Posts Tagged ‘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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Remember Lambertus Leeuwenhoek (Uncle Lou), husband of my great grand-aunt Jennie DeKorn Leeuwenhoek?  He’s the one who owned the Bibles I showcased in one post.  He and Aunt Jen owned a general market in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Grandpa gave me this photo of Uncle Lou’s younger brother Gerrit/Garrett (five years apart in age) and told me Uncle Lou and Gerrit were orphans, and that they both lived in Kalamazoo. Years later, I wondered why there were no more recent photos of him or stories of who he married or children he might have had.

In doing a newspaper search for the name Leeuwenhoek in Kalamazoo on Genealogy Bank, I discovered why.

He was a war hero who met an untimely death at age 21. (Yes, another family hero!)

As the July 26, 1898 Kalamazoo Gazette article states, Gerrit, who was born to Arie Leeuwenhoek and Mary Hoogedoom Leeuwenhoek in the Netherlands, had only been in the United States for a year when he heard the whistles blow in Kalamazoo that war had been declared on Spain (Spanish-American War).  He immediately enlisted in the army, was sent to Cuba, where he died of malaria.

Notice that it mentions Uncle Lou in Kalamazoo, but it also mentions two brothers and two sisters left behind in the Netherlands, as well as a brother who is in the Holland regular army in the East Indies.

I think it’s possible that my grandfather did tell me that Gerrit died in the war, but that I didn’t remember it and, if I took notes, I don’t know where they are.

His death even made the news in the Muskegon Chronicle on the same date.

On August 17, 1898, the Kalamazoo Gazette published a letter Uncle Lou received of his brother’s service and death.

To put the letter in the context of Uncle Lou’s life, he’d been married 26 months, and his daughter Alice was 15 months old, when he got word his young brother had died.

This letter makes it look as if Gerrit was buried in Cuba. Here is the interment control form which I found on ancestry.com.

Garrett Leeuwenhoek interment control form

What I suspected from this form is confirmed in the following article in the Kalamazoo Gazette on April 5, 1899.

Garrett’s body was re-buried in 1899 in Kalamazoo.  There are conflicting reports of his death date and name of his Company, but I feel pretty confident about the date of July 23, 1898 as the day he died.

Today he is honored with a brick at the Rose Park Veterans Memorial Park–a memorial park which my father Rudy Hanson and the Kalamazoo Sunrise Rotary Club were instrumental in bringing to the city.



If you would like to see first-hand newspaper accounts of the war from a Michigan newspaper, these links to articles in the Ludington Appeal show the general climate in Michigan at the time Gerrit decided to enlist.  These were provided by Jose at Enhanced News Archive.

Newspaper : Ludington Appeal – Apr 28, 1898
Ludington Appeal – May 5, 1898

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Ok, so maybe it’s not a full collection.  Uncle Lou (Lambertus Leeuwenhoek) left behind two Bibles, both printed in Dutch.  One is a full size Bible to read at home.  The other is smaller, perhaps the size he could tuck into his pocket and carry around.

Uncle Lou's Bijbels

Uncle Lou’s Bijbels

When my grandfather and grandmother gave me the family photographs and glass negatives, they showed me a family Bible or Bijbel, as it is called in Dutch. It wasn’t one of these, but one that had my direct family tree written inside the cover.  That was what my grandparents used to help guide their memories about the people associated with the photographs.  I don’t know what has happened to the Bible.  I hope someone in the family has it and is taking good care of it.  If you are reading this, Bible-keeper, please let me know it’s safe and, if you can, send me some pix!

The insides of Uncle Lou’s Bijbels

The writing inside the front of the larger Bible

The writing inside the front of the larger Bible

These words are printed inside the front of the smaller Bijbel

These words are printed inside the front of the smaller Bijbel

Inside the front of the smaller Bijbel, next page

Inside the front of the smaller Bijbel, next page

Lou wrote his name at the back of this Bijbel

Lou wrote his name at the back of this Bijbel

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