Berend Veldhuis

By Robert Bosch

Hand drawn map of Halle where Gertje Veldhuis was born

A portion of General Major von Le Coq‘s Grafschaft Bentheim map (1805) depicting the settlement of Halle. Berend Veldhuis was born here in 1854.

Berend Veldhuis (or Barend Velthuis) was born on March 1, 1854 in Halle, Grafschaft Bentheim to Jan Duisman and Fenne Veldhuis. He came to the United States in 1878, and his future wife, Gertje Wynberg, came in 1883.

Berend and Gertje were married in Fillmore Township of Allegan County, where they had an infant son who died on the day of his birth, May 15, 1888. They joined the Kollendoorn (Overisel) church in 1892, transferring their membership to the Allendale Christian Reformed Church when they moved.

Church membership record of Berend Veldhuis family

Church membership record from the Allendale Christian Reformed Church for the Berend Veldhuis family.

The Berend Veldhuis Family In Allendale, Michigan

Berend and Gertje purchased land in Allendale Township, Ottawa County, where Berend’s brother, Gerrit Hendrick, was already farming. When the family moved to their Allendale property, they temporarily lived in a crude cabin but soon built a new house. Berend bought over 190 acres in Allendale Township.

Plat map showing Berend Veldhuis farm, 1897.

Berend Veldhuis’ 180–acre farm in Allendale Township in 1897. He would buy more land in later years. His brother Gerrit Hendrik’s farm is to the south.

By 1900, Berend and Gertje had had nine children, with only five of them surviving to adulthood. Historical records allow us to assemble an incomplete list:

  1. Fenne (Fannie)—born October 1886;
  2. Infant—May 15, 1888;
  3. Geertje (Gertie, Gertrude)—born June 1889;
  4. John—born January 1894;
  5. Geert (George)—born December 1896;
  6. Andina (Dena)—born November 1899; and,
  7. Bennie—dates unknown at this time.
Photo of Berend Veldhuis family standing in front of their farmhouse.

The Veldhuis home on Lake Michigan Drive in Allendale, Michigan. Fenne is standing in the back. Middle row: John, father Berend, Gertje holding baby Ben, and Gertrude. Dena and George are standing in front.

Berend Veldhuis died in Allendale on July 13, 1925 from “gastric ulcer with hemorrhage and possible malignancy.” Gertje Wynberg died in 1914. They were buried in the Allendale Township Cemetery.

Photograph of headstones

Gravestones of Berend Veldhuis and Gertje Wynberg Veldhuis. Photo by scout.

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