palmer, clerk; David COOK, assessor; John POOL, treasurer; and William MITCHELL, superintendent of common schools.

The names of most of the earliest settlers and the chronological order of their arrival in the town of Holland follow:

1843 - James SHAVER and Norman SHAVER on Section 7.

1844 - W. LAWSON on Section 30.

1845 - P. ZEEFELT on Section 22; and John SHAVER (later machine agent) on Section 14.

1846 - G. H. SMITH (fisherman) on Section 31; G. H. TE KOLSTE on Sections 35 and 36; John WILSON on Sections 31 and 36; Joseph PALMER (later cheesemaker) on Section 11 and 14; and H. W. ZEEFELT on Section 22.

1847 - S. F. HICKINBOTHAM (later hop grower and stock raiser) on Section 9; S. McCONKEY on Section 4; William HIGBY (farmer and carpenter) on Section 4; Peter DAANE (later merchant and postmaster at Oostburg) on Section 6; S. ERNISSE on Section 6; P. and M. ERNISSE (later blacksmiths and wagon makers) on Section 6; Carl OTT on Section 18; M. SPRANGERS (later president of the Holland Insurance company) on Section 5; H. J. DRAAYERS on Section 7; A. STOKDYK on Section 3; G. W. HYINK (later butcher and farmer) on Section 11; John DeSMITH on Section 11; G. H. BOLAND and D. H. BOLAND on Section 24; Jacob DeSCHMIDT on Section 17; and J. A. RAMAKER (later brick maker) on Section 12.

1848 - N. F. POTT on Section 25; Jacob KIESEL on Section 11; C. WALVOORD on Section 13; William WONSER on Section 9; Alex McMULLEN on Section 4; Henry RHODES (later stock raiser) on Sections 8 and 9; John DeLYSER on Section 7; John SCHMIDLER (later saloon keeper and postmaster at Dacada) on Section 31; Samuel DU MEZ on Section 35; G. DROPPERS on Sections 21 and 28; A. ZONNE on Sections 23 and 24; and C. ROCKWELL on Section 6.

1849 - Henry WALVOORD on Section 25; A. C. WALVOORD (later merchant at Cedar Grove) on Section 26; G. BRUGGINK on Section 1; and A. ZUURMOND (carpenter and joiner) on Section 6.

1850 - D. SMIES (fisherman and farmer) on Section 19; Tobias BLOEMERS on Section 7; B. H. GRAVEN on Section 12; Samuel Van KAMP on Section 5; and John MENTINK on Section 26.

1851 - A. VANDER WAAL on Section 12; H. CLARBOUT on Section 18; P. VAN OUWERKERK on Section 3; John BRILL on Section 10; James DUNN on Section 18; William LYONS on Section 18; and J. BRUMMELS on Section 27.

1853 - William SWEEMER (telegraph operator at Cedar Grove) on Section 26; and MATHER brothers (later owners and operators of the "Cedar Grove Cheese Factory") on Section 26.

1854 - R. HYATT on Section 6.

1855 - Peter DEPIESSE (later general store, saloon and farmer) on Section 31; G. LEMMENES (later farm machinery and produce) on Sections 25 and 26; and John SCHMIDT (mason and farmer) on Section 31.

1856 - C. ROGERS on Section 6; and Edward MASTERSON on Section 16.

1858 - Henry TER HAAR on Section 6.

1860 - J. F. BRASURE on Section 17; and James MASTERSON on Section 16.

1862 - David H. RHINES (carpenter and farmer) on Section 18.

1864 - L. T. JENSSEN on Section 2; and Nicholas LEIDER on Section 34.

Town Holland is divided into two ranges, the nine sections along Lake Michigan being designated in Range 23, while the thirty-six complete square sections west are situated in Range 22. A complete list of residents or those owning property in the town of Holland in 1873 has been checked up with Henry MEENGS, and is as follows:

Range 22

Section 1 - L. BLOEMERS; A. TOBAK; L. VELTKAMP; D. G. BRUGGINK; L. T. GOTENHUIS; A. LUBBERS; H. HUEBINK; and G. GRUEPINK.

Section 2 - L. T. JANSSEN; G. J. HARMELINK; L. PETERMAN; M. BRASSER; A. J. GRAVEN; G. H. PRINSEN; G. S. SIMMELINK; G. LOHUIS; J. W. BLEKKING; and A. J. GRUETINK.

Section 3 - M. McHANNEY; G. J. GUERKINK; P. SULLIVAN; J. H. HARREK; W. BEERNINK; J. OOSTERHUIS; Peter VAN PUWERKERK; A. STOKDYK; J. H. WALVOORT; A. FAAS; B. KOOYERS; J. VER HAGEN; and J. GERKINK.

Section 4 - E. SULLIVAN; A. J. SMITH; H. McPAITKIN; S. McCONKEY; F. SULLIVAN; and H. J. TER HAAR.

Section 5 - J. ARTHUR; J. B. VAN KAMP; A. LOURET; S. VAN KAMP; D. HARKENS; G. SCHOENBOSCH; B. OBRINK; R. JACKSON; A. MORRIS; G. LANE; J. NICHOLS; J. FELTES; C. OPENNEER; and J. PIERCE.

Section 6 - D. DUNN; C. ROGERS; C. ROCKWELL; D. HELMER; P. HARKENS; R. DONAVAN; W. BRASURE; J. ARTHUR; J. B. VAN KAMP; H. TERHAUT; and S. HYATT.

Section 7 - Mrs. HETTNER; A. COOK; J. E. CLARK; T. LYONS; J. TURNER; J. DUNN; E. G. VAN KAMP; J. DELYSER; E. ROBINSON; F. MAAS; N. SHAVER; and J. SHAVER.

Section 8 - J. WASSINK; J. SHONBAKER; D. HARKENS; R. DONAVAN; J. MAIRES; C. NICHOLS; D. DONAVAN; D. WARD; D. DUNN; G. RHODES; and J. VER STRAATE.

Section 9 - H. RHODES; S. F. HICKINBOTHAM; W. WONSER; M. BROEDERS; L. LAMB; and T. McGEE.

Section 10 - J. I. BRILL; J. H. VAN OUWERKERK; W. WONSER; H. BISSCEUR/BISSEEUR; J. W. LENSINK; J. VERDOUW; J. BRETHOUWER; and CALWORD brothers.

Section 11 - W. H. TE GROTENHUIS; E. VOSKUIL; R. H. GRAVEN; M. BRASSER; G. LOHUIS; J. KIESEL; G. W. HYINK; G. HEINEN; J. W. LENSINK; J. DeSMITH; Mrs. PALMER; and J. PALMER.

Section 12 - B. H. GRAVEN; J. H. SIEBELINK; T. A. RAMAKER; J. H. SCHOLTEN; T. A. BRETHOUWER; L. LIESEN; R. LAARMAN; J. H. TE RONDE; and B. KLEINHESSELINK.

Section 13 - J. W. DAMKOT; E. SOERENS; J. H. WIGGERS; J. WALVOORT; H. W. TE GROTENHUIS; H. J. VOSKUIL; J. BRETHOUWER; J. D. KONING; H. TE KOLSTE; and C. WALVOORD.

Section 14 - J. PALMER; J. SHAVER; G. J. DUINK; Mrs. KOMMERS; T. TE SELLE; A. KOMMERS; and J. W. WINKELHORST.

Section 15 - F. DE JONGE; J. B. DE GRAVEN; P. VAN ESS; G. H. MEERDINK; Mrs. J. SCHREUERS; H. FAAS; and A. J. PRANGE.

Section 16 - J. LAMB; J. MASTERSON; J. W. SOMSEN; A. J. REUSLINK; G. WEISNICHT; M. LAMB; R. McCANNON; and P. HACKETT.

Section 17 - J. DELYSER; B. GARSIDE; M. NEEDHAM; J. MASTERSON; A. STOCK; T. O'HARA; F. MASTERSON; J. KLUG; and C. CAIN.

Section 18 - J. MAAS; W. LAWRENCE; G. MOLLE; H. HUNSELINK; J. DUNN; W. LYONS; T. NOKELEY; E. MASTERSON; P. MURPHY, Sr.; and P. MURPHY, Jr.

Section 19 - P. CONDON; J. FEIEREISEN; J. THOMA; G. MUSCH; J. B. SINNEN; P. SANT; M. HEINEN; A. DEHEK; E. SIBENALER; P. SCHERBER; and J. O'HARA.

Section 20 - P. SCHOLER; N. DEHEK; C. BARTELS; Louis MAAS; C. CAIN; E. SIBENALER; and F. BOY.

Section 21 - N. JACOBI; W. MEERDINK; G. J. REUSINK; H. SPEELBUEG; T. LAMB; H. KEKFER; T. O'HARA; Mrs. DE SMITH; G. W. PRINSEN; J. B. WYNVEEN; J.W. WYNVEEN; and G. T. DROPPERS.

Section 22 - J. W. WIEBERSINK; E. SCHREURER; H. J. TE STROETE; H. WINKELHORST; B. H. WIEBERDINK; H. ZUFELDT; D. J. NEERHOF; G. VELDHORST; W. RAMAKER; A. J. PRINSEN; C. CARVER; H. CARVER; G. J. TE LINDERT; and J. MARSIELJE.

Section 23 - F. KONING; H. J. TE STROETE; A. ZONNE; H. PRINSEN; H. KRUENEN; J. W. TER MAAT; H. J. PRINSEN; J. H. SCHREURER; J. GRASKAMP; P. WAGENER; Mr. De SMITH; J. KREUNEN; E. E. KOOL; W. HARMELINK; P. ALOWYNZE; J. MEEUSE; G. ZIKKINK; and H. J. TE HENNEPE.

Section 24 - D. A. VOSKUIL; A. ZONNE; H. BOLAND; A. J. TE KOLSTE; H. HUBER; G. BOLAND; G. BOYELINK; H. J. NONHOF; and J. LAMMERS.

Section 25 - M. VANDER JAGT; H. J. WEVERS; Delia WALVOORD; J. FONTAINE; H. SWEEMER; F. HUISHEER; I. VANBURG; L. VANDER JAGT; B. HOOPMAN; and A. WALVOORD.

Section 26 - L. VAN ALTENA; D. MEENGS; P. LETBROY; J. H. ONNINK; J. SCHELEMAN; J. WICERAN; John MENTINK; G. VEERENSCHOT; W. VEERENSCHOT; and J. SWEEMER.

Section 27 - J. WYNVEEN; G. RAMAKER; J. W. HYINK; W. PRINSEN; G. J. TE LINDERT; P. ZEEVELD; J. BRUMMELS; G. VELDHORST; I. SIEVIER; J. DE BRUIN; and A. T. VRUWINK.

Section 28 - F. LEUVEN FELTUS; J. LEUVEN FELTUS; J. MEERDINK; G. T. DROPPERS; J. DE BRUINE; A. J. VRUWINK; G. J. KEMPINK; L. PARADYS; J. WEBER; M. THOLL; N. SCHUELER; J. SHUMER; and D. B. SCHMITT.

Section 29 - A. DEHEK; P. LUDWIG; A. HUBBINK; P. MOLITOR; P. MEDDINGER; P. HEIN; D. BRECHLER; P. SCHMITT; N. SCHOEDER; N. PARADYS; P. NULLS; J. FELTUS; and N. SCHNEIDER.

Section 30 - N. FEISER; F. SCHNEIDER; N. SCHNEIDER; J. MEDDINGER; P. MEDDINGER; M. SCHMITT; N. BLOCK; J. DEKKER; D. BIECHLER; J. KNOTH; and H. FOX.

Section 31 - P. BALLANSE; J. KNOTH; J. EISCHEN; P. BIESNER; P. HAMMER; N. SHONS; N. LAURES; N. KLEUTSCH; J. AKKER; and P. DEPIESSE.

Section 32 - B. NEIHAUS; M. MOLITOR; M. BRANDENBURG; J. WEBER; W. GURBUS; P. RUSSEL; N. MARK; E. BIES; J. N. SCHMITT; J. THIES; and J. SHUMER.

Section 33 - W. BOWLER; J. DELTUS; N. THIEL; N. SHRINER; F. SCHULTES; L. KULLOIN; M. THOLZ; M. FISCH; J. MULLER; and M. LEIDER.

Section 34 - J. SHUME; N. LEYDE; P. RUSSEL; N. WALTER; J. PUTZ; J. LEURATH; F. WEYLANDER; P. DIEBIER; N. PLIER; B. HASMAN; J. FLIPSE; H. FELTHAUS; W. VEERENSCHT; J. FINTENA; H. J. WEBER; John MENTINK; N. VAN DENE; and L. DAANE.

Section 35 - Mrs. A. DU MEZ; C. VAN TILBORG; M. KETMAN; I. D. SCHMIDT; J. VANDER JAGT; A. STRIET; G. TE KOLSTE; J. VERSEPUT; N. PARKIER; and D. OLLINK.

Section 36 - H. KATHIXER; M. SCHILLS; N. PIERCE; J. P. MAI; J. WILSON; P. MOLITOR; A. MONTEBA; P. VANDER JAGT; G. h. TE KOLSTE; C. VAN TILBORG; and Mrs. F. OTT.

Range 23

Section 4 - E. P. ERNISSE; and E. WILDGRUBE.

Section 5 - M. SPRANGERS; A. HUIBREGTSE; C. DE BLACK; A. INGELSE; J. VAN DUNN; G. J. WIGGERS; P. DIELMAN; I. LEMAHIEU; E. KOEPPE; and Mr. KREGER.

Section 6 - A. ZUURMOND; J. DE SMIDT; J. HOLLANDER; G. DE MUNCK; I. DE MUNCK; A. BRETHOUWER; B. W. LEMMENES; H. J. WINKELSHORST; and P. HUIBREGTSE.

Section 7 - J. B. SCHEPERS; J. W. STRONGS; LEMAHIEU; S. DEKKER; J. DEKKER; A. VANDER WALL; H. S. DRAAYERS; H. J. DRAAYERS; and G. W. SOERENS.

Section 17 - G. J. WIESKAMP; C. BRASSER; J. DE LOOFE; J. ZEEFERT; J. DE SMITH; J. THEUNE; H. HUIBREGTSE.

Section 18 - H. J. WIESKAMP; W. KROINBRINK; J. DUINK; P. DE MASTER; J. CALJOUW; H. CLAERBOU(??); C. OTT; and D. H. RHINES.

Section 19 - W. ORLEBSKE/ORLEBEKE; (?) SMIDT; P. MINDERHOUT; A. WALVOORD; M. DE MEESTER; D. W. HUENINK; C(?). VANDER JAGT; P. ROELSE; W. VAN DRIEST; J. VANDER WEELE; J. CHRISTIANSEN; and Peter DAANE, Jr.

Section 30 - D. W. HUENINK; H. J. MEENGS; George SMITH; W. LAWSON; and G. H. SMITH.

Section 31 - L. DAANE; G. E. SMITH; J. SCHMITT; and J. WILSON.


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