Albert Lotterman

By Heather and Patricia Gemmen

map of Emlichheim, where Lucas Veldink was born

A portion of General Major von Le Coq‘s Grafschaft Bentheim map (1805) depicting the city of Emlichheim. Albert Lotterman emigrated from here in 1882.

Albert Lotterman was born on July 31, 1857 in Coevorden, the Netherlands. He was the oldest son of Berend Jan Lotterman from Emlichheim and Hendrickien Scheerhorn. They were also the parents of Hendrik, Willem, and Evert, and for a brief time a daughter, Engelina. (Engelina lived from March 1863 to April 1865 and died in Coevorden.) German records report Berend Jan’s occupation to be a day laborer (Heuermann).

Albert Lotterman Emigrates to Michigan, U.S.A.

On April 5, 1882, Albert, his mother Hendrickien, and his brothers Willem and Evert departed from the port of Antwerp, Belgium for New York on the S.S. Switzerland. Albert was 24 years old. His younger brother Hendrik had left a year earlier, and the rest of the family followed him to Michigan.

In Allendale, Albert and his brother Hendrik bought farmland on 52nd Avenue just north of Pierce Street. On March 15, 1883, they bought 30 acres for $850. A primitive house, possibly a log cabin, was already there when they bought the property. On December 31, 1885, they bought two ten-acre parcels next to the original land, for a total of 50 acres.

The Lotterman family first joined the Christian Reformed Church of Allendale in 1883; the church records state that they came from Zeeland (Michigan). In 1889, Albert Lotterman transferred his church membership to a church in Grand Rapids where he had moved to, while brother Hendrik continued working the farm.

Life in Grand Rapids

According to the Citizens Historical Association records for Grand Rapids, Albert farmed in Allendale for two years before working in Grand Rapids. He was first a peddler and teamster and then took various positions in Grand Rapids’ furniture industry:

  • In 1892, he’s working as a peddler;
  • In 1900, he’s a sandpaperer in a factory and has become a naturalized U.S. citizen;
  • In 1903, he’s a sander at Luce Furniture Company;
  • In 1905, he’s a cabinet maker at Sligh Furniture Company;
  • In 1909, a helper at Sligh;
  • In 1910, a cashier in a furniture factory;
  • In 1930, laborer in a dowel factory;
  • In 1935, on his death certificate, he’s listed as an employee of Sligh Furniture.

Family Life

On December 19, 1889, Albert Lotterman married Swaantje “Sarah” De Boer. They raised five children:

  1. Mattie Lotterman—born April 29, 1884, died May 1, 1961. It appears that she was Sarah’s daughter;
  2. Berend Hendrik Lotterman—born March 23, 1892 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, died July 23, 1962;
  3. Hindrikien “Hattie” Lotterman—born in 1894, died 1962;
  4. Peter Lotterman—born in 1896, died June 7, 1947; and,
  5. Willem Lotterman—born in 1898, died before 1947.

Albert Lotterman passed away on July 4, 1935 and was buried in the Garfield Cemetery in Grand Rapids. His death certificate lists the cause of death as “right hemiplegin” caused by hypertension (paralysis on one side of the body). His wife Sarah died on September 29, 1942 and was also buried in the Garfield Cemetery.

Photo of Albert Lotterman, wife Sarah, and son Peter

Albert and Sarah with their son Peter.

Photo of Albert Lotterman, sitting, and wife Susie, standing.

Albert Lotterman and his wife Swaantje “Sarah” De Boer.

Birth Certificate of Albert Lotterman

Albert Lotterman’s birth was recorded in the registry at Coevorden, the Netherlands.

Newspaper article about Albert Lotterman's son.

Albert Lotterman’s youngest son Willem made the news in 1912.

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