The following articles were found in a file cabinet for family genealogies in the Zeeland Michigan Public Library, and tell of how this family settled in Western Michigan. The articles all fall under the Heading “Thumb Nails” by Antonia.
Journey and arrival of Tamme van den Bosch
At that time, after the persecutions by the state, there was much talk about America. Among our acquaintances there were many families who wanted to go to America. Three sons of Tamme van den Bosch also wanted to go. My father said to my mother, “Then we too must go with them; the practice of religion is free there, and that is what we desire.” “Yes”, said mother, “but I cannot decide, for one of our children is not able to go with us, and to leave him here, that is asking too much of me.” Father and mother had nine children of whom Dominie Koene van den Bosch was the oldest; and he was the one who could not go with us.
Everything was in readiness, except mother. On a certain morning mother said on rising, “Father, I now am ready to go to America.: “Well”, said father, “how did this happen?” Mother replied, “I have prayed to God, that he might give me the freedom to go. He has given me this freedom. He has heard my prayer, I am ready to go to America!”
If I recall well, that was in the month of March 1848. On May 1 we were ready to depart. A number of families were going to accompany us. These were Anesus J. Hillebrands, Berend Kamps, Evert Evers, Diekema, Schepers, Roelof ten Hake, H. Vredevelt, H. Pijl, Berend Jan Poes, E. Eding and the widow Essing.
We left our fatherland for the sake of religion and also for the welfare of the children. We were the only family in the village of Witten near Assen which belonged to the Seceders (Afgescheidenen). Our neighbors took us to the boat. Oh! To part from them was so hard; that is something I shall never forget.
Our voyage was tolerably comfortable. The name of the ship was SCANDIA. It was a voyage of 35 days. Once we ran through a stiff storm so that the ship’s hatches had to be closed each night. Three children died on this voyage.
Our intention was to proceed to Zeeland. When we arrived, Jan Steketee offered to take us in until we built our house. Father was a butcher. He also sold flour. He bought cows and oxen which he butchered and sold by the pound. Father kept this up for two years during which time we got along very well. Thereafter he bought some land in section 13 for himself and his three sons, who helped father chop down the trees.
During our first year on the farm we raised very little. Whatever was planted was eaten by coons and other wild pests. In the second year we planted a considerable patch of corn, which produced very well. But in the fall we all began to suffer from the fever. Dominie van der Meulen frequently visited us. To us he was doctor, dominie, and father. I shall never forget how kind he was. On one occasion he visited us when we were all sick abed. As we were very thirsty we asked him to give us some water. He said, “this water is too warm. I’ll go to the spring and get fresh water.” Returning, he remarked, “Things don’t look well; the corn is ripe and all of you are sick.”
But the Lord healed all things and father recovered. He picked the ears from the stalks and carried them to the house where we children shelled them. So, we had corn from which to make johnnycake and also to fatten our pigs. To the Lord is due all praise and thanks because up until the present moment, He has done all things well for us.~Mrs. J.H. Boone~
The author, Grietje, daughter of Tamme van den Bosch, came from the province of Drenthe. She married Jan Hendrik Boone and lived in or near Groningen during most of her life, dying in Zeeland in 1916. This article, written in 1910, is excerpted from Dutch Immigrant Memoirs and Related Writings by Henry S. Lucas.
Tamme van den Bosch – Pioneer
When the Tamme van den Bosch family were prepared to move to America, they boarded the sailing vessel Scandia, arriving in New York on May 29, 1848, after 35 days at sea. Within a few weeks they found themselves in the Kolonie and settled in Zeeland where they stayed for two years. Tamme worked as a butcher to support his family.
The immigration papers showed that Tamme brought a family of eight children and four grandchildren with him, a total company of 17 people, ie:
- Tamme Melle van den Bosch, 51 years old, (father)
- Grietje Koenen Bont, 48 years old, (mother)
- Melle van den Bosch, 27 years old
- Tryntje Westhoek, 27 years old
- Tamme 4 years old
- Peter 11 months old
- Peter van den Bosch 26 years old
- Harmontien Essing 25 years old
- Tamme 3 years old
- Jantina 3 years old
- Jacob van den Bosch 24 years old
- Hendrika Kruims 31 years old
- (no children)
For two years the family had acquired enough finance to buy a farm in Section 13 of what became Zeeland Township; and Tamme became a farmer.
- Anne (a son) 19 years old
- Anneshina 15 years old
- Tollishina 11 years old
- Grietje 9 years old
- Johannes 6 years old
Their eldest son, Rev. Koenraad van den Bosch, 30, and his wife, Maria Rook, and their children could not come with the family in 1848. He was committed to ministrial service at the Palace Het Loo at Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. Rev. Koene, at 38 years of age, came to Michigan in 1856, served the Reformed Church at Noordeloos, and became the father of the Christian Reformed Church Movement in 1857.
- 1847-1856 served as minister Elburg, Het Loo;
- 1856-1857 at Noordeloos Reformed Church;
- 1857-1869 at True Reformed Church at Noordeloos;
- 1869-1878 at First Christian Reformed at Grand Haven;
- 1878-1881 at First Christian Reformed at Chicago, Illinois.
- 1881 he became Emeritus due to ill health
- 1883 he served on the Christian Reformed Synod.
Rev. Koene van den Bosch
The van den Bosch’s were prolific and became a very large extended family, many of whom became prominent people. Scanning the genealogy, one finds an assortment of professions represented, ie: ministers, professors, manufacturers, merchants, bankers, musicians, businessmen, as well as farmers.
Another item of interest is the fact that some of the earlier families had 10 to 17 children. By the 2nd or 3rd generation the common number of children had fallen to 4 or 5. The list of descendants of Tamme van den Bosch and Grietje Bont is huge.~Antonia~
A Farm Cemetery
When in about 1850, the van den Bosch family acquired their farm property, they settled on land north of Roosevelt School, located on 100th Ave., or Franklin Street. Father Tamme, with four of his sons, Melle, Pieter, Jacob, and Anne, cleared the land of forest and developed a prosperous farm place.
Tamme lived there the remainder of his years, from 1850 to 1874, when he died at the age of 76 years. Grietje, his wife, lived to be 66 years of age, preceding her husband in death by 9 years, passing away in 1865. They both lie buried in a small cemetery on their own farm: a knoll chosen towards the rear of the property behind Roosevelt School, and north of the creek. There were more burials there, but research has been unable to establish how many people or who they are. It is assumed that, besides being a burial place for the grandparents, it probably became a place for infant burials. A former neighbor recollects that, long ago, there was a large stone and two small stones marking these burials. During the course of time, the fencing around the plot deteriorated, the stones disappeared, and the land was cultivated. For a long time now, people have been aware of a large stone lying in the creek. This proved to be a part of the original gravestone. (This stone has been retrieved).
This pioneer family was religious, courageous, enduring, industrious and frugal; the impact of which they have not only left upon their descendants, but upon all with whom they came in contact. That they have builded well the characters of their children and their children’s children is evident to all who are ready to observe it. If ever a people deserved to win, it was the pioneer settlers.
Now the van den Bosch family is proposing to memorialize their fine ancestors by preserving this burial plot and placing an appropriate marker there. The burial site has been identified, and the Zeeland School District, the present owners of the land, have consented to set aside this spot as a community memorial to a stalwart pair of settlers.
The people of Zeeland as well as the Zeeland Historical Society are proud of this endeavor and wish the van den Bosch family success in accomplishing this venture.~Antonia~
Another article found in the same family file in the Zeeland Library is a van den Bosch Memorial Dedication of Sept 6, 1986. It looks to be an outline of a speech. However, I do not know the author and therefore cannot give the credit due. It provides keen insights into the character of Rev. Koene van den Bosch and his role in the formation of the Christian Reformed Church 150 years ago.
More links referencing the Reverend Koene van den Bosch:
- Memoirs of Mrs. Spoelstra - Early days of the Christian Reformed Church
- Noordeloos / Noordeloos Christian Reformed Church Michigan Highway Marker
Koene and his wife Maria had the following children:
NAME BIRTH DATE BIRTH PLACE Tamme (Thomas) October 27, 1841 Weerwille, Drenthe, Netherlands Hendrik K. (Henry) January 31, 1844 Weerwille, Drenthe, Netherlands Marinus (Martin) January 3, 1849 Apeldoorn, Gelderland, Netherlands Gerardius (Gerrit) September 8, 1851 Apeldoorn, Gelderland, Netherlands Grietje 1859 Michigan
In 1875, Gerrit and Martin started a grocery and dry goods store in Grand Haven, located at 100 North Third Street. In 1884, brothers Thomas and Henry formed a partnership with them and added a clothing department. It later became know as "The Big Store".
Hendrik (Henry) van den Bosch
The following is from Henry's obituary published in the Grand Haven Tribune, Wednesday November 7, 1928:
H. K. Van den Bosch, veteran clothing merchant of the city, died at his home Tuesday night after only a day’s confinement to his bed. He was 84 years old and has lived in this city since a lad of 12 years, when he came to this country from the Netherlands with his father, the founder of the large Van den Bosch family which has been so well known in Western Michigan.
Mr. Van den Bosch had enjoyed excellent health during his well rounded life and Monday visited the store which has been in the hands of his sons Charles and Bert Van den Bosch, for many years.
Mr. Van den Bosch and his brother Thomas founded the Big Store in 1884 and continued in partnership until the death of Thomas many years ago when the survivor turned the executive part of the business over to his sons. He, however never lost his interest and each day came to the business house although as the years passed he took a less active part in it.
Always a family man, his chief delight was his garden and it was said of him that he could make anything grow. A deeply religious man, he was a member of the Second Christian Reformed Church which he held office as an elder and deacon.
In politics he was a staunch Republican and took a keen interest in the present election, advising his neighbors only the day before his death to vote a straight Republican ticket. He had expected to vote and Tuesday discussed the status of the election with his sons, although he realized he would never go to the polls again.
He is survived by the following children: Mrs. C. C. Boomgaard, Mrs. Harry Zeldenrust, Mrs. John Dirkse, and Charles and Bert Van den Bosch of this city; Mrs. Henry Vos, Grand Rapids; Miss Harriet Van den Bosch, Englewood, NJ; and T. Connell Van den Bosch, Onarga, Ill., and 10 grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held from the home, 509 Lafayette Street, Friday, at 2:00pm with Rev. R.J. Karsten officiating. Burial will be in Lake Forest Cemetery.
Those of his children who are living out of this city will return for the funeral services. Friends are asked to kindly omit flowers.
Grietje (Gertrude) van den Bosch
Daughter of Henry, married Jan Dirkse
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