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Jansen, Broer W. 1819-1905 and Grietje Cleveringa


Posted By: Wilma J. Vande Berg - volunteer (email)
Date: 4/22/2018 at 12:41:58

Life and times of Broer W. Jansen and Grietje Cleveringa

There is no specific biography found on Broer and Grietje Jansen however their story intertwines with the stories included in the Jan Pekelder, Frederick Cleveringa, Fred Kuhl and others in the Muscatine group that came to Sioux County in the early 1870s. See those bios for more specific information on their life and times.

Broer Willems Jansen was born on September 19, 1819 in Pieterbuen, Groningen, Netherlands, his father Willem Janesn was 33 years of age and Anna Broers Visser. He married Grietje or Greetje Cleveringa on April 28 1853 in Pieterburen, Groningen, Netherlands. Grietje Cleveringa was born August 6, 1831, Warfhuizen, Groningen, Netherlands; her father was Klaas Cleveringa and mother was Klaaske Roelf Torrenga. Broer died December 5, 1905 and Grietje died Jun 26 1912 both in Sioux Center.

Twelve days after their marriage Broer Jansen with his wife Grietje Cleveringa, the sibling Cleveringa children that came with them were, Freerk (Frederick), Hendrieka, and Zwaantje Cleveringa. The trip across the Atlantic Ocean took eighty days because of the storms and contrary winds, for at time the wind blew them back all what they had gained in three days. They must have had many anxious hours as they were tossed about and rocked in the cradle of the deep.

Finally arriving in New York, they then went on to Chicago, a trip that took eight days. They probably went to the Groningen Quarter which was already settled in 1848. South Holland had been settled in 1847 by people from Gelderland, and Roseland in 1849 by those coming from Noord Holland. The settlers were at home on the level, low-lying, and clay or dark-swampy soil. They carried on dairying as in the homeland and had a good market for their milk, butter, and cheese. They also found it profitable to sell vegetables in American cities and thus began truck gardening raising cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, onions, and other vegetables in abundance, for which the Dutch had a ‘green thumb’.

We know that Broer W. Jansen was a carpenter and helped after the Chicago fire. Frederick settled in Bloomington, IL, near Chicago. Zwaantje was married to Jan Pekelder on January 21, 1856, at the home of the Jansen’s and the next day they went to Muscatine, Iowa where his company sent him to work in a newly built carriage factory. Hendrieka married Gerrit Postema, who was born on March 30, 1838.

Frederick moved to Muscatine, Iowa, where there also was a Dutch settlement. He married Wilhelmina Bauer in 1869 or before. In 1870, this couple with their little six month old son, William, came to Sioux county, Iowa, traveling in a covered wagon. They settle on a homestead on mile east and a half mile south of Old Sioux Center. Seven children were born to them.

After living in the Muscatine IA area from about 1863 to 1872, Broer Jansen and his wife, Grietje, and their family of seven children came to Sioux County and settled near the Frederick Ceveringa’s on a homestead. They traveled in two covered wagons. Jan and Zwaantje Pekelder also came to Sioux Center in 1872, as well as Hendrieka and Gerrit Postema a few years later and setted two miles east and a half mile south of Old Sioux Center. Both the Pekelders and the Postemas had no children of their own. Postema moved to North Dakota later where Mrs. died. Gerrit then married Anna Wolf who preceded him in death 1920, Mr. Postema died at the home of William Cleveringa, Sr., 1921.

Jacob Cleveringa, the son of Roelof Cleveringa (brother to the four that came in 1853), who had died when Jacob was only two years old, came to America in 1872. His passage money was paid by his uncle and aunt, the Jan Pekelder’s.

Thus all were pioneers of the new colony at Sioux Center in Sioux county Iowa, and contributed to it’s growth and helped to establish the church, being devout Christians of the Reformed faith

In a book done by the Cleveringas, the following excerpts was taken. Some is repetitious but does contain some more about their life on the Sioux County prairie.

Mr. Jansen was a carpenter and was also employed at that after the great Chicago fire. Jan Pekelder and Frederick Cleveringa had gone to Muscatine IA, and the Jansen’s moved there too before 1861 as their daughter Clara was born there. Anna Jansen the oldest daughter taught school before she was 18 years old. Frederick Cleveringa was then married in Muscatine IA and had gone to Sioux county IA in 1870, and homesteaded. The Pekelder’s and Jansen’s followed in 1872. The Postema’s also came to Sioux county later. The Jansen’s had a family of seven children and traveled in two covered wagons. They had five horses, twelve cows , and seven chickens. There were no bridges, and the roads were trails with many sloughs (bottom lands or swamps). The Jansens located on a homestead one mile east of Old Sioux Center, near the Cleveringa’s.

They broke the sod and planted ‘sod corn’ using an axe to cut slits in the sod, dropping the corn, and tramping it down. Potatoes were planted in a similar manner, the potatoes dropped in and the sod would break and crumble over it. They had plenty of milk. The mother made a big kettle of corn mush in the evening, and what was left was fried in the morning. With joy and contentment they lived in their sod house! They thanked God for his wonderful promises and looked hopefully toward the future. The prairie was a big waving sea of grass and theirs was 80 acres of it! Slough grass grew very tall and was used for hay, on roofs, and also for fuel when dried and tightly twisted. The prairie was strewn with bones of deer and buffalo.

The grasshopper plague nearly starved out the early settlers. The first time the grasshoppers or Rocky Mountain Locusts came was on a Sunday morning, in 1873, when the colonists were gathered at church services. They heard an unfamiliar whirring pattering sound. The main wave appeared like a huge cloud and approached with a thunder like roar. By Monday morning the ripening oats and wheat crops had been totally destroyed. The following years they came again, causing a lot of the pioneers to sell out and move. The drought, storms, rain, and insects, always played an important part in the life. But the settlers forged ahead.

In the book prepared by Wilma J. Vande Berg on the Sioux Center News Golden Jubilee 1891-1941 there are stories of the pioneering days of the Jansen family.

Page 82. Five families came here by way of Muscatine IA; Fred Cleveringa, John Pekelder, Gerrit Postema, Broer W. Jansen and Fred Kuhl. Cleveringa, Pekelder, Postema and Jansen were Hollanders from the province of Groningen adjoining Germany and the Kuhls and Mrs. Cleverings were Germans. The Muscatine group had been in this country longer than the others. Pekelder was a veteran of the Civil War. The Jansen Children had lived at Muscatine, and the oldest daughter , Anna, who had lived in the Pekelder home and had attended the city schools, became a school teacher here (in Sioux county) during the 1870s, the first school teacher out of the pioneers. All these homesteaders engaged in farming, except Pekelder, who was a blacksmith and wagon maker by trade. He followed his trade, here, at Orange City, in North Daktoa and later came back to Sioux Center, when he and his partner built what we now (in 1941) called the Horse –Shoe garage, on Main street.

Page 17. Miss Anna Jansen taught here in 1875. Miss Anna Jansen, later Mrs. Ten Broek was one of the first teachers of this community. She taught in a small country schoolhouse about one mile south of the old town on what is now Jake Vermeer’s farm (in 1941), also a mile west and half mile south of the old town. Miss Jansen lived in town and walked out to her teaching duties, and at the time because of lack of good roads, it was often very difficult. She taught in this school around 1875. Miss Jansen moved to this territory with her parents from Muscatine, Iowa. Her parents and Jim Borgman’s parents came together on the same boat from Holland in (1853) She is the oldest child and has one living sister, (in 1941) Mrs. C. Vander Meulen, whose husband is editor of the Pella Weekblad. The school term was about six or seven months in the winter time, with homemade desks and chairs. It was usually quite crowded. There wasn’t a definite schedule of time of the different classes but each would be taken when they could, with different periods for recess and lunch. The teachers did not need to have any special qualifications but were chosen by common consent. Some of the students of these old schools were the Jacob Koster’s children, H. D. Kosters, Jim Borgman’s and they recalled many memories.

Page 91. Read the account in the above mentioned book describes a snow storm that hit in the winter of 1873 and the perils the school children faced at that time, but for some fore thought of one pioneer Jacob Koster, to stock the school attic with supplies the children were all saved.

Page 92. A somewhat familiar story is told about the school taught by Anna Jansen, a teacher about some of her scholars still speak with praise. The writer of the article’s own brothers and sisters were amongst her scholars. The winters were severe and the snows were deep. Once they had a big blizzard and the teacher and pupils stayed in school all night. The coal ran low. They toasted their bread and melted snow for water to drink. The night passed, and with the morning light the parents came with their ox teams to get their children. Aunt Anna’s legs were frozen when she came home after her two and a half mile walk. Grandmother rubbed them with snow. Aunt Clara later Mrs. Henry Van Beek was well nigh exhausted. They had two weeks of vacation then until a new supply of coal was secured. Their salary consisted of one pair of shoes and two calico dresses.

Page 94 Rev. Bolks used to come from Orange City to preach in the school houses. At one of those occasions four of the Jansen family were baptized: John, Fred, Rachel and Merilla.

Excerpt from the Cleveringa Family history book complied by Hester Cleveringa Vande Garde has the life story of Broer Jansen and Grietje Cleveringa. Some of it may be repetitious of the aforementioned accounts but some new details are included also:

No luck finding the families in the 1860 census in the Chicago area.

1870 census, happened upon a Baver W. Johnson family living at Moscow, Muscatine, IA that turned out to be the Broer W. Jansen family. The census enumerator sorely misspelled the names.
Broer W. Jansen was 50 years born in the Netherlands, wife Harrie (Grietje) born 1831 Neth, children: Annie 1855 IL, William 1858 IL, Clara 1860 IL (or IA?) , John 1863 Iowa, Frederick 1865 Iowa and Sally? (Rachel) 1868 IA.

1880 census of West Branch Sioux County IA, Broer Jansen age 60 born about 1820 Holland wife Grietjan Jansen 50 born about 1830 Holland, living with them were William Jansen age 27 born abt 1853 Illinois, Jan Jansen 17 born about 1863 Iowa, Frederic Jansen 15 born about 1865 Iowa, R’Rachel’ daughter 12 born about 1868 Iowa, Marcilla orMarilla Jansen age 9 abt 1871 Iowa

1900 census of West Branch Sioux County IA. Broer Jansen age 80 born Sep 1819 in Holland, came in 1853 married to Gritje in 1853. Living with them were John Jansen 37 born Apr 1863 in Illinois, Fred Jansen 36 born Nov 1864 Illinois and Richard/Rachel? Jansen 31 born March 1868 Illinois.

Sioux County Herald of Jan 3, 1906
Died on Wednesday Dec 27, B. W. Jansen at the good old age of 87 years. The funeral services were held from the First Reformed church.

Wednesday Dec 27, 1905 Sioux Center Nieuwsblad.
Translated: Today passed away quietly and calmly the 87 year old husband, father and grandfather B. W. Jansen. He is now rid of the pain and is in rest reserved for the people of God, the blissful creator. Signed Mrs. B. W. Jansen and Children of Sioux Center IA 26 Dec 1905.
In another article Translated. Yesterday morning B. W. Jansen passed away at the advanced age of 87 years. Except an occasional attack of rheumatism it can be said he remained healthy until his last hour. The cause of his death can therefore by declared old age. The funeral service will be held Friday at 11 o’clock at the house and 12 o’clock at the First Reformed church.

Broer W. Jansen born 19 Sep 1819 die 26 Dec 1905, wife Grietje Cleveringa buried in Memory Gardens Sioux Center IA as listed in the Sioux County IA cemetery index.
De Volksvriend of 4 Jan 1906
Sioux Center.— translated
The old gentleman Jansen died last week Friday at 87years. The funeral was at the Reformed church where Ds. Van Wyk officiated.
Siuox Center Nieuwsblad of Wednesday April 29, 1903
B. W. Jansen and wife along with a small crowd of children, grandchildren and other relatives, commemorated the day on which 50 years ago they were married on 28 Apr 1853. They left Pieterburen Groningen, and 12 days later they stepped in Rotterdam on board a sailing ship. After 80 days they landed in New York. An 8 day journey brought them from there to Chicago where they had their firs marriage years, from Chicago they went first to Muscatine, and later they came in 1872 to Sioux County IA where they were farmers.

Family of Broer Jansen and Grietje Cleveringa
1. Anna Jansen born 14 Sept/Nov. 1854 Chicago IL died Dec 20, 1942 in McIntosch SD at 88 yrs.
Husband: Henry Ten Broek
They had eight children: Aart, Gertrude, Henrietta, Anna, Barney, Cora, John and Arthur.
2. Willem Jansen born 3 Nov 1857 Chicag0
Wife: Anna Ver Meer
They had twins: Gertrude and Louise
3. Clara Jansen born 20 Jan1861 Muscatine IA They pioneered in Emmons Co. ND and propagated there.
Husband: Henry Van Beek
They had 10 children: Gilbert, Grace, Bert, Ed, Mabelle, Clara, Cora, James, Jeanette and Henrietta
4. John Jansen 20/28 Apr 1863 Muscatine
Wife: Johanna Top
From a report on ancestry.com: Jan was born April 28 1863 in Muscatine IA to Broer Jansen and Grietje Cleveringa. His wife was Johanna Top. He died August 6, 1930 at Hallock,Kittson Co., MN at age of 67 and was buried there. Johanna Top was born August 17, 1878 at Alton WI. She died March 3, 1967 at Hallock MN and is buried there.
They had 11 children: Benjamin, Theodore, Hermina, Margaret, Louisa, Lawarence 1, Lawrence 2, Jonathan, James, Jotham. Matthew.

The Alton IA Demcrat of Friday August 1930
John Jansen Drowned at Hallock Minn.
Father gives his life in attempt to save son – tragedy in Red River.
John Jansen, a former prominent farmer of the Sioux Center vicinity, was recently drowned in the Red river, according to an account sent the Democrat by his son Benjamin. Mr. Jansen came to Iowa in the early days with his parents and settled near Sioux Center, where he farmed until 1918, when he moved to Orange City. In 1922 he moved to Hallock MN where he and his sons have been farming since. Following a hard day’s work in the harvest field Mr. Janson and his five sons, Theodore, Lawrence, James and Jotham and Matthew went to the Red river to take a dip in the cool water. On reaching the river it was only a matter of minutes when all were in swimming and enjoying themselves, not knowing that in a few minutes the father would lose his own life in an effort to save his son’s life. Theodore had staked off a safety zone, as there is a treacherous undertow in the Red river channel which has claimed the best swimmers. James and Jotham were swimming when James got beyond the danger line and soon was struggling for help. The father immediately plunged into the stream, but the river at this place is deep, and somehow Mr. Jansen was unable to resist the current and so passed on before reaching his son. Theodore, who was on the Dakota side of the river, on hearing the cry for help swam back and rescued his brother after a terrifying struggle, with death staring him in the face at any minute. After taking James to the bank, Theodore went back to look for his father, but had to give up the search until the next morning when a searching party with boats and drag hooks located the body in an hour’s time only a short distance from where the father was last seen to have gone down.
Mr. Jansen is survived by his wife and eight children, Benjamin, Theodore, Hermina, Margaret, Lawrence, James, Jotham and Matthew. All the children were at home at the time of his death except Margaret she is at Grand Rapids MI. He also leaves one brother, Frederick and three sisters, Mrs. Vander Meulen, Mrs. Anna Ten Broek and Miss Rachel Jansen.

5. Fred Jansen born 1 Nov 1864 Chicago IL (or) Muscatine IA.
Wife: Johanna Rowenhorst
They had an infant son that died. Source:

Sioux Center News (2-6-1941) Born: November 1, 1864 Died: February 4, 1941

Services For Frederick Jansen Here Friday

Funeral services will be held here Friday morning at 10 o'clock from the William De Bruyn

home, for Frederick Jansen, who died Tuesday night, February 4, 1941, at the Martin Rotier

home, from a heart attack.

Jansen had been ailing for some time and was brought here Tuesday afternoon from Alton so

that Mrs. Rotier might care for him during his illness. The trip was evidently too much for him

and he died the same evening.

He was born in Chicago November 1st, 1864 and was for many years a farmer east of town.

His wife, Johanna Rouwenhorst Jansen, died years ago in childbirth and he has been making

his home near Alton for the past several years.

Survivors include his two sisters, Mrs. Anna Ten Broek who is staying at the Hendrickus Prins

home, and Mrs. Chas. Vander Meule of Pella.

Reverend R. Meengs will conduct the funeral services and burial will be in the local cemetery.

6. Rachel Jansen born 10 March 1868 Muscatine IA not married
Source: Sioux Center News (11-17-1938)
Born: March 10, 1867/1869 Muscatine IA Died: November 9, 1938
Rachael Jansen, daughter of one of the first families to homestead in this community, passed away at Eureka, South Dakota. Her home was in McIntosh but she had been in an institution for some time. She left this community about 25 years ago. The body was shipped here and a brief service was held Saturday morning. Interment took place here in the old family burial lot. Deceased was an aunt to Gertrude and Louise Jansen. One brother, Fred, resides in the Hawarden vicinity.

7. Marille/Marchilla Jansen born 15 July 1871 Muscatine IA died May24, 1960 buried Pella IA (Was from the Pella area, husband editor of paper there) married 1896.
Husband Charles Vander Meulen born March1867 died 1950 buried in Oakwood Cemetery Pella IA
They had 3 children: Herman 1897-1986, Myrtle, and Clarence.
1. Herman born Oct I897 IA
2. Myrtle born 1901 IA
3. Clarence


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