19 June 2009

Back to the Cole family

Levi Cole, the father of my grandmother, was born in Kent County, Michigan in 1854, about a year and a half after his parents arrived in the United States. He died in 1904 at the age of 49. As the first son, in the Dutch custom, he is named for his father's father.
In 1876 Levi married Kate Snyder. She had been born in the Netherlands and came to the United States with her parents and two older brothers in 1856 when she is just 3 months old. Two other Snijder children had died in the Netherlands before the family left for America. Kate lived to be 76 years old. in 1932. She died after being stricken with what was most likely a stroke the night the house next to hers caught fire. The story I heard (about 65 years later) was that she was taken to daughter Grace's house nearby where she later died.

Tona Cole was born Thona van Beek in Nieuwerkerk, Zeeland, Netherlands in 1829. She died in 1919 in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan. She married Lieven Koole in Zeeland, and they came to the US in 1852. This is image is the only one I know of of the immigrant generation. I have never seen or heard of any pictures of her husband Peter or of Kate Snyder's parents.

05 June 2009

The Farm

When I was a kid, we would go visit Grandma and Grandpa at The Farm. To me, it was the family homestead, but it actually came sideways into our family. It began as the Ten Have family farm. We lived around the corner. My great-granduncle Peter worked as a farm hand there for many years. The family Was Harm Ten Have, his wife Margje and daughters Christina, Henrietta and Jane. Jane married and- I think - died young. I did not know anything of her until I had done a lot of research into the family. Hattie and Christina were schoolteachers and stayed living on the family farm.
In 1921, Hattie and Peter were married. Christina continued to live on the farm with them until her death. After the deaths of Hattie and Peter, my grandparents moved to the farm, which is how it became the family farm to me!
I remember picking strawberries out in the fields and asparagus in the yard between the house and the road. There was a water tap out at the end of the walk near the drive. Grandpa rented out fields and barn. At one time someone kept horses there. We would play up in the hayloft, too.
In the house, Grandma would do laundry with a wringer washer in the little room to the right of this picture. There was a bathroom under the stairs with 2 doors, which was just fantastic to us!! It had a cubbyhole for storage which was a great place to hide. We played with the fishing game in the claw-foot tub in there.
Upstairs, there was beautiful organ in one of the bedrooms and an old secretary desk with cubbies. I was afraid of the attic and the storeroom. And there was a wasp nest (or hornets nest) hanging outside one of the windows in my parents room. The floor of the dining room was warped or something, it bulged up under the table. Something strange and spooky anyway!
I loved that house! Don't know if I realized it then. But I was definitely unhappy when Grandma and Grandpa sold it and moved into town (although we had great fun at that house, too!).