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Pekelder, Jan 1830-1917


Posted By: Wilma J. Vande Berg - volunteer (email)
Date: 4/14/2018 at 11:51:12

Life and times of Pioneers Jan Pekelder and Zwaantje Cleveringa

January 24, 1906 Sioux Center Neiuwsblad
The translation of the article of the 50th golden anniversary of the Dutch article plus the article that was also carried in De Volksvriend of same time in Orange City was found to be the most accurate translation found, it was located in the Pekelder file of the Greater Genealogical Society in the Sioux Center library. The translator is unknown, but parallels the translations done by the submitter.

A Golden wedding anniversary.
Last Sunday, the 21st, it was 50 years ago that Mr. and Mrs. Pekelder were united in marriage, and the life of this couple was so filled with experiences and exceptional savings(narrow escapes) by the hand of the Divine Providence that it seems good for us to tell about it.

Jan Pekelder was born in Uithuizermeeden, province of Groningen, Netherlands, in the year of 1830, and his wife four years later in Warfhuizen, in the same province. In May 1853, at the age of 23, he made the trip to America on board a sailing ship, and there he got his first big life experience. The sea trip lasted for 42 days, and it was during it that they met such a heavy storm that nearly caused them to be shipwrecked. All the sails and masts were swept away. His wife, then called Zwaantje Cleveringa, made the trip a month later. Her brother F. (Freerk – ‘Fred’) Cleveringa, who died last year, B. W. (Broer) W. Jansen who died last month at the age of 86, and his wife, who is a sister of Mrs. Pekelder, and R. Borgman and wife joined her on the same ship. Their trip over the Ocean took 80 days. All arrived safely on American land and they first settled in Chicago, where Pekelder was employed in a carriage factory. In Chicago they underwent for the second time the saving hand of God when in 1853 the cholera broke out and during six weeks every day on an average 150 dead people were buried. Not any of the above said were affected by the disease, although 14 persons in the house, where Mr. Pekelder was boarded, then single, died by this disease.

On the 21 st of January, Pekelder was united in marriage to Zwaantje Cleveringa in the house of Broer W. Jansen, and the next morning the newlyweds moved to Muskatine, Iowa, to where he was sent by his factory, to work there in a by then newly erected factory. Here he continued working until 1862, when he, giving ear to the call of his new fatherland, enrolled himself in the 35th Iowa regiment by which he went to war to save the Union.

This war he fulfilled to the end and many and exceptional were the savings happening to him in these three years. In spite of the 18 battles he met, among other things like those at Vicksburg, Pleasant Hill LA, and Nashville TN, he never was wounded or affected by illness. That his regiment was in the very mid of the battle can be concluded by the fact that only 150 men returned from the 987. Just in the battle at Pleasant Hill LA, his regiment lost 67 deaths, besides the wounded ones. The army corps , to which his regiment belonged was commanded by General T. J. Smith, and counted 50,000 men at the beginning of the War, of which only 12,500 returned.

Mrs. Pekelder stayed at Muskatine, while her husband served in the war and joined her again in 1865 when he was dismissed in Alabama, just on the same day he was enrolled three years before. Returned in Muskatine he founded a carriage factory, developing it to a prosperous business until 1872 when all his properties were destroyed by fire. Then the couple moved to Sioux County, following their brother F. (Fred) Cleveringa and their brother in law Broer W. Jansen who went before. Using his rights as a soldier he chose for a farmstead of 160 acres, the land on which the old Mr. C. Punt in Old Sioux Center now lives in (1906) They farmed for four years on this homestead, after which they moved to Orange City, where Pekelder started a smith and wheelwright’s shop, the same on which now is used by E. TePaske. He lived there for eight years and during this period he underwent a smallpox epidemic. All the neighbors around him suffered from this disease, but they were saved From Orange City they moved again to Sioux Center, and finally moved in 1888 to South/North Dakota. There they lived for about nine years and lost there almost everything they owned by drought and fire.

From Dakota they moved to Missouri, which State they lived for a year and then they returned to Sioux County. At the age of 69 the old man again started from the beginning by founding a smithy at Carmel. Which he ran for two years and then moved with P. Walhof, who was his companion, to Sioux Center, where they opened the smithy, which now is run by Walhof and Van Voort.

In 1904, at the age of 74, he decided that his time was arrived to resign and take rest, which he surely earned. A pity for him that, after a life of so many experiences, he met such an accident at his advance age, that he broke his hip by falling, now five weeks before, by which he still is confined to his bed. But what sorrowed him most was that he lost his old friend and brother in aw B. W. Jansen, with whom he joined so much for better and worse, and was not allowed to see him before his death on Dec. 27. Mr, Jansen was eleven years older the Mr. Pekelder. Born in 1819 in Peiterburen, Groningen, he came to America a month later than Pekedler and settled himself in Chicago. Here Pekelder met his wife , the sister of Mrs. Jansen. Together they overcame there the cholera epidemic. Jansen followed Pekelder to Muskatine, but moved to Sioux County as the first one, where Pekelder joined him later, and here they both met the locust plague.

It is our deep wish that soon the old golden bridegroom will arise from this bed and with his spouse will join us for some extra years.

Jan 30 1915 Alton Democrat
Mr. and Mrs. Jan Pekelder of Sioux Center celebrated their fifty ninth wedding anniversary on Thursday January 21st. Jan Pekelder was born in the Netherlands on May 6th 1830. His wife Zwaantje Cleveringa, was born in the Netherlands in 1834, on July 15th. They never knew each other in the old country but met in Chicago where they lived for years. Here they met became friends, lovers and married on January 21st 1856. The day after their marriage they left for Muscatine where they resided for nineteen years and prospered.
In 1862 Mr. Pekelder enlisted in Company C of the 35th Iowa Infantry and served three years in the Civil War. Of the 987 men that went out from there with him only 140 returned. He fought in eighteen battles and traveled 16000 miles.

After the war he returned to Muscatine and opened a carriage and buggy factory. He prospered but the great Muscatine fire, wiped him out. After the big fire in Muscatine the Pekelders came to Sioux County, being among the very first of the homesteaders. Mr. and Mrs. Pekelder made a home for themselves in what is not known as Old Sioux Center and it was in the Pekelder home there that the First Reformed Chuch was organized. Mr. Pekelder farmed his homestead and had a blacksmith shop on the side.
After a few years of pioneering in Sioux Center, the Pekelders left for Orange City where Mr. Pekelder owned a blacksmith shop for eight years.

After a visit in the Old Country Mr. and Mrs. Pekelder moved to Emmons county N. D., where they lost everything they had by hard times and a disastrous fire. From there they went to Missouri where they remained for one year when they returned to Sioux county, settling at Carmel, where Mr. Pekelder again opened a blacksmith shop.
After two years at Carmel the Pekelders returned to Sioux Center. For a time Mr. Pekelder and P. Walhof owned a big blacksmith shop but advanced age compelled Mr. Pekelder to retire from the firm. Mr. Pekelder has owned 820 acres of Sioux county land but he does not own any now. They own two residence properties and Mr. Pekelder receives a soldier’s pension.
Mr. Pekelder tells with pride that his parents had been married for seventy years before death separated them.
The Democrat reporter found the good old couple in a pleasant mood and the old gentleman entertained him for a couple of hours with reminiscences of the Civil War.

Insert – more from a family history on the Cleveringas that relates to the Pekelders and Jansens:
The Cleveringa children who came to the USA in 1853 had a brother Jan, among other siblings who remained in Holland but did come to the USA in 1878, by way of Michigan, Iowa and then Westfield ND. The four other Cleveringa children that came in 1853 were Grietje who married Broer W. Jansen on April 28, 1853, at the village of Pieterburen, in the Province of Groninge. Twelve days later they went aboard a sailing vessel and with them were Hendrika, Freerk, and Zwaantje,. 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 treasures and belongings. The Dutch were welcomed as emigrants because they were industrious and thrifty, respectable, and brought 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 then 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 York, they then went on to Chicago, a trip that took eight days. They probable 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.

In 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 laterand 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. They moved to North Dakota later where she 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.

Alton Democrat of Jan 29, 1916
It is a year ago that your correspondent gave a biography of Mr. and Mrs. J. Pekelder, who had then been married fifty-nine years. Last week they celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary which was an event which never before happened in our town. Everyone congratulated the aged couple. The parents of the old gentleman had been able to celebrate their seventieth anniversary and so we express the wish that they may be able to do the same. Mr. Pekelder is still one of the veterans of the civil war in which he has fought. He was one of the soldiers who helped capture Vicksburg. As stated last year he has suffered much but came out of the ordeal without a wound and without sickness. It is always pleasant to meet the old gentleman and get him to relating incidents of the civil war not recorded by the pen of the historian. Our old war veteran certainly had a hard time of it. Mr. Pekelder fought in eighteen battles. In one of the battles nine hundred and eighty seven men of his regiment with him took part and only one hundred and fifty came out, he being one of the number. It is for these and other reasons that Sioux Center looks with pride on our old veteran and his wife who must have had much worrying during the three years of absence of her husband in the army. It is therefore hard for your correspondent to refrain from giving the life history of this aged couple which he sought to so last year when he wrote more than a column which the readers all remember. This must yet remind us that our veterans are falling off very fast so that only now a very few remain and ere long our old veteran here will depart also from this world to join the company of them that have labored faithfully in discharging the duties laid upon him on earth.

Alton Democrat of June 3rd 1916 stated that the Pekelders were living in the Soldiers Home in Marshalltown. (This stately old couple possibly had no other place to live out their final years, they had an adopted son attributed to them, Jacob or George Earl Pekelder born 1869 but after 1880 census, he showed up as George Earl. later explained.)

April 4, 1917 Sioux Center Nieuwsblad
A brief translation
Appears that both Mr. and Mrs. Pekelder died at Hutton Valley MO. Mr. Pekelder died March 17 and was buried on 19 of March. Three days later Mrs. Pekelder died. Mr. Pekelder was 87 years and Mrs. Pekelder was 83. He was born in the province of Groningen, Netherlands and came to America in 1853. No mention of cemetery of burial it is assumed at the place of death.

Missouri death records
John Pekelder died 17 Mar 1917 at Howell Missouri Cert #10163
Swantie (Zwaantje) Peckelder died 20 Mar 1917 at Howell Missouri Cert#10165

The submitter of this Bio on the Pekelders had wondered how they ended up dying in Howell Missouri. A strong willed sturdy couple lived a very eventful life together being married for 60 years and then died within three days of each other. They are all but forgotten but for people who search out the life of these sturdy pioneers. They certainly deserve honor in the history of Sioux Center and the areas they lived while on this earth. Upon the discovery there was listed an (adopted) son with them, George Earl Pekelder also recorded as Jacob Pekelder born 1869 while at Muscatine, has rendered a mystery as he is not mentioned in the articles about there 50th and 59 anniversary or their death notices in the Sioux County papers. Later it was found that he lived at Howell MO the years when the Pekelders died so they must have joined their son there to live out their final days.

Birth of Jan Pekelder
Jan Siwerts Pekelder Geboortedatum 06-05-1830 Geboorteplaats Uithuizermeeden Geslacht Man
Vader Haring Klasen Pekelder Beroep smit Leeftijd 42 jaar
Moeder Trijntje Klasen Arkema Gebeurtenis Geboorte Datum 06-05-1830 Gebeurtenisplaats Uithuizermeeden Documenttype BS Geboorte Erfgoedinstelling Groninger Archieven Plaats instelling Groningen Collectiegebied Groningen Aktenummer 29 Registratiedatum 07-05-1830 Akteplaats
Uithuizermeeden Collectie Bron: boek, Periode: 1830 Boek Geboorteregister 1830

Birth of Zwaantje Cleverenga
Kind Zwaantje Cleverenga Geboortedatum 15-07-1834 Geboorteplaats Warfhuizen gem. Leens
Geslacht Vrouw Vader Klaas Pieters Cleverenga Beroep dagloner Leeftijd 43 jaar
Moeder Klaaske Roelfs Torringa Gebeurtenis Geboorte Datum 15-07-1834 Gebeurtenisplaats
Warfhuizen gem. Leens Documenttype BS Geboorte Erfgoedinstelling Groninger Archieven
Plaats instelling Groningen Collectiegebied Groningen Aktenummer 45 Registratiedatum
15-07-1834 Akteplaats Leens Collectie Bron: boek, Periode: 1834 Boek Geboorteregister 1834

Zwaantje’s family
Klaas Pieters Cleveringa
Klaaska Roelf TORRENGA
Roelof Cleveringa 1818-1852
Pieter Clasens Cleveringa 1820-1820
William Cleveringa 1822-1875
Hendrika Cleveringa 1825-1854 (Mrs. Gerrit Postma or Postema)
Jan Cleveringa 1828
Freerk ‘Fred’ Cleveringa came to Sioux County IA
Greetije Cleveringa (Mrs. Broer Jansen) came to Sioux county IA.
Zwaantje Cleveringa (Mrs. Jan Pekelder) Came to Sioux County IA.

A report on ancestry.com suggests that Jan and Zwaantje had a son George Earl Pekelder born 1869 in Iowa, no further details listed. Later found that he must have reverted to his birth name of George Earl and then more was learned about this family.

The families of Roelof Borgman and Fred Kuhl 1840 – 1915 and wife Fredrika Bouwers also accompanied the Pekelders, Jansen and Cleveringa family in their trek from the Muscatine IA area on to Sioux County IA.

Census records:
1870 Muscatine Iowa (very faint)
John Pekelder b. 1830 Blacksmith
Wife?? Son George 3 years.

1880 census of Orange City IA.
John Pekelder b. 1830 Holland wife Zwaantje b. 1834 Holland
Son : George Pekelder born 1869 Iowa

1900 census of West Branch Sioux county IA was a Blacksmith
John Pekelder age 70 born 1830 Holland married 1853 came to USA in 1850
Wife Zwaantee

1910 census of West Branch, Sioux county IA Lived on Koster street came to USA in 1853
John Pekelder 79 wife Zwaantje 75.

Sioux center News of August 15, 1899.
By Pekelder is op bezoek Mrs. Geo. Earl, met hare drie kinderen, from Kansas

De Volksvriend March 10, 1887 mentioned George Pekelder of Emmons Co, Dakota

So Co. Herald of March 1886 J. Pekelder is to start a black smith shop in La Grace Emmons Co. ND

A discovery! that the son George Earl, may have been an adopted son of the Pekelders. He was born Nov 1868 Iowa died 17 Feb 1966. Married 1888 to Memka Mamie Winterberg 1868-1959
Son Charles William Earl 1889 born at Eureka SD,
Son Frederick R. Earl born May 1895 in Missouri
Dau - Cora H. Earl born 1899 in Kansas
Residence in 1900 West Branch Sioux IA
Dau- Lily Earl 1902 born in Kansas
Dau- Minnie Earl born 1908 North Dakota
1910 living in Wood, Douglas Missouri
1920 living in Willow Springs Howell Missouri (where the Pekelders died in 1917)
1935 living in Springfield Green Missouri
1940 living in Springfield Green Missouri
Wife Memka ‘Mamie” died 18 Feb 1959 Springfield
George Earl died 17 Feb 1966 Springfield MO

Thus ends this Bio on the saga of the life of Jan Pekelder and Zwaantje Cleveringa.


Sioux Biographies maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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