Roseland 1849

It is interesting reading about what the founders of Roseland went through after arriving in America. It certainly makes me appreciate so much more the conveniences we have now, I cannot imagine the constant physical hard work. To say I am semi-lazy is true. Of course I do my share of  physical work – I clean, do laundry, work full-time (remotely now), but it is not that physical, and nowhere near what the past was like. One of the major conveniences I appreciate is owning a car. Sometimes I may grumble about the cost, but I am very grateful to have a car, and expressways, and clean roads, etc.

Here is a map of a portion of the pre-Roseland Calumet area around 1845, from the book “Down An Indian Trail” by Marie K. Rowlands. Ms. Rowlands actually published this as a series of 50 articles in the Calumet Index in 1949 for the Roseland Centennial. It’s such a fascinating account of what the founders went through.

You’ll see in that little square box near the bottom center where the original land purchase was made by the original founders in 1849.

It is mentioned in this book and also by Simon Dekker in his book what settlers went through to travel anywhere. There was a way if there was dry weather and a different way in wet weather, and there were stops along the way to let the horses rest, or get a cup of coffee. Simon Dekker elaborates in his book a little bit about a trip into town (Chicago):

When the farmers went to town with their produce they mostly went in clubs to take the monotony out of the long drive. There were taverns on the way where they could rest and feed their animals, either oxen or horses, and get a cup of coffee and eat some lunch themselves, for I was told a trip to town took almost twenty-four hours back and forth. The place where they generally stopped was called the five-mile house. Then there was one called the seven-mile house. There were two ten-mile houses. The one was German, the other American. Then there was another one called the eleven-mile house. But I don’t think this place ever meant much as a farmers hotel. To me it looked more like a boarding house.

On the map above, you can see as they would travel east where the eleven-mile house is located from the original settlement, and one of the ten-mile houses. I was looking for a photo on the internet for any of these houses and found a photo of it in the Down an Indian Trail Book —

The book says that this was called the William Smith Tavern and was made of log construction and was a regular stop for farmers and other traffic for generations. It was built about 1838 and moved at least twice, once for surveying of State Street sometime in the 1840s and then later in 1891 for the widening of State Street because of the Calumet Electric Street Railway construction. It was still standing at 9250 State Street until sometime in the 1960’s when it was demolished for the building of the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Thanks for reading!

Arie Dekker

Simon Dekker’s book “History of Roseland and Vicinity” written in 1938 is a goldmine of information about Roseland and what some of its early inhabitants were doing. Simon arrived with his family (his sister is my paternal great grandmother Gertrude Dekker) in Roseland in 1865 when he was 11 years old, just sixteen years after the original founders arrived. He goes into detail about the founders, their lives, and also touches upon almost every aspect of early Roseland: businesses, schools, churches, stores, roads, railroads, and other aspects.

Simon Dekker

Some of his passages are an interesting look into what life was like for his their father, Arie Dekker. Talking about his father in the early days they were there after arriving in America, he mentioned they lived in a shack on Klaas Madderom’s land for nine months:

My father was a laboring man, working at whatever he could get. For quite a while he worked for an American, Mr. Murray by name….But when fall came father was laid off. Then he applied for a job on the Illinois Central Railroad, where he was taken temporarily, and when winter came he was again laid off, getting a job here and there. And when the spring came into the land he got a steady job on the railroad again. But the distance from his work, and from church and school was too great to remain in the shack in the woods, so we got the privilege to put up a little house, or call it a shack on Railroad company ground on ninety-five street, which he did and so in the early spring of 186(number cut off), we left the shack on the edge of the woods to go to our new home on company ground. Father had only five minutes to walk to his work. My father worked on the Illinois Central for five or six years straight not missing a day if he was well, and this was necessary for coming to this country, and the expenses all paid by an uncle of mine, there was some hard thinking to be done to get the debt paid.

I tried to find old photos of exactly where this “shack” may have been with no luck, and believe it to be in Burnside, which used to be part of Roseland. There is a triangle where all of the railroads meet and 95th Street is on the lower bottom end of the triangle, now near where Chicago State University is located.

My father confirmed that the “IC” ran north and south approximately somewhere around Cottage Grove Avenue on 95th Street, and that 95th Street is/was definitely part of Burnside. I did find this photo of the area, this is at 9500 S. Cottage Grove:

Continuing on:

One summer he worked for the town of Hyde Park and he also worked in the brickyard at Burnside. The children grew up and earned something by working out or taking onions to share and so all our debts were paid…Our parents got new courage and went into debt again by buying five acres of land on Wallace Street at 106th for $1600.00 without a house on it. Our next door neighbor was building a new house and we bought his old one which had to be moved only a few feet.

The home he built no longer exists, but this is the area of the land that Simon described, at 10600 S. Wallace Street:

Continuing on:

He did not have the money to pay for the land, only a small payment down, so there was a lot of debt to work for again. He rented the five acres next to it and started market gardening, and the children all doing their best to help along. The Lord blessing the labor of our hands, that debt was soon paid and at old age father had accumulated enough retire. He had learned gardening in the old country, a work to his liking. In that we differed. I never did like it. Our tastes were not alike. When father retired he built a small cottage nearer to church to spend the last years with mother there.

Simon’s mother, my great-great grandmother, Aaltje (Alice) (Schoon) Dekker, died in 1894. There is no 1890 census, but in the 1900 census, Arie is listed as living at 117 W. 110th Place, and by that time, he had remarried to Maartje (Mary) Hart, in 1897. I’m assuming this is probably the same place Simon is referring to since it is less than a mile from the church (if he’s referring to the First Reformed Church of Roseland, which I am assuming he is). There is no house left at this address, but here is where it would have been, I’m assuming there used to be a house there because of the sidewalk leading up from the street:

All of this helps to show some of the things Arie Dekker was doing after he came to this country, what kinds of jobs he had, etc. Information from records help to shape a story or a glimpse of someone’s life, but Simon Dekker told the entire story and I just added some pictures. I’m sure I’ll be including more of his pages in future posts.

Thanks for reading!

Schoon Family and Munster, Indiana

This is a photo of Pieter Schoon and his family. Pieter is a brother of my paternal great-great grandmother, Aaltje (Schoon) Dekker. The information in this post, the photo below, and the tombstone photo all came from the book The Dutch in the Calumet Region by Ken Bult, which is an excellent book and I only wish it was longer! According to the book, in 1867, the family left their home of Broek op Langendijk in the Netherlands, settled first in Roseland, then moved to Riverdale, and finally settled permanently in Munster, Indiana. The Schoons were early and important settlers of that area.

From left to right (first row): Pieter, Lizzie, Simon, Katie and Pieter’s wife, Mary; (second row): Hillegonda (Alice), Dirk, Cornelius, and Mary.

In 1890, Pieter and his brother Jacob (who had arrived earlier), each bought an eighth of an acre of land from Pieter’s son, Dirk. At first this land was where only Schoon family members were buried but eventually the name was changed to Munster Christian Cemetery and church member were included. I have counted at least 55 Schoon tombstones in the cemetery on Find a Grave, but there are probably more.

Source: Rita Figueroa

Here is the unusual but interesting tombstone of Pieter and Mary Schoon (you can also see it in the above photo). Impressive!

A ditch which Pieter and his sons dug along Fisher Street in Munster is called the Schoon Ditch and still drains much of the southwestern side of the town. Many, many Schoon descendants still live in the area.

I was doing some research in my DNA matches and found connections to a number of Bults at the 4th to 6th cousin level. Upon further digging, it turns out that I am related to Ken Bult’s grandfather, Hendrik Bult, who married Hillegonda (Alice) Schoon. Hillegonda is Pieter and Mary’s daughter. Whew, I am really having a challenging time keeping track of all of these interconnections!

Thanks for reading!!

Monday Meanderings — Dekker/Schoon Netherland locations

Today’s post is about the locations the Dekker and Schoon family members lived in in the Netherlands. This would be starting with my paternal great-great grandparents, Arie and Aaltje (Schoon) Dekker and going back.

Here is the map of the Netherlands again and showing all of the provinces:

The Dekker line is not as complete but so far Dekker/Schoon family members resided in the province of North Holland in the following municipalities: Koggenland, Langendijk, Harenkarspel now known as Schagen, and Alkmaar.

So they were more concentrated around the mid to north area of North Holland. The towns they lived in were (listed by municipality):  Koggenland: Scharwoude; Langendijk: Oudkarspel and Broek op Langendijk; Alkmaar: West Graaftdijk and Oudorp. For Harenkarpsel, I don’t have specific towns but do know some were from there.

Thanks for reading!!

Gertrude Dekker Ooms

I was going through some old photos recently from my father and was excited to find a couple of older photos of some of my great grandparents and great-great grandparents.

This is my paternal great-grandmother, Gertrude Dekker, whose Dutch name was Grietje. She was born on August 25, 1866 and married to Adam Ooms.

According to Find a Grave, the Dekker family emigrated in June 1865. I have not been able to find the record of this yet. According to 1870 census records, they lived in Hyde Park Township, Illinois, which existed as a separate municipality from 1861 until 1889 when it was annexed to the city of Chicago. At that time, Hyde Park’s borders were Pershing Road (fka 39th Street) on the north, State Street on the west, Lake Michigan and the Indiana state line on the east, including the eastern part of Roseland, and 138th Street and Calumet River on the south. In the record, the last name is incorrectly spelled as Decker. The children listed as: Simon, 16; Catharine, 13; Edie, 11; Abram, 9; Ellen, 7; Gertrude, 3; and Mary, 8 months.

In the 1880 census, the family is listed as living in Calumet, and the children are: Airy (Arie), 21; Abraham, 19; Ellen, 17; G. (for Gertrude), 13; M. (for Mary), 10; and Ellen, 7. They also had a boarder.

There is no 1890 census since most 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire. By the time the 1900 census rolled around, Gertrude is listed as Bertie (instead of Gertie) and married to Adam Ooms, and living at 249 W. 111th Place. They had been married on April 26, 1886 so would have been married fourteen years then. The children listed are: Johanna, 13; Harry, 11; Alice, 9; Aggie, 5; Johny, 3; and Simon, 3 months. They also had a servant named Kate.

In the next census in 1910, Gertrude and Adam had been married 24 years and had had twelve children by that point, with 9 living children and 3 deceased. The children listed as living at home are Harry, 21; Alice, 18; Aggie, 15; Johannes, 12; Simon, 10; Casper, 7; Andrew, 4; and Johanna, 0.

In 1920, Gertrude is still living with her husband and family at this house at 147 W. 111th Place in Roseland –

My father believes this house was built before 1900, and didn’t have a bathroom until it was added on later along with a kitchen sink and pantry. I looked up the house details on redfin.com and it was indeed built before 1900, in 1895 in fact. It doesn’t look as good as this photo but it at least is not boarded up.

Some of the children had begun to get married and have their own families by this point. The children still living at home are Agnes, 24; John, 21; Simon, 19; Casper, 17; Cathryn, 15; Andrew, 13; and Johanna, 10.

Gertrude’s daughter-in-law, my grandmother Lena (Kros) Ooms (married to Simon), was a prolific photo taker when she was in her twenties. Here is a photo of Gertrude hanging laundry:

In 1930, Gertrude and her husband were still living in the same house, with one child at home, Johanna, age 20.

In 1940, Gertrude is a widow, having lost her husband nine years before in 1931. She is age 73 at this point, and her daughter, Johanna Ledeboer, age 30, is living with her. Johanna was married to a man named Jacob Ledeboer, who unfortunately died of pneumonia in 1934 at the young age of 24.

On March 3, 1953, Gertrude died at the age of 86. Johanna continued to live in the house until the late 1960s. Gertrude is buried in Mt. Greenwood Cemetery.

Dutch Bingo Anyone?

One day last week I received two family history surprises in the mail. One of them was Marlene Cook’s “History and Mystery in First Church Graveyard”, which is a book about the graveyard of the First Church PCA (formerly the First Reformed Church of Lansing), located at the corner of Burnham Avenue and Ridge Road in Lansing, Illinois. Here’s a newspaper article about it.

I met Marlene through the Roseland Facebook thread my father told me about – she introduced herself to me when she saw a thread between myself and someone else (who turned out to be a distant cousin on the Eenigenburg/Ton/Dekker side). Marlene wrote a book about the graves at that cemetery and many of my family members are there, mostly indirect but very important nonetheless. Some of the names are: Schoon, Dekker, Ton, Munster. In fact, it is the same cemetery that Jacob Munster is buried in, who I wrote about before, and the cemetery my father and I were going to visit this spring before COVID-19 became a problematic pandemic. The earliest date found on any tombstone in the cemetery is dated 1864 and is of Grietje Schoon Ton, who is my great-great aunt on my father’s side.

It’s a very interesting read. During our chat, Marlene mentioned her mother was an Ooms and descended from Richard Ooms, another grocer in Roseland – but the “talk” was our grocer guys’ families were not related. Of course you never really know about these things, so I was determined to find out, and I am very happy to say we are truly cousins – distant cousins but cousins nonetheless!!  That’s when I learned about the phrase “Dutch Bingo”, which I didn’t know is a game Dutch people play  when they’re trying to figure out if they’re related to each other. Anyway, it’s really nice to make new friends with cousins I never knew I had. Here’s the shortest version possible of the connection without dates, I’ll write up a longer post later:

Adam Ooms is the son of Jan Ooms and Neeltje Baas, he is my paternal fourth great-grandfather (the grocer Adam Ooms is a great grandson and my great grandfather). Willem (William) Ooms is another son of Jan and Neeltje, so William and my Adam are brothers. William Ooms married Fija (Sophia) Hogendoorn, they had a lot of children, most who died, but there were three surviving children: Jan (John), Gerrit, and Jannigje. John Ooms married Magteltje Huisman, and they had three children: Sophia, William and Richard. Richard is the grocer.


The other thing I received was a death certificate for one of Anna Conner’s children. I’m still trying to track down her maiden name, and track down her parents. This death certificate confirmed what I believe Anna’s maiden name to be: Schadel. The first time I saw the name was on her son Harry’s marriage record, spelled as Shadel. I thought it was a fluke since he was so young when his mother died. But on her son Arther’s death certificate (note last name spelled Conners), her maiden name is listed as Schadel. So I feel pretty confident it is Schadel/Shadel. Census and death certificates list her original country as Germany, so at least I have something to go on but you wouldn’t believe how many Anna Schadel’s were born in Germany around 1872.

I hope you enjoyed my blog post, thanks for reading!

Continue reading “Dutch Bingo Anyone?”

Wednesday’s Child – Aaltje Dekker

I was cleaning a closet recently and found a binder of all of the tombstone pictures I took when my father and I visited cemeteries – oh, maybe thirty or so years ago????  Even though there are a lot of tombstone photos on Find a Grave, I’m glad I found the binder.

Today’s tombstone is from Mt. Greenwood Cemetery and for a little girl, Aaltje Dekker. She was the child of Abram and Henrietta (Vinke) Dekker. Abram was one of the sons of Arie and Aaltje (Schoon) Dekker, my paternal great-grandparents, and I assume she was named after her grandmother. Aaltje was born on July 12, 1888 and died on October 1, 1889. Such a short life… 

The tombstone is quite ornate, with Dutch writing on it, but I can’t decipher what it says except below her name are her birth and death dates. This is why I’m glad I found my tombstone photos because of what it looks like now:

Source: Glen H. DeYoung

Thanks for reading!

Nine Founding Fathers of Roseland

My first post on this blog was about Johannes Ambuul, my maternal great-great-great grandfather, one of the nine founding fathers of Roseland. Little did I know that I am connected in some way to not just him but SEVEN of the founders!  See if you can keep up!!

Johannes Ambuul:  You already know about this, but I’ll repeat the connection – Johannes married Neeltje Oudendijk; their daughter Trijntje (Katherine) was married to Peter Bass, they are my maternal great-great grandparents.

Pieter De Jong:  Pieter and fellow founder, Jakob DeJong, were brothers. Pieter was married to Trijntje Dalenberg. Their daughter Antje (Annie) married Simon Dekker, brother of Gertrude Dekker, who is my paternal great-great grandmother.

Jakob De Jong:  See above. Also, Jakob was married to Geertje Eenigenburg, who was the sister of Gerrit Eenigenburg. Gerrit was married to Jannetje (Jane) Ton, daughter of fellow founder, Jan Ton (whose brothers were connected by marriage to both of my maternal and paternal lines, see below).

Klaas Dalenberg:  Brother of Trijntje Dalenberg, whose daughter married Simon Dekker, brother of Gertrude, my paternal great-great grandmother.

Pieter Dalenberg:  Brother of Trijntje Dalenberg. See above.

Jan Jonker:  Jan Jonker is the brother of my maternal great-great-great grandmother, Grietje (Margaret) Jonker (mother of Peter Bass).

Cornelis Kuyper:  No connection.

Jan Ton:  Jan Ton’s brother Jacob married Jannetje (Jane) Bass, daughter of my maternal great-great-grandmother Grietje (Margaret) Jonker and sister of Peter Bass. Jan Ton’s other brother Cornelis married Grietje Schoon, sister of Aaltje Schoon Dekker, my paternal great-great grandmother. AND…….their daughter, Hillegonda Ton, married George Dekker, who happened to be the brother of Arie Dekker, Aaltje Schoon’s husband.  Huhhhhh?

I did a schematic for that one because I was really confused, here it is.  

Leendert Van der Sijde:  No connection.

Wow, I am disappointed that I am not connected in some way to the remaining two founders, I was really on a roll there for awhile. When my father said the Dutch were clannish, he was really right about that. Then again, all of these people were just starting out in a new country and knew no one outside of their whole group. It is seriously mind boggling — who knew how deep my family’s roots really go into Roseland!!

Adam Ooms, Sr.

Yes, we’re still in the middle of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and it’s very hard to keep my mind off of it. Lately, I’ve been cross-stitching a lot because it keeps me calm (and helps me to ignore the news stories which seem to get worse and worse). At this point, we are in for a long haul, estimates are Illinois will peak sometime in April, but other states are different as the governors of about 10 states have not ordered shelter in place so who knows when this thing will end? 

I’ve been doing a little less family research but it’s still really important during this time. It always fascinates me how information is gleaned through other people in various ways, even non-family members. This is a photo of the land where Adam Ooms had his house in Roseland. This is not Adam Ooms, the grocer, but his grandfather, and I will call him Adam Ooms, Sr. just to differentiate between the two.

Adam and his wife, Neeltje (Nellie) Hogendijk Ooms arrived in our country on June 15, 1849 from the Netherlands on board the Franziska or Franzelia, with their son Johannes (John) and daughter Neeltje (Nellie). According to a later published biography of his grandson, the family first lived on Prairie Avenue near 35th Street, where Adam had a dairy. About 1850 they moved to Calumet Township and he bought forty acres of land in what was West Roseland. The 1880 census lists him as being a farmer.

This map shows where Adam Ooms and his family lived on Wallace Street (see left lower coroner). This came from Paul Petraitis, who runs a Roseland thread on Facebook (thanks for telling me about it Dad!) Paul said the house of Adam Ooms was torn down about 1969. My Dad said that he and his father used to walk there.

Simon Dekker, who in 1938 wrote History of Roseland and Vicinity, included some of this information in his book:

“Now we will go to school section road now Wallace Street. We will take the east side first…Now we will take the west side of Wallace Street and go north again. The first one we find is Adam Ooms (grandfather of Adam Ooms who has a store on the corner of Wentworth Ave. and 111th St.) He lived near 110th St. Next was his son Johannes Ooms near 109th Street.”

I believe when my father and I visited the Chicago Historical Society decades ago we found this. The book is about 300 pages and very interesting.

I didn’t know until a few years back that Simon Dekker is also related to the Ooms family — he is the brother of my great-grandmother, Gertrude Dekker Ooms, the wife of grocer Adam Ooms.

Adam Ooms, Sr. was born on December 1, 1807 in Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel in the southern part of the Netherlands, and died on July 2, 1900 at the age of 92. He is buried in Mt. Greenwood Cemetery.

Adam Ooms

My great-grandfather on my father’s side, Adam Ooms, made quite a living with the grocery store he started in Roseland on April 1, 1886 at 124th W. 111th Street. At the age of 21 and with no prior experience, he went into business for himself and began one of the first independent grocery stores in the area (photo from the original Tribune Co-Operator dated March, 1930 and my father – thanks Dad!).

A new store was built near the old location in 1904 at the old Wentworth building at 146 W. 111th Street.

Sometime later, Adam added a little annex on the east for his son John, who was a radio dealer/repairman who stayed there until his death around 1960 or 1961. Adam retired after 43 years at the age of 65, selling the store to his sons, Harry and Simon. 

Adam was born to John and Johanna (Van Mynen/Van Mijnen) Ooms in Roseland on September 16, 1864, and married Gertrude Dekker on April 26, 1886. They had 12 children together, four of whom died young. He was elected Supervisor of the Town of Calumet in 1886 after previously serving a year and a half as Constable of the village of West Roseland. 

He died on October 4, 1931 from “toxic thyroid”, two years after his retirement.

What happened to the store?  Harry and Simon sold the business in 1964, and Monarch Laundry bought it, tore it down and made it into this —

It is currently a 3 story low income housing complex.