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

On 12 September 1923, Grandpa’s cousin Alice Leeuwenhoek married Clarence Dewey Moerdyk in Kalamazoo. They are the last couple listed on the following (cropped) image.

Clarence was 25 and Alice 26. He held a job as a foreman, and she had no employment. I found that interesting since the family thinks of her as an accomplished seamstress. In fact, I discovered a jottings ad from 14 May 1922 about Alice’s trade. She advertises her hemstitching and picoting, which is an embroidery loop edging used as ornamentation.

Right under Alice’s ad is one for the family’s Ramona Park dancing.

Their fathers are listed: Peter Moerdyk and Lambertus (Uncle Lou) Leeuwenhoek.

Their mothers were Cora Stevens and Jennie (Aunt Jen) DeKorn.

The couple was married by Benjamin Laman, Minister of the Gospel. Mr. Laman had become the 4th pastor of Bethany Reformed Church on 7 June 1923, just three months before Alice’s wedding. I tried to find a society page mention to discover if they were married in someone’s home, but neglected to find anything. In the search, I found articles about both their parents’ weddings though!

I wrote about the church here: Bethany Reformed Church, circa 1918

and about Alice’s marriage here: Aunt Jen and Uncle Lou’s SIL Clarence Moerdyk

When I wrote these posts I did not know that I had in my possession the wedding portrait of Alice and Clarence. In my opinion, it’s a stunning photograph, mainly because of Alice’s sense of style and model’s grace.

I really love Alice’s hat!!!

The portrait is in a cardboard folder.

I hate to take it out of the folder, but I would bet that the cardboard is not acid-free. I think I will keep the parts separate, in 2 different acid-free sleeves, and then tape them together.

I’m sure Alice would love that we admired her dress and hat all these years later.

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Last Wednesday’s post shared some WWI crowd photos from an album of photos from 1917, put together by Alice Leeuwenhoek, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

You can read it here: WWI in Kalamazoo, Part I This post will make the most sense if you look at the photos first.

Here is a sample photo from the post:

It’s my favorite because of the man with his arm around someone’s shoulders.

I knew the photos were from 1917 and taken in downtown Kalamazoo, but I could only guess that the citizens were seeing off the troops. Then I started searching for newspaper articles. They create a bit of a story about the event.

In the first article, dated 14 September 1917, we learn:

The “folks back home” in Kalamazoo will be given a two-hour opportunity sometime Sunday for a final farewell to the boys of Companies C and D. / / There is going to be a big military formality about the farewell.

The article states that Kalamazoo will have a two hour layover for the troops who are embarked on a long journey. They will make up the equivalent of a mile long train. These men will be from 4 companies–two of them Kalamazoo companies. The whole shindig, including a parade, has been planned by Col. Joseph Westnedge. The long artery down Kalamazoo and Portage was named Westnedge in his honor.

15 September 1917:


The next day we learn that everything is ready for the men to arrive. Now they are calling it the 32nd Michigan Infantry, made up of 2,000 men and officers. The event is scheduled for 16 September 1917, the next day, which is a Sunday.

Then this on page 1 of 16 September 1917 Kalamazoo Gazette:

There is a delay because they didn’t have enough cars to get the troops there by the schedule time:

There is deep disappointment among the relatives and friends of the Kalamazoo units because of the fact that the Thirty-second will not arrive in this city this morning. MEN GREATLY DISAPPOINTED.

Still, the event as planned is described in some detail, ending with the information that the big whistles at the municipal pumping station will be sounded an hour before the arrival of the train carrying the troops.

The next article is from Monday, September 17, the day the scheduled visit eventually occurred, but written ahead of time.

People from SW Michigan have been pouring into Kalamazoo from Friday night through Sunday night, just to get a glimpse of their (dough)boys before they take off for the unknown.

I CANNOT FIND AN ARTICLE WRITTEN AFTER THE EVENT ABOUT HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN. That is a little strange. Maybe they didn’t want to write how botched it was–or wasn’t.

Of course, that wasn’t it. Three days later the Kalamazoo Gazette reported that 96 more Kalamazoo men took their places at Fort Custer for training.

All for the insatiable appetite of a horrific international war. No wonder the townspeople turned out in such numbers to honor the young soldiers.

Last week blogger Louise Mabey caused me to question how many of these boys returned home. I used this website  and counted at least 27 Kalamazoo men who died in battle. Many others died from disease, including their leader Col. Westnedge. I found two boys of the same last name who are related to a friend. Another Kalamazoo street shares their last name, Milham. Also, that 27 does not include those from tiny towns right around Kalamazoo or from Battle Creek. So sad to think of those people in the streets in the photos grieving not long after this.

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In thinking about the possibility of Joseph DeKorn taking these photos, I wondered what a 36 year old man was doing during WWI. Would he have been required to serve? I have a temporary membership to Fold3, and it was there that I discovered his WWI draft registration on 12 September 1918. He was a civil engineer in Ohio. I am not sure if he was in Ohio the year before, the month that these photographs were taken or not. So it is possible that someone other than Uncle Joe took the photos. Here is his draft registration.

He was lucky that the war ended two months later.

After this was posted, Amy at BrotmanBlog found some more articles!

 

 

Kalamazoo_Gazette_1917-09-19_1 This is a wide article. I hope the link works.

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In an album of photos from 1917, put together by Alice Leeuwenhoek, are crowd photos that somehow involve WWI.

The following is a sample of what the album looks like when you open it up. Most of the photos are of Alice and her family, like these first ones.

The war photos were taken in Kalamazoo. You can see the Humphrey Company building in a couple of them. According to the 1905 and 1926 Kalamazoo City Directories, Humphrey Company, a gas company, was located at 501-515 N. Rose Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Like a lot of businesses at that time period, it was located on the “north side,” which became an almost exclusively African-American area by the time I was a kid.

 

 

Downtown Kalamazoo is not that big, and only a few streets over is the main street, West Michigan Avenue.

So tell me: what do you think is going on in these photos? I think it’s exciting to see the density  of the crowd. There are soldiers leaning out of the windows. Are they being seen off to war by the people of Kalamazoo?

The details of hats and the white/black contrast of female/male attire is fascinating.

Notice in the above photo two people standing on an elevated surface. The man on our left has his arm around the other person’s shoulders.  I imagine they are saying goodbye to a loved one.

These are photos with the Humphrey Company in the background.

 

As to the photographer of these photos, I suspect they were taken by Joseph DeKorn, Alice’s uncle, because she is the subject of so many of her photos. Also, Joseph was the family photographer of the time period. The question is, if Alice was not a photographer herself, why did she own so many albums?

I don’t know the answer to that question.

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Here is an unidentified photo from a beautiful antique photo album from the family–specifically one from Uncle Don. The album is focused on the Remine side of the family, which means the DeKorn branch and includes Zuidwegs, Paaks, and Bassas.

 

Any input about the clothing or portrait style would be appreciated. I suspect this is a wedding portrait because good “Sunday” dresses were more in line with the wedding dresses my ancestors wore than what we think of today as white lacy wedding gowns.

I’m not impressed by Mr. Philley’s photography because of the item growing out of the lady’s head . . . .

 

But the name is important because it helps narrow down the time period. Several years ago, on the blog Bushwhacking Genealogy a list of early Kalamazoo photographers was listed with their approximate years of operation.

 

Philley, Silas (Jr.): Lived 1846-1926. In business at least 1895-1900. Shoemaker in 1887 and again in 1920.
1895: 303 E. Main
1899: 305 E. Main
1900: in census as photographer
I’m glad he went back to shoemaking.
I know I need to go through my family tree and look for marriages that occurred in Kalamazoo between 1895 and 1900. The problem is that Ancestry doesn’t allow for searches like that.
Does anyone know of a genealogy software that does sorting and filtering that makes it easy to search?
Another way I can search for this couple is by looking for photographs of them when they were older. They both have distinctive elements to their faces, and I suspect she might have become heavier as she got older.
I’m open, as usual, to suggestions! (Sorry about the formatting issues here).

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I have a lot of photographs of Alice Leeuwenhoek. She was an only child, and I suspect she might have been doted upon. And maybe she was a favorite subject of her uncle, Joseph DeKorn, the family photographer. Alice was born in 1897, and Joseph was born in 1881. He was doing a lot of photography when she was growing up, and she lived next door.

Here are a couple of photos that are marked with Alice’s name on the back.

Alice looks so cute here. She’s wearing a hat that looks to me like an Easter bonnet, especially on a child so small. Her coat with the cute flaps reminds me of a dress coat I bought for my daughter when she was little. She had been wearing hand-me-down dresses for dressup, and I wanted her to have one nice outfit, so I bought her a red dress with matching red coat.  The coat had a little cape very similar to Alice’s coat. Eighty-some years later.

Here is one from 1914. It doesn’t look to me a lot like Alice, but it is a tall lady with dark hair standing by the side of Richard DeKorn’s house. Richard was Alice’s grandfather, as well as Grandpa’s grandfather. And the photo is labeled Alice!

Now is when I need a horse expert. If Derrick stops by, I know he’ll know. Is this a pony? The reason I think so is that the proportions seem mature.

I would know Richard’s house anywhere because of the light stripe through the dark brick. Very distinctive.

 

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Thanks to Wayne Loney, a Kalamazoo genealogy volunteer, I have my great-grandfather’s probated will with list of assets at the time of his death. He found the document, located at the Probate Court in Kalamazoo, so that I could order it.

Fifty-eight-year-old Adrian Zuidweg, Sr., died on 19 December 1929, which happened to be two months after the Wall Street crash. The cause of death was uremia (for three days) and chronic interstitial nephritis, as well as a valve disease of the heart and mitral insufficiency and general artheroma (disease of the arteries). I looked up the nephritis because it sounds like the real disease behind his death, but read that it usually is caused by medications or auto-immune disorders like lupus. So I don’t really know why he was sick or why he died.

The family story version is that he ate a dinner plate-sized steak every night for dinner, and that that routine caused the nephritis. I guess it might cause some artery damage, too.

But before we assume his eating completely caused his death, I will say that heart disease does seem to run in the family through my grandfather to my grandfather’s children–and my 23andme report shows that by far my worst health genes (that are researched through 23andme) are all coronary issues.

This probate document is signed by my grandfather, who was 21; Adrian Sr.’s sister, Mrs. Marinus Van Liere; and my great-grandmother, Cora, his wife.

In this will, Adrian leaves his entire estate to his wife, Cora, to do with as she sees fit. He expressly does not leave anything to grandpa, his son. However, he seems to suggest that Cora might want to use some of the estate for the benefit of Adrian’s “belofed boy,” (his first language was Dutch) but he is not tying her hands to do so in the will.

I wonder how common it was to make a will out this way. Perhaps he thought that Grandpa would be able to make his own way in the world, but Grandpa was blind in one eye, so I am a little surprised that nothing was left to him.

Here is a typed version of the handwritten will.

I don’t plan to post an image of the estate inventory. If family members want to email me and ask to see it, I’ll be happy to send over a copy. What I thought was interesting was the list does not include any cash at all, whether on hand or in banks. The listing includes real estate, notes payable, and stocks. I think this means that the money was already in Cora’s name.  Again, I wonder how common this practice would have been.

It seems to me that there must be more of this sort of document available for my other ancestors, but I am not sure how much light it has shed on anything for me. Adrian was apparently a good husband, father, and provider, but maybe didn’t take the best care of his health, if the steak-eating story is true.

What information have you gleaned from probate records?

I will be taking off blogging next week for some needed time away from the computer. See you in a couple of weeks!

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I am involved in a project to give my genealogy research a jumpstart. I realized that I needed more room in my fire safe file cabinet for my antique photos, so I sorted files in one of my regular file cabinets and came up with three banker boxes of shredding! Then I moved files from my fire safe to the regular that are no longer as important as they were a few years ago. That means I have an extra drawer in the fire safe to spread out.

Next I will inventory albums and packages of photos as best I can as I arrange them in the drawers devoted to the old photos.

As I do that I plan to look for the originals of a few photos that were poorly scanned. Fingers crossed on that endeavor.

Sometimes I feel that I am always organizing and throwing away, but in the past year I have been more determined and now I am buckling down even more. I’ve been doing Swedish death cleaning in other areas of the house, but that too will take a long time. I have so many drawers and boxes of academic papers and stories and poems, as well as critiques from workshops and drafts of finished work.

In the meantime, I have a list of a lot of things I’ve lost track of. I hope I find some of them!

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Here is an unidentified photo in a family album. It’s likely she is a family member, perhaps someone I’ve already posted about! The portrait was taken in Kalamazoo.

 

The coat and muff are quite elaborate, and the hat seems a bit unusual. Lovely. Best guess is that she is Carrie Paak Remine.

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