Egbert Broene was born 27 January 1840 in Uelsen, Grafschaft Bentheim, the second of six children of Harm Hendrik Broene and Kunnegien Nyboer. He emigrated in 1865 from Grafschaft Bentheim to Graafschap, Michigan with his father, stepmother Jennechien Dyke, four brothers and sisters, and four step–siblings.
When the Broene family decided to emigrate, Egbert was working as a carpenter. He came home to make the wooden chests that the family used to transport their possessions. His grandfather Geert was also planning to come to America, but shortly before the scheduled departure date, on April 30, 1865, he passed away from a serious illness. The Broene family sold its farm and livestock (Egbert’s father was an independent farmer, or Colon) left Germany on June 15.
Egbert Broene Family
On December 5, 1867, Egbert Broene married Alida Ter Stege. They had six children:
- Hendrika—born October 15, 1868, died July 21, 1910. She married Benjamin Stegink;
- Kaatje—born December 28, 1869, died December 3, 1963. She married Albert J. Zuiderveld;
- Harmina—Minnie was born October 19, 1871 and died May 19, 1969. She married Dirk Vander Ploeg;
- Albert—born February 22, 1874, died January 4, 1876;
- Albert—born March 9, 1876, died October 18, 1967. He married Anna Franken; and
- Jennie—born June 9, 1879, died February 17, 1933. She married Louis John Bolt.
From Farming to The Ministry
On February 25, 1868, a meeting was held in Collendoorn, Michigan to establish the East Saugatuck True Dutch Reformed Church. This church was a branch off of the Graafschap church. Fifty-four people agreed to become part of this new church, including Egbert and Alida Broene. Egbert’s brother Geert Broene and his wife Andina Harmsen, and his sister Andina Broene and her husband Johannes Glupker, also signed the list.
The new congregation quickly constructed a church sanctuary and parsonage, but on October 9, 1871, both buildings were consumed by the Holland Fire of 1871.
After farming for a time in the Graafschap area, Egbert Broene entered the Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids and became an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church.
The Egbert Broene family. Back row (standing): daughters Kate and Hendrika. Middle row: mother Aleida Ter Stege Broene, father Egbert Broene, daughter Minnie. Front row: daughter Jennie and son Albert.
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