Posts Tagged ‘Ramona Park’

In a post called “Who Was Hank Waruf, Kalamazoo Gunsmith?” I wrote about the husband of my great-great-grandmother’s sister, Carrie (Paak) Waruf. The couple owned the resort Ramona Palace and Ramona Park, as well as many cottages and their own home, at Long Lake in Portage, Michigan.

In my files I found the brochure for Henry Waruf’s (Walraven) funeral.


Henry Waruf’s wife Carrie and my GGGrandmother Alice Paak DeKorn had a sister named Mary. One of Mary’s daughters was Genevieve. She was married to Frank Tazalaar. Here are Henry and Frank together (with a little dog).


I get the impression from some of our photos that Hank Waruf was a man other men wanted to hang around .

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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:

Carrie (Paak) and Henry Waruf

Home of Hank and Carrie Waruf, Sprinkle Road

Home of Hank and Carrie Waruf, Sprinkle Road

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

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In a previous post called What Went On at Ramona Palace, the photograph that was marked Ramona that actually was the Summer Home Place sparked the question if the Ramona pavilion had windows on the lake side. By the sixties, when I saw it, the lake windows either didn’t exist or had been blocked off behind the bandstand.

The other day my father found a postcard of the Ramona pavilion–a view from the lake. Clearly, the structure was built with windows facing the lake.


On the left side of this photograph are the windows at the end of the building that face the lake. The bandstand was just inside those windows. And see the steps leading down to the lake? They would lead you right into the . . . bottomless drop-off! That was such a scary part of the lake by the sixties! I imagined all kinds of underwater beasts living in that mysterious section of the lake.

The property was originally owned by Henry and Carrie (Paak) Waruf. Carrie was my great-great-grandmother’s sister.  What do you think is the material of his hat in this photo?

This is a photograph marked “Hank Waruf (cigar in mouth). He’s definitely much older in this photo than the one above.

More posts about Ramona:

The Park with a Literary Name
A Re-telling of Ramona: The Park with a Literary Name
What Went On at Ramona Palace


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When my father ran Ramona Park, he used to sit on a ticket taker stool to admit dance patrons. He still had the stool until recently.


The other day, he gave it to Paula Taylor, who is writing a history of Ramona and Long Lake.




Update on why the Ramona/Long Lake photos say Vicksburg:

Maggie Snyder for Vicksburg Historical Society says this:

Vicksburg never included Ramona Park, which was at Long Lake. However, at that time Portage as a town was much smaller than Vicksburg, so it would have been the closest “big” town. Also, the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad had a flag stop at Ramona Park, and their closest depot was in Vicksburg.

On another note: here are a couple of online articles about Long Lake:

Long Lake: from sinking houses to sea serpents

Portage Couple Has Spent a Lifetime on Long Lake


More posts about Ramona:

The Park with a Literary Name
A Re-telling of Ramona: The Park with a Literary Name


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When I was a kid my father used to bring me (and sometimes my friend, Jill, a reader of this blog) to Ramona Park. We explored and played while he worked–maintaining and refurbishing the pavilion, the grounds, and the shore of Long Lake that ran along the property.

I’ve written before about this park, located in Portage, Michigan here:

The Park with a Literary Name
A Re-telling of Ramona: The Park with a Literary Name

I remember trying to imagine what the pavilion, which was called Ramona Palace, was like back in its heyday, when people came to listen to live music and dance in the ballroom.

Notice that this old photograph locates the park in Vicksburg, but it is now Portage, Michigan. This is the ballroom as I remember it–big and empty.  The lake was just outside those windows.

A while back I was contacted by Shawna (Smith) Raymond about those days. Her grandfather, Eddie Smith, and his Big Band used to play at Ramona Palace.

Eddie Smith and the Revelers courtesy of Shawna (Smith) Raymond

Eddie Smith and the Revelers
courtesy of Shawna (Smith) Raymond

Shawna passed on a story from her aunt about those days.

When Mom, whose name was Margene, would walk into the Ramona Palace ballroom where Dad was playing, he’d always stop whatever song they were playing and play ‘My Little Margie.’

Shawna’s aunt has a framed collage of the sheet music to “My Little Margie” and Shawna’s grandfather’s conducting baton. According to Wikipedia:

Margie“, also known as “My Little Margie“, is a 1920 popular song composed in collaboration by vaudeville performer and pianist Con Conrad and ragtime pianist J. Russel Robinson, a member of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Lyrics were written by Benny Davis, a vaudeville performer and songwriter. The song was introduced by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1920 as Victor 78, 18717-A, in a medley paired with “Singin’ the Blues”. The B side was “Palesteena”.The Rega Dance Orchestra recorded the song in October, 1920 for Okeh Records, 4211. The ODJB recorded their instrumental version on December 1, 1920. The song was published in 1920 and was named after the five-year-old daughter of singer and songwriter Eddie Cantor. Cantor is credited with popularizing the song with his 1921 recording that stayed at the top of the pop charts for five weeks.

Here is a Benny Goodman version from 1938:


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I started this blog in September 2012 with three private posts and then didn’t write again until November. The idea was that I would start to put the photos and stories I had accumulated “out there” for family members to access. Although the details aren’t that memorable to me, it seems that I switched to public but didn’t tag the posts at first, hoping that the posts wouldn’t get picked up by Google. That way, relatives could easily find the blog, but I was in hopes that nobody else would find it.

It didn’t take too long to see that some family members (Hi, Mom and Dad haha) and a few friends liked the blog and I thought it might be better just to tag the posts and connect with other WordPress bloggers. What I had seen of the bloggers working on family histories interested me a lot, so I wanted to feel more involved.

I had no idea what would happen. No, I don’t have an amazing number of blog followers, but those that do follow tend to be loyal and friendly. They are also kind and generous and have helped with looking at the details in photographs and giving me clues about where to search–as well as giving me some behind the scenes help.  You know who you are and you are fabulous.

Another aspect of blogging that I could not have predicted is how many wonderful non-bloggers have found the blog through internet searches and have shared information with me. I hesitate to name people because I don’t want to leave anybody out, so I will list just a few of the insights I’ve gained from these generous souls.

  • One of the biggest mysteries was the Paak family fire and that branch of the family–now I have info and photos to sort through and a new “cousin”
  • Information and photographs about my great-great grandfather Richard DeKorn’s second wife and her daughters.
  • Dates and names beyond count from a very kind and hardworking soul in the Netherlands
  • Through the previous individual, I found a first cousin once removed (I think that’s right) with a big heart–and photos and info–from my dad’s family
  • Photos and information of my ancestors in the Netherlands
  • Found the Noffke line
  • Found out more about the Jenny DeKorn Culver family–and received the gorgeous album of photographs and postcards
  • Information and photographs relating to Ramona Park, Long Lake, and the Waruf family
  • Learned more about the Bosman family
  • Learned more about the VanLiere family and corresponded with that branch and, yes, photos
  • Traced a branch from the Netherlands to the Holland area of Michigan
  • Identification of various photographs

I could continue as there are more goodies that have come my way since starting this blog. I am so grateful for the generosity of everyone involved. If I had kept this blog just to “us,” I wouldn’t have known how large my family truly is and how kind strangers can be.

That’s all I wanted to talk about today: how grateful I am and how thrilling it is to look back at all the information that has been shared here from such generous souls.

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Last year, I published a post about a park that once belonged to family members and that had an inpact on me when I was growing up. Ramona Park, on Long Lake, outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan, featured a pavilion called Ramona Palace.  Ramona was named after the “Indian Princess” in Helen Hunt Jackson’s popular novel Ramona, which was published in 1884.

When I was growing up, the property was owned by a relative named Therese Remine.  Therese’s mother was Mary Paak (Peek), the sister of my great great grandmother, Alice Paak DeKorn.

Therese had inherited the property from Henry and Carrie Waruf, who had owned it for years.

Here are some photos of the pavilion and property that I inherited from the Waruf/Remine family:

Although these photos were taken before my time, not that much had changed by the time I hung out there–except that things had slowed down considerably. There were fewer picnic tables and fewer people.

You see that long dock in the 3rd photo? It’s so long it needs to be called a pier, I think! I don’t remember that either.

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Some time ago I posted about a house which I remembered from my childhood. The house had been built on Sprinkle Road in Portage, about a block from the Long Lake shore. It was originally owned by Carrie Paak/Peek Waruf and her husband Henry Waruf.

When Therese Remine inherited Ramona Park from them (her aunt and uncle), she also inherited their house.  She divided her time between this house and a house she owned in Detroit.

I had heard that the house was relocated and mentioned that I had set my Kalamazoo sleuths on its trail.

Today I am happy to report that my detectives (Mom and Dad, also known as Janet and Rudy Hanson) have done their legwork.  They discovered that, in 1990, the house was moved much farther south on Sprinkle–past Bishop road.  It was replaced by a fire station.  The new owner took the house apart “brick by brick” to move it.  He enclosed the porch and put in an elevator.

Here are the new photos, taken by my father just as the current owner was trying to mow the lawn!

The house is now owned by Patrick “Mick” Lynch and is inhabited by his company, American Hydrogeology Corporation.  They are an environmentally friendly company which helps with the clean up of water.

Mick has plans to re-roof the house and paint it white, which as you can see was the color in the old photo.

The other posts where you can read about Ramona Park, Long Lake, and the Waruf/Remine house can be found at Living by Long Lake, Portage, Michigan and The Park with a Literary Name .

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After my great-great grandmother Alice Paak DeKorn passed away, Richard DeKorn remarried a woman named Jantje, called Jennie.  Her story begins this way . . .jenny j from ann marie

Once upon a time –well, in the 19th century–in the province of Groningen, the Netherlands, Martje Derks Wiltje married Harm Jansen.  They had two daughters, Kate and Jantje, who were both born in a town called Uithuizen. After Martje passed away, Harm and his daughters immigrated to the United States, where the family adopted the surname Johnson.

Harm Johnson

Harm Johnson
Probably a copy of his wedding photo from 1858 (copied 1891)

Jennie Johnson (eventually Sootsman and then DeKorn) and her family traveled to the United States on the SS Castor, arriving in New York on May 4, 1881. Below is a copy of the manifest and a photo of the Castor.SS Caster Page 1 Janssen immigrationSS Caster Page 5 Janssen Immigration name listMedia0050

Kate married Hemmens Edward Siertsema.  Kate and Hemmens had several children, including Annetta Lucile (Harmens) who was born in 1884 and died on 16 Dec 1974 in Kalamazoo.  Eventually Annetta had her own daughter named Annetta (born 1910), as well as a son, Lowell (born 1913).

Jantje (Jennie) married Oscar Sootsman.  They had two daughters:

1. MARION SOOTSMAN was born on 30 May 1892 in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County,

Michigan, USA. She died on 21 Apr 1948 in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County,

Michigan, USA. She married John Ewart McQuigg, son of Moore McQuigg and

Lizzie on 11 Aug 1928 in St Joseph Co. IN. He was born in 1894.

2. MAJORIE (MARGE) SOOTSMAN was born in Apr 1896. She married GEORGE OWENS.

3. There might have been a son, but if so, I haven’t been able to locate him yet.

Oscar Sootsman passed away in Kalamazoo in 1907. Three years later, Jantje married widower Richard DeKorn (you were waiting for the DeKorn connection, right?).  Richard died in 1930, eighteen years before Jantje, who passed on in 1948.

So these girls, Marion and Marge, were Richard DeKorn’s stepdaughters.  When Richard and Jennie married, the girls were 18 and 14. In the family photographs I have the girls are sometimes in family group shots.  Here is a photo of Alice Leeuwenhoek (Uncle Lou and Aunt Jen’s daughter) with Marge Sootsman.  To clarify, Alice’s grandfather was married to Marge’s mother.

On the following page, first photograph, you can see Jantje (Jennie) with her daughter Marion.  In between them is Jennie’s sister Kate’s granddaughter Annetta (1910 – 2005).  The top middle photo is Marge (Marjorie) and Marion Sootsman.  Below that is a photo of Marge by herself.  The next, or fourth, photo is Richard and Jennie DeKorn.  The man at the right is George Owen, who married Marge Sootsman.

In this next set of photos, we have the granddaughter of Kate, Annetta in two photos by herself and one perhaps with her brother Lowell (1913 – 2004).  There are three photos of Marion Sootsman.

The final set of photos shows Annetta at the piano and Lowell playing, Comstock, Michigan.  Then Richard (“Uncle Dick”) and Jennie DeKorn are pictured with Annetta, Lowell, and their parents, Everett William  and Annetta Harmens VanHoeve.   The center photo is Annetta at Comstock School.  The top right photo is in front of the Bath House at Ramona Park at Long Lake, which was owned by Richard DeKorn’s sister-in-law from his first marriage and her husband.  Annetta is seen here with her cousin Herman Harmens.  The bottom right photo seems to be Annetta with Lowell’s bicycle.

The following obituary belongs to Jantje/Jennie Johnson Sootsman DeKorn:

Blog reader Grady Ellis sent me these copies of scrapbook pages, as well as some family history from that family group.  These photos came to Grady from Susan A. VanHoeve McEwen, who owns the originals. He says that the Harmens family owned the Shell Service Station on Portage Street, just north of the Lovers Lane intersection.  He worked there while he was going to college in the early 70s “back in the days when you really received service in a gas station . . .  long ago.”

Grady shared the contents of an obituary in the Kalamazoo Gazette on July 19, 1907 for Oscar Sootsman:

“Funeral for Oscar Sootsman.

The funeral of Oscar Sootsman who was killed by being run over by the city sprinkling wagon Wednesday night, will be held at the home, on South Burdick street at 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon.  The Rev. William Pool and the Rev. Mr. Koolker will officiate.  Interment will take place at Riverside.”

Here is another:

What a sad death.  He was run over by the truck he drove. No wonder the paper said he was a man of great courage.  Here is his death certificate:

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Over two months ago I posted about The Park with a Literary Name , Ramona Park in Portage, Michigan. This lake property was in my family for many years.

It was owned by Carrie Paak/Peek Waruf and her husband Henry Waruf. These photos are of their home, which was situated on Sprinkle Road in Portage, about a block from the Long Lake shore.  The above photo is a side view–Sprinkle to the left, Long Lake to the right.  The porch was eventually remodeled to a large enclosed porch.

Any car experts can tell us a date by looking at the automobile here?

The photo below is the front of the house.

This house was inherited by Therese Remine, Carrie’s niece, and became part of the Ramona Park estate. In more recent years, it was relocated. My Kalamazoo sleuths (aka Mom and Dad) are working on its location.

When I was a little kid, we hunted for arrowheads in the field behind the house. The vintage (at the time) dining room furniture was beautiful.

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