Archive for the ‘Kalamazoo late 1800s – early 1900s’ Category

You might remember that, in the past, I have written about Jennie DeKorn Culver’s daughters Lela and Rhea being at the Children’s Home in Kalamazoo during the divorce proceedings of their parents. A few years later, Jennie moved with the girls to Seattle. I went back through the newspaper articles relating to the divorce, the children, and Jennie and her ex-husband John the other day and something struck me that I hadn’t noticed before.

In 1895, either right before or during her divorce, a dozen of Jennie’s friends gave her an EASEL. What does someone use an easel for?  I wrote this prose poem based on the newspaper articles and imagined how the easel could have figured into Jennie’s situation.


Read Full Post »

Every day this month I’ve been writing a poem as a fundraiser for Tupelo Press.

Today’s poem is a little family history, dedicated to Jackie Dinnis, a writer and family historian. You can find Jackie over at Meeting My Family. Thanks for supporting Tupelo Press and my efforts, Jackie!

To start this poem I had to imagine Gerrit Leeuwenhoek’s mother dying, knowing she was leaving her large family behind. She knows the calamities that will befall them. Gerrit’s photograph is at the end of the post. My apologies to Dutch history and culture for any errors I’ve made. This is meant to be a fanciful imagining based on the few facts I have.


for Jackie Dinnis

“His good manners and genuine dutch intrepidity

in the fierce battles in which he participated had

won the admiration of his officers.”

Peter J. Haze

Co. E, 2d Reg’t. U.S. Inf.

What will happen to my youngest,

little Gerrit with the overlarge eyes,

after they bury me in the kerk cemetery?

Arie will keep him emptying pots

in the f5 rooms over the tavern, but

his catarrh might be something

more as it gets worse every night.

It may be that Arie too will die,

and my rugs and dishes auctioned.

The three eldest in different cities,

and the four young ones sent to

the orphanage at Neerbosch.

Teachers like scavengers pick

at the remains of my family,

beating Lambertus, Hermanus,

Adriana, and Gerrit himself.

I fear doubly for Adriana, knowing

the sort of men that the children’s home

attracts, but Gerrit acts swiftly

and with great courage and files

a report with the police. Cornelis

de Bruin is jailed, and Adriana,

Gerrit, and the others do not return.

Lambertus packs his Bijbels

and travels to America, promising

I’ll send for you to the others.

When Gerrit finally arrives to meet

his brother, they work together

printing a Dutch newspaper and

at the little market. Within a year

Gerrit hears the whistles blow

when his new country goes to war

with Spain. He drops his work

to march out to enlist. His employer

is sorry to see him go, but

impressed by his patriotism

and dignity. Gerrit is buried

twice, once in Santiago and

later near his brother in Kalamazoo.

Far from the cemetery here in

Zwammerdam, far from the hole

they have already begun to dig.


If you want to read more about Gerrit you can find him here:

Good Manners and Genuine Dutch Intrepidity

The Leeuwenhoek Connection

The Leeuwenhoek Connection: Part 2

A Beating, or The Leeuwenhoek Connection: Part 3

If you are enjoying reading these one day poems, you might like my book Doll God where the poems have had a little more time coming into the world.


If you choose to donate to support the publication of poetry books by Tupelo Press, please credit my name. I have a list of incentives here. Every dollar you donate will go toward the operation of the press, enabling it to continue publishing beautiful books that would not get picked up by large commercial publishers. You can read the daily poems, as well as the bios of this month’s poets, and donate here.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

I recently found this photograph in a group of photos. Because of a clue on one of the other pix, I narrowed the date to between 1928 and 1931.

I know who the man is because he has a very distinctive look. This is my great-grandfather, born Adriaan Zuijdweg and called Adrian Zuidweg in the United States. I’ve written about him many times, but the best posts would be My Great-Grandfather Reinvented Himself as a Business Owner in the U.S. and My Grandfather’s Story, Part V and Back to the Dutch-American Newspaper.

Adrian died in 1929, according to my grandfather–of kidney disease. But I have not been able to find a death certificate or a grave. Maybe it’s because his name was mangled, but keeping that in mind, I still haven’t found him yet. It is so frustrating. Also, the newspapers from that year are not on Genealogy Bank. Nevertheless, I would put this photo at 1928 or 1929. Because other photos show him more fit than in his photo, I think he might have been ill (or close to it) by the time this photograph was taken.

But who are the women in this photo?

Adriaan Zuijdweg

Could the woman on the left be my Great-Grandmother Cora DeKorn Zuidweg? She looks a lot taller than he does, but maybe she was taller. I will post a known photo of her so you can compare.

Cora DeKorn at her father Richard DeKorn's cottage on Long Lake

Cora DeKorn at her father Richard DeKorn’s cottage on Long Lake

Similar hats, for sure! If that is Cora in the first photo, then she would have been about 53 years old. She herself passed away in 1932 from cancer.

Do you think that is Cora in the photo with Adrian?

Who is the shorter woman? Is this another photo of her?

The only child of Adrian and Cora was my grandfather. Cora’s only sister was Jennie–and this is not Jennie. However, she had two younger step-sisters, Marion and Marge Sootsman. They would have been in their 30s at this time. This woman does not look like one of them. She actually looks more like one of the Culver sisters, but we figured out that they moved to Seattle before this period.

The only thing is . . . there are a lot of photos of this woman. Was she a girlfriend of my grandfather?

Kinda looks like it. After a series of these photos, there is a series of him with my grandmother.

Do any family members know the answer to this mystery?



Read Full Post »

Remember the Culver family: my great-great grandfather’s sister, Jenny DeKorn Culver, and her daughters, Lela and Rhea, who moved from Kalamazoo to Seattle 100 years ago.

In the scrapbook which I received from a blog reader I found this photograph. Any ideas on the type of uniform? Since this would have been around the time of the end of WWI, does the uniform have to do with the war?

I don’t know who the man is. Most of the Culver photos are of women.

But the clues would leave me to believe the photo was taken in Seattle in or around 1918. But did Seattle have old elegant buildings like this at that time?

Culver scrapbook

What about the building? My first inclination was a church, but I don’t see any crosses. Are those rosettes for ornamentation?



Related articles

Read Full Post »

In the box of glass negatives from photographs taken by Joseph DeKorn there is an image that I wonder about. It seems to be an elaborate headstone for a man named Louis Van Wyck. Placed on top of the headstone is a cornet. The inscription reads, in part, “Last cornet solo played in Y.P.L. meeting June 18, 1911.”

His birth and death dates are also engraved on the headstone. He died the day after the cornet solo, on June 19, 1911. He was 17 years old–not a man, but a boy!

A photograph leans against the marblebase. He looks young and blond. The stone is further engraved with images and a poem.

Louis Van Wyck

Although I have his dates, I can’t find Louis through Ancestry’s search function–or Find-a-Grave either. So I turned to Genealogy Bank where I found one article about his memorial service.

Read it here: Louis Van Wyck memorial service.  Note that the passage about the funeral is at the VERY END of this article.

I didn’t know what Y.P.L. on the headstone meant, but after reading about the Salvation Army hosting Louis’ memorial service, I looked it up online. It seems to mean Young People’s League. Now I have to admit I don’t know much of anything about the Salvation Army except that it is a Christian denomination and a charity, I sometimes donate furniture or clothing to them, and they (or volunteers like my family and friends) ring bells at Christmas outside shopping malls. I think Sarah in the musical Guys and Dolls belongs to a fictional representation of the Salvation Army.

That is kind of fitting because I just read up a bit and discovered that music has been important to the Salvation Army from the beginning. How fitting this headstone was, then, for poor Louis. But how did he die at such a young age? And how was he connected with Joseph DeKorn or my family? He would have been about 12 years younger than Joseph.

And why can’t I find him in documents in my initial search?

Read Full Post »

Henry (Hank) Waruf and his wife Carrie (Paak) Waruf owned the resort Ramona Palace and Ramona Park, as well as many cottages and their own home, at Long Lake in Portage, Michigan.

Since Carrie is one of the Paak sisters, and her sister Alice Paak DeKorn was my great-great-grandmother, I’ve focused more on the Paaks. But Henry Waruf is a very interesting character in Kalamazoo’s early history.

Adri van Gessel was so kind to do some research on the Waruf family. Henry himself appeared to be a bit of a dead end because the name Waruf seemed to come out of nowhere. But Adri broke through that brick wall and discovered Henry’s origins.

Who Was Hank?

Henry was born Hendrik Walraven on September 7, 1863 at Kloetinge, the Netherlands. Apparently Koetinge is part of Goes. Big shock there since the majority of my mom’s ancestors seem to have come from Goes.

He was married on June 2, 1882 at Kalamazoo (MI) to Cornelia Peek (Carrie Paak), daughter of Teunis Peek and Jacoba Bassa.  Cornelia was born on May 8, 1862 at Lexmond and died in January 1957 at Kalamazoo (MI).  Henry died on November 29, 1945 at Orlando (FL).

I don’t know if Henry was on vacation in Florida, living there part of the year, or if the couple (who had no children) had moved there and Carrie went back to Kalamazoo after his death. I could try to research this through city directories, phone books, etc. The research I have done was mainly through newspapers, and I discovered that, although Henry (or Hank) usually spelled his last name “Waruf,” sometimes it shows up as “Warruf.” Still, it looks to me as if Joseph is the one who changed the family surname to Warruf/Waruf in the United States from the original Walraven.

Henry had one sister,  Maria Walraven, born March 3, 1866 at Goes, but she died before 1870 in the Netherlands.

Henry and Maria were born to Joseph Walraven (Joseph Warruf), son of Hendrikus Walraven and Elisabetha Resch, who was born on October 13, 1837 at Goes, died on December 11, 1910 at Kalamazoo (MI).

Joseph was married on May 21, 1863 at Goes to Melanie de Munck (Mary), daughter of Jan de Munck and Maria Joseph Bataille.  Melanie was born on October 16, 1840 at Goes and died on March 18, 1914 at Kalamazoo (MI). Joseph, Melanie, and Henry immigrated to the U.S. in 1868, when Henry was 5 years old.

A Bataille Connection

Notice the name Bataille. I’ve previously written about a Bataille ancestor in these posts:

An Update on the Bataille Family

A Familial Occupation

How Did Etaples, France, Show Up in My Family Tree?

Hank Went into Business

As I mentioned, “Hank” (Henry) and Carrie (Cornelia) were married in 1882, when he was 19 and she was 20. By 1885, he was advertising a business selling guns in the Kalamazoo Gazette, where it’s noted that he took over the gun shop of W. Blanchard.

Sept 17, 1885 Click the link and scroll to the bottom for the ad. By September 1886, Hank added “gunsmith” to his name on the ads.

I was astonished to discover, in an 1897 Polk Directory, that Henry Waruf owned the gun shop in partnership with Richard “Ro-mine” who I take to be Richard Remine. Richard “Dick” Remine was Hank’s brother-in-law. He was married to Carrie’s sister, Mary, another sister of my great-great-grandmother. Richard was born in 1857 and so was six years older than Hank. I’ve written before that the person who inherited the Long Lake resort was Therese Remine, Richard’s daughter. So there might have been another reason that she was the sole inheritor of that property–because her father had been in business with Waruf. How long were they partners? I am going to guess that Waruf was the true businessman of the two–and an ambitious man.


Richard Remine

Hank Was a Man of Many Talents

Hank shows up often in the Gazette, and I was able to see that he became a talented shooter, a prize-winning breeder of English Spaniels (no wonder my grandfather’s family always had this breed of dogs), and a collector of real estate. He reported regularly to the State Board of Fish Commissioners on the fish in Long Lake.

Here is an article where he literally won all the prizes at a shoot. Sept 7, 1899. There are many articles about the shoots he attended and referreed. He also represented Kalamazoo at a state shoot in Bay City.

The award-winning dogs owned by Henry show up in publications by the American Kennel Club, The Field Dog Stud Book, and The Fanciers’ Journal. I traced the beginnings of this sideline to a Gazette article that mentions that Hank was going into the business of raising hunting dogs and had brought in a fine pointer from Lowell with a pedigree going “way back.”  Click the link for the article–right side about 1/3 down.Feb 28, 1899.

In 1919, there is a newspaper article about the houses that Waruf was selling. These houses were all on the north side of Kalamazoo. I know that he also owned all the cottages near the resort at Long Lake, so he was used to being a landlord. I wonder if he had been renting out all these houses or if he was flipping them. I suspect he had been renting the houses. Here is the article. April 2, 1919

Finally, on August 30, 1904, Kalamazoo Gazette published a cute story. A Gazette reporter climbed the water tower at the asylum. This is the tower that my great-great-grandfather Richard DeKorn built (click here). From that vantage point he was able to see all the way to Gull Lake in one direction and Long Lake in another. He mentions a great many notable people and what he claims he saw them doing at the time. About Waruf, he wrote, “‘Hank’ Waruf shining up his guns at Long Lake for the duck season.” The details in the article conjure up a Breughel painting, so I find it a little impossible, but definitely amusing. Here is the article: Aug 30, 1904



Here are some images I have previously published on The Family Kalamazoo:

Henry and Carrie (Paak) Waruf

Henry and Carrie (Paak) Waruf

Waruf home Sprinkle Road

Waruf home
Sprinkle Road

Ramona Palace, Long Lake Portage (once Vicksburg), Michigan

Ramona Palace, Long Lake
Portage (once Vicksburg), Michigan

I’ve written about the place and the people here:

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 797 other followers