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!!

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?”

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!!

Munster, Indiana

Some of my Dutch ancestors not only founded Roseland, but also founded Munster, a small town in the extreme northwestern part of Indiana, 27 miles southeast of Roseland.

According to Munster historical records, the Monster family (anglicized to Munster) arrived in America from the Netherlands on July 5, 1855 on the ship the “Mississippi”. Eldert Monster and his wife, Neeltje, purchased some land north of Ridge Road and east of what is today Calumet Avenue and eventually the wilderness land was converted into productive farm land. Eldert’s son, Jacob, was an important part in the growth of Munster later on after opening the Munster General Store in 1870. The store not only attracted customers from Lansing to Highland, it also served as a gathering place. In the corner of the store stood a small oak desk, which served as the area’s first post office, with Jacob being the first postmaster. The town was incorporated and named after Jacob in 1907, eventually becoming a booming town that attracted many people.

Before opening the store, Jacob served in the Civil War. After the war, he returned and married Henrietta Van Mijnen in 1867, who was the sister of my paternal great-great grandmother, Johanna. They had a total of thirteen children.

Source: Munster Historical Society — around 1905

Other Dutch ancestors were also early settlers in Munster. According to a Chicago Tribune article dated April 2, 2016 by Nancy Coltun Webster, Jacob Schoon was born and farmed there until getting a job at U.S. Steel because the farming was so labor intensive. Jacob was a brother of Aaltje Schoon Dekker, my paternal great-great grandmother. Family members of his decided to stay, including Dirk and Dora Schoon. They owned almost all of the land south of Ridge Road to the Schoon Ditch along Fisher Street between Hohman and Calumet avenues.

My father and I planned to take a trip this spring to see Munster and where Jacob is buried, but that trip has been put on hold because of the pandemic. But something to look forward to when things eventually become normal again!

Tuesday Tales — A Tale of Two Tons

Tons were a common name and big family in Roseland and other Dutch areas. Jan (John) Ton came from the Netherlands and was an abolitionist and a big part in establishing a link in the Roseland area to the Underground Railroad (more about that in a future post). He came from a large family and over the years there have been large Ton family reunions. According to numerous sources, seven of his siblings also came to the United States. I always knew a Ton married into my mother’s side of the family, and it was one of John Ton’s brothers, Jacob Ton — but last week I was shocked to find another brother married into my father’s side of the family, Cornelis (Cornelius) Ton. I’ve had alot of practice from a former boss in creating schematics so I thought I would put that skill to good use to show what I mean:

My great-great grandmother on my father’s side (Aaltje Schoon) had a sister who married Cornelius Ton and their family eventually ended up in Lansing, Illinois. His brother, Jacob Ton, married Jannetje Baas (Jane Bass) after his first wife died. Jannetje was the sister of my great-great grandfather (Peter Bass) on my mother’s side.

So from what I can tell, my parents aren’t really related but there are indirect connections through marriages — yowza and whew!!! But when reading through genealogy posts from other people on one of my Facebook pages it is very common and many people there have very, very close connections in their families, first or second cousin close. Eh, we’re all really related to each other anyway.