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Ellerbroek, John and Mary Vander Stoep family


Posted By: Wilma J. Vande Berg - volunteer (email)
Date: 5/3/2020 at 14:18:36

From the Sioux Center Centennial book 1870-1991 “A People With Convictions” page 328-329
Submitted and complied by – Wilma J. Vande Berg
Authored by John Ellerbroek of Fairmont MN and by way of other descendants, including Kay Munmert .

Ellerbroek, Jan ‘John’ and Maria ‘Mary’ Vander Stoep family.

The older residents of Sioux Center will surely remember their elders refer to the Ellerbroek Store that was established in Sioux Center in 1891 and continued in business in Sioux Center until 1926. Many advertisements were published in the Sioux Center Newspaper of the time advertising the general goods the store had to offer.

John Ellerbroek’s father Gerrit Ellerbroek left Holland along with Gerrit’s sister and husband Jan Akkerman and wife Anna Ellerbroek. They crossed the ocean in the ship. “Pieter Flories” from the port of Amsterdam in April of 1947, they landed in Baltimore, Maryland. In an article in the 1941 Jubilee Edition of the ‘Sioux Center News’ it states that the trip from Amsterdam to Pell was made under many difficulties.

Gerrit Ellerbroek worked as a single farmer near the ‘Straw City’ of Pella, Iowa. Gerrit Ellerbroek and Jan Akkerman came to Pella about the same time as Rev. Scholte’s ban, and helped establish the center of Dutch culture. The Akkermans established themselves as successful cattle farmers in the Pella area.

In 1849, Gerrit’s widower father, Pieter Ellerbroek, came to Pella with four children, two of his children were already in Pella, and one daughter Elizabeth (Kooyman) had stayed behind at Horn, Holland. In 1850, Gerrit and his father were married in a double ring ceremony in Pella. Gerrit married a widow Jannethe (Vander Meer) De Fries, she had one child Issac De Fries. Three children were born to Gerrit and Jannetje Ellerbroek; Jan born Feb. 29, 1853, Peter, and Mary. In about 1868 Gerrit died and again Jannejte was a widow. She then married Lutje Mars and of the marriage three more children were born; Pieter, twins Simon and Alida Mars. The total family of children now numbered seven with three surnames.

Lutje Mars decided to take the whole family and join the wagon train which was going to Oregon to seek gold and a better life, so his wife Jannetje sold her farm at Pella to finance the trip to Oregon. Jan ‘John’ Ellerbroek was about 12 years old at this time. The wagon train reached Oregon on Oct 28, 1864 after six months of traveling, dodging and fighting the Indians and renegades. The “Prairie Schooner’ was powered with five yoke of oxen.
The Lutje Mars family stayed in Oregon only about four or five years and returned to Pella by way of the newly completed Union Pacific Railroad. Next the Lutje Mars family moved from Pella to Sioux Center, Iowa. John Ellerbroek as a young man ended up in Sioux County also, and worked on a farm for a few years. He then opened a store for fancy goods and toys in Orange City, Iowa. Here John Ellerbroek married Maria Vander Stoep on Jan 9, 1880. She had been born Sep 5, 1863 at Pella Iowa. Her parents were Andries Vander Stoep and Johanna Harbers of Orange City.

For a few years the young John Ellerbroek family and his mother’s family moved to Armour, South Dakota, to escape the grasshopper plagues of Sioux County, Iowa. However, before long John and his family came back to Sioux county. In the Sioux County Herald of Jan 6, 1891 it states that John Ellerbroek and Floris Vander Stoep had opened a toy and fancy goods store and a restaurant in Sioux Center, John and Mary spent most of their lives operating the store.

John ran the store and Mary tended the restaurant, would often sack coal for farmers and had a farm sale lunch wagon. This wagon had gunny sacks filled with tin cups, several big coffee pots, doughnuts, cookies and sandwiches. As if that wasn’t enough, she also took in boarders in their home, in addition to raising six children. One boarder was Charles Brocke the photographer.

The John Ellerbroeks lived the first place north of the city park on Highway 75. The park was owned by John Ellerbroek and was a pasture for his two cows, Bessie and Tillie. This house was later moved to the east side of Sioux Center. The City Fathers had long been eyeing that same pasture for a possible city park. One day Mr. N. Balkema made John Ellerbroek a proposition. Since the city wanted the land for a city park, the city would accept the pasture as a gift for which it would be named “Ellerbroek Park’ and they would offer John Ellerbroek $300 for the land. This thrifty Dutchman took the $300, thus the park is simply named Sioux Center Park.

After his wife Mary died John retired and moved to the new Holland Home in Sheldon. Mary Ellerbroek died April 20, 1922 and John Ellerbroek died Sept.28, 1932. Both he and his wife are buried in the Ellerbroek plot in the Sioux Center Cemetery. His mother, the unsung pioneer heroine, Jannetje Vander Meer De Fries Ellerbroek Mars is buried there also.

The children of John Ellerbroek became merchants and at one time all the brothers and sister operated a chain of successful stores in Iowa and Minnesota.

The children of John Ellerbroek were as follows:

Gerrit Ellerbroek was born Nov 16, 1881, married Hattie Beernink, He was educated in bookkeeping and went to work at the Balkema General Store in Sioux Center, and was on the first school board of Sioux Center, He later was in business in Sheldon, Iowa. They had two children; Vernon Ellerbroek and Willmer Ellerbroek.

Andrew Ellerbroek was born July 21, 1884, married Sietje Schierpbier. He was a twin at birth but the other child died. After a colorful life of living various places and operating several family stores and other adventures form Idaho to Minnesota, where they settled in Fairmont, Minnesota, where they settled in Fairmont, MN. Their only son was John A. Ellerbroek currently living in Fairmont, Minnesota and the original author of the manuscript from which most of this historical information was obtained.

Pieter Ellerbroek was born March 17, 1886, married Mary Punt. They first farmed and then came to Sheldon and worked in the Ellerbroek Bros. headquarters store which was a distribution point for the other stores. They had one child John M. Ellerbroek.

Frank Ellerbroek was born May 28, 1891, married Mabel Hornstra. They were involved in the family business in Sheldon. They were the parents of three children: Hazel Ellerbroek, Esther (Mrs. Adolph Vestergaard and Ruth Valmy Stump.

John Ellerbroek was born April 7, 1894, married Beatrix Mills. They had a store in Sibley, Iowa and were the parents of three daughters; Marion (Mrs. Darwood Wright), Arlene (Mrs. Ralph Kipp), and Bernice Jeffloat (Ericson)

Johanna Ellerbroek was born April 7, 1896, married Bert Vande Brake. They had a drugstore in Rock Valley, Iowa and later opened the Ellerbroek Store in Fairmont, Minnesota. They had no children.

The descendants of John Ellerbroek have scattered far and wife, but many of them continue in the merchandising business.

This history was first learned of by the complier through Lyle and Mary Kay Mummert of Cherokee, Iowa. Mary Kay was a granddaughter of Gerrit Ellerbroek the oldest child of John. Her father was Vernon Ellerbroek. She had a copy of the manuscript done by John Ellerbroek of Fairmont, MN, hence this resulting story.


Sioux Center News, (September 29, 1932)
Mr. John Ellerbroek, formerly of Sioux Center, died at the Holland Home in Sheldon, Wednesday; Mr. Ellerbroek was born in Marion County, Iowa in 1852. In 1862 he moved with parents and others by ox caravan to Oregon. They were on the trail for months, suffering all the hardships of pioneers. Indians were troublesome and stole, all but three of their horses. He lived in Oregon until he was 19 years old when he came to Sioux County. Too young to take a land claim, he started a store in Orange City.
When the Dakota country opened up he moved to Douglas County, and for some years was in business in Grand View and Armour.
In 1890 he entered business in Sioux Center with Andrew Vander Stoep. This partnership was dissolved in 1897, after which Mr. Ellerbroek continued in business here alone until eight years ago.
Mr. Ellerbroek's first wife died in 1922. She was Mary Vander Stoep, a sister of Mrs. P. L. Schoep and of Andrew Vander Stoep. Four years ago he moved to the Holland home in Sheldon. Here he was married to Jennie Markus.
He had been ill all summer, and when he suffered a stroke last Wednesday he died in a few hours. He is survived by Mrs. Ellerbroek, five sons, Garret, Frank, Andrew, Pete, John and one daughter, Mrs. Johanna Olson, Fairmont, Minnesota. The funeral will be held from the Central Reformed Church Saturday at 2 P.M. Rev. Vis of Sheldon will preach the funeral sermon.
Alton Democrat, Friday, (October 7, 1932)
BELOVED MERCHANT JOHN ELLERBROEK PASSES ON - John Ellerbroek was born near Pella, Iowa on February 29, 1852. Died at Sheldon, Iowa, September 28, 1932.
John Ellerbroek was one of the few surviving pioneer residents of the State of Iowa. With exception of a few years spent elsewhere he witnessed the remarkable growth of Iowa for the past eighty years. He was born shortly after his parents located in the then newly organized Holland colony in and near Pella, Iowa, his parents making the trip to Pella from Amsterdam under many difficulties. They embarked on a sailing vessel and after 65 days arrived in New York. They encountered many storms and were tossed about by the waves and many times it seemed as through their ship would not survived. To add to their hardships a daughter was taken sick and died and was buried at sea. After arriving in New York the long trip to Iowa was begun, partly by river boats and partly by ox teams. After suffering many hardships they finally arrived in Iowa, and homesteaded there, being the very first to settle in that part of Iowa. Crude log cabins were built and homes were established. It was here that John Ellerbroek was born and spent his early boyhood days. At the age of twelve the spirit of adventuring and pioneering again appealed to the parents of Mr. Ellerbroek and they joined a wagon train and left Iowa for Oregon. Their wagon train was a mixed train consisting of horses, mules and oxen drawn wagons. All wagons were heavily loaded and all wagons were inspected before leaving Council Bluffs. The wagon containing the worldly belonging of the Ellerbroeks was declared unfit and a new wagon was substituted and the trip was finally under way. Five yoke of oxen carried their wagon and they were ready to venture into the unknown West.
They left Pella on May 1st and arrived in Portland, Oregon on October 28th. The Indians were on the war path during this time and the wagon train was constantly guarded. Their train was a large one and no attempt was made by the Indians to destroy it, although they were constantly harassed by roving bands of Indians and at one time all their stock and horses were stolen by the Indians, and a part of which was recovered and several of the Indians killed. In addition to the constant fear of being attacked by the Indians their exceedingly slow journey was beset with many other dangers and hardships. They experienced shortage of water and at times found too much water, when they were forced to cross rivers where there were no bridges. Bridges were unknown on that trip and rivers could only be crossed by fording at given points. Great difficulty was experienced in descending mountainsides. Many times it would take days to travel but very short distances, when every wagon be lowered with all wheels locked. This tedious and dangerous process was the only way to continue on the trail and as there was no turning back it was necessary to proceed, however, great the difficulties might be. Their great adventure finally came to an end and they arrived in Portland, with very little of their live stock left and but few of their oxen. Again the pioneers established homes and again went through the hardships they had endured in Iowa, but under more pleasant surroundings as the Oregon country was a veritable garden spot.
At the age of fifteen John Ellerbroek was found at work in a woolen mill at Oregon City, Oregon, and at this young age mastered the art of making cloth and within a short time was made foreman. He later was employed in a brick making establishment, and at the age of about 19 left Portland for San Francisco. From there he and his brother Peter returned to Iowa by rail as the railroad had been completed in the meantime. Again, the call of the pioneer was strong and he and his brother Peter located in the then new Holland colony at Orange City.
The colony was being established at that time and for a few years he was employed on farms near Orange City. Carefully saving his money he at the age of about 23 entered business at Orange City, establishing a combination business of boots and shoes and jewelry and in a short time employing both a jeweler and shoemaker as his assistants. His business prospered and in 1880 he was united in marriage to Mary Vander Stoep.
In 1884 the call of the pioneer again made itself felt and again he left for the unknown. In company with his brother Peter they located in what was then Dakota Territory (now South Dakota) and helped establish the town of Grand View. They entered the drug business there. At that time Grand View was about 45 miles from any railroad. When a railroad was finally built into that country the end of the road was a new town named Armour and was about seven miles from Grand View. Practically the entire town was moved to Armour and John Ellerbroek continued in business in Armour until 1890 when he returned to Sioux County, Iowa and located in Sioux Center. Here he entered business in this newly established town with Andrew Vander Stoep, which partnership continued until 1897, when it was dissolved and Mr. Ellerbroek continued alone until about 1926 having been continuously in the merchandise business for over 50 years. In 1902 the lure of the Pioneer again appealed to Mr. Ellerbroek and he in company with others from Sioux Center homesteaded in Lyman County, South Dakota, at that time about 50 miles from the nearest railroad. He and his family spent about 18 months on those lonely prairies when he again returned to Sioux County.

This obit was recorded at the time the Sioux Center News was in Dutch.
Sioux Center Nieuwsblad of Apr 19, 1922 In Dutch
Translation attempt:
On Monday night, died at Cram's hospital in Sheldon, Mrs. Ellerbroek Sr. More than three months ago, she underwent surgery for a woman's ailment and had not been out of hospital again. The operation was successful but the effect of the ether on the lungs was from those consequences that pneumonia developed. There always hope for recovery and was thought to be really slow improvement, in the last days there was an adverse reaction and death followed Monday night. Mrs. Ellerbroek reached the age of 58 years. She is survived by her husband, 5 sons and a daughter. The funeral will take place Thursday at two o'clock from the Central Reformed church.

Source: Rock Valley Bee (5-5-1922)
Born: 1861
Died: 1922
The Ellerbroek Ready to Wear store was closed all day Thursday on account of the death of Mrs. John (Mary) Ellerbroek, Sr. of Sheldon, Iowa.
Mrs. Mary Ellerbroek underwent an operation at the Sheldon Hospital in January from which she never recovered.
She was fifty-eight years of age. Her parents are Andres and Johanna (Harbers) Vander Stoep. She is mother of Mrs. Bert VanderBrake and Mr. John Ellerbroek, Jr. of Spencer, and Mr. and Mrs. VanderBrake and Mr. and Mrs. John Ellerbroek, Jr., were present at the funeral services held at Sioux Center, Iowa. She was buried in Memory Gardens Sioux Center, Iowa.


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