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Copyright 2001-7 by Sue Brown & Dr.
This page contents copyright
2007 by Walter deVelder Family A
Missionary Journey Over Nine Decades
By Walter deVelder
fascinating memoir was provided by Joann
1: 1900-1910 Part
2: 1910-1920 Part
4: 1930-1940 Part
5: 1940-1950 Part
7: 1960-1970 Part
to The Amoy Mission
Part 1: 1900-1910
was born on May 17, 1907 on a farm two and a half miles west and South
of the Village of Boyden, Iowa. My father was Franklin Dirk (Dick) deVelder.
My grandfather Jan Willem deVelder came to the U.S. in 1847 with great
grandfather Jon deVelder, when he was two years old they settled in Pella,
Iowa. They came from Rotterdam with the Scholte group of immigrants via
New Orleans up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri, and then
overland to the Iowa prairie about forty miles from DesMoines. When grandpa
was thirty-five in 1880, he took his family of Grandma deVelder and four
children to Douglas County in South Dakota, where he was given a 640 acre
Homestead a mile West of the Village of Harrison. My dad was eight years
of age then.
On our last visit to South Dakota in 1993, a cousin asked me how it was
possible that grandpa built such a large house in the late 1800's? We
think it was possible because grandpa was very industrious and also he
may have still retained some gold bars from the Nederlands. The family
in 1847 had been robbed of many possessions in St.Louis, but apparently
had some gold left over. I remember the house very well with the attic
and turret where we kids loved to play. In 1993 we saw a very fine colored
picture 6'x4' in a cousin's home of the old homestead taken from the air.
The place now is in the hands of a great grandson.
Grandpa was a wonderful man. I remember him giving me a new shiny dime,
when I sang a Dutch Psalm at age five. He wore flannel (red) underwear
in winter, and at night a white nightgown and a red "slaap-mutts"
(nightcap), which made him look like Santa Claus. He was an ardent Democrat
in a sea of Republicans. He loved horses and we grandchildren were thrilled
to go with him on rides in his beautiful carriage.
My mother was a VerHoef. She was born in Pella in 1970, but at the age
of six months she was taken to Sioux County, Iowa. Her mother, Trientje
Klein, came from Utrecht in the Nederlands. I never knew grandpa VerHoef,
but grandma lived to be 86 in the town of Boydan. She was very small and
she was known to be "Little Grandma". She lived with Aunt Jen
who was 14 years younger than my mother. Aunt Jen married Uncle Ed, who
was an "import" into Boyden from Cadilac, Michigan. He was considered
a "foreigner". He fell in love with Aunt Jen. Grandma VerHoef
did not like that very much, but Uncle Ed said to her, "I love your
daughter and wish to marry her, and I promise to take care of you the
rest of your life". This he did for forty years. I shall never forget
"Little Grandma" and the town of Boyden mourned a dear lady
when the church bell tolled 86 times in the year 1923.
In 1907 I had three older siblings. Tena (Trientje) born in 1897, Delia
(Dirkje) in 1900, and John (Jan) in 1902. I was (Wouter) Walter, and so
I end the first decade with a bit of family history.
Help the "The Amoy Mission Project!" Please
share any relevant biographical material and photos for the website and
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Bill Xiamen University MBA Center
Snail Mail: Dr. William Brown
Box 1288 Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian
Last Updated: October 2007
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