Achterhoek Ancestors

Background articles

» Show All     «Prev «1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 56» Next»     » Slide Show

Biography of William Rowerdink

WILLIAM ROWERDINK. In contrasting the lives and surroundings of some persons with the circumstances in which, at a similar age, their parents were placed, we cannot refrain from the exclamation: "What a vast difference what forces have brought it about?" Here is one enjoying every advantage of business and society and culture, while his parents had to endure privations and discomforts, their situations altogether dissimilar, and although they exerted the most strenuous efforts, their attainments fell far short of what, under other circumstances, they might have been. We can only offer in explanation of this obvious state, beyond that for which reason may account, that the ways of Providence are inscrutable and past finding out. By toilsome step and with slow and weary feet are some destined to pass through the world, never enjoying to the fullest extent the things which they anticipate, while others mount by rapid and springing step to the very zenith of their ambitions.

It is an undeniable fact that circumstances have much to do with the formation of character, and it is just as evident a truth that self-development and will have a great bearing on the condition of circumstances; but that either can become absolutely independent and uninfluenced by the other cannot be proved. Perhaps by the experience of others some are to profit, and the sacrifices that the former make, in some respects, will be atoned for by due compensation in other respects. We have spoken of the difference in the position of the father and son at the same period of their respective lives, and just such a contrast will be noticed in the perusal of this sketch.

Mr. Rowerdink is a young man possessing all the qualifications of a good, live business man, and is senior partner in the firm of Rowerdink & Wismer, dealers in clothing, dry-goods, boots and shoes, hats and caps, groceries and general merchandise, in the city of Hickman. His father, Gerret J., and mother, Teressa (Boalkens) Rowerdink, were natives of Holland, the father of Winterswyk, and the mother of Oosterdyke. Being for awhile engaged in farming, he decided to come to America, and with his wife and two children he started across the great water, little thinking that on this adventure he should lose what was so very dear to him during the passage. The dread disease, cholera, broke out on board the ship, and, attacking his wife and children, proved fatal to them, all three sinking to a watery grave. This sad bereavement left him homeless and alone in a new land. His destination being Sheboygan, Wis., to that place he repaired, engaging in general work. After two years he was married again.

This lady, the mother of our subject, had come from Holland the wife of Mr. Poort, who soon died leaving her with five children to care for, the first, and one of the only two Hollandish families in Sheboygan. For one or two years she battled alone most nobly with the world, keeping the wolf from the door by the labor and industry of her own hands. Making the acquaintance of the father of our subject, they were married and engaged in farming, at which they prospered fairly well. They continued near Sheboygan until the spring of 1874, when they came to Lancaster County, and bought 160 acres of land in South Pass. It was their misfortune to encounter several reverses, one of which was the loss encountered during the grasshopper era, but they have been mainly successful, and are comfortably located on their homestead, the father aged sixty-eight, and the mother sixty-six years. They have had four children by the last union: William, Ellen, Jane and Cornelius, all married. Cornelius resides in Adams, and Jane and Ellen are wives of prosperous farmers in South Pass Precinct.

William, our subject, was born in Sheboygan County, Wis., June 17, 1857, at which place he grew up on the farm, attending the common school when opportunity was afforded. He was a boy of fifteen when he came to Nebraska, having persuaded his parents to make the change, and afterward having abundant opportunity to regret his venture. His ambition and pride would not allow him to acknowledge having made a mistake, and he strove to rectify it by earnest labor, passing through the plague of the grasshoppers, and having an experience in common with the rest of the pioneers. He followed the breaking-plow for many and many a day, the first five or six years being a struggle for existence. Then the tide turned, success came smiling toward him, and in the midst of it he was married, on the 29th of February, 1880, to Miss Anna Gringhuis, a daughter of Harm and Anna (Bymolt) Gringhuis. Mrs. Rowerdink is the fourth of a family of two boys and three girls, the date of her birth being Feb. 25, 1863. Her father was a gardener at Grand Haven, Mich., at which place she was born, and was one of the first settlers in that country. Her parents came to Nebraska in the fall of 1878, and are now residing in Hickman, both having come to America from the old country, and having attained to prosperity and honor. The father is sixty-seven and the mother sixty-two years old.

Mrs. Rowerdink came to Nebraska a girl of fourteen, in 1878, with her parents. She had enjoyed very good educational advantages in Michigan, and continued attending the public schools after her arrival in Nebraska. Our subject soon made her acquaintance, which ended in a happy marriage, after which the young couple continued for one year on the farm, and then the husband entered into partnership with his brother-in-law, Mr. Emmett Gringhuis. The new firm was engaged in general merchandise at Roca for two and a half years, when they sold out, and came to Hickman in 1883. Our subject built his present store, forming a partnership with Mr. Wismer. He has been very successful, his trade has steadily increased, and the people of Hickman have learned to know and respect him as a business man of strict integrity, who is always ready to wait upon the public in a gentlemanly way. His business is second to that of no mercantile establishment in Hickman, an appropriate testimonial to his worth and integrity.

Our subject and his wife have been the happy parents of three children: Teressa and Jennie, who are living at home, and Minnie, whose death when she was four years old was a sad bereavement to them. They are members of the German Reformed Church, of Holland, Neb., and are members of the Hickman Library Association. Our subject votes with the Republican party, having been a delegate to the Republican County Convention of Lancaster County in 1886, he has built a commodious frame dwelling, and also owns property in Hickman and Lincoln, besides a farm of 160 acres in Colorado. His sterling qualities have won for him a host of friends, and the surroundings of his happy home, so forcibly in contrast with those of his father at about the same age, are a testimonial to his unusual ability and success in life.

Owner/SourcePortrait and Biographical Album of Lancaster County, Nebraska,
Linked toFamily: Rauwerdink/Boelens (F5959); Family: Rauwerdink/Gringhuis (F10139)

» Show All     «Prev «1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 56» Next»     » Slide Show