Derk Willem te Selle (1827-1904) was born on the “De Selle” farm, near Winterswijk, Netherlands. He was the oldest son of Jan Albert te Selle (1800-1845) and Dela ten Damme (1802-1883). In 1861 Derk Willem moved to farm “Fökkink” in Kotten, along with his wife, mother Dela, his young sons, and his three younger brothers — Jan Hendrik, Gerrit Jan, and Harmen Jan. Derk Willem remained at Fökkink for the rest of his life, while his three younger brothers emigrated to America in the mid-1860’s. There are numerous letters in this website between Derk Willem at Fökkink and this three brothers in Nebraska.
Dela ten Damme te Selle and her family needed to move to a new farm; there were not enough jobs for her young boys; emigration to America seemed very appealing. Soon Jan Hendrik, Gerrit Jan, and Harmen Jan te Selle were on their way to America.
After 17 days at sea, brothers Harmen Jan and Jan Hendrik te Selle finally arrived at Castle Garden Immigration Center in New York City. They were among the 8 million immigrants arriving at Castle Garden from 1855 to 1890, when two of every three U.S. immigrants passed through that portal.
(Originally written in March 2005, Enschede, NL) Property Inheritance by the Oldest Son In the “Achterhoek” and also in the region “Twente” in the eastern part of The Netherlands it was the most ordinary matter in the world. The eldest son, because it generally is he who continues the farming business of his parents, gets… Read more »
The Farmstead “de Selle” In Saxon regions in the eastern parts of the Netherlands, among which, of course, are the Achterhoek and Winterswijk, many family names usually have the following characteristics: they end in ‘-ing’ or ‘-ink’ ; names derived from place names are preceded by te, ten or ter; many of them are specified… Read more »
Why did so many Dutch farmers decide to emigrate to America in the mid-1800’s? What would inspire two young farm boys in 1865 to leave their friends and family in rural Winterswijk, Netherlands, in order to undertake an uncertain venture across the Atlantic Ocean to an unknown future in America? Read about the powerful cultural and economic forces that motivated our ancestors to seek their future prosperity in a far away land across the sea.
(Go directly to List of Letters) The 35 Letters from America to Holland provide a fascinating insight into the lives of the three te Selle brothers who emigrated from Winterswijk, Netherlands, to the United States, settling first in Wisconsin and then later in Nebraska. The letters were written primarily to their mother, Dela te Selle-ten… Read more »
Harmen Jan te Selle (1844-1919) was born on the “De Selle” farm, near Winterswijk, Netherlands. He and brother Jan Hendrik te Selle (1838-1921) emigrated to Wisconsin in 1865, where they lived with their Aunt Janna and Uncle Gerrit Bloemers. Within a few years the brothers moved from Wisconsin to Lancaster County, Nebraska, where they homesteaded farm land, raised their families, and remained for the rest of their lives.
Holland, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin February 8, 1873 Worthy Nephew, D. W. te Selle, Upon invitation of your uncle G. W. Bloemers, I am taking up the pen to write you some lines in his name and in his presence hoping that these lines will find you and your family with my two sisters in good… Read more »
Jan Hendrik writes to his mother and brothers in some detail about the livestock, crop yields, and prices. He also itemizes some of his clever transactions to acquire livestock and machinery. He clearly seems proud of his accomplishments. He mentions his three young children, and a fourth child born that year who survived only a few months. Jan Hendrik asks about the health of his mother, whom he says is “already so far in her days.”