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Nelis F. Pott, Page 526
NELIS F. POTT, a prosperous farmer residing on section 25, in the town of Holland, is a native of the province of Zeeland, Holland, w here he was born April 6, 1830. His parents, Cornelius and Eve (Fabrie) Pott, were also natives of the same place. The father was a blacksmith in the village of Cloctinge for many years, but toward the close of his life bought a small farm, which he operated. His death occurred at the age of seventy-three years. His family consisted of two sons, John H. and Nelis F. The former is still a resident in the home of his parents. Of a mother's love and guardianship our subject knew but little, his mother having died when he was quite a small child.
Young Nelis received his education in the common schools of his native village, and when but eleven years of age began work on the farm, which calling he has followed all his life. In September, 1848, Mr. Pott took passage on the English sailing-vessel "Catherine Jackson," owned by Capt. Stafford, for the United States. After a stormy voyage of forty-two days, the captain, knowing that they were off the coast of New Jersey, held out the hope of a speedy landing to the weary passengers. On the morning of the forty-second day the fog was so dense the sun could not pierce it, and no great surprise was felt when the ship grounded on the beach. All of the one hundred and fifty passengers were taken off in a short time by sloops sent from the shore, which carried them to New York. It was very fortunate for all on board, as a few days later the "Catherine Jackson" went to pieces during a heavy storm. Continuing his journey, Mr. Pott went on the Hudson River to Albany, thence to Buffalo by rail, and from the latter city on the Lakes to Milwaukee. After spending about a week there, in company with two companions he started for Holland Township, coming by way of the lake shore to the home of an uncle, where he remained during the winter of 1848-49. The following spring Mr. Pott went to Grafton (better known at that time as Hamburgh) where he was employed in a potash factory for a short time. His home, however, we may say, was at his uncle's from 1848 until 1851. In the fall of the latter year he returned to the Old Country, but, like others of the pioneers who had set foot upon American soil, he found here freedom and opportunities for making a home that were not to be enjoyed elsewhere, and three years after we find him retracing his steps. Soon after his arrival in the town of Holland, in 1854, in company with his uncle, Mr. Pott purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on sections 24 and 25, all of which was in the thickest underbrush and timber, except about three acres, which had been cleared by a former owner. About a year later this partnership was dissolved, our subject taking the eighty acres lying on section 25, for which he paid $800.
Mr. Pott was united in marriage with Miss Johanna Hyink, a daughter of Steven J. and Henrietta (Blekkink) Hyink, who emigrated to America from the province of Guelderland, Holland, in 1847. The wedding was celebrated at the home of her parents on section 2, on the 28th of May, 1856. A few months later a log house was erected by the groom, in which they began their domestic life in keeping with the times. Side by side they have toiled, sharing the joys and sorrows of making a home for themselves and their children. By their frugality and untiring industry they have acquired a goodly share of this world's gifts, and today are in possession of a well-earned competency. Mr. Pott and his wife well remember when the forest was inhabited by deer and howling wolves. The latter often visited the few homes in the wilderness in search of food during the heavy storms of winter. Indians, then so numerous, have drifted away to make place for the civilization of the white man.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Pott nine children were born, seven of whom survive. Horace C., born March 19, 1857, resides in Sheboygan; Henry S., born 19, 1860, is a farmer of Phillips County, Kan.; Delia J., born May 1, 1863, married William Walford, a merchant of Oostburg; Jane M., born June 3, 1866, became the wife of Tony Walvoord, a cheese maker and farmer of Holland Township; John F., born July 27, 1873, lives in Sheboygan; Hattie M., born May 19, 1875; and Willie A., born September 14, 1878, are still at home. This family belongs to the Dutch Reformed Church of Cedar Grove, which was organized in 1854, under Rev. William Von Leeuwen.
In political affairs, Mr. Pott supports the principles of the Republican party, though he has no aspirations for official honors.
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