Bade – Ch. 3 – Life and Habits of the Dutch Pioneer


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We owe much to the early Dutch pioneers because of the trials, privations, and sufferings which they endured. The life of the Dutch pioneer was very fascinating. This was due principally to the sociability and the spirit of equality which pervaded this pioneer community, to the newness and simplicity of frontier life, and the dangers which formed an all too real element in the daily experiences of the people. New immigrants were well received and were made to feel welcome, if only a piece of bread and butter and a straw bed were the best one had to offer.[1]

When the Hollanders arrived in the southern part of Lancaster County, wild game was very common. Deer were quite numerous. One morning a father called his son out of the dugout. He saw a large group of deer grazing near his home. Their appearance occurred frequently and always gave the lad a thrill.[2] The animal most in evidence was the prairie wolf. A few of these could make the nights hideous, and to one without experience it would seem that the country was infested with them.[3]

It was not uncommon for Indians in groups of one hundred or more to pass through this settlement. The Pawnee of northern Nebraska and the Otoes of the southern part of the state used to visit each other every year.[4] While on their way Mr. Huzenveldt often saw them in large numbers camping near his home. The Indians never molested these people except by begging for food.[5]

During the early settlement of the southern part of Lancaster County these were vast stretches of prairie with no roads. The Hollanders living in the western part of South Pass and eastern part of Buda Precincts, cut díagonally across section 10 of South Pass Precinct, when they drove to Holland. The trail, however, was changed when a settler purchased two hundred forty acres of the west half of the section in 1878. He had his land fenced to prevent the pioneers from crossing.[6]

There were scarcely any trees in the Dutch settlement until the latter part of the “seventies” or early “eighties,” when the Hollanders began to take pride in the beginning of beautiful groves about their homes. A Dutch pioneer’s wife with her eldest son planted a grove of about a hundred trees north of their home. They walked to the creek to secure them, which was a distance of about a mile. She remarked, “One day I will entertain my grandchildren in the shade of these trees.” Years later she saw this prophesy come true, for on many occasions one would see her entertaining her grandchildren.[7]

The absence of timber, and the long distance from the lumber markets made it impossible for these Dutch pioneers to have many farm buildings, if any. Lumber was hauled from Nebraska City or Brownville, and later from Lincoln. Furthermore, these Dutch pioneers had little means with which to buy the lumber. The buildings that they had on their claims were made of poles covered with slough grass. They had to depend upon the timber owned by a more fortunate settler. Hence, they were contented with this meager outlay.[8]

Sometimes these early pioneers were not too particular where they put their livestock. One settler bought a few small pigs. They had no shed in which to place these animals, hence they brought them into the dugout. They were kept there until a place was provided.[9]

In autumn great care was exercised in putting out fire guards, and if the settler neglected to take this precaution he was sure to suffer from the prairie fire. These consisted of strips of plowed ground from which all vegetation had been removed. These fire guards were placed around the home, and were fairly effective in its protection.[10] Unless the pioneer took these precautions, his premises were almost sure to be destroyed. Many poor settlers of our state saw the fruits of several years’ hard labor go up in flames in a few hours.[11] One of the worst fires experienced in this settlement, which will be discussed later in this chapter, occurred in October, 1871.[12]

The Hollanders of the pioneer days lived in dugouts, which were dug in the side of the hill. The caves were usually ten by fourteen feet, and seven feet deep, with the earth for a floor. They were covered with poles, brush and sod, rounded with earth. Mr. Henry Hickman and Mr. Billie Morrison furnished the Hollanders with poles and logs for the construction of their dugouts.[13]

The roof of the dugout was usually poorly constructed. Often during heavy rains, these roofs leaked. Mrs. Wubbles says, “Many times, when the roof of our dugout leaked, we were placed upon the bed and mother gave us an umbrella, brought from Holland, which we held over us.”[14] The cave‑in of the dugout was also a common occurrence. The following experience is told by Mrs. Anna Liesveld: “One night during a heavy rain, while father was away plastering, mother was awakened by a noise. She discovered that water was coming in the dugout and soon the home caved in. She took the family to a neighbor where we were given shelter until another home could be provided.”[15]

The dugout was a comfortable place in winter, but very unhealthy in summer. In this kind of dwelling, they were almost sure to have, during summer months, plenty of snakes and crickets. The good mother usually examined the bed before the family retired to know that there was not a rattler hidden therein.[16] Mr. Huzenveldt says, “One night my father was awakened by a noise outside the dugout. He immediately arose and investigated its cause. When he returned he found mother very hysterical and frightened. She told father, that a rattler had crawled across the baby’s bed and underneath their bed. Upon examination he found the rattler and proceeded to kill the poisonous reptile.”[17]

Another similar experience is told by Mr. Schreur in the following story: “I was a lad of about six years of age and ill at the time of our arrival in the Dutch settlement. For the first few weeks we made our home with my uncle, Mr. J.H. TeSelle. I was lying on the bed, when I felt something drop on my legs. My uncle saw it was a rattler, and told me to lie very quietly and that he would soon have the snake removed. He took a pitchfork and with a quick action, the snake was taken away without any ill effects.”[18]

The homes of the pioneers were scantily furnished. The furniture was very crude. The tables, chairs, beds, and other necessary articles were hand‑made. The wood was usually furnished by Mr. Morrison or Mr. Hickman.[19] The pioneers had no lamps. When an artificial light was necessary these people used a bunch of weeds which was twisted and dipped into grease.[20] When lamps first came into use, these pioneers hesitated to use them. They thought the lamps were too dangerous, fearing their explosion.[21] Mrs. Onnink gives the following interior description of their first home in the Dutch settlement: “We had a hole dug at one end of the cave in which we built a fire and upon which we did our cooking. A hole was made in the roof through the sod to allow the smoke to escape. Often our dugout became filled with smoke making it impossible to breathe. Instead of beds, we used hay covered with blankets or quilts. A large box was used for a table and we had home‑made stools for chairs.”[22]

Some of these settlers had stoves, but many of them had only a fireplace or a hole dug in the ground at one end of the dugout. Those who had no stoves did their baking at a neighbor’s home, where a stove was available, or baked their bread in the fireplace in a very crude way. The bread was placed in an iron kettle or iron pan and covered with hot ashes and left in this manner until the bread was baked. Often the bread, as the result of baking, was so hard that it could not be eaten. It was then ground up with a coffee miIl and used as coffee.[23] The Reimes family had no stove in their dugout. This lady, with the bread in one arm and a baby in the other arm walked across the prairie to Mrs. Vermaas, a neighbor. Here she did her baking in her neighbor’s stove. Mrs. Reimes continued this plan until they were financially able to buy a stove.[24] Mrs. Jane Heitbrink tells the following experience of her father, Mr. John H. Lefferdink, and Mr. John Lubbers: “While my father and Mr. Lubbers were baking their bread in the fireplace, the Dominee pays them a visit. Both men being modest, hesitated in looking at the bread. Finally one of the bachelors leaving the dugout, left the care of the baking to the other. To the poor man’s disway, he discovered the bread had been burned.[25]

The absence of timber made the obtaining of fuel a difficult problem for the Dutch pioneers. The early settlers usually got their fuel from government or railroad land not yet taken up. Sometimes the children were given the task of turning buffalo chips over in order that they might dry. Later these chips ware brought in the dugout and used as fuel. After the pioneers began growing sod corn, the stocks were used as fuel. Mrs. Wubbles states, “My father purchased a hand sheller. He was assisted with the shelling of the corn by us children. We imagined we were very rich as we had cobs to burn.”[26]

One of the early pioneers of this settlement, in speaking of food in these days states, “Wild game was plentiful when the Dutch pioneers arrived in the settlement. Prairie chickens were in abundance, and the pioneers lived chiefly upon their eggs and meat.”[27] The Dutch pioneer did not have a great variety of food. In an interview, one of the pioneers was asked, “What was your chief diet?” She replied, “Potatoes, buttermilk pop, dark bread, wild game and occasionally pork.”[28] Boerkool or boerkale, a green garden plant, which was dried and cooked with potatoes, was also a favorite dish with the Dutch pioneers. In addition to coffee, which was made from burned wheat, or bread, the pioneers drank tea made from a wild weed.[29]

Some of these pioneers used a clever plan in capturing the prairie chickens. A wide board or door was raised at one end and kept in this position by means of a stick, around which a long string was tied. Then kernels of corn were thrown around this support. The corn attracted tbe prairie chickens, and when several collected, the string was jerked; as a result of this, many were captured under the board or door. Consequently, the pioneer’s wife was frequently able to have a most appetizing meal prepared for her husband.[30]

A favorite dish among these early Dutch settlers was buttermilk pop; or, as it was called in their native country, kruidmoes. This was made by letting the buttermilk come to a boiling point, adding a little salt and some buckwheat flour, which thickened the content. Later white flour was used. This mixture was eaten with sorghum. This dish was very popular among the Hollanders, but it is doubtful whether the American would appreciate its flavor.[31] Kruidmoes was as much in demand in their new home as in their native country. The popularity of this dish is shown by a story that is often told about a member of this settlement, who was helping his neighbor with the threshing. While the ladies were serving dinner, a bowl of pudding was placed on the table to be used as a dessert. The bowl was placed before this gentleman, who thinking it was kruidmoes, helped himself to the pudding. The contents of the dish was so exceedingly tasty, that he ate all of it. After he ate the last of the pudding he made this remark, “Wanneer ik pap eet dan eet ik pap.” (When I eat pop, I eat pop.)[32]

In an interview, one of the pioneers stated, “In 1871, we had a little patch of buckwheat. We cut this with a scythe, placed the grain upon large sheets, and threshed it by means of a flail. After the threshing was completed, the grain was ground with a coffee mill. Pancakes were made out of the buckwheat flour. Later we purchased a cow. We churned and sold the butter. From the buttermilk we made kruidmoes or buttermilk pop with the buckwheat flour.”[33]

The early settlers made their own sorghum. After breaking the sod, they sowed a few acres of cane. After the cutting was finished, they hauled the crop to Mr. Millinger, who had a cane press. Then they took the juice home and boiled it to a thick syrup. The sorghum was used on pancakes and with buttermilk pop. The children were very fond of this delicacy and thought it a rare treat.[34]

Meals were served very informaIIy in many of the homes of the Dutch pioneers. One may visualize the pioneer Dutchman sitting on a home‑made stool and holding a pot of kruidmoes on his lap. He is surrounded by his family, all eating out of the same kettle.[35]

Sometimes these pioneers, when procuring their groceries, were compelled to carry them a long distance. Mrs. Wubbles says, “My father worked a distance of twelve miles from home. He left on Monday and returned on Saturday, carrying on his back the provisions needed for his family. These consisted of potatoes, flour, and other articles, which were purchased with the money he had earned.[36]

Mr. Henry Walvoord gives a similar experience. He worked for a man by the name of Ken Moore, who lived fourteen miles from the senior Walvoord home. One day Mr. Moore butchered a hog. He told Mr. Walvoord that he could take a quarter to his parents. Mr. Walvoord replied, “I have no money.” When informed, however, that he had enough money coming with which to pay for the meat, he readily agreed to accept it. That evening he started for his home, carrying the quarter of pork. When he reached his destination, completely exhausted, he failed to recognize his location. He lay down and slept till daybreak, when he discovered he was not far from his father’s shanty.[37]

Most of the provisions and clothing were purchased in Nebraska City. Mr. Martinius Wissink, one of the settlers, who had a span of mules, made frequent trips to the market. He usually bought the necessary provisions for all his neighbors. It took a week to make this journey.[38]

The names of the pioneer Hollanders who played an important part in the history of this settlement have been mentioned. Their faithful and loyal wives, however, have also done their part in developing this community. Their industrious hands provided the family with clothing, and from wild fruits and wild game they prepared most appetizing meals. Often, it fell to their lot to guard alone the little home, while the husband was away, earning a few dollars with whích to purchase the necessities of life.

All the early settlers were not fortunate enough to have the help of a faithful wife. A few of these were young men, who braved it alone. Soon these young men, however, found a helpmate. The first marriage that occurred in this settlement was that of Peter Gana and Henrietta Wissink, daughter of Martinius and Fannie (Van Fafa) Wissink. They were married June 26, 1871, by Hiram Boone, Justice of Peace, at his home in Buda Precinct. The witnesses were Mrs. M.J. Boone, J. Mills, and Garrit Gana (father of Peter Gana).[39] The second marriage was that of John H. Lefferdink and Grada Walvoord, daughter of Gerrit and Berendeena (Prinsen) Walvoord. They were married by George Grimm, Justice of Peace, at his home in South Pass Precinct August 30, 1871. The witnesses were B.W. Lefferdink and William Walvoord.[40] This couple lived to celebrate their golden anniversary August 30, 1921.[41]

The first baby born in this settlement was Mrs. Jane (Brethouwer) Koksma. The second baby born was Mrs. Jane (Lefferdink) Heitbrink. These babies were the first two to be baptized in the first church in the settlement.[42]

The Dutch pioneers kept closely to the customs brought from their native country. The men did not discard their wooden shoes, baggy trousers, or their long pipes. The women in the settlement still wore their full dresses and white aprons.[43]

In the pioneer days, the Dutch wife took her place beside her husband in all farm work. This custom is not so common in America, but is still seen among the peasants in all European countries. In planting of the crop, in harvesting of grain, or in haying, the wife was indispensable. Sickness seldom kept her from her duty.[44]

The early settlers at Holland, Nebraska, had no means of transportation except by use of the oxen. Since these animals were needed for the farm work, the wife of the pioneer resorted to walking. This was the customary means of travel in her native land. After a store was located at Holland, the women of this community did much of their own marketing. Abe Kommers says, “My mother often walked to Holland to do her shopping. This was a distance of five miles. In addition to carrying her produce, she also carried the baby.”[45] Another lady (Mrs. Vermaas) of this settlement not only walked to Holland but also frequently walked to Lincoln, a distance of twenty miles.[46]

These pioneers did not have a great variety of social activities. Their main interest was closely centered around the home. Their religion here, as in their native country, was a part of their life. Neighbors spent evenings together singing Psalms. These pioneers had no piano or organ in their homes, but as the music to these Psalms is written in half and full notes, no musical instrument was required.[47]

The Hollanders of the pioneer settlement were noted for their coffee drinking. This custom was brought with them from their native country. In addition to the usual three meals, lunch was served at nine o’clock in the morning and at four in the afternoon. The serving of lunch was almost a religious custom among the Dutch, and coffee was the essential part of this meal. If one neglected to furnish his guest with this part of the expected entertainment, he was sure to acquire an enemy. The importance of this custom is shown by this story. A Dutchman, who was helping his neighbor with the threshing, failed during the morning to receive his lunch. At noon he told the housewife, if he was not good enough to have his lunch, he failed to see the necessity of staying for dinner. Consequently, he went home for his noonday meal.[48] Three or four decades ago, regardless of how little the Hollander had to serve, in addition to coffee, he, his family, and guests always set around the table. While the Hollanders of the Nebraska settlement are still very fond of their coffee, the old custom of serving has changed.

Life in the early settlement at Holland, Nebraska, could not be called an adventure. Rather, it could be likened to a series of adventures. The isolation of the pioneers from the protective influences of civilization, made their life primitive, even in a day when most of our present conveniences were wholly unknown. The early Nebraska Dutchman never knew when he set out to work in the morning what dangers lay in his own path or what perils he left at home for his family. He never knew when he returned with his family at night what fate lay in store for him. The vicissitudes of these days are best appreciated through the narrative of various family experiences.

One of the things most dreaded by the early settlers of the state was the prairie fire. These were of no little concern to the pioneer Dutchmen. One of the worst prairie fires ever experienced in this community took place here October 8, 1871.[49] In an interview, Mrs. Wubbles describes this prairie fire as follows:

It was a matter of habit, that mother and father with Mr. and Mrs. Vandevelda, attended church services on Sunday, leaving us children at the Vandevelda home. During the night of October seventh, a young colt which my father had purchased broke loose and wandered away. Fearing that the colt might get lost, father decided not to attend the services and went to look for the animal. The Vandeveldas attended the services as usual, leaving the children at home. Father found the colt and returned home about ten o’clock. He made a remark to my mother, ‘It looks as though there might be a prairie fire raging south of us.’ About noon the prairie fire struck this community. Mother and father fought hard to save our home. They used all the water and even the milk that mother had been keeping in the kettle. Father thought of the Vandevelda home, but knowing that this pioneer had an exceptionally good fire guard, imagined the property was safe enough against any danger of destruction. The Vandeveldas on their way home from church stopped at our place. Mrs. Vandevelda remained for coffee, while Mr. Vandevelda drove on to investigate if any damage had been done to his home. On his way he discovered the remains of his eldest daughter who had been burned to death by the fire. It appeared she was going for help. When he reached the home, he found it in ashes with the remains of his other two children. The news spread rapidly and people trom all parts of the country came to offer help and sympathy. For a long time Mr. Vandevelda refused to forgive father for his negligence in investigating the welfare of his children.[50]

Mr. John Schreur relates his experience in this prairie fire:

I was a lad, about seven years of age. Father, riding horseback, attended the Sunday services at Holland, leaving mother and me alone. During the morning mother noticed heavy clouds on the horizon toward the south. Soon she was convinced this was a prairie fire. Being alone and not knowing what to do, she became alarmed. The congregration at the services had not been aware of the coming tragedy. On coming out of church, father sensed the situation, and thought of his family. He jumped on his horse and rode home as fast as the animal could carry him. This was a distance of about four and one‑half miles. When he arrived home, he rushed mother and me into a wagon and took us to a ten‑acre píece of plowed land. He took some furniture that was easily picked up, and also took the cow. With the help of a neigbor, father took the horse and plow, and began plowing around the home to prevent its destruction. They plowed as long as they could. Then they began backfíring. They kept this up until the prairie fire was within a short distance, when they fled to the place where they left mother and me. Father not only saved his family, but also his dugout and property.[51]

The members who had remained at the church and with the minister fought hard to save the church property. The men used their coats and the women used some of their wearing apparel.[52] This catastrophe was an event never to be forgotten by these pioneers. Their religious zeal, however, was a great comfort to them throughout such trials.

Another affliction which early settlers of this community endured was the invasion of grasshoppers. Previous to 1874, they were seen in large numbers. They did no great damage, however, until that year. The small grain was nearly all harvested, and the potatoes had made their growth before they came, but the corn and vegetables were entirely destroyed.[53] One Dutch lady spread sheets and clothing over her garden. This did not prevent the grasshoppers, however, from eating the vegetables. They ate holes through the clothing and sheets and finally destroyed her entire garden.[54]

Mr. Krull has given the following description of the grasshopper invasion in the Plat Book of Lancaster County:

Advancement made rapid strides until the latter “sixties” and early “seventies,” when there came a shock from which recovery seemed next to impossible. The grasshoppers at this time made their appearance, and in the west it looked as if a heavy thunder shower was coming up. The sun was entirely hidden, and as they came over and fell upon the ground all the vegetation was destroyed in their path. They were so thick that a train was stopped by them near Hickman. Their crushed bodies were like so much grease on the track, which caused the wheels to slip and the engine was unable to do its work.[55]

The winters of the early “seventies” and especially “seventy‑four” were trying times for the early settlers of this community, as elsewhere. It was a problem to obtain the necessities of life for both man and beast. Horses were fed their grain by measuring it out in small quantities.[56]

A painfully accurate impression of their hardships could be achieved by adding to the miseries of the present depression, the additional handicaps of slow transportation. Let the agriculturist of today picture his condition if the relief he receives was not forthcoming, if he were compelled to rely on ox‑teams to transport the provisions his barren acres would not grow. This was exactly the pitiful condition of most of the Holland settlement.

These pioneers did not receive government relief or state aid as people have all over the country the past few years. One of these pioneers stated, “The only relief we received was through our sister churches from the east in the shape of clothing.”[57]

Mr. Alcoe Vandertook owned the first threshing machine in the southern part of the county that was operated by steam. During the threshing season, Mr. Vandertook was seldom at home except on Sundays. The duty of managing the farm and rearing the family was left to his wife. Bridges in those days were not adequately built to bear the weight of the threshing machine. Many times Mr. Vandertook met with accidents and narrowly escaped death. One accident stands out very clearly in Mrs. Vandertook’s memory. Her husband, with their two sons, William and Henry, were crossing a bridge when the entire outfit fell through, pinning Mr. Vandertook and William underneath the engine. It was only the quick thinking, the courage, and strength of Henry that prevented his father and brother from being killed.[58]

Mr. Chris Brethouwer in 1871 established the first store about three‑fourths of a mile east of Holland. It was the long distance to market for these pioneers and Mr. Brethouwer’s dislike for farming that influenced him to venture in this business enterprise. The building was small and with the earth for a floor. A marker indicating the site may be seen. During this time a church was erected at Holland, which induced Mr. Brethouwer to move his store in 1872 to the present location. Mr. Brethouwer employed Mr. John Lubbers as clerk in his store.[59] In 1873, Mr. William Walvoord joined him as partner. The firm was under the name of “Walvoord & Lubbers.” The firm remained as such until 1877 when Mr. Lubbers sold out his interest to Mr. Walvoord.[60] In the early “eighties” a Mr. Hoak started a second store at Holland and later he sold the business to Mr. Henry Van Diest and Gerrit John (carpenter) TeSelle. In 1883, Mr. Van Diest sold his interest to Mr. John Lubbers. These men conducted this business successfully for a decade, when in 1892 the firm sold out to Mr. Walvoord.[61] Mr. Walvoord combined the two stores. In the early “nineteen hundreds,” Mr.Walvoord turned the enterprise over to his eldest son, John, who was joined by Garret Lubbers. John Walvoord then sold his interest to his brother, Garret Walvoord. Garret Walvoord and Garret Lubbers continued the store onder the same firm name until William Schnieder purchased the interest of Garret Lubbers. The firm name then became known as “Walvoord & Schnieder,” and remained in that style until Garret Walvoord purchased Mr. Schnieder’s share. Mr. Garret Walvoord still owns the store and now operates it under the name of “Walvoord’s General Merchandise.”[62]

Mr. Walvoord was very successful through his business career. He was always diplomatic and had implicit faith in his fellow men. In addition to the store, Mr. Walvoord accumulated six hundred forty acres of land and a beautiful residence located near the store. There were times he had several thousand dollars on the books, but lost very few of his accounts. It is known that one man had over a thousand dollars on the books. The Hollanders believed that an honest debt had to be paid.[63]

In later years the store was a meeting place for the old pioneers. There the old men with their long pipes and wooden shoes sat and exchanged reminiscences. The proprietor of the store always kept a cigar box well filled with tobacco, free to those who cared to smoke. The Dutchman took advantage of this hospitality. Often the younger fellows mixed gunpowder through the tobacco and the result was quite amusing. While the men were visiting at the store, their wives who had come from the farm with their husbands visited other housewives located within the village. At nine o’clock in the morning or four o’clock in the afternoon one saw these Dutchmen with their wooden shoes trodding toward one of these homes for their coffee.[64]

In 1900, in addition to the store and the large Dutch Reformed Church, Holland possessed a cream separator, blacksmith shop, a mill, a millinery shop, and post office. The mill was operated by steam under the supervision of Mr. Chris Brethouwer. The cream separator or milk-skimming station was a cooperative enterprise financed by sale of shares in the community.[65] A detailed description of its operation will be given in the chapter dealing with agriculture. Both of these enterprises have been discontinued.

The Fourth of July was a big event in this pioneer village. During the latter “eighties” and the early “nineties,” people from all over the country would come to help celebrate this event. One man has described this day as having a big parade with many, large and beautiful floats. The parade usually started at Holland and marched one mile west to a grove where the day was spent with a large dinner and various contests.[66]

[In the original Bade thesis, a photo entitled, “At the Celebration”, is inserted at this point in the text.]

In the early “seventies,” another store was started in this settlement by Mr. Henry TeBrinke on his claim in section 8. Later Mr. TeBrinke traded his homestead with Mr. Kommers, who was located in section 14, two miles south of Holland. The store was discontinued.[67]

Other villages on the border of the Dutch settlement, which were established in the “seventies” were Hickman and Firth. Hickman was platted by Mr. Henry Hickman, and the plat filed September 20, 1872.[68]­ Firth was named in honor of Major Firth, an official of the Atchison and Nebraska railroad, who died as the result of an accident June 19, 1872.[69] This village was platted and the plat filed July 28, 1872.[70]

During the latter part of the “seventies,” Mr. Chris Brethouwer went into the grain business at Hickman. His lack of knowledge in this enterprise, however, caused him to fail. Brethouwer returned to Holland and conducted a mill for several years. He also spent a great deal of time and money in attempting to invent perpetual motion.[71]

In 1883, Cornelius Wismer and Mr. William Rowerdink, Dutch pioneers, went into a partnership in a General Merchandise store at Hickman. Mr. Wismer took an active part in developing the village. He was a member of the village board, school board, and a member of the Young Men’s Christian Association. After a few years of sucessful business operation, Mr. Wismer and Mr. Rowerdink sold their store. Mr. Wismer returned to his farm in the Dutch settlement, while Mr. Rowerdink established a business in Lincoln.[72]

The Atchison and Nebraska railroad was laid through the Dutch settlement, about the center of South Pass Precinct, during the summer of 1872. This road extended from Atchison, Kansas, to Lincoln, Nebraska. The schedule went into effect September, 1872. A few of the Hollanders took an active part in the construction of the road through South Pass Precinct. A Mr. Garrett TeKolste was one of them.[73]

This railroad, like many others during its construction, had its financial difficulties. By the time the building of the road was completed to Johnson and Lancaster counties, progress was slow and additional funds were needed. Johnson and Lancaster counties voted $102,000 and $120,000 bonds respectively.[74]

The road being completed, Superintendent Firth planned an excursion for the officials and other representative men of Lancaster County and the city of Lincoln. Arrangements had been made, but on the morning of the excursion, S.B. Galey, attorney of the road, received a dispatch from Atchison stating that the engine had fallen through a bridge, (near the present site of Firth) and that Superintendent Firth was severely injured, one arm amputated, and that the excursion had to be postponed.[75] On August 24, 1872, Major Firth died. The high esteem in which this man was held is shown by an account given in the Beatrice Express. “Our citizens will regret the sad accident that has befallen the courteous and accommodating superintendent. Major Firth was a young man of unusual ability and promise, being but twenty‑five years of age at the time of his death.”[76] Major Firth’s popularity was also shown by the fact that the village of Firth was later named in his honor.

This road was built one mile east of Holland. Had it been constructed earlier or had the village been founded later, no doubt this inland town would have been located on the Atchison and Nebraska railroad. In the latter part of the nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth century, this road handled an immense business which included a large part of the Dutch settlement. However, with the advent of the truck, bus, and the automobile, like many other railroads, has suffered a great deal. Today this road has been merged with the Burlington and Missouri system.

The majority of the citizens of this settlement have always concurred in opinions of the Republican party, and have always taken an active part in its affairs. There were a few of these Dutch pioneers who represented the settlement in our state and county governments. In 1884, Mr. Herman Liesveld was nominated by the Republican Convention of Lancaster County as candidate for the Iegislature. In the fall election he was seated by a large majority, He served a term of two years and was reelected in 1886.[77]

Mr. John Trompen was elected sheriff of Lancaster County in the November election of 1895. The following news item appeared in the Hickman Enterprise, “A great event took place in this community this week. It was celebrating the victory of John Trompen to the office of county sheriff.”[78]

The late Mr. Thomas Liesveld was also prominent in the Lancaster County Republican circles, and at one time served as Precinct Committeeman from Holland. His influence had a great deal of weight in this settlement.

Vast have been the changes in South Pass and surrounding precincts within the Dutch settlement since the Dutch pioneer first located within their borders. Instead of the rude trails and unbridged streams, the township is well supplied with many miles of graded and graveled roads, and an adequate number of substantial bridges. Rural Free Delivery Routes place the daily mail at each farmer’s home in the settlement.

The wide expanse of fertile farmsteads is liberally dotted with neat substantial dwellings. Each dwelling has its own complement of convenient outbuildings, tight sheds and barns. Truly the indomnitable spirit which the Hollanders brought with them from their native land has conquered. They have wrested homes from the prairie.

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[1] Personal interview with Mr. Ben Brethouwer, 1937.

[2] Personal interview with Mr. John Huzenveldt, 1937.

[3] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles, 1937.

[4] Annadora Gregory, Industrial Social History of Crete, Nebr., mms., (Lincoln, 1930), 34.

[5] Personal interview with Mr. John Huzenveldt, 1937.

[6] Personal interview with Mrs. Clara (Bade) TeSelle, 1937

[7] Idem.

[8] Personal interview with Mr. Ben Brethouwer; Mr. Henry Wubbles, 1937. Mr. Ben Brethouwer’s father hauled the lumber for his shanty from Brownville.

[9] Personal interview with Mr. Ed Vermaas, 1937.

[10] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles, 1937.

[11] Plat Book of Lancaster. County, Nebr., 102.

[12] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles, 1937.

[13] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles; Mrs. Hattie (Reimes) Onnink, 1937.

[14] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles, 1937.

[15] Personal interview with Mrs. Anna (Vanderwege) Liesveld, 1937.

[16] Plat Book of Lancaster County, Nebr., 102.

[17] Personal interview with Mr. John Huzenveldt, 1937.

[18] Personal interview with Mr. John Schreur, Firth, Nebr., 1937.

[19] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles; Mrs. Hattie (Reimes) Onnink, 1937.

[20] Personal interview with Mrs. Hattie (Reimes) Onnink, 1937.

[21] Personal interview witti Mrs. Anna (Vanderwege) Liesveld, 1937.

[22] Personal interview with Mrs. Hattie (Reimes) Onnink, 1937.

[23] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles; Mrs. Jane (Lefferdink) Heitbrink, 1937.

[24] Personal interview with Mrs. Hattie (Reimes) Onnink, 1937.

[25] Personal interview with Mrs. Jane (Lefferdink) Heitbrink, 1937.

[26] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle ) Wubbles, 1937.

[27] Personal interview with Mrs. Anna (Vanderwege) Liesveld; Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles, 1937.

[28] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles, 1937.

[29] Personal interview with Mrs. Hattie (Reimes ) Onnink, 1937.

[30] Personal interview with Mrs. Anna (Vanderwege) Liesveld, 1937.

[31] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles, 1937.

[32] Idem.

[33] ldem.

[34] Idem.

[35] Personal interview with Mr. William Vandertook , 1937.

[36] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles, 1937.

[37] Personal interview with Mr. Henry Walvoord, 1936.

[38] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles; Mr. Dan Wissink, 137.

[39] Personal interview with Mr. Harry Gana, Firth, Nebr., 1936.

[40] Personal interview with Mrs. Jane (Lefferdink) Heitbrink, 1937.

[41] Volksvriend, Sept. 6, 1921, (Orange City, Iowa). “A very enjoyable afternoon was spent at the home of J.W. Lefferdink at Holland, Nebraska on the 30th day of August 1921. Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage. Brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren had come to celebrate and to congratulate this aged couple. A sign of gladness was present, and thanksgiving to God, who had given this aged couple the honor. A short informal program was given. Songs of Psalms were were sung.”

[42] Personal interview with Mr. Ben Brethouwer; Mrs. Jane (Lefferdink) Heitbrink, 1937.

[43] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles; Mr. William Vandertook, 1937.

[44] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles, 137.

[45] Personal interview with Abe Kommers, Firth, Nebr., 1937.

[46] Personal interview with Mr. Ed Vermaas, 1937.

[47] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles, 1937.

[48] Personal interview with Mrs. Clara (Bade) TeSelle, 1937.

[49] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles, 1937; Plat Book of Lancaster County, Neb., 103; Beatrice Express October 14, 1871.

[50] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSeIle) Wubbles, 1937.

[51] Personal interview with Mr. John Schreur, 1937.

[52] Personal interview with Mrs. Anna (Vanderwege) Liesveld, 1937.

[53] Plat Book of Lancaster County, Nebraska, 103. An early observer reports that when the wind was in the south and one looked toward the sun, he could almost invariably see hordes of grasshoppers flying. They apparently did no serious damage until 1874.

[54] Personal interview with Mrs. Anna (Vanderwege) Liesveld, 1937.

[55] Plat Book of Lancaster County, Nebraska, 99.

[56] Personal interview with Mr. William Dykstra, 1937.

[57] Personal interview with Mr. Garret Prange, Firth, Nebr., 1937.

[58] Personal interview with Mrs. A. Vandertook, 1938.

[59] Sawyer, op. cit.,II, 365; Personal interview with Mr. Ben Brethouwer, 1937.

[60] Sawyer, op. cit., lI, 365.

[61] Idem.

[62] Personal interview with Mr. Henry Wubbles; Mr. Garret Walvoord, Holland, Nebr., 1937.

[63] Idem.

[64] Personal interview with Mrs. Dillie (TeSelle) Wubbles; mr. Garret Walvoord, 1937

[65] Plat Book of Lancaster County, Nebraska, 95; Personal inter­view with Mr. Henry Wubbles; Mr. Dave Bauma, Holland, Nebr. , 1937.

[66] Personal interview with Mr. William Vandertook, 1937.

[67] Personal interview with Mr. Henry Wubbles; Mrs. Anna (TeBrinke) Kallemeyn, Firth, Nebr.; Mr. Abe Kommers, 1937.

[68] Plat Book of Lancaster County, Nebraska., 94.

[69] Personal interview with Abe Kommers, 1937; Beatrice Express, June 27, 1872.

[70] Plat Book of Lancaster County, Nebraska., 94.

[71] Personal interview with Mr. Henry Wubbles; Mr. Ben Brethouwer, 1937.

[72] Portrait and Biographical Album of Lancaster County, Nebr., 372; Personal interview with Mr. Henry Wubbles, 1937.

[73] Personal interview with Mr. Henry Wubbles; Mr. John Schreur; Mr. John TeKolste, Firth, Nebr., 1937.

[74] Beatrice Express, September 9, 1871; The Statesman, October 14, 1871, Nebr. Hist. Soc.

[75] Beatrice Express, June 9, 1872.

[76] Ibid., June 27, 1872.

[77] Portrait and Biographical Album of Lancaster County, Nebr., 320.

[78] Hickman Enterprise, November 15, 1895.