Born: 5 APR 1864 in Echteler, Bentheim, Hanover province, Germany
Died: 20 DEC 1942 in Borculo, Michigan
Henrietta (Hindrikje) Hessels (Hesselink)
1890 in Germany
|Egbert (Edward) Gruppen|
|Jennigien (Jennie) Gruppen|
|Jantje (Jeanette, Janet) Gruppen|
|Geertje (Gertrude) Gruppen|
|Geert (George) Gruppen|
|Gerrit Wilhelm (William) Gruppen|
|Gesien (Grace) Gruppen|
After marrying Henrietta in 1890, Hermanus realized he would be unable to support a family in Germany. With Henrietta pregnant with their third child and an invitation from friend G.J. Rutgers in Michigan, they boarded the ship Edam bound from Rotterdam to New York, arriving 11 Sept 1893 (passenger list). They left behind his brother Gerrit, whose later wealth caused discord between the brothers, who did not speak or write for years.
The family had almost nothing when they arrived in America, and first lived with the Rutgers in Graafschap, MI (map of farm). They then rented a farm a couple of miles away, possibly where the white house stands on Rutgers' land south of Graafschap.
Around 1909 they relocated to a 120-acre farm in Blendon Township, MI, where Hermanus, also a stonemason, built their new house (map of farm). They grew celery and onion and had some cows and chickens, but remained quite poor. One year the entire crop bought only two winter coats for the family. Much of the clothing was sewed from feed sacks. Hardship continued when another farmer, to save his own crop from flooding, blocked ditches and flooded the family's onion fields three years in a row, ruining most of the crop.
Hermanus, 5'6", blue-eyed and brown-haired, was a leader in the church, which was very important to him. He was known as a peacemaker - brave, optimistic, and full of a sense of humor. Later in life they moved in with their daughter Johanna's family, where she later died.
Hermanus is buried in Borculo Cemetery (78-8-15).