(This report was originally prepared as one segment of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association's Local History Seminar "The Religious and Ethnic Heritage of Tippecanoe County." It was authored and presented by P. John DeYoung in 1994.)

Actually, my primary qualification for this presentation is that I am one of the Dutch in Tippecanoe County. Although I am not an immigrant, my father and all four of my grandparents were born in the Netherlands. The first appreciable number of Hollanders arrived in 1847, 73 years before I was born, and it is now 1994, 74 years after I was born,  so that puts me right in the middle of this story.

In trying to trace early Dutch immigrants to the Lafayette area, I was struggling in the dark.   Laborious scanning of old City Directories in the Resource Center here  for names that looked "Dutch" to me was coming up with very little  information. Finally, going to the desk for help, I said that since many of the early immigrants were farmers, they were not showing up with city addresses.  Nancy Weirich, whom I should have consulted much earlier,  quickly found two folders in the files which were of tremendous help.   One was a listing from the 1900 census of Tippecanoe County of all  "Dutch" names  (more about that later). The other folder contained correspondence from Mr. W.C.Boswijk in the Netherlands i with information he had gathered in Northern Holland about a group of between 30 and 40 people who left the province of Friesland in 1847 planning to settle in Indiana in the surroundings of Lafayette. The newspaper clipping which he included said that the decision to come to Lafayette was made through the encouragement of a Mr. Beukma who had left the province of Gronigen eleven years earlier to go to Indiana and had returned home with no "bad messages" about those areas.  This man planned to return soon to his possessions there. Of course, this sent me on a search for records about the Beukma family.  The book by Henry S. Lucas, Netherlanders  in America,  loaned to me by a friend, Herb Vanderveen, now living in Florida had quite a lot of information gleaned from voluminous letters by Klaas Beukma to friends in Gronigen.   Later I was able to see copies of these letters and translations of some of them in Heritage Hall at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI..

klaas jans beukema Klaas Janszoon Beukma, a widower with three sons, Willem, Kornelis, Jan and one daughter, Truda, had been a farmer on the Castor estate in the province of Gronigen.  During the Belgian revolt against Dutch rule in the 1830's he revealed strong sympathies for the rebels and earned the dislike of some patriotic Hollanders who appear to have made life unpleasant for him.  He was interested in the problems of agriculture and the difficulties of grain farmers and had read Der Nordamerikanische Rathgeber and the Reise durch Nord-Amerika in 1831 and 1832 by Heinrich Gerke,  German works which were influential in the history of emigration to this country following the 1830's. Provided with letters of introduction, he left Rotterdam on May 20, 1835 and arrived in New York on July 13.

He met and talked to several Hollanders who were able to give him information about the fertility of the soil and about rising towns in the  interior.  He left New York by boat for Troy and over the Erie Canal to Buffalo.   Unimpressed by what was available there he next went to Cleveland, and by way of the Ohio and Erie canal to Portsmouth and thence by boat to Cincinnati.   He had heard about desirable lands near Lawrenceburg, IN and engaged a German to take him there by horse and wagon, but the lands did not appeal to him.  Returning to Cincinnati, Beukma purchased maps of Ohio and Indiana and made further inquiries.  His attention was drawn to Lafayette. Originally it had been his desire to go to the farthest west, but Tippecanoe County seemed so promising that he decided to travel no  farther.  He learned that a railroad from the Ohio River to Lafayette by way of Indianapolis was being projected, and also that there were plans to construct a canal  from Lake Erie to Delphi--which, he  reasoned, would soon become the natural economic center of an extensive area.

Setting out from Cincinnati on September 11 in two covered wagons, Beukma and his family arrived, after some mishaps, at, Miamitown, on the Great Miami river,  where he met a Peter Anderson,  who was on his way home to Shelby County.   Anderson helped Beukma in his trials, traveling with him over rough, muddy roads and across inadequate bridges.  This was Beukma's first practical lesson in frontier life and he readily mastered it.   The group journeyed by way of Brookville, Rushville, Moscow and Shelbyville to Brandywine Creek, where Anderson had his home.  Beukma hired Anderson's sons to accompany him to Lafayette, and on September 19 they set out, going first to Indianapolis by the much-traveled Michigan Road, which ran northward to Logansport. [Looking at a present day map it looks like it would have been easier to take US 52 all the way]

Arriving in Lafayette, Beukma moved into a log house about a quarter of a mile north of town and began the task of finding suitable farm land. He wrote home on July 4, 1836, “We are settled in Township Washington where I have purchased 181 acres of land for $955, partially high land but mostly bottom land so I will profit from the unusual increase in the value of the land since I bought it.  My livestock consists of 4 horses and 2 colts...I have two milk cows with calves and seven hogs.  I have sown i0 acres of corn, four and a half acres of oats and about 2 acres of potatoes and white beans besides garden crops.  My home is a humble little log house with a small shed, stables and a small corn crib…”
"My home is located six miles from Lafayette, a medium sized city which is growing steadily, and five miles from a small town called Americus.  The planned canal line runs through my land and the highway runs 5 or 6 rods on the other side...   Near our place to the north is the location of the area of the battle of Tippecanoe...My land stretches three-fourths of a mile along the river."     [A copy of the record of this purchase in the County Recorder's office in Lafayette shows that the property was very near where Hwy 225 crosses the river now.]

It was in 1837 that Beukma discovered how a Dutch immigrant could readily extract a comfortable living from a small farm. Americans, though clever in adapting themselves to frontier conditions, seldom kept gardens.  Nevertheless, they liked fresh vegetables and gladly bought them when they were offered for sale.   This appears to have been the reason why he and a friend purchased 16  acres of  fertile prairie land about 2 1/2 miles from Lafayette for $500.  Here they applied all the skill and craft used in Dutch vegetable gardening.  To this new farm Beukma moved in March 1839, after building a small frame house, 16 by 16 feet,  that was provided with a door and a window "with nine panes," There were no partitions and the house looked "much like the sheep shed Uncle Dijkhuisen built near the landing place by the water a few years ago. His son Willem continued to farm the original land, Kornelis assisted his father, Jan became a carpenter in Lafayette, while Truda did domestic work.  Some time later the Aapkens family, who had settled at Defiance, moved to Lafayette. One of the  sons opened a brick factory and married Truda.  Remains of the brick factory were found on the property purchased by the Lafayette Christian School Society at 26th and Brown Streets in 1948,

Klaas applied for naturalization in 1837 while Jan and Willem did the same in  1844. (Jan age 25  and Willem age 23)  Beukma sent lengthy reports to his relatives in Gronigen.  His favorable portrayal of conditions in Indiana and the description of his own progress  failed, however, to entice other Gronigers to emigrate...For years, as his letters indicate, Beukma's heart yearned for his  friends and relatives. In one letter he complained bitterly about the character and behavior of the Irish laborers imported to work on the canal  nd wrote, "How often I have wished that there might be some of your fine diggers here."

It was Willem who, in 1847,  traveled to northern Holland and returned.  [Just before I was scheduled to leave Grand Rapids I discovered a letter by Willem describing this trip in detail. I would love to have read it or taken a copy of it but the translation covered about 60 double-spaced typewritten pages.  On my next trip there I hope to read the entire letter.   One thing about it that fascinated me was that the trip began on a canal boat from Lafayette to Toledo.  This, then, was the Mr.  Beukma who influenced the group from Friesland to make Lafayette their destination.  According to Lucas, some of the families broke off their journey along  the way as  they found employment.  He lists the names of six families who reached Lafayette and says,  "This group of 18 persons,  besides the Aapkens and possibly a few other families,  became the nucleus of the Dutch colony which has survived in Lafayette until the present day.  One of those families was that of Jurgen Willems de Jong whose wife Sijtske de Bildt later married Peter E,  Alderts after de Jong's death.   Sijtske's daughter Rebecca de Jong married Klaas Vanderkleed.  Two of their descendants,  Everett Vanderkleed and his daughter Karen, are here tonight.  Their copy of the book Sijtske de Bildt and her Descendants has been of tremendous help to me in preparing this report.

One of the panelists on the German program two weeks ago asked us to visualize leaving home and crossing the ocean to take up life in an entirely different environment.  He asked how many of us would be willing to leave our homes here and emigrate to Germany.  While that poses a difficult question, it doesn't begin to parallel the obstacles earlier immigrants to America faced.  A trip to western Europe by plane today takes less than twelve hours while their trips by sailing ships were of greater duration by a factor of over a hundred.

[From an oral history reported in the de Bildt book].  I have been told that Sijtske broke down and cried when she picked up her baby from the crib to start on this long journey for then she realized she was going far from home and no doubt would never return.   The voyage was made by sail and it took 84 days to come to America, then three weeks more by boat to Lafayette by the Erie Canal, Lake Erie, and the Wabash-Erie canal.  Not only was the trip long, but accommodations were not very desirable and the food left much to be desired with no fresh fruit or vegetables. Willie, the youngest child of Sijtske and Jurgen died during the ocean voyage.  The horrors had already been frightening enough for them and they could not face the possibility of burying the child at sea, so Sijtske wrapped  it in its blanket and literally smuggled the dead baby ashore. Willie was then buried on Ellis Island.  We don't know whether the child died early or late on the voyage;  there is no known record except that the child died young.    [SLIDE I]  Sijtske's grave stone bears her maiden name for some reason but it identifies her as the widow of Peter Alderts.  The inscription at the bottom of the stone reads,

"To those who for her loss are grieved
This consolation given,
She is from a world of strife relieved
And is resting safe in heaven".

Another family, whom Lucas does not list, was that of Sijds Theunis Crap, the leader of the 1847  group.  [SLIDE 2]  I'm quite sure that he continued on to Lafayette  for he died and was buried in Creenbush Cemetery in 1849.  His widow Froukje de Bildt later married Willem Jacobs Jonk.  Their graves are beside that of Mr.   Crap.  I took a picture of their stones too, but the slide came out blank.   Many of the immigrants changed the spelling of their last names as well as the  first names, perhaps to "Americanize" them.  Krap, K-R-A-P became first C-R-A-P and then C-R-A-P-P.   A son, Thomas S. Crapp is listed in the 1881 Lafayette Directory as a carpenter, lumber dealer and builder of stairways with his business on Ferry Street east of the Wabash Railroad (now the location of Muinzer Moving and Storage).  Willem Jonk, J-O-N-K became William Y-O-N-K and,  in some  records, Y-O-U-N-K; Froukje became Flora.  That occurred also in later years  [SLIDE 4]  as you can see from this stone which is between the graves of my paternal grandparents and those of my parents.  Pieter and Tietje de Jong came to America in 1912 with their son Dirk and were advised to make their names more "American" so they became Peter, Mathilda, and Dick DeYoung.  [SLIDE 5]   When Dad bought this stone my sister and I encouraged him to show that the  spelling change occurred in his generation so that future searchers for roots would have a clue.  [FLASH TO SLIDES 4  & 5] [SLIDE 6 blank]

According to Mijnheer Boswijk more families and single persons emigrated from Het Bildt in  1848, 1859, 1867, 1872, and 1880.  Other people continued to come over the years, whether to improve their condition or to join family members and friends already here.  John Bart who owns farmland east of Lafayette has shared  information from his  family tree.  His great grandfather, Dirk Bart and family came to the United States  in 1868.  John's grandfather, Jan, was born in Haarlem by the Lake,  Netherlands in 1850 and died here in 1915.  The names,  Dirk or Dick and Jan or John appear alternately in seven succeeding generations.

During the last part of the last century and the early part of this century a considerable number of Dutch immigrants were sponsored and hired by Mr. Isaac Lutz, a wealthy farmer in the Shadeland Wea Plains area and his son Harry.   My information about this time  is a little hazy but I have been told some of the names:  Brink, Hanstra, Bol and Hoekema (Hockema).  Clarence Van Schepen, the auctioneer,  tells me that his grandfather arrived in 1880 and dug graves at Springvale cemetery before he farmed for Lutz near Montmorenci.  The Vanderkleeds were here before that and Curtis Vanderkleed is now living and  farming on the old Isaac Lutz farm.  Another farm owner who appreciated the skills and the work ethic of the Hollanders was Adam Earl who owned Shadeland Farms and a considerable amount of land in Benton County.

Surprisingly, the growth of the Dutch community in this area was comparatively little affected by the religious turmoil accompanying a split in the Reformed Church in the Netherlands. This turmoil resulted in large Dutch immigrations into Michigan, lowa, South Dakota and other regions of midland America.  One author who spent time researching that movement dismissed the Lafayette settlement as a small aberration since it did not fit into the picture he was painting.

It may have been relatively small but it was not insignificant.  Robert Swierenga,  Professor of History at Kent State University has furnished the TCHA Resource Center with a printout of the "Dutch  sounding" names in Tippecanoe County from the 1900 census.  His printout lists over 1200 persons.  Of course, not all  "Dutch sounding" names are attached to authentic Hollanders (Schaaf definitely looks Dutch,  but Vera Hopkins whose parents and brothers operated Schaaf Drugs  in the Linwood area tells me that her forebears came from Germany.  By the same token, not all people of Dutch descent have  "Dutch sounding" names.  One very prominent, member of Lafayette who died just a short time ago was Herm Andre'  and Herm was definitely a Hollander.

Around 1920 there were quite a few truck gardeners who were following the example of Klaas Beukma and selling fresh berries and vegetables to the Lafayette community.  Some of the names may make you think of present residents whom you know:  Kuipers, Goris, Wagner, Sietsma,  Plantenga, Hanstra. They made their mark during the period before refrigerated shipping and year-round vegetables from California.

The latest local immigrant  from Holland whom I have been able to locate is Hank Jonker who came here in 1950 about the same time as Clarence Vandergraff.   Hank is a specialist in air conditioning and refrigeration on the Physical  Plant staff at Purdue.  Clarence operated a greenhouse near Morris Bryant until his death six years ago.

While we are thinking about individual families, let me interject a personal note here. Excerpts from a letter from Pieter T. Dykhuizen  (age 25)

“On the first day of May in 1856 three of us, including my cousin, T. Dykhuizen, and Heste Lina Dykhuizen left the place of our birth.   We departed from Soutkamp on  the "Toe" a most serviceable ship.  When we ran into heavy seas, the Captain steered us into coastal waters to Sparrendam.   We sailed into Friesian waters along the coast and I was impressed by the beautiful landscape.  After several  days we came to Leiden in rainy weather and I remained below deck.  We sailed all night and by daybreak we reached Delft.  After going ashore to see the sights, we again boarded our ship and finally reached Rotterdam where we were  to transfer to a larger ship which will take us across the ocean.  There I stood amazed as I recognized some acquaintances as well as the larger ships I had seen in our own area.

On the 9th of May we boarded the good ship Arnold Bonniger. A  tugboat was employed to pull us to Nieuwe Sluis where we went ashore to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost in a church.  After reboarding the ship we entered the Sluis {locks) but were compelled to re-engage the tugboat as we were fast on the bottom.  Before leaving however,  a child died and the passengers were called on deck to witness its burial on shore.  We finally reached the North Sea., but with the wind against us we lost 12 hours going nowhere.  With more favorable winds we finally reached  the English Channel and, with  some good sailing; awakened  the next morning to see land and buildings and beautiful mountains called the Brythergen or Chalk Cliffs near Dover.  We did not enjoy the scenery for very long because the swaying of the boat made some of us dizzy and some quite sick.

Four days later we beheld the coast of France, another imposing sight but,  in listening to the conversation of other passengers,  I am now beginning to understand how long this voyage Is going to take.  Had I known  this, I would never have left the Fatherland.  Oh, what is man?  Always we want  to go full speed ahead and there are many obstacles we cannot bear. The Proverb says:  "It is good that man is chastised." The beautiful painting of America sounded in our ears in the Old Coventry.   We are thinking ahead now how it will  be, and what to expect.  Therefore it is good that when we first sailed that the people lamented their fate and, with me among them, have said many times,  "I'm sorry to have ever started this trip.

For weeks we tossed around on the waves with nothing to see but sky and water.   That is a tremendous change for landlubbers. After some forty days of sailing we reached a place called New Foundland so we  thought we were nearing New York because we saw many ships.   We were told that these were fishing vessels and that this was the coastline of North America and not under the jurisdiction of New York.   It is very foggy nearly all the time and we were anxious for clear weather. If memory serves me correctly, another 14 days elapsed before New York came into sight. During this time, a small child belonging to a German woman, died and it was placed in a wooden box and lowered into the waves. I will not elaborate on the effect that it had on the passengers.  It must be related that we had a wonderful Captain who gave us much freedom,  The entire ship's crew was pleasant even though the food was bad and drinking water in short supply.

On the morning of June 25 we received the pilot aboard to guide us into the harbor and by evening this had been accomplished,  We were tugboated to Statten Island and harbored in Brooklyn and were delighted to think that our feet would soon be touching Mother Earth again, but this was not to be.  The Captain informed us that we would be examined by a medical doctor. This turned out to be easy for us since we were healthy and well.  We were anxious to see the citv and this is easily understood since our feet had never touched the earth for 48 days.

Our next abode was a place called Koothe Garden where passengers could stay but there were no sleeping facilities.  So ,we took a logier (?)to the citv and now we’re in that lovely America  which we had coveted so much, But how sorrowful  it was; we stank like strangers in Jerusalem,  And what  as worse, when we made a purchase, we could not make change because we could not understand these people.  So we decided to leave as quickly as possible.

We boarded a steamboat and the following evening arrived at Nassau where we placed ourselves on a train which would take us to Indianapolis and following' to Lafayette, We arrived in Lafayette on  July 2 (1856). On the Fourth of July we found my brother Hendrik who had come here two years earlier.  He had been very sick and weak and, for this reason pocketbook was very thin.  So we could not stay with him and had to fend for ourselves.  It was not exactly easy for three people to eat three well rounded meals a day because it was impossible for us to find work.

Many times I was misled to go for employment and could not find one person for instruction, Then later these same people would stand in a circle around me and laugh at the greenhorn, There were also days when we were too weak to look for work, caused by the change in climate and air,  compared to the Fatherland. We checked our finances and discovered that there were not sufficient funds for our return home. If it had been possible we would have done so.

It was driven home to me  that the people here are very mischievous and without any kind of organization compared to the Fatherland where everything was always in order.  So these people sent us from one place to another, sometimes crossing a water stream,  sometimes after dark,  sometimes to places  that did not exist,  One time we carried tree stumps and pieces of wood so heavy that the bones in my leg's would crack.”

Within the next few years Pieter accumulated some money and went back home in 1859.  On May 2, 1860 he and Antje Kruizenga were married in Ulrum,  Gronigen, Netherlands.  They had six children in the town of Ulrum,  five of whom survived.  I have a copy of at least one of the birth certificates.   Lafayette apparently still beckoned,  for in 1881, the family resided on Tippecanoe Street, according to the Lafayette City Directory of that year.  Sometime between 1881 and his death on April 2, 1889 the  family posed for this photograph.  [SLIDE 7]  In the fore-ground are Pieter and Antje with their children, Peter, Henry, Martha, Anko and Gozen  (all of whom I remember).  That very attractive lady in the center was my grandmother.

Peter, was 17 when he arrived here went to work almost immediately as a carpenter.  He became a builder and built many homes in the north end of Lafayette being especially proud of the scroll work that he installed over the doors and on the porches.

Henry who was at one time a grocery clerk later joined Peter in the home building business.  Perhaps the skill or inclination skips a few generations  for one of Henry's great grandsons is the Gunstra in Gunstra Builders. Anko was a "Jack-of-all-trades"  and later worked at the Monon shops.

Gozen (George)  operated a grocery store and also traded in other supplies that Holland immigrants needed.   There are rumors that he was a "sharp" trader.

Martha married a farm laborer, Taeke (Charles) Hanstra who was later one of the well known truck gardeners in the county. All of that generation are, of course,  gone now but there are at least four of Pieter and Antje's grandchildren still living; the youngest is 84 years old.

I tried one evening to count the living descendants but gave up when I discovered that the number is in the hundreds. On January 6, 1921 Antje (Moeke) died at the home of her son Gozen where she had resided for 15 years. She had seen or known of at least 12 great-children.  (I  think I was number Ii.) She was buried in Greenbush Cemetery [SLIDE 8] where I  found this broken stone marker after an hour or more of searching last month.   I still have not located Great Grandpa Dykhuizen's grave which I have been told is in Springvale Cemetery.

Now you see why I called this part of my presentation  "A Personal Note."


Perhaps you have heard the statement,  "When there are two Hollanders in a community there will be a church; when there are three there will be two churches."  I think that the "critical mass" for that saying to take effect requires a few more people. The first Dutch immigrants to this area were either not  "church people" or else were content to worship in the existing churches they found here.

It was near the end of the Civil War that a need was felt to worship together as a Dutch congregation.  They first met for "reading services"  in the home of Jan Balkema at 17th and Tippecanoe.  Balkema was displeased when a decision was made to invite Dominie Jacob Schepers, a member of the United Presbyterian Church, to visit and conduct a service so his first sermon was preached in the County Court House.  Soon after this an agreement was reached with United Presbyterian denominational leaders to support a ministry here to the sum of $500 if the local group would contribute $300.

After some six months under the leadership of Rev. Schepers it was decided to organize as the Second United Presbyterian Church of Lafayette.   The formalities took place in the  First U.P. church building on April 6, 1865.  Twenty-two persons became charter members:  Mr.& Mrs. W. Vanderkleed,  Mr.& Mrs. G. Goris,  Mr.& Mrs. J. Zwart,  E. Aardappel, W. Aardappel, P. Uiling, A. Vender Heide,  H.  Spoelma, Mrs.  Sierdsma, E. Bulkens, J. Luit, Mrs. Schepers,  Mrs. Bootsma,  Mr.& Mrs. J.  Medendorp,  Mr. & Mrs. R. Vander Schaaf, Julia Vander Schaaf, and T. A. Vander Plaat. [The pews in the present Christian Reformed Church were donated by the Ardapple family in memory of Mr. Enne Ardapple.

The little congregations grew rapidly in numbers and within six months decided to obtain their own church building.  By July 1866, a 25 X 35  ft. building costing $I000 was dedicated at 14th and Hartford Streets.  Feeling somewhat lonely among the English speaking United Presbyterians,  the congregation requested inclusion in the Hollandsche Gereformeerde Kerk van Noord Amerika. This was granted and on April 5, 1869 they became the Holland Christian Reformed Church of Lafayette,  having been U.P.  for just four years.   [I used to brag about belonging to the oldest CRC in Classis Illiana until one day, while driving through southern Alabama, I  saw a sign that said Church of Christ, organized AD 30 in Jerusalem.

In 1896 the church building was replaced with one twice as large across 14th St, and in 1896 that building was moved to the northwest corner of 15th and Hartford and enlarged with a 35 X 50 ft addition built crosswise at the rear. In 1898 a parsonage was built next to the church, [SLIDE ll].   In this slide of the church and parsonage Mr.&. Mrs. John Vanderveen are standing in front of the church.  At this point in the address this announcement was made: "In order to give you a taste of the Holland Psalms that were sung in our churches a century ago,  Mr. Carl Critter, a graduate student in Computer Science and a teaching assistant in the Mathematics Department at Purdue, has agreed to sing one verse of Psalm 68 for us.  He will be accompanied by Janet Burkenpas. You may have picked up a copy of this Psalm and an English versification of it when you came in.

In the meantime differences of opinion had caused a split in the congregation and a group of people left to organize a separate congregation in the Reformed Church in America.   I won't bore you with the differences between the denominations; perhaps we had just reached the critical number of Hollanders  so that two churches were needed.  The Holland Reformed Church was located in the same block  [SLIDE 12] (notice the hitching sheds for horses and buggies behind each of the churches).

I have heard that in some communities tere is still tension between the two related denominations but I am happy to report that such tension doesn't exist now in Lafayette.  There are now three churches of these denominations here and we work well together. Several years ago I  remarked to Pete Burkenpas about the pleasant relationship.   He told me that  it was all his doing. When questioned about that remark he replied,  "My daughter is secretary at Community,  my wife  is  secretary at First,  and my big  sister  is  secretary at your church. In 1929 the Christian Reformed congregation dedicated this building at 12th and Tippecanoe (2 blocks west of St Elizabeth).

[SLIDE 14 & 15]  It has had an addition and has been remodeled a time or two  since then and  is still  a very beautiful place of worship.  This parsonage on north 27th Street was completed in 1955.  [SLIDE 16]

Responding to the desire  for a Christian school  the Christian Reformed community, in September 1950 opened a four-room,  six grade school on 26th Street at Brown. [SLIDE 17] The building has been remodeled and expanded several times, even surviving a serious  fire in 1973.  [SLIDE 18]  Originally intended primarily for the children of Christian Reformed or Reformed families, it has since expanded its base and its enrollment.   A staff of 13 now serves about 225 students whose famiies are members of 40 different churches.

LCS is not a parochial school, controlled by a church, but is administered by a 12-member board elected by the Christian School Society.  The board is now in the process of a 1.5 million dollar fund raising drive for further expansion and refurbishing.

In 1965 CRC members dedicated this Wayside Chapel on US 52 between Montmorenci and Otterbein.  [SLIDES  19 & 20]   It is on property owned by the Van Schepens and has been open to travelers or anyone else who needs  a quiet place to meditate or pray.   Many notes of appreciation have been accumulated during the 27+ years of its existence and several weddings have been performed there.

In April 1972 there was an Open House of the Purdue Ministries Center [SLIDE 21] to expand another outreach of the CRC.   This building [SLIDE 22] now houses offices, a worship center, and  fellowship  facilities  for  four student ministries: Purdue Christian Campus House,  Purdue Lutheran Ministries ELCA, St. Thomas Aquinas,  and Purdue Christian Reformed Fellowship. I have already mentioned the formation of First Reformed Church.

The congregation consisted not only those who left the Christian Reformed Church but also a considerable number of other Dutch immigrants from the community and surrounding area. The charter membership on May 28, 1888 contained 57 confessing members and 55 enrolled in Sunday School.   In less than a year and a half they had built this lovely frame church [SLIDE  23] on ]4th Street about where St. Anthony Health Care now- stands.

In 1892 they nearly lost it to a sheriff's sale for unpaid debts because of a business depression.  Churches in Illinois and Iowa together with the RCA Board of Domestic Missions came to the rescue and soon the congregation was again prospering.  By 1896 there was a large increase in membership and the congregation assumed support for a professor at Hope College.  The church at Lafayette was asked to minister to a group of Hollanders in the Goodland area until they were able to have their own minister. They had earlier shared their pastor with Seafield, a small community between Reynolds and Wolcott.

Around 1900 an addition to the building was needed; the room which was added served another purpose at noon on Sundays. Families who lived long distances from the church would have noon lunch and fellowship after the morning service. A similar setup was in existence at the CRC where families ate together in between morning and afternoon services. Due to the rise in the cost of living during WW 1 the  pastor's salary was raised in 1917 to $1000.

The need for additional space continued  for a long time with efforts made from time to time to establish a building fund sufficient to erect a new church,  One ecumenical sidelight which the centennial,  books of both churches have omitted is the combined Daily Vacation Bible School which I remember attending about 1935. It was sponsored jointly by First Reformed, Grace United Brethren, Christian Reformed, and St. Paul's Methodist.  Classes for all age groups through high school were held in  the various churches.

In 1954 a goal of $50,000 was set for a new building and the  following men were  appointed to the building and finance committees:  Joe  Sietsma, Raymond Dexter, Charles Partlow, Gerbin Goris, Nick Koster, Lloyd Silva, Lawrence Card, John Polstra,  Grond and  Fred Keiser.  Finally, on April  15, 1956, the great day arrived.  The morning service began in the old building  and then the  entire  congregation walked the six or more blocks to their new sanctuary at 1718 N. 15th Street.  [SLIDE 5] During the 1980s the foyer,  sanctuary, and parking lot were remodeled  [SLIDES 26 & 27] to allow for easy access for the handicapped and to provide greater area for fellowship after services.

With a vision of expansion in south eastern Lafayette, a nucleus of 14  families from First Church was instrumental in establishing Community Reformed Church in 1961. Meeting at first in Edgelea School, the new congregation, with a lot of help from First Church and the Board of Home Missions, was  able  to complete  a church building  at 2501  S. 18th Street.

[SLIDE 28] Living up to it’s name and purpose as a "Community Church" this congregation has grown sufficiently so that, in 1988, a greatly expanded sanctuary was added,  The starter building was converted to educational space as originally planned. For a group of stubborn Hollanders who were originally very clannish and continued to worship in the Dutch language well into the 1920s there has been a noteworthy movement to open up and to influence the entire community.

When LOVE in the name of Christ opened its local office in 1990 all  three of the churches I have been telling you about became charter members.   They are associated with Brown Street Methodist, Covenant Presbyterian, Christ Community,  Evangelical Covenant,  First Assembly of Cod, First Free Methodist,  Heritage United Methodist, Reformed Presbyterian, Dayspring Ministries,  Crestview United Brethren, First. Southern Baptist,  Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan,  Mapleridge Community,  and possibly 2 or 3 other churches.   LOVE INC as it is called seeks to channel the efforts of these Christian churches in helping the needy by serving as a clearing house of legitimate needs and the resources of the member churches.

One of the handouts you received is a copy of a brochure distributed to all churches and community agencies recently.   It will tell you more about LOVE INC than I can. I realize that in this presentation I have completely neglected the large number of Catholics whose forebears also came from the Netherlands.   I apologize to them with the excuse that information about them was unavailable in the sources I used.

The slides noted in the text were made from pictures available locally or were taken by me during February 1993.

  1. W.G.Boswik,  A.E.Boswijk-Kas,  Akerstraat Noord 43, 6446 Brunssum-Treebeck,  Netherlands
  2. Excerpted from Netherlanders in America, Lucas, pages  34-38
  3. Lucas says that Lafayette was a small frontier town but Beukma called it a medium sized city in his letter.   A map of Tippecanoe shows that there may have been an error in translation since there is no place 1/4 mile from Lafayette that is north of the river as Lucas says.
  4. From translations of Klaas Beukma's letters in Heritage Hall.
  5. The centennial  book of Lafayette CRC says  that Beukma's farm was 5 miles south of Americus but the map shows that this is impossible since he was situated along the Wabash River,
  6. Copies of requests for naturalization in the Resource Center of Tippecanoe County Historical Association
  7. Sijtske BJldt and her Descendants,  Margaret Rebecca Buren,  Borden,  Iowa 1970.
  8. I  think I  got  this  idea from Van Hinte's book.
  9. Lafayette CRC Centennial book.
  10. From a  "Family Tree" prepared by Katherine (DeYoung) Post, DeMotte, IN  from various  sources.
  11. Excerpted from the Centennial book of Lafayette CRC.
  12. Excerpted  from the Centennial  book,  100 YEARS 1888-1988,  of the First Reformed Church of Lafayette.
  13. Unattributed  information was obtained  from  informal conversations with various persons  in Lafayette or from my own knowledge.
It was necessary for me to edit this paper extensively  in order to present  it  in the  time available.  It was part of the fifth and last session of a Local History Seminar, "The Religious and Ethnic Heritage of Tippecanoe Count}" of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.   If it is considered for publication in ORIGINS please feel free to edit it as much as necessary.

P. John DeYoung