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Isaac De Smidt, Page 566
ISAAC De SMIDT, a farmer of section 35, is well known to the people of Holland Township, where almost his entire life has been spent. His father, Abraham De Smidt, was one of the pioneers of that town, and was a gentleman whose sterling qualities won the highest respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens. He was born in the province of Zeeland, Holland, and upon reaching maturity married Wilhelmine Crokek, who became the mother of five children. Anna, born March 3, 1822, now resides in Canandaigua County, N. Y.; Maria was born March 30, 1823; Cornelius, born May 3, 1824, is a farmer of the town of Holland; Abraham, born December 6, 1825, is a farmer of Michigan; and Wilhelmine, born August 2, 1832, resides in Canandaigua.
After the death of his first wife, Mr. De Smidt wedded Lentjen Ver Meulen, and by this union had eight children. Franzina, born October 14, 1835, is the wife of Hermanus J. Ketman, a farmer of Humboldt County, Iowa; Adrian, born February 9, 1837, is deceased; Peter, born January 31, 1838, is also a farmer of Humboldt County; Jennes, born May 18, 1839, is a farmer of Greenbush Township; Isaac, born January 26, 1843, is spoken of further on in this article; William, born January 6, 1846, is a farmer and blacksmith of Sheboygan Township; Janneke, born March 13, 1848, is the wife of William Wedemeier, of Sheboygan; and Jacobus, born January 9, 1850, is a merchant of that city. As Mr. De Smidt came to the United States in 1848, it will be observed that all of his children, save the youngest, were born in Holland.
In April, our subject, with his family, sailed from Rotterdam, and after a tedious voyage of seventy-eight days reached the harbor of New York the 3d day of July, 1848, and there spent July 4. They went to Albany by way of the Hudson River, thence on a canal-boat to Buffalo, and from there came on the Lakes to Milwaukee. From that city to Holland Township the journey was made in true pioneer style--in wagons drawn by oxen. It required four days to make the trip, but they at length reached their destination in safety. The country was wild in the extreme, scarcely any improvements having been made. In August, 1848, Mr. De Smidt purchased fifty acres of timbered land, on which he erected his first home in America, which was a log cabin, 18 x 24 feet. By unceasing toil he cleared and developed a good farm, being considered one of the prosperous farmers of his township. Mr. De Smidt lived to see his town become one of the richest and best cultivated in the county. When he first located here Indians were plentiful. The friendly Chippewas often stopped to partake of his hospitalities, which were never withheld, either from the children of the forest or from the white settler. Game of all kinds was plentiful, and was often served on the table of this worthy pioneer. On the 21st of March, 1874, Mr. De Smidt passed from among the living, and was laid to rest in the Cedar Grove Cemetery. His faithful wife, who had borne with him the care and responsibility of rearing a family, died December 24, 1885, and was buried by his side.
Isaac De Smidt was but five years of age when he came with the family to this country. His education was received in the common schools of Holland Township, where almost his entire life has been spent. He may, therefore, be properly termed a product of Sheboygan County. In 1869 he purchased seventy acres of land from his father, of which about half was under cultivation. Six years later he bought the original fifty acres on which his father settled when he first came to the county, and ten acres additional on section 35. In 1878 he added sixty acres more to his farm, making one of the best farms in the township.
Mr. De Smidt wedded Miss Eliza Daane, May 17, 1869, the ceremony being performed at the home of her brother, Peter Daane, of Oostburg. Mrs. De Smidt was born in Pultneyville, N. Y., November 23, 1846, being a daughter of Peter Daane, Sr., a sketch of whom will be found elsewhere in this work.
Mr. and Mrs. De Smidt have a family consisting of eight children, all of whom are natives of the town of Holland: Abraham C., born February 6, 1870; Peter J., born August 28, 1871; Adrian B., born July 2, 1873; John H., born November 27, 1875; William A., born May 23, 1878; Jacobus H., born October 15, 1880; Nellie, born March 20, 1885; and Morris, born February 20, 1887.
Mr. and Mrs. De Smidt are members of the First Presbyterian Church of Cedar Grove, but their ancestors belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church.
Politically, Mr. De Smidt gives his allegiance to the Republican party, though he takes no active part in politics. He is one of those sturdy, thrifty farmers that form the bone and sinew of the county.
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