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Down at the Station

I like to talk about Grandpa Adrian Zuidweg’s Sunoco gas station because it seemed a little magical when I was a kid. Here is how it looked 20 years before my time–in 1939:

I don’t know who lived in the house on each side in 1939, but I did 20 years later. Maybe it was the same people. The man who lived in the house on the left of the photo (to the right of the station) was Willie Dunn. When I was newly married and he was moving, he let me have an antique oak library desk from the house. I’m looking at it right now. Simple Queen Anne legs and two drawers without pulls.

Here’s a photo I’ve posted before–the view is different, so here you can see a sampling of the houses across the street on Balch Street. Any ideas on the date of this photo? The pump looks different than the ones in the 1939 photo, and then there is the car to help. I bet Uncle Don would know!

Grandpa by the pump at his Sunoco station

Grandpa by the pump at his Sunoco station

The pumps in the first photo have globes on the top of them. Does anybody know if the globes lit up like lighted signs? I found a photo of a vintage pump that looks like that type:

There is something to be said for such a fancy model, but it was probably more expensive to build and to maintain. In case you’re wondering, yes, people collect old gas station memorabilia–anything with a brand name and a logo!

Here is what Grandpa’s gas station looks like today. Or shall I say the site of the station. You see that white house? You can see all the way to that house because Willie Dunn’s house is gone.

When you were a kid, did you enjoy visiting or playing at or working at a small business in your family?

I wrote about my great-grandfather, Charles Mulder, and his farm in Caledonia, Michigan here. That post also lists other links that pertain to Great Grandpa and the Mulders.

At the time I didn’t have a good photograph of the farm, but now I have discovered a good one of the farmhouse, just as I remember it. Facing this way, the apple tree the swing hung from was to the left. The fields were also to the left, the road to the right. Because of the porch, you can see that the front of the house is on the right side.

Look at that! Is it the same swing I swung on or a different one? This is Mom’s cousin Elaine playing at the farm.

Do you have any fond farm memories?

As a high school student at Caledonia High School in Michigan in the 1920s, my grandmother, Lucille Edna Mulder, was a good student. As I have written about before, she was Class Historian at graduation–and kept a beautiful graduation scrapbook.

She also kept a meticulous notebook for botany class. Here is a slideshow of the entire book. I will post a few still images below the slideshow.

Did you ever record precise information like this for a homework assignment? If so, do you think you learned from it?

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These dried flowers look like nature prints! I wish I had been required or encouraged to keep a notebook like this.

Last week I mentioned that both Lambertus and Gerrit Leeuwenhoek were at the orphanage together after their parents died.

I wanted to share with you information that Adriaan Leeuwenhoek discovered and shared with me about Gerrit’s stay. Gerrit was living in an orphanage located in Neerbosch in 1893. Here is the photo I posted last week of the campus.

Various newspaper records show that Gerrit was beaten by teacher Cornelis de Bruin.

Unlike the Dickens’ stories about the abuse of orphans in 19th century England, in this real life 19th century Dutch story, Gerrit went to the police station to report this crime!

gerrit article

unnamed

The articles indicate that the court prosecuted four cases of the mistreatment of children at Neerbosch. Superintendent Leendert Sies abused 9-year-old Willem van Deth, teacher Frans van Geelen assaulted 11-year-old Marie van Deth. Another child was abused, as well, but the Google translation gets murky there.

The 3rd victim listed is our Gerrit. Teacher Cornelis de Bruin was given a 14 day jail sentence for assaulting Gerrit. I hope he fulfilled his time!

With so many teachers abusing children, it appears that abuse was rampant at the orphanage, but that they were prosecuted shows, to me, a determination to try to improve the situation for the children.

Adriaan has informed me that within a half year of registration one child died, as well. I wonder what the statistics were for the entire run of the orphanage regarding child “mortality.” I am sure abuse was rampant in orphanages around the world at that time.

The case was important enough that even De Volksvriend, one of the various Dutch speaking newspaper in the U.S., reported about the lawsuit. Adrian says to refer to page 7 of the attached PDF. Note that this is not the Michigan paper that my relatives worked on, but a paper out of Iowa!

Leeuwenhoek, Gerrit [De Volksvriend (Orange City, Sioux County, Iowa) 1894-03-03 – Pagina 7]

Thanks for Adriaan for this wonderful information (which I would not have found since I don’t read Dutch).

I’ll conclude this 3 part story of Gerrit and Lambertus Leeuwenhoek with a photograph of one of Adriaan Leeuwenhoek’s handsome ancestors, his grandfather Adriaan Leeuwenhoek, born 1896. I love the straw boater hat.

 

***

I’ve tried to stick to the punctuation rule of not capitalizing “van” and “de,” but the sources list them both capitalized and not, which REALLY confuses me because I had thought that they were not capitalized in the Netherlands and then were capitalized in the United States. Apparently not true!

Now for the meat and potatoes of the information I was given by Adriaan Leeuwenhoek (as a reminder, his great-grandfather Cornelis Leeuwenhoek was the cousin of Lambertus and Gerrit Leeuwenhoek who I have written about in earlier posts).  Thank you, Adriaan, for such wonderful information!

According to Adriaan, Lambertus & Gerrit, aged 13 and 9 respectively, became orphans on February 17th, 1886, the day their father Arie Leeuwenhoek passed away. It looks like they had at least 2-3 siblings that survived into adulthood. Two for sure–a brother and a sister–that were born between Lambertus and Gerrit, the youngest child. I hope that Adriaan can clarify that for me.

Gerrit Leeuwenhoek was born in Gouda (the city that gave its name to the cheese) on January 24, 1877. Lambertus (Uncle Lou) was born May 3, 1872, but I am not sure what city he was born in.  Their parents were Arie and, according to Adriaan, Marijtje (or Maria) Hoogendoorn Leeuwenhoek. Marijtje was born August 8, 1842 in Zammerdam and died March 7, 1878 in Gouda. Note that Gerrit was still a baby when his mother passed away.

Arie, the father of the two men, worked as a farmhand (boerenknecht). In 1875, Arie and his family moved to Gouda (which leads me to believe Uncle Lou was not born in Gouda). In 1878, Arie and his family moved to Zwammerdam, his wife’s hometown. In 1879, and later years, Arie ran a boardinghouse/public house (pub, banquet hall, etc.) in Zwammerdam. Arie passed away on February 17, 1886. On May 17th, 1886, his possessions were auctioned off. Lambertus Leeuwenhoek (Willem Leeuwenhoek’s  branch, most likely) acted as guardian. Aries’s son Frederik moved to Rotterdam. Today there’s still an Arie Leeuwenhoek alive (Branch: Arie-Frederik-Frederik-Arie born 1935). Adriaan provided me with information on the branches, but for simplicity’s sake I am not including them here.

Our family had always thought that Uncle Lou was a descendent of the famous inventor of the microscope. Adriaan says, “The members of our Leeuwenhoek branch are not direct descendents of Antony van Leeuwenhoek.” However, it is the same family. “Antony’s only son passed away at a rather young age. ‘We’ share Antony’s (great) grandfather. The family hails from The Hague. The aforementioned (great) grandfather moved around 1575 to Delft. The first and second generation’s profession was basket weaver.

Here is Adriaan’s description of where the surname Leeuwenhoek originated:

It wasn’t a bridge! The Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (Nederduits = Dutch, Gereformeerd = Reformed and Kerk = Chuch) records show that in 1601 Thonis Philipsz. lived near “het Oosteinde (street) bijt Leeuwenpoortge (Lions Gate)”. So he lived in a house on the corner (hoek) of the street near the Lions Gate (Leeuwenpoort), hence Leeuwenhoek. . . .  In 2007 there were only 76 persons with the family name Leeuwenhoek registered in the Netherlands.

Thonis Philipsz. had seven children. Five children were still born (the curse). The two surviving children are Philip Thonisz. (Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s father) and Huijch Thonisz. (Hugo). According to one publication the first time the family name van Leeuwenhoek was officially used was in Huijch’s will dated 1621. Lambertus, Gerrit, Alice [of the postcard from my earlier post]and all living Leeuwenhoeken descended from Huijch.

Uncle Lou's Bijbels

Uncle Lou’s Bijbels

Well over two years ago I posted about Uncle Lou’s Bibles which are still in the family. You can read about them and see the photos here. Adriaan has some insight into one of the Bibles. It links Uncle Lou to an orphanage.

The inscription shows Neerbosch (a borough close to Nijmegen). From this inscription I deduct that Lambertus stayed at this orphanage (Weezen-Inrichting). I guess the bible was part of Lambertus’  Statement of Faith/Creed and First Brethern (Belijdenis des Geloofs en eerste Avondmaalsviering). Gerrit Pieter de Haas (son of Rijkje Cornelia de Haas, father unknown) passed away December 28th, 1886 in Neerbosch aged 13. Gerrit Pieter was sent to the orphanage around May 20th, 1886. As shown by the inscription (Reverent xxxxbulstijn). The inscription on the second page shows that Lambertus kept the bible to remember his friend Gerrit Pieter de Haas by. So I’m sure Lambertus stayed at the orphanage.

More here:

Nijmegen is by bike around 100 km (5 1/2 hr bike ride) to the east of Zwammerdam. Lambertus and Gerrit were separated from their family. Around 1893 the orphanage housed 1.100 children.

The Orphanage at Neerbosch

Gerrit was also at the orphanage with his brother. In the next post read what happened to Gerrit at the orphanage!

This year has been very intense-with both overwhelmingly sad events, especially my father’s illness and eventual passing, and more positive events, including the publication of my first book (of poetry). So I have really let the genealogy slide, although I’ve continued to post occasional photos and story tidbits.

Eventually I hope to get back into working on all branches and with others I have been in contact with, namely the Paak/Pake, Van Liere, Van Gessel, Mulder, as well as information that people have sent me about the DeKorns (deKorne, deKorn, DeKorne). Additionally, I owe information to a couple of people, including Hubert Theuns. Jose from Enhanced News Archive is using his research abilities and newspaper knowhow to help me with a Noffke (surname also known as Neffka) project.  If you don’t see your family branch or name mentioned, feel free to send me an email or comment here reminding me. I would be so grateful, although maybe not any more prompt ;).

This post comes about because of a Dutch connection that is related to my last post about Alice Leeuwenhoek, my grandfather’s first cousin. Alice and I are blood related on Alice’s mother’s side, but Grandpa and the family were very close to Alice’s father, shopkeeper Lambertus (Uncle Lou) Leeuwenhoek. In fact, Grandpa’s father and Uncle Lou were close and even worked on the Dutch-America newspaper together: see this post.

I’ve written before about Uncle Lou’s Bible collection here. Eventually, I would like to write about his retail enterprises. Uncle Lou and his brother Gerrit were orphans who immigrated to the United States. His brother died during the Spanish-American War, which I wrote about in Good Manners and Genuine Dutch Intrepidity in Fierce Battles.

I was contacted by Adriaan Leeuwenhoek, who lives in the Netherlands. Adriaan’s great-grandfather Cornelis Leeuwenhoek was the cousin of Lambertus and Gerrit.

Lambertus (Uncle Lou) was born in 1872 and Gerrit in 1877. Cornelis was born in 1866, so he was about the same amount older than Lou than Lou was than Gerrit, if that makes sense.

Adriaan shared this fabulous photograph from the Leeuwenhoek “family archives.”

Cornelis Leeuwenhoek circa 1917

MORE FROM ADRIAAN IN THE NEXT POST, including the origins of the surname Leeuwenhoek!

I lost my oldest cat, Mac. He passed away a week ago last Sunday. His actual name was Macavity, and he was named after T.S. Eliot’s “Mystery Cat” (in the poem and the Broadway musical). I’m a dedicated animal lover, so I always like to see evidence of animals in the lives of my ancestors. I wrote a post called Dogs in the Family that showcases some photos of pets from 100 years ago, as well as my own four cats.

I found a postcard from 105 years ago that features a type of tabby cat. My cat Mac was an orange and white tabby, so this caught my attention. It’s part of a collection of cards received by Alice Leeuwenhoek.

This card was mailed from Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1910. Alice was my grandfather’s first cousin–their mothers were sisters–and she was born in Kalamazoo in 1897.

I wish I knew what the inside joke about eating well means! Alice was a very slender woman.

Notice that the postcard isn’t signed. So frustrating! Does it sound like a good friend or a relative?  Does the handwriting give a clue? Alice was 13 years old when she received this card.

Here she is seven years later (age 20)–dressing fashionably, posing, and with a young man!

Alice wouldn’t marry until 1923, at age 26, and it wasn’t to the man in this photo.

If you go to Dogs in the Family, you will see a photo of Alice as a child with her aunt, my great-grandmother Cora DeKorn Zuidweg, and my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg–with the family dogs.

I’ll leave you with photo of Alice and moi when I was 3 years old. Alice was 61. I knew Alice quite well when I was a child. She passed away when I was 8 years old, in 1963.

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