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Cleveringa, Frederick 1828 and sisters


Posted By: Wilma J. Vande Berg - volunteer (email)
Date: 9/27/2018 at 07:27:02

Life and times of Freerk ‘Fred’ Cleveringa 1828- and his three Cleveringa sisters.

The story starts with Freerk’s ‘Fred’s’parents in the Netherlands.

Biography taken from the book by Hester Vande Garde.

Klaas Pieters Cleveringa, son of Pieters Klaasen and Grietje Derks Cleveringa, the family took her name as a surname. (sometimes was done for inheritance purposes)

The following is a little history as has been told by their son Klaas Pieters Cleveringa born March 7, 1791. He was a soldier in Napoleon’s army, who was at this time Emperor of France and dominated Europe. Before 1806, Napoleon had made his brother, Louis, King of Holland. In 1803, he sold the land France had in the ‘New World’ to the then existing United States (only east of the Mississippi River). This war known as the Louisiana Purchase and is comprised of fifteen states west of the Mississippi river and is the land where most of us have our homes. The price was $15,000,000 or at about 2 and ½ cents an acre. We should be thankful that Napoleon let a future empire in the New World go to pay for the empire he wished to establish in Europe under the Bonaparte Dynasty. He recruited soldiers for his army from all his conquered countries to carry on his great campaigns all over Europe even to Russia, where he lost 250,000 soldiers; in the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig he lost 300,000 of his 400,000 soldiers in a few days. But the Cleveringa ancestor was not one of those for it was told that while the army was going through Holland, he hid for three days in a field until he was given up for dead, and was known as ‘Jan Dood’. Now we are not sure to whom it applied because a member of the family of Jan of Freerk also knew the story but it was a Cleveringa.

Klaas must have been a young man with some spirit as we are told of the following incident: Young men from other villages were not welcome to come courting in the village where he was, and he is said to have thrown one into the sloot (canal). Maybe the young man wanted is girl. Be that as it may, he married Klaaske Roelf Torrenga on Nov 20, 1814. They resided in the town of Stoepen, in the municipality of Warfhuizen, in the province of Groningen.

Children born to them:

Grietje born Sept 28, 1815 she died before 1831 when there was another child named Grietje.

Roelf born Jan 31, 1916 (father of Klaas and Jacob) he died 1853

Pieter born Jul 20, 1820 died before 1822

Henderika born Jan 1, 1925 She married Gerrit Postema and came to the USA.

Freerk born Oct 28, 1828 came to the USA Father of William Fred, and Anna

Grietje born Aug 6, 1831 She married Broer W. Jansen, see the Bio on Broer Jansen for more on her.

Zwaantje born July 15, 1834 She married Jan Pekelder, see the Bio on Jan Pekelder for more on her.

The first Grietje died and another little daughter was given the same name, to carry on the name of the grandmother. Roelf married Aaltje Alders; he died when his son Klaas was four years old and his son Jacob only two years old. The children were cared for by the mother’s brother. When 21 years of age, Jacob came to America, helped by the Pekelder’s who lent him money to make the trip in 1872. He arrived by the relatives who were then already in Sioux Center, Iowa. Jacob, in turn, helped his brother Klaas and family in 1889 to come from Holland by paying their passage money.

There was no information on Pieter, only that Frederick later had a son named Peter, very likely in remembrance of his brother, and who died by Sioux Center at the age of 18 years of typhoid fever.

The other four children came to America in 1853. Grietje was united in marriage to Broer W. Jansen on April 28, 1853, at the village of Piersburen, in the Province of Groningen. Twelve days later they went aboard a sailing vessel, and with them were Hendreika, Freerk, and Zwaantje, going to America. We wonder if they had converted their extra money into gold pieces and sewed them on a belt which was then worn by the men under their arms, and if they had chests containing their other belongings. The Dutch were welcomed as emigrants because they were industrious, thrifty, respectable, and had money with them to begin in the new country.

The trip across the Atlantic Ocean took eighty days because of the storms and contrary winds, for at times 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. We’re sure that they as devout Christians trusted in the Lord.

Finally arriving in New Yok, 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 home land 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. The Dutch had a green thumb for that type of farming. Other occupations were carried on successfully, and money earned.

We knew that Broer W. Jansen (husband of Grietje) was a carpenter and helped after the Chicago fire, in 1871. Freerk ‘Frederick’ settled in Bloominton, IL. Zwaantje was married to Jan Pekelder on Jan 21, 1856, at the home of the Jansen’s and the next day they went to Muscatine, IA, where his company sent him to work in a newly built carriage factory. Hendrieka Married Gerrrit Postema, who was born on March 30 1838.

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

In 1872, Broer Jansen and his wife Grietje Cleveringa and their family of seven children came to Sioux county and settled near the Frederick Cleveringa’s on a homestead. They traveled in two covered wagons. The Jan Pekelders came to Sioux Center in 1872.

Mr. and Mrs. Gerrit (Hendreika) Postema came to Sioux Center a few years later and settled two miles east and a half mile south of Old Sioux Center. They had no children. They moved to North Dakota later where she died. Gerrit then married Anna Wolf, who preceded him in death on March 23, 1920. Mr. Postema died at the home of William Cleveringa, Sr. on November 3, 1921.

The following is a translation of an article taken from the Dutch paper, ‘De Volksvirend’, about the 60th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. John Pekelder, Mrs.Pekelder was Zwaantje Cleveringa. It included the interesting history:

Jan Pekelder was born in Uithuisermeeden, Groningen, Netherlands in 1830, and his wife four years later at Warfhuizen, in the same province. In May 1853, when he was 23 years old, he had his first great adventure in coming to America on a sailing vessel. The crossing took 42 days. During a bad storm they were nearly ship wrecked when the mast and sails were all blown down. His wife, when still Zwaantje Cleveringa sailed a month later along with her brother Frederick, Grietje and a sister Hendrieka,. Their voyage lasted 80 days because of storms and contrary winds. All arrived safely on the American shore and proceeded to Chicago. There Pekelder found employment in a carriage factory. Zwaantje was also employed for three years.

They experienced the grace of God in their lives a second time when they were spared during the cholera epidemic of 1850s. Each day during a six week period an average of 150 died. Pekelder was working on a 400 acre farm for his brother in law; it was haying time and many were working there and 14 of those died and also his nephew.

Chicago had a population of 80,000 in those days. The value of land was increasing very fast. What had been $5. An acre in 1849 was $30 in 1860. In 1880 farmers were paying $50 and in 1890 purchasers gave a much as $500 an acre. The Illinois Central had built its line in 1853 to the south and east, followed by the Chicago and Eastern Illinois, through the Dutch settlements causing Roseland to grow. In 1880 the Pullman Company opened its shops nearby.

On January 21, 1856 Jan Pekelder and Zwaantje Cleveringa were united in marriage at the home of B. W. Jansen. The following day they departed for Muscatine, Iowa, where his company was sending him to work in a newly built carriage factory. The future looked very promising and they did not see the dark clouds of the Civil war between the North and the South hovering over them in the future. He continued working until 1862 when he answered his country’s call and joined the 35th Iowa Regiment and helped save the union. He was in the war to the war to the end and was in 18 battles, including Vicksburg, Pleasant Hill, LA, and Nashville TN. He was never wounded or was never sick, although only 150 of the 987 men of the regiment survived. Of the 80,000 men under the command of General T. J. Smith only 12,000 survived. In the three years they traveled a total of 10,000 miles.

Mrs. Pekelder had remained in Muscatine where he rejoined her after his discharge in 1865. He established a carriage factory and had a good business but it was destroyed by fire. They moved to Sioux County Iowa in 1872 to where the Fred Cleveringa’s and Broer Jansen’s were living. As a soldier he could claim a homestead of 160 acres, which he did. They lived there four years. Then they moved to Orange City where he began a blacksmith shop and wagon factory. They lived there for eight years and were spared during the small pox epidemic of 1880-1881. They returned to Sioux Center, took a pleasure trip to Holland, and then moved to Westfield North Dakota where they lived about nine years and lost nearly all they had.

They moved from North Dakota to Missouri, lived there a years, then came back to Sioux Center. At the age of 69 years he began a blacksmith shop at Carmel, where he was for two years. Peter Walhof became his partner. They moved to Sioux Center. In 1916 it was known as Walhof and Synders, at the time of this article. In 1904 he was going to retire. He had the misfortune to break his hip, and his wife always had to assist him after that. Mr. Pelelder’s sister was 70 years old. His parents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, his father becoming 95 years old and his wife a years younger, and they had always lived in the same house ..in Holland. The father of Pekelder, as well as the father of Mrs. Pekelder served in the French army under Napoleon I. (This article was form the De Volksvriend and from the Sioux center Nieuwsblad published 17 Jan 1916 and Thursday Jan 27, 1916.

Taken from the Diamond Jubilee Anniversary Book 1886-1961 of the Hope Reformed Church of Westfield ND: Church was first organized in 1885. Among the Charter Members were Henry and Clare Van Beek, she was Clara Jansen daughter of Grietje and Broer Jansen, Jan Pekelder, Zwaantje Pekelder, and Jacob Pekelder their adoped son. Steven and Alice Vander Laan, she later married Fred Cleveringa. Henry Van Beek and Jan Pekelder were two of the first three elders and also teachers in the Sunday School. Gerrit Postema joined the church there in 1907, and Hendreika in May 1909. They lived in a small house in Westfield, They moved to Carmel Iowa on May 22, 1910.

Frederick Cleveringa (aks Freerk or Fred) See afore mentioned history of coming in 1853 and living in Bloomington IL before moving to Muscatine Iowa where the Jansens and Pekelders were also. He was still a bachelor nearing the age of forty. He met and married Wilhelmina Bauer, who was sixteen years his junior, so he did very well. Their little son William was born Nov 3, 1869 at Muscatine, Iowa.

Next we have a first- hand account of this son William, who was later well known as William F. Cleveringa Sr. and head of the William F. Cleveringa Branch:

Entitled ‘ Pioneer Days of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Cleveringa and their son William, born November 3, 1869 at Muscatine, Iowa. ‘

I am thinking back on the old pioneer days and on what happened. I remember what my father and mother told me about the journey from Muscatine to Orange City, Iowa, a distance of about 400miles. I was their little don of six months. We made the trip in April, 1870 and it took three weeks with the covered wagon.

They had somebody with them by the name of Charlie, also with a covered wagon, who was a personal friend and a great help on their journey. The folks had some livestock consisting of cows, calves, and young horses and some household furnishings.

They had many hardships one time they went down into a mud hole. There was no help available and you had to try to struggle along alone. The horses were unhitched and the harnesses loosened so they could get out to the mud-hole by themselves. Then the covered wagon had to be pulled out with a long chain and drawn to a permanent dry spot. Not a day went by that we didn’t have trouble of some kind.

So father and mother and this little young William, who did not know much about this disagreeable journey, kept on going until they came to a place that they called Orange City, Iowa. This name was derived from the House of Orange in the Netherlands. This little burg had a few dugouts and one or two little shacks.

Mr. John Hospers, the old pioneer who came from Pella, Iowa had a government Homestead Office, where the newcomers would call. He was also the land locator and a guide for the newcomers. We stayed a week in the little burg. In the meantime my father had taken out the Homestead papers to file on an eight acres. It was located 8 ½ miles northwest of Orange City. The government man prepared himself to go with them to the piece of land they had filed on. That was the main importance to file on a claim so as to get a home for themselves. Ten days after they arrived in Orange City they moved on the bare piece of prairie to make some preparations to make it home.

Father made a dugout of the size of 12x 20 and six feet deep. They put a roof of timber that they hauled from the Rock River. There was plenty of timber there. They used long slough hay to put on the roof and also some Prairie sods. That would protect us from cold and fire. We had a window on each end and one door on the east end. The house was divided into two rooms. Our sod house was in use for six years.

When our house was built we then commenced to build a sod barn the size of 14x24 and 8 feet high. The walls of the prairie sods were 12 inches wide. The roof was made out of timber covered with long slough hay about 12 inches thick. The sod house was built in June of 1870 and the barn in late fall of 1870.

The water situation was a problem. We drove our livestock to the West Branch River which was about two and three fourths miles from home. This was a steam of water from 10 to 16 feet wide. In that same summer father started to dig down with a spade to try and find a well of water. He went down 12 foot and still the ground was dry, so he went down to 20 feet, and then he had his supply of water.

In the last part of May, 1870 father broke up 15 acres of prairie land where he planted his corn and raised his first crop,. He put up some hay for the livestock. Father gathered some kindling wood for the stove at the Rock River. Many more things could be added to this but I think my incomplete story is about long enough.

In the Cleveringa book there are more stories told by the children of William Cleveringa Sr. The book is in the surname file at the Sioux Center Library. The descendants of the 3 children’s families are in the book too, up until about 1970s.

Frederick ‘Fred’ Cleveringa and Wilhelmina Bauer had three children:
1. William Cleveringa Sr. born 1869, he married Alice Cleveringa they had children:
Wilhelmina Mrs. N. Rozeboom
Ruth Mrs. Peter Wielenga
Fred W.
Luwinda (Mrs. Ed Sneller
Annie (Mrs. Arie Van Marel)
William Ralph
Louis Jacob
2. Frederick F. Cleveringa born 1872 married Nellie Hoff they had children
Frederick died
Wilhelmina (Mrs. H. Longstraat)
Fred Jr.
William F.
3. Annie Cleveringa born 1881 married Albert Slob they had children


Wilhelmina (Mrs. W. R. Young)






Albert, Jr.

Cornelia Angela (Mrs. Leonard Visser)


Sioux Biographies maintained by Linda Ziemann.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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