Van Hees Family History


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Kroeze Story

FAMILY TREE - American Branch - KROEZE -

Harvey H.
Beverly Jean Kroeze
Joyce Elaine Kroeze
Shirley Mae Kroeze

This is our story as compiled and written by Beverly Jean Kroeze (Walhout), the first born of three daughters of Harvey H. Kroeze and Evelyn Grace Burge Kroeze. Joyce Elaine Kroeze the second daughter, and Shirley Mae Kroeze the third daughter.

Our story begins - - - - -

Many years ago, in the land of canals and dykes, the land of tulips and windmills and wooden shoes, there was a family named Kroeze. This family, Hindrik and Grietje, are very important to us. They are our Great Grandparents.

There was a Schipper (Sea Captain) in the Dutch Navy named Hindrik Kroeze. He was about 20 years of age. Families in the Netherlands lived on the land and on the canals and on the sea. They lived in Groningen, The Netherlands, in the northern region near the German border, an area known for its coal mining. Our Great Grandfather, Hindrik Kroeze and Great Grandmother Grietje (Pot) Kroeze lived, on a houseboat on a canal. Great Grandfather Hindrik followed the waters and the sea, serving as Schipper in the service of his country. My understanding is that all young men of 18 years of age gave two years of service to their country.

I do not know what year they were married, but there were seven children born to them. In order of birth, they were Kornelus, Hilje, Pieter, Geert (George) our Grandfather, Jakob, Faukien, and Jan. As sea Captains often do, Great Grandfather Hindrik enjoyed a nip "like many a seafaring man". His desire for drink caused, the family to run out of money; so their houseboat was sold and a smaller, older one became home in its place. Disaster struck one night and upon awakening the family found mattresses and furniture floating in the water. The boat sank! Without a home the family Great Grandfather Hindrik and Great Grandmother Grietje and the seven children needed a place to live. They found a chicken coop and made that into their next home. One day, not, long after, Great Grandfather Hindrik passed away. He was found in a field. Apparently he had fallen in a hole or well. The buzzards were circling overhead. He was dead at the age of 42 years.

Our Grandfather, George, was born in Groningen, The Netherlands, on 3 April 1870, one of seven children. We know very little of the families growing-up years, other than the above. When Grandfather George was 17 years of age, in 1887, he came to America, specifically Muskegon, Michigan to evade the military service. His brother, Jacob, came to America also, but they did not come together. His brother, Jan, stayed on in the Netherlands.

Jan married a Dutch lady, Anje Van Dam, in the Netherlands. There were nine children, one being Jan also, who lives in Rotterdam. We could not reach him when we were in the Netherlands a number of years ago. When Anje was widowed, she came to America, and she married her older brother-in-law Jacob for a short time. She however still spoke only Dutch, and things did not work out. She went back to the Netherlands, and Jacob moved to the Holland Home in Muskegon. Jacob was originally married to Ida DeWeerd at 17 years of age at that time. There were seven children: Peter, Margaret, Ida, George, Al, Henry and Grace.

Grandfather George met Henrietta (Hattie) Hendricks. She and her brother Herman Hendricks were the children of Harm Hendricks and Tryntje (Trena) Bosma. George and Hattie were married 18 November 1891 in Muskegon, Michigan. When first married they had a celery farm in Grand Haven, Michigan. There first child, Grace, was born there 3 August, 1892. They stayed only a few years in Grand Haven before they moved to Muskegon where their second daughter, Trena, was born 12 July, 1895. A son, Henry Cornelius was born in 1903 but died at the age of seven in 1911, from a brain tumor. Grandma and Grandpa had 2 daughters and 4 sons in all. Harvey, our Father, was born 30 May 1907, Jay was born 30 April 1910, and the second Henry C. was born 31 Dec 1913, all in Muskegon, Michigan.

George Kroeze Family  
            Grace, Jay, Henry, Hattie, George, Harvey, Trena

Grandma Hattie Hendricks Kroeze was born 18 June 1871 in Wirdum, Groningen, The Netherlands of Dutch parentage, to Harm Hendricks and Tryntje Bosma Hendricks. Great Grandmother Tryntje was widowed early in their marriage, leaving her with two small children, Hattie and Herman. She then married Paul Plöger who evidently was from the Groningen area near the Wirdum lake or meer. They also married in the Netherlands. The name Pluger in German was spelled Plöger, from which it was Americanized. From that marriage there were three more children. All came to America, Hattie and Herman, Paul Pluger (he was seven years of age when the family came to Muskegon, Michigan, U.S.A.), Alice Pluger and Anna Pluger. Paul married Anna Stuivenga who came to America at one year of age. They had two children, Edward and Trena. Alice married a Bowmaster, Cornelius I think. The Bowmasters had Paul and Harold, twins, John, Bernard, Ella Mae and Angeline. Anna married Fred Ten Hoor and there were two daughters, Wilhemina and Trena. She was widowed again, later in her marriage to Paul Pluger. She married William Vanderliest. There were no children of that union. She is buried in the Kroeze family plot in Oakwood Cemetery, Muskegon, Michigan by Grandma Hattie and George Kroeze.

Great Grandma Tryntje was known to Joyce and me as Opmo who lived in the little house in the back by Pluger's grocery store on Oak Street. She can be remembered as a typical Dutch grandmother wearing three or four long skirts with a black apron over them. She was somewhat roundish, hair pulled back tightly in a bun. Her handkerchief was always in a pocket under several layers of skirts. She always spoke only Dutch and Trena Pluger, her grand daughter, who lived on the other side of the store, did all the interpreting for her. Joyce was six and I was going on nine when she died. She was 86 years of age. I can still see her walking toward us on the old boardwalk when we would go over to see her.

Grandma Hattie I'm sure was a busy mother raising the children. Grandpa George left the celery farm and worked for many years at Enterprise Brass Works. He also had a grocery store on Apple Avenue, corner of Holt Street, the southwest corner - Sytsema Funeral Home was on the southeast corner. Grandpa George and Grandma Hattie and family went to Allen Avenue Christian Reformed Church. For many years the services were all in the Dutch language, so it was somewhat isolated from the English-speaking community. Twenty-nine years elapsed before the first English sermon was preached in July 1918. It might be interesting to note that first worship services were held in Gerrit Trap's vacant store on Oak Street, then the old Methodist Church on the corner of Wood Street and Apple Avenue. A lot was then purchased on Alien Avenue, corner just west of Wood Street where a new church was built in 1889. The steeple was added 1891. The first service in the church was on 7 April 1889, seven weeks after the congregation was organized. Grandpa George became a Charter Member at that time. Later the house on the corner was bought for a parsonage; and still later the chapel was built west of the church. The church at that time was known as The Third Holland Christian Reformed Church of Muskegon. It is now - the second new church built by the congregation - located at 699 Alien Avenue, Muskegon, Michigan. The church was dedicated May 1957.

Evelyn Grace Burge, our dearly beloved Mother, was born 29 August 1908 in Neillsville, Wisconsin, the daughter of Thomas Fremont and Josephine B. Smith Burge. She was to spend her young years in Wisconsin with her parents and two sisters, Leola and Marion and her younger brother Floyd. She was baptized in the Neillsville Congregational Church there in 1911. The family lived on the family farm in Neillsville, moving to Owen, Wisconsin in 1907, but went back to the farm in 1915. They were to live there until 25 March 1921 when they bought the Linster farm home. Times were not easy. On 4 July 1923 they moved to Muskegon, the whole family, to be near Allie F. Bealer Burge, Grandmother of the children, who lived on Washington Avenue in Muskegon, Michigan. She was widowed after three years of marriage to Thomas H. Burge; Their was one son, Grandpa Thomas Fremont Burge. Great Grandfather Thomas H. died of consumption at the age of 37 years, 11 months, and 22 days, 24 November 1880, in Neillsville, Wisconsin, when little Thomas Fremont was just 13 months old. Allie moved to Muskegon, had a rooming house on Washington Avenue, and sold pharmaceuticals - medicines and herbs.

Our Mom, Evelyn Burge, was 14 years of age when the Burge family came to Muskegon. She went to "Continuation School" to finish her education. This was where she met Harvey Kroeze. He was a year older than she. Mom and Dad evidently were going together early in their friendship as there are a couple pictures dated 1924. I do know she had other boy friends, too. Gerrit Hasper wanted to date Mom, but Dad didn't appreciate that. Leigh Prettyman thought she was special too. However, Harvey and Evelyn eloped and were married 19 February 1927 in Michigan City, Indiana.

Our parents Harvey and Evelyn Kroeze went to the Methodist Episcopal Church on Second Street between Webster and Muskegon Avenues. It is now the Central United Methodist Church. Their first home was 1936 Ray Street in Muskegon, moving in with the Burge’s (Evelyn's folks) for a short time. Beverly was born 2 August 1927 and this was her first home. Beverly was baptized by A. Raymond Johns on 8 April 1928, Easter Sunday morning. Because of family pressure they became members of Allen Avenue Christian Reformed Church at the occasion of their Public Confession of Faith 5 June 1932.

Harvey and Evelyn moved to the upstairs apartment above Grandpa George and Grandma Hattie Kroeze's home on Apple Street next to the grocery store on the corner of Holt Street. Beverly was just a year old or so; just walking. In 1929 Harvey had a barbecue and ice cream store on Getty Street, comer of Catherine which he called "Beverly's Barbeque". This didn't work out too well, so they decided to move to Port Huron, Michigan. They only lived there a few months because Mom was very homesick. Dad had worked in a clothing store there. Back to Muskegon and upstairs over Grandpa George’s and Grandma Hattie's house. Joyce was born 26 October 1930. That was her first home. Beverly celebrated her 5th birthday there. Joyce was nearly five years old and Beverly was just eight years old when the family moved to Allen Avenue near Getty and across the street from Uncle Jack and Aunt Trena Kroeze Brondsema’s house - Harvey's sister and her husband. Joyce celebrated her birthday there.

Lukey Smeedes read us books, Carl Peterson gave us rides on his bike and we would swing on the porch swing with our cousin Pearl Brondsema until we landed over into the bushes. These are the memories of Allen Avenue.

Shirley Mae was born 26 May 1937. Her first home was on Wood Street, the east side between Amity and Orchard, next door to the big house where Mrs. Tenholt lived. Joyce was seven and a half, and Beverly was ten. We would go out for walks with Mom pushing Shirley in the buggy and Joyce and I on either side. We played the old pump organ that was in the spare room; I think it belonged to Great Grandmother Mary Jane Smith. We dressed behind our big fancy stove in the dining room. The warm flannel nightgowns were really great. Mom hung clothes in the attic - once sticking her leg between the flooring overhead and into our bedroom ceiling. Such were wash days, especially with three girls. Dad worked at Enterprise Brass Works.

In 1937, Dad and John Niemeyer (he came from Chicago, Illinois and lived with the George Kroeze family for a number of years while growing up) started Peerless Plating works on Apple Street near Pine with $50 cash in their pockets. They were dreamers, but over the years things worked out pretty well. They built a new building on Getty Street near Sherman and were to operate the business there until 1945. There were times though, that they tried to give it away to each other. The war came and they began doing war work, plating stretchers for the Army, etc., and the business was quite successful. They sold it to John Gifford of Chicago in 1945.

Shirley was to celebrate her fifth birthday at 961 Stevens Street, Southwest corner of Allen Avenue, in what was called East Muskegon at that time. It was 1940 when we moved into that new house. How lovely! Dad dug the basement by shovels full by car light after work. Had the house built, planted cedars, flowers and made a fish pond in the back yard. Mom was very ill for a year - 1945 - Dad was very busy with the war work at Peerless Plating. Dad was to go into service, but he received a deferment the day before reporting for duty because of Mom's health and the war work.

Beverly married John R. Walhout 22 October 1948. Mom, Dad and Shirley moved into a new home they had built on Mona Lake, 1951. Joyce married Edwin M. Vanderlaan 10 August 1951. She, however, was to live there while Ed was in the service. Mom and Dad moved into town in 1955 after four years on Mona Lake. It was beautiful but away from friends and family. Mom and Dad and Shirley moved to 1274 East Isabella, Muskegon, Michigan. They spent - Mom and Dad - over thirty years together there. Shirley Married John Van Hees on 14 June 1957. Mom and Dad went with Ben and Connie Harmsen on vacation to Florida. Mom passed away unexpectedly on 23 March 1987 in Kississimee. Dad lived on in their home until he moved to Christian Manor where he passed away 15 April 1995.

Even though our hearts ache
We three girls were richly blessed
We have so much to live for
So many to love So many memories, and
So our Story continues ----

With much love,
Beverly Jean Kroeze Walhout
10 November 1995

Owner/SourceBeverly Jean Kroeze Walhout
Linked toI2619; Trijntje Bosma; Evelyn Grace Burge; Thomas Fremont Burge; Hindertje Hindriks; Geert Kroeze; Grace Kroeze; Harvey Harmanus Kroeze; Henry C. Kroeze; Hindrik Kroeze; Jan Kroeze; Trena Kroeze

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