Peter Knoper

By Bentheimers International Society

Hand-drawn map of Hilten, where Peter Knoper was born.

A portion of General Major von Le Coq‘s Grafschaft Bentheim map (1805) depicting the area where the community of Hilten is found. Peter Knoper was born here in 1812.

Peter Knoper (Knöper) was born in Hilten on May 23, 1812, the son of Harmen Smit and Mette Knoper (his father took the Knoper name). He was baptized in Uelsen on May 31, 1812, and he worked as a Kolon (farmer) in Gölenkamp.

The Peter Knoper Family

On September 27, 1839, Peter Knoper married Geerdjen Warring and probably lived in Gölenkamp on their farm. Geerdjen died on July 20, 1863 in Gölenkamp, but she and Peter had eleven children together:

  1. Harmen—born in Hilten in 1840; called Harm;
  2. Evertdine—born in Hilten in 1841, died 1917;
  3. Gesina—born in Hilten in 1843,
  4. Geerd—born in 1845 in Gölenkamp, died 1871;
  5. Hermannus—born in Hilten in 1848. Called Herman, he was the first of the family to emigrate in 1867;
  6. Berend Hendrik—born in Gölenkamp in 1850;
  7. Miena—born in Gölenkamp in 1852. Called Mina;
  8. Hendrikjen—born in Gölenkamp in 1854, died the same year;
  9. Hendrikjen—born in Gölenkamp in 1855. Called Hendrijke;
  10. Harmina—born in Gölenkamp in 1857. Called Hermina, she was the second family to emigrate, in 1874; and
  11. Hendrik—born in Gölenkamp in 1860. Called Henry.

Emigrating to West Michigan

Peter Knoper’s son Hermannus/Herman was the first of the family to emigrate, coming to Ottawa County, Michigan in 1867. Then in 1874, daughter Harmina/Hermina emigrated. In 1881, Peter left Grafschaft Bentheim, sailing on the S.S. Amsterdam from the port of Rotterdam to New York. Four of his other children accompanied him: Mina, Harm, Hendrikje, and Hendrik.

Peter and his children settled in Allendale, where they purchased a number of farms. Three years after leaving Grafschaft Bentheim, Peter Knoper died. He is buried in the Allendale Township Cemetery along with his daughter Hermina and son-in-law Albert Kraker.

Cemetery with Harmina Knoper's headstone.

Peter Knoper’s headstone in the Allendale Cemetery. He is buried alongside his son-in-law Albert Kraker and daughter Hermina. Photo by Scout at

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