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Derk Meengs, Page 490
DERK MEENGS, who was for many years a popular shoemaker of Cedar Grove, was one of the well-known characters of Holland Township. His first location was on section 26, where he erected a log dwelling-house, 16 x 26 feet, and a ship of the same material 12 x 18 feet. For over a quarter of a century it stood as a landmark, where the early settlers went to have their shoes made and mended, to hear the news, and to "swap yarns," for which they were especially noted. Mr. Meengs was born in Geesteren, Province of Overyssel, Holland, July 22, 1818, being a son of Derk and Henders (Hagens) Meengs. For a livelihood the father followed farming and weaving. Both he and his wife spent their entire lives in the Old Country.
The subject of this article received his education in the common schools of his native village, after which he served an apprenticeship to the trade of shoemaker, which calling he made his life work. Having completed the term of his apprenticeship, he went to Markeloo, Holland, where he worked for some time. There he met the lady who became his wife, Miss Roeltken Schuppert, to whom he was married March 15, 1845. In the spring of 1855, Mr. Meengs, with his wife and six children, set sail from Rotterdam, bound for the New World. Numerous storms were encountered on the voyage, in consequence of which it required fifty-eight days to reach New York Harbor. After a rest of three days, they again resumed their Westward course, coming direct to Cedar Grove, where he erected the house and shop above spoken of. There he toiled for many years, becoming well known to the settlers for miles around. His death occurred June 7, 1882, and twelve days later his good wife was laid to rest beside him. She died in the sixty-third year of her age. Of their children, four survive: Henry J., born January 31, 1846; Derk J., born October 10, 1848; Henrietta, who was born July 28, 1854, and married B. Bloemendaal, of Holland, Mich.; and Henry, born February 26, 1855.
Henry J. Meengs, who is the eldest child in his father's family, was a lad of nine summers when he came to this country. At the age of sixteen, he began to earn his own living, going to Waupun, Wis., where he worked on a farm for wages. Nine months each year here spent thus, and the other three months were enjoyed with his parents. This was repeated for four years.
March 5, 1869, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Meengs and Miss Hannah G. Landeweerd, a daughter of Henry and Gerdina Landeweerd, who were aboard the ill-fated "Phoenix," which burned off Sheboygan on the night of November 21, 1847. The parents, with four children, sand to rise no more, while four of their little girls, of whom Mrs. Meengs was the youngest, were saved from the burning ship. As Mrs. Meengs was but two years old at that time, she, of course, remembers nothing of her parents, or of this sad event.
Upon marriage, Mr. Meengs located on his present farm, which is situated on section 30, range 23, where he owns forty acres of finely improved land. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Meengs consists of eight girls, namely: Delia, born February 8, 1870, who resides in Sheboygan; Rosa, born April 26, 1872, now attending the High School in that city; Lizzie, born June 18, 1874; Mary, born October 31, 1876; Hattie, born October 1, 1878; Anna, born July 3, 1881; Jennie, born December 25, 1883; and Ellis, born July 18, 1887.
Mr. Meengs takes an active interest in the triumphs of the principles of the Republican party, in whose county conventions he has numerous times been a delegate. From 1882 to 1891, he served his town as Assessor. Since 1888, he has been Treasurer of the Town Holland Mutual Fire Insurance Company. A warm friend to the public schools, he has served for many years in official positions connected therewith. He and his family are members of the Dutch Reformed Church.
For nearly forty years our subject has been a resident of this county, and during much of that time has served his fellow-citizens in one official capacity or another. His course has ever been such as to command the confidence and high esteem of those with whom he has been associated.
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