Berent Jan Lemmen, Sr.

By Bentheimers International Society

Some information for this biography is taken from "The Lemmen Family of Grafschaft Bentheim," by Lloyd J. Lemmen and Loren J. Lemmen.

Hand drawn map of Laar where Gerritdina Lemmen was born in 1856

A portion of General Major von Le Coq‘s Grafschaft Bentheim map (1805) depicting the settlement of Laar. Berent Jan Lemmen Sr. was born here in 1805.

Berent Jan Lemmen Sr. was born on August 6, 1805 in Laar to Berend Lemmen and Ide Wiggers. He was the fifth of seven children born to this couple. Berent Jan worked as a weaver in the Emlichheim area.

Sometime before 1832, Berent Jan married Hinderkien Prüüst (the marriage record has not been found). She was born on May 4, 1813 and died February 5, 1869 in Neuringe. They had three children:

  • Hinderkien–born 1832;
  • Berent Jan Jr.–born 1837; and,
  • Jan–born 1842.

Berent Jan Lemmen Sr.’s House In Neuringe

In 1817, colonists began to settle the area of Neuringe, an uninhabited heath. This area bordered on a small canal or river that separated Neuringe from the Netherlands. By the 1850s, however, many of these colonists had died, but new colonists returned in the 1860s. Berent Jan’s name was among the first in the list of names. Here he owned  a strip of land around 50 meters by 300 meters, about 6 “Morgan” (1.5 hectares, or 3.7 acres).

Berent Jan and wife Hinderkien shared a house on this property with their son Jan and his family. He was an “Altenteiler”: According to 1868 records, he annually received a pension of five gulden, free room and board, and free clothes, which Jan paid.

Emigrating T0 Michigan

By 1857, a number of his family members had emigrated to Graafschap, Michigan, including son Berent Jan Jr., his sister, Fenigje Lemmen, and her children.

After his wife Hinderkien died in 1869, Berent Jan wrote to his son, Berent Jan Jr., and asked if he could come over and live with them in Laketown Township. On April 18, 1873, he arrived in New York on the SS Minnesota. He lived with his son’s family for the remainder of his life. Berent Jan Lemmen Sr. passed away on May 15, 1893, and was buried in the East Holland Cemetery.

Portrait of Berent Jan Lemmen Sr.

Berent Jan Lemmen Sr.

Berent Jan’s headstone in the East Holland Cemetery, Allegan County, Michigan.

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