Jan Willem TeSelle left his farm in Fruitland Mesa, Colorado, in 1923, and accepted a call to return to the ministry in Matlock, Sioux County, Iowa. His granddaughter, Jackie Fries Tamas, has possession of the following four letters written by Jan Willem — two from 1923 from Matlock, Iowa, and two from 1936-1939 from Firth,… Read more »
In 1989 in Lincoln, Nebraska, Norma Te Selle Prophet (1923-2009) organized a well-documented reunion of over 200 descendants of 3 te Selle brothers who emigrated from the Netherlands and eventually settled in Lancaster County, Nebraska, in the early 1870s: Jan Hendrik (1838-1921), Gerrit Jan (1841-1921), and Harmen Jan te Selle (1844-1919).
Norma Norvella (Te Selle) Prophet was born on July 26, 1923, in Firth, Lancaster County, Nebraska. She and husband Russell Prophet enjoyed 58 years of marriage and raised two children. Norma served two years in WWII in the Navy WAVES. Norma was an active genealogist, newspaper columnist, and artist.
Norma TeSelle Prophet wrote a detailed history of three Te Selle brothers that emigrated from the Netherlands to the United States in the mid-1800’s to raise their families and to seek a better living. In October 1865 Harmen Jan te Selle (Norma’s grandfather) traveled from Holland via steamship with his older brother Jan Hendrik. They spent the first few years in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, and then later homesteaded fertile farmland in Lancaster County, Nebraska. A third brother, Gerrit Jan te Selle, later joined his brothers in Nebraska in 1873.
Russell and Norma TeSelle Prophet retired in Firth, Lancaster County, Nebraska after fascinating careers. They purchased the farm which Norma’s grandfather, Henry Dietz, had homesteaded. Norma has be active in the Firth community, contributing articles to The Voice newspaper and sharing her artistic and musical talents. She has been a major force in researching and contributing to the TeSelle Family history and memorabilia in Lancaster County.
Jan Willem (John William) TeSelle, son of Jan Hendrik te Selle (1838-1921) and Hanna Berendina Onnink (1841-1929), was born in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin in 1867.
Holland, Nebraska began as a Dutch settlement and for years it remained strictly Dutch. lts founders tenaciousIy fought the influences of the “Melting Pot.” Today, Holland and the surrounding country is a typical Nebraska farm community, a typical American village. Imitation of superior farm methods, observation of luxuries enjoyed by other people, trade with other nationals, as well as, in later years, intermarriage with other nationals–all of these have conspired to effect the passing of the Dutch Colony, and the creation of the modern Nebraska community.
Agricultural catastrophes greatly disheartened the entire settlement. Their courage, however, was strong enough for the unequal struggles, and their fortitude in every crisis through which they passed was rewarded by increased prosperity in the years that followed.
The schools established in this settlement were a distinct step in the progress of the cultural development of these people. With all of the hardships endured, approximately eighteen of the earliest pupils of the Holland settlement, entered learned professions. Those who did not secure higher education, but remained in the community as farmers, business men, etc., became better and more prosperous citizens, and lived fuller and richer lives because of the elementary education they received.
The abrogation of long established customs has not, as some feared, left the church an empty and dead institution. It is, today, far from being a hollow mockery, but is a real living, and wide awake institution. It is filled to its utmost capacity every Sunday. Respect for their church has continued to be a strong characteristic of the Dutch-Americans of the settlement at HoIIand, Nebraska.