03 November 2010

Obituary--Cornelius VanZomeren

Another of our area pioneers who, born in the Netherlands, settled eventually in the Fremont area.  So typical of those early pioneers, who were active in the Christian Reformed church, and in their farming community.

From the 27 January 1916, Fremont TimesIndicator:

Cornelius VanZomeren was born in the Netherlands December 7, 1847 and cam to America when a young man, settling in Kalamazoo, Mich.  In 1873 he was united in marriage to Betsy Vandewalker.  In the spring of 1883 he moved his family to Fremont, settling on a farm in Dayton township, one mile east and three miles north of this village.  He passed through all the hardships attendant on the clearing up of a large farm and the making of a home, but he was possessed of unfailing courage and indomitable will power and in time became one of the most prosperous and progressive farmers of Dayton.  In 1903 the farm was sold and a smaller one purchased in Sheridan, one mile south of the city.  This was sold in 1906 and he moved back to Kalamazoo, where he died January 21, 1916, at the age of 68 years, one month and 14 days. 
Mr. VanZomeren was the father of 11 children, eight of whom, with the widow, survive him, namely, Nellie, Dick, Abraham, Grace and Mrs. G Broekema, of Kalamazoo;  William of Detroit, and Mrs Steven Schreur and Lee of Fremont.  He also leaves six grandchildren, two brothers Leonard, of Kalamazoo, and Dirk, until recently residing in Fremont, now of Walker.
Mr. VanZomeren was a member of the Christian Reformed church and was always willing to give both time and money to the furtherance of the cause of the church.
Funeral services were held at the home, 136 Johnson St., Kalamazoo, on Monday Jan. 24, conducted by Rev. S. Eldersveld, paster of the First Christian REformed church.
On Tuesday, Jan. 25, the remains were brought to Fremont and services were held at the First Christian Reformed church at 1:30 p.m., conducted by Rev. H. Keegstra.  Interment was made in Maple Grove cemetery.
Besides the members of the family from out of town who attended the funeral were Dirk VanZomeren and Mrs. Jennie Zuidyk of Walker and Rev. John VanZomeren, of Grand Rapids.

I like the bit this obituary tells about the early farming life and "the hardships attendant on the clearing up" of a large farm.  Nowadays with the open fields, and very large farms, with only smaller wood lots and marshes, it is easy to forget that when many of these settlers came, this area was a both tree covered and often marshy.  Without the heavy equipment used today, much work was needed to make the land suitable for farming.

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