Posts Tagged ‘Muskegon Chronicle’

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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