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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan history’

I’ve written before about my great-grandfather, Charles Mulder, of Caledonia, Michigan. He was born in 1885 in the Netherlands, but moved with his parents and younger brother to Grand Rapids, Michigan, when he was only two.  His baby brother Jan passed away within a few months.

Although Great-Grandpa was raised by his parents in Grand Rapids, where his father built furniture, he ended up starting his own adult life in Caledonia–as a farmer. He came from town folk. They weren’t farmers. What would have made him decide to become a farmer? And how did he purchase his farm?  These are good questions, I know, and I wonder if there is anybody who can answer them. Maybe his daughter, my grandmother, didn’t even know the answers.

I used to love to visit GG and his 2nd wife Margaret on the farm. My great-grandmother had passed away a couple of years before I, the oldest great-grandchild, was born. So I grew up knowing Margaret, a very nice lady, as my GG.

I’m guessing that in this photograph, I am with Great-Grandpa at his farm. He’s very comfortable in his undershirt and suspenders, and I see the hint of a dark colored (red?) outbuilding behind him. I remember the barn, the corncrib, and the henhouse. And let’s not forget the outhouse!

This photograph, as you can see, was taken in July 1957, which means that I was just turning two.

Message to my family: if anybody has any photos of the farm, please scan and send to me!

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Here are links to other posts about Charles Mulder of Caledonia, my great-grandfather (the 1st two are my favorites):

The Blog Will Now Come to Order

I Raided Great-Grandpa’s Library

Great-Grandpa’s Family: The Mulders of Grand Rapids

The Mulders Pre-1917

Pieter the Orphan

 

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I wondered when I could ever get back to Theresa Pake. Since I couldn’t make time, I thought I would share something about her anyway!

On January 20, 1928, Theresa married Roy Lawrence. I’m posting this late on January 20, 2015, so that it’s the date of their anniversary.  Roy was born 5 November 1884, about 9 years before his bride.

Theresa and Roy Lawrence

Roy was a cigar smoker, but he quit when he married Theresa.

Is Theresa’s hair marcelled here? And what is the corsage she is wearing?

 

A Series of Disasters

The Children After the Fire, 1902

Paak-a-boo

Saved from the Fire

Who is George Paake, Sr.?

Curious about George

George Paake’s Legacy, Part I

George Paake’s Legacy, Part II: Theresa’s Pre-Professional Education

George Paake’s Legacy, Part III: Theresa’s Professional Education

George Paake‘s Legay, Part IV: A Letter to His Daughter

 

 

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Here’s another unidentified photograph. The cardboard frame says it’s from Kalamazoo, but of course, it could be a copy. That said, I have noticed that most of my photographs of adults have been taken in Kalamazoo, not brought from the Netherlands or mailed from the Netherlands either. Nevertheless, maybe my unidentified pix fit into that latter category!

I have no notes from Grandpa on this one. He’s certainly Dutch, even the frame is from a Dutch photographer.  He’s balding, but tries to make up for it with his rather wild mustache.  Looks like he uses a curling iron for it.

His glasses are noted. But what I find particularly interesting is the color and tie. Surely that is a style from a certain period? Maybe even the cut of his coat lapels?

His posture is ramrod straight, so he at least wants to give the impression of a business man or upstanding citizen.

Any ideas about this one? Decade? His age?

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How’s that for a weird title?! If you didn’t notice I’ve been on a break, please don’t tell me or I’ll feel bad ;). I am back, but only on a limited basis because of all these things like work and life that keep intruding on my genealogy research and blog reading! I wanted to stop in today to say:

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Let’s make 2015 the best yet!!

I have a set of old glass negatives that have been digitized. I’ve shared a few on this blog. Here is one I have not shared. At first I thought it was a photo of a pig (hog? what is the difference?) with her very cute babies. I am quite certain this was taken by Joseph DeKorn at Brook Lodge in southwestern Michigan (I’ve written about the place here).

But when I looked more carefully I saw Grandpa sitting in the upper right corner! I wonder what he was thinking and if he was tired. He seemed to be visiting the resort with his cousin and uncle.

Here are some more pig photos from Uncle Joe.

These photos are 100 years old. What remnants of our lives will there be in 100 years? Maybe too many!

 

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Two years ago, when I first started this blog, I posted a photograph that shows my great-grandfather Adrian Zuidweg (Adriaan Zuijdweg) and Aunt Jen’s husband (and Alice’s father) Lou Leeuwenhoek working in the printshop at the Hollandsche Amerikaan newspaper in 1899.

The historian Larry Massie told me that the paper was founded in 1890 as a tri-weekly, 8 page newspaper. It was published in Kalamazoo in Dutch and had a circulation of 1,500. The editor in 1899 was P.A. Dalm. I’m not sure if he’s in the photograph or not.

I improved the photograph a bit, so here is a better version:

Holland American printshop 1899

How I would love to see inside of this building. Look at the wooden floor, the cubbyholes, the walls.  Oops, what is that in the upper left corner? It looks like a figure hanging on the wall. Is he hanging on a swing?

I’m going to try not to interpret it through “presentism.” Presentism is defined this way: “uncritical adherence to present-day attitudes, especially the tendency to interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts.”

What do you think this figure is?

Is that a calendar hanging underneath?

On another note, I have many projects that have been heating up lately. Because I don’t have the time to devote to The Family Kalamazoo posts right now, I will “on break” for the next few weeks.  But I will be back!

Try to be good and play nice while I’m gone. Haha, must be something I heard when I was a kid or said to my children.

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I’ve traveled to California, Sedona, and Michigan in the past few weeks.  Needless to say, I am behind in my work even more than usual. I want to continue Theresa Pake’s story and to explore the Jennie DeKorn Culver photos more, but these projects take a good deal of time.

Instead, I decided to take a look at an old postcard postmarked 1911. The postcard is to Alice Leewenhoek, Richard DeKorn’s granddaughter through his daughter Jennie. Alice was an only child who lived with her mother Jennie and her father who Grandpa always called “Uncle Lou”–Lambertus Leewenhoek.

In the photo below, Alice is sitting with a friend, neighbor, or relative against the exterior wall of Richard DeKorn’s house. She holds a doll in her lap and is petting Tom or Carlo (if I had to guess, I would say it’s Tom).

 

Alice Leeuwenhoek with doll

On this postcard, Nellie Bradt is thanking Alice for her “postal.” Nellie’s address is marked as 1130 S. Burdick Street.  The photograph is Bronson Park, which is the beautiful “town square” of Kalamazoo.

Bronson park front postcard

 

After seeing that the mailing address is listed as Balch St. and doesn’t include Alice’s street number (not uncommon for that time period in Kalamazoo), I went to my family tree on Ancestry and discovered that I had never found the Leewenhoek family on the 1910 census.  So I tried something different and looked for the 1910 census on Family Search. Bingo.  Instead of Lambertus Leewenhoek, I found Lamburtos Leenwenhock, at 110 Balch Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Uncle Lou was living with his wife Jennie and his daughter Alice who was 13 years old in that year–and therefore around 14 at the time of the postcard in 1911. New info: According to Uncle Don, they lived in the wooden house just behind the Richard DeKorn brick house.

Can you read anything more on the postmark besides the city, state, and year?  Is it December 9? Or does it say something else?

Bronson park back postcard

 

Grandpa and Alice were first cousins, their mothers were sisters.

I haven’t been able to find Nellie Bradt in the 1910 census, but I did find her in an 1899 city directory. I then found her parents in a 1905 directory. I think I can find them more years, too. But I don’t understand how to read these entries. The 1899 entries are entirely different from the 1905, but neither one really gives me the address.

Here is the 1899 that lists Nellie with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George A. Bradt. I understand they lived in the City of Kalamazoo. And I know “a” means acreage, but not how to interpret what any of this means or how it connects with an address.

Nellie Bradt 1899 city directory

 

Here is the 1905 directory entry. Nellie isn’t mentioned, but her parents are. What in the world does it mean?

Nellie Bradt's parents 1905 city directory

Is there a way to search for Nellie in the 1910 census using the 1130 S. Burdick Street address she gives? Can I search the census by address?

Note that many of my relatives lived in this Burdick/Balch neighborhood. When I look at the census records from late 19th and early 20th century, I see that almost everyone, if not everyone, who lived there was Dutch.

My grandfather’s gas station was at the corner of Burdick and Balch, across the street from the Richard DeKorn house. Grandpa lived in that house for part of his childhood, with his parents and grandfather, Richard. When he built his house down the block on Burdick, he was staying in the same general area his family had lived in for decades. He continued to work at his station and live in his house until he retired and moved to Portage.

I remember as a child meeting Mrs. Bradt Braat who lived next door to the gas station. The name is pronounced, by the way, like the sausages that go with beer. I wonder if she was related to the Nellie Bradt who wrote this postcard. Mom? Uncle Don? New info: no, she must not be as they were a Belgian family (see comments below).

Alice Leewenhoek was my grandfather’s cousin. Note that the postcard is stamped with the name and address of Grandpa’s father, A. Zuidweg. I wonder why?

One postcard. So many questions!

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Richard DeKorn’s house is still standing, at the corner of Burdick and Balch Streets in Kalamazoo. Someone lives there, but the house needs some TLC, in my opinion. I wonder if the owner knows who built the house–or is interested. I love the distinctive light brick stripes on the dark brown brick. The house was most likely built in the 1880s. I would love to know the exact year.

Although the basic house hasn’t changed, the property has. In the old photographs, the house looks set back from the street. The house number is now different.

It looks like a barn to the left, doesn’t it? Notice that the above photo is the same view as the first photo. Is that a fire hydrant in the same spot? Did they have fire hydrants in those days? Or is it something else?

Here is a photo of the area where the barn was. I wonder if the garage has the same footprint as the barn. And you can see the house that is next door. How old do you think the gray house is?

In the following photograph, Richard DeKorn stands by the house he built.

Richard DeKorn's home at the corner of Burdick and Balch, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Richard DeKorn’s home at the corner of Burdick and Balch, Kalamazoo, Michigan

 

Here is another angle of the house today:

 

In the above photo, the right side (two windows in 2nd story, 1st floor, and basement) faces Burdick Street. The left side (two windows 2nd story and three windows on the 1st floor and basement) faces Balch Street. In the old photo, where is Richard standing? Is he at the opposite corner from the Burdick-Balch corner–at the back of the house?

Here’s a view from the opposite side of Balch. I think it shows that Richard has his back to Balch Street in the old photo.

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