Posts Tagged ‘Sr.’

Last week I wrote about a pioneer of Kalamazoo, Michigan, John DeSmit, Sr. I had learned that he was actually at least John DeSmit III because his father and grandfather who lived and died in the Netherlands, were also Jan or Jannis.

Now I want to give you an idea of John’s wives and their children.  This post was almost published without some very important information sent me by Adri Van Gessel indicating that John DeSmit, Sr. actually had two wives and that the first wife is the mother of only his oldest child, John DeSmit, Jr. Also, I was helped by Hubert Theuns. An enormous thank you for their help!

John Sr. must have married his first wife in the Netherlands. I have not yet found the marriage record, but according to the newspaper, it was probably between 1848 and 1851, when they emigrated. Her name is listed on the death certificate of her one child, John Jr.

The certificate says his mother was Jennie Van S…… Could be Sluice or Sluis or Sh something. I do believe she was still alive when John moved to Kalamazoo with her and their son.

According to one of the newspaper articles published on my last post, the family came to Kalamazoo on 2 May 1854.

The next time we find the family “on paper,” is a marriage record between John Senior and Jacoba Lamper. Jennie must have died between 2 May 1854 and the date of the new marriage, 7 August 1855.

Jacoba was born 18 November 1827 in ‘s-Gravenpolder. Her parents were Adriaan Lamper and Christina de Bart (Lamper). This name is also elsewhere seen as de Bat and de Bath.

Note for DeSmit and Lamper family members: Hubert found documents for other Lamper family members, as well as for John DeSmit’s parents, etc. If you are interested in these documents, please email about them as I am not going to post them all on here.


Regarding their immigration, Hubert also found the following emigration information in http://www.zeeuwengezocht.nl/. Remember that this is emigration, not immigration, so it has to do with John leaving the Netherlands, not actually entering the United States.

Genealogische Afschriften 810/2 Emigrant Jannis de Smit
Landmansknecht (profession: farmer’s apprentice)
Kerkelijke gezindte:
Nederlands-hervormd (religion: Dutch Reformed)
164 Verzameling Genealogische Afschriften (GA), 1600-2017
Verbetering van bestaan (reason for emigration: Amelioration of existence)
Datum vertrek:
Bestemming land:
Staten van landverhuizingen (archief Provinciaal Bestuur Zeeland)
Genealogische Afschriften 810/2
Prijs fotokopie:
€ 5,00

Organisatie: Zeeuws Archief

Although it doesn’t give much more information than the newspaper accounts did, it confirms that the couple immigrated to the United States in 1851 (and not 1850). We know they left from Rotterdam, so now it remains to be seen if I can find them through ship manifest/immigration records.

According to the newspaper article, John and Jennie traveled with four other young married couples. Perhaps that will help locate them.


Once John and Jennie arrived in the United States (John in wooden shoes and corduroys, as the newspaper affirmed), he sought work on Long Island, New York, where their first child, John, Jr. was born on 18 July 1853. He would live a full life and die 30 October 1928 in Kalamazoo. He was married to Mary DeKorn (the sister of Richard DeKorn, my great-great-grandfather). Mary was born 4 January 1855 in Kapelle, Zeeland, Netherlands. She died 28 March 1953 in Kalamazoo. They had eight children who lived past infancy.


I am not sure if I have a photo of John, Jr. But the motivation for beginning this series on the DeSmits was because I found a little newpaper article in the Telegraph dated 11 March 1892 that mentioned John, Jr., and Richard DeKorn, my great-great-grandfather. They apparently were in partnership together until this date. Since they were both brick masons, did they work together? Or was it a realty partnership? I do not know. But it’s fitting that the brothers-in-law were partners.

In 1854, John, Sr., Jennie, and John, Jr. moved to Kalamazoo. Soon after, Jennie must have died, but I can find no proof of this as of yet. I cannot find her death record, a grave record, nothing. Keep in mind that until I do all this information about the two wives is as yet unverified.

As with Johns Sr. and Jr. I will mainly use the American version of the names for the rest of the children in this post. These are the children John had with Jacoba Lamper.


Adrian was born 17 May 1856 and, sadly, died 9 November 1856.

Francena was born 4 July 1857 and, though the couple might have celebrated the birth of a baby born on Independence Day, she died over a month later, on 27 August 1857. The death of these two children early on must have been real “dog’s weather” and “black snow” for the DeSmits. (Those are expressions he used to refer to hard times in a newspaper interview.


On 4 November 1858, Adrian was born. This baby survived, living until 25 March 1938 when he died in Banks Township in Antrim County, Michigan. Adrian married Anna Versluis, and they had one daughter. Eventually, Adrian would marry Alice Nyland.


The photo of Adrian is from Tim Morris.

This photo was from my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg.


Halloween (October 31) 1862, Francina was born. She died 21 September 1900, still a young woman. She married Renier Van Delester (many spellings of both first and surnames). They had two sons.


Christina was born, most likely, in September 1864. The date has not yet been discovered, other than in the Dutch Reformed Church records, where it states she was born 31 September 1864. Unless, the calendar has changed since the 1860s, there is no September 31. Christina married Jacob Flipse, Jr. They did not have children. She passed away 15 February 1914.


On 23 April 1866, Elizabeth was born. She married Jacob Hycoop, and they had 2 daughters. She lived until 18 May 1946. In fact, in one of the newspaper articles, it was her yard where John, Sr., hoed the celery on his birthday.


Baby Catharina was born 2 July 1869, but passed away on 16 January 1870.


Finally, Martin was born 17 November 1870, and grew up to marry Adriana Schiereck. They had a son called Clarence Wynoble, so it is probable that Clarence was Martin’s stepson. Martin died 6 November 1942 in Plainwell, Michigan.


All except John, Jr. were born in Kalamazoo, and they all died in Michigan–most of them in Kalamazoo. In a future post I will discuss the next generation of DeSmits–the children of John, Jr., Adrian, Francina, Elizabeth, and Martin.


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Let’s go back to George Paake/Paak/Peek/Pake today.

I mentioned that George was married at least three times–possibly as many as five times. It was pointed out to me that it would be very unlikely that George was married more than three times.

Take a look at the timeline:

George immigrated to the United States when he was ten or eighteen years old. I have conflicting sources on this. Either way, he married his first wife, Lucy Kliphouse, in Kalamazoo, on December 17, 1886, when he was 36 years old. The couple had five children, named after the grandparents. George was married to Lucy for fourteen years, when she passed away.

In 1902, at the time of the fire, George was a widower.

On April 15, 1906, George married Esther M. Cook. Adri van Gessel mentioned to me that by February 14, 1906,  the oldest daughter Cora (who, according to the newspaper article about the fire, was taking care of the household) was already married, so there was no one to take charge of the house. On Nov 21, 1907, Esther died of pneumonia.

On July 11, 1908 George was married to Addie Amelia Gifford (Wilder). Addie seems to have outlived George.

  • According to the 1910 Census, George (listed as Joseph G. Peake) was still married to Addie. He was listed with his wife Addie, his daughter Fanny, his son George, and Addie’s daughter Florence Wilder (from her previous marriage).
  • According to the 1920 Census, George (listed as George J. Pake) was still married to Addie. He was listed with his wife Addie, his son George, and Addie’s daughter Florance D. Wilder.

George died on December 9, 1925 after being married to Addie for seventeen years.

This photo of George (using the spelling Pake) and Addie and their family was taken not long before he passed away.



A Series of Disasters

The Children After the Fire, 1902


Saved from the Fire


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Let’s continue the Paake/Paak/Peek/Pake family saga.

I grew up not knowing that great-great-grandmother Alice had had a brother named George. When I discovered him, it was, in part, because of a newspaper clipping I found among the family papers. I’ve already written about George’s family here:

A Series of Disasters

The Children After the Fire, 1902


Saved from the Fire

In the Paak-a-Boo post, I contemplated whether an unidentified photo I owned could be George Paake, based on the resemblance to great-great-grandmother Alice.

It turns out we still don’t know who is in that photo, but I now know what George looked like!


Here is a photo of Lucy Kliphouse (her name was Anglicized from the original Dutch: Lukkien Kliphuis ), the mother of George’s five children.

This is his first wife. After she passed away in 1900 (two years before the fire), George went on to marry a few other women. It’s said he might have had five wives.

Stay tuned for more information about the leaves and blossoms of George’s branch of the family!

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Here is another follow-up to my post about the newspaper clipping I found tucked in with the family photos. If you missed it, you can find it in A Series of Disasters or read the clipping below. Since then I have learned a lot about the George Paake (born Joost Peek and also known as George Pake) family of widowed father and five children.

In addition to learning about the children, which I will explore more in future posts, I was told that a piece of furniture that was rescued from the fire is still in the hands of the family. Since I thought you might like to see a sample of what was in that house in 1902, I asked for a photograph of the dresser.


I am not an antiques expert by any means, but it struck me as different from most of the pieces I’ve seen from that period. Since the fire was in 1902, the dresser was most likely from the late 1800s.

Teunis Peek and his wife Jacoba Bassa had six children while living in Lexmond, the Netherlands. In 1865, Jacoba passed away at the age of 41. A few years later (1868 or 1869), Teunis brought the children to the United States, where he settled in Michigan.

Therefore, when the fire occurred at the home of Teunis’ son George,  the family had been living in Michigan for over 30 years. Because of the style of the dresser and the length of time in this country, I would assume that the dresser was purchased in the United States.

From a little Google research, I am guessing that this dresser is of the “Eastlake” style. The straight lines were meant to vary from the norm of Victorian curlicues, and the ridges on the corner columns and the stylized branch with leaves carving are typical of that style of furniture.

Do you agree or disagree about the style and age of this piece? and why?




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Just over a year ago, in A Series of Disasters, I posted a newspaper clipping that I found tucked in with the family photos. This is the copy of the article:

The residence of George Paake at 1016 Trimble Avenue was burned this morning about 10:30 o’clock and a worthy family which has had a series of disasters, left without a home.  The house which Mr. Paake was paying for in the Building and Loan Association was entirely ruined although most of the contents of the home were saved. Mr. Paake receives no insurance whatever and the little which had been accumulated by the family was lost.

The fire is only an incident in the history of the family. Mrs. Paake died a short time ago leaving five children, the oldest being fourteen years old. Since the mother’s death the little girl has had entire charge of the house and the four little children and has had all the responsibility of the family except the support which Mr. Paake gave as a laborer.  Recently he has been unable to work and was ill this morning when the fire occurred.

The neighbors have taken in the little ones and are doing all that is possible to alleviate the sufferings of the family. Mrs. Carrier has been responsible for raising a sum of money to which the neighbors have liberally contributed.

At the end of this post I will re-post the newspaper clipping for documentation. I want to apologize for spelling the surname every which way, but at every turn the name is spelled differently. Family members changed the spelling, and different documents recorded it differently. Paak-Peek-Paake-Pake: they are all the same.

Eventually, I discovered that this man was George Joseph Paak, Sr.,  the brother of my great-great-grandmother Alice Paak DeKorn and that the fire occurred on Wednesday, September 3, 1902.

George’s wife Lucy Kliphouse passed away in 1900, leaving 5 young children in their father’s care.  George (born Joost) was 50 at the time he was left a widower. At some point he had changed the surname to Pake.

The five children were Cora, the eldest mentioned in the article, Jennie, Theresa (also called Tracy), Fanny (also called Frances), and George Jr. Cora was born in 1888; Jennie (who later changed her name to Jane) in 1890; Theresa in 1893; Fannie in 1896, and George in 1898.  George was only four when the fire occurred. Imagine Cora, at 14, taking care of the others–ages 12, 9, 6, and 4. What a burden on such a young girl. And when her mother died, she was only twelve and young George was two!

Since the time of that post, George’s grandson, Professor Edgar Lawrence, discovered this blog. He’s been able to fill in many of the missing pieces about this branch of my family. His mother was Theresa, the middle child.  Here is a photo, taken at least a decade after the fire, showing all five Pake children.

Front row: Theresa and Cora Back row: Frances, George Jr., Jennie (Jane)

Front row: Theresa and Cora
Back row: Frances, George Jr., Jennie (Jane)




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