Born: BET 10 MAY 1862 AND 5 OCT 1862 in St. Jacobiparochie, Friesland, Netherlands
Died: 14 APR 1942 in Hamilton, Michigan
Dieuwke (Deeuwke, Dorothy, Dora) (Alberts) van der Ploeg
29 NOV 1888 in Het Bildt, Friesland, Netherlands
|Hendrikje (Hattie) Kaper|
|Lijsbert (Elizabeth, Liz) Kaper|
|Alle (Alfred) Kaper|
|Jiskje (Jessie) Kaper|
Dirk was a soldier in the Netherlands who married Dieuwke (possibly already pregnant - "Met legitimatie van een kind") and had five children there. Sometime after Aug 1897, the family moved from St. Jacobiparochie to St. Annaparochie.
His brother Jans Alles (John) was the first Kaper to emigrate to Michigan, where he settled south of Zeeland in 1896. There are various stories explaining why Dirk and Dieuwke left the Netherlands. In one possible scenario, Dirk was forced to leave because of involvement in witchcraft. In another scenario, Dirk reportedly tried to hang himself in their corn crib; his son Albert found him there and ran to Dieuwke, who cut him down. They then left the country out of shame.
Dirk crossed the ocean alone in 1899 to work for Jans Alles and raise enough money to bring his family over. He left Rotterdam aboard the Statendam on 12 January and arrived in New York on the 23rd (passenger list).
A few months later, Dieuwke came to America with mother Hendrikje, brother-in-law John Smit (married to Jessie), and the five children. They departed Rotterdam on 20 April on the ship Rotterdam. In the U.S. the family moved often, about once a year, to places like Rochester, NY; Hamilton, MI; Holland, MI, on 13th Street and 26th Street; North Blendon, MI; and Beaverdam, MI. Primarily he did share farming of celery and onions with close friend John Smit.
After their wives died, Dirk and John Smit lived together on a farm in Hamilton, MI, where they were rather unkind to their sons, taking the money they worked for. Dirk was a searching person and not very likeable, with a quick temper and rough language, but always interesting to those around him. Dirk later married Dena Ross, whom he left three years later after she stole all his money from their home in Constantine, MI. He hitchhiked back to Hamilton, and died there within a year.
Dirk is bured in Pilgrim Home Cemetery (PH1 KO 35 24).