Verhagens of Glenmary Reminisce About Holland

Madison Journal April 25, 1941


Jane Fargason


            One Tallulah family has perhaps felt the sting of World War No. 2. more sharply than many other persons in this community or in this section of Louisiana. For the

            Verhagens of Glenmary, situated just on the outskirts of the city, still claim Hitler usurped Holland as their native land.


            Mrs. Verhagen, wife of Martin A. Verhagen, points with pride to her Dutch possessions which she "brought to America in 1923". (Two unique china dogs, placed on the ends of the            mantle in their home, have been termed "worth over one hundred dollars".)


            The Verhagen children—twelve­-year-old Josephine, eight-year-old, Martin, and six-year-old Shirley—greatly admire two pairs of wooden shoes which their Holland-born

            sis­ters, Johanna and Florence, and their brother Archie actually wore on the trip from the land of windmills to American shores. Johanna was five when from the rail of the

            Dutch vessel,"Reindam," she first glimpsed the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, while Archie was four and Florence three.


            The Tea Custom


            Each afternoon the Verhagens drink tea, a true Dutch custom which they "enjoy observing". The tea is prepared in a teapot brought directly from the Old Country eigh­teen years ago.


            Other interesting Dutch articles in their home are a box of teaspoons, a set of dishes, several hand-painted vases, a tobacco con­tainer (which actually appears to be a dainty powder jar),

            a painting, and two bibles—one which belonged to Mr. Verhagen's grandmother, dated July 6, 1839, and one which was given to Mr. and Mrs. Verhagen as a wedding gift in 1916 by

            the preacher who performed the marriage ceremony. (Both bibles are written in the Dutch language and printed in German script.)


            An outstanding bit of Dutch ar­tistry adorns the wall space on one side of the Verhagen's parlor--a picturesque, brilliantly colored piece of tapestry, done in 1888 by Mr.

            Verhagen's mother.


            Florence, who has one more year of nurse's training at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, says she remembers the boat trip to the United States. "We came to Louisiana because

            Mother's brother, Van Zelfden, was already here and persuaded us to sell our dairy over there and live here. We couldn't speak English, of course Mother, Father, Johanna, Archie,

            nor I; so we bought a dic­tionary, but it didn't do any good," she said. "When we landed in New York, it was the first time any of us had ever seen a negro. We didn't know what to

            think. "Of course, Josephine, Martin, and Shirley, born since we've been here—don't have any such trouble," she added.

            Family Status

            When asked about the status of her family at present, Mrs. Verha­gen told that Johanna is married and lives in Illinois, that Archie is working in Tallulah, that Florence is training to

            be a nurse, and that Josephine and Martin attend grammar school in Tallulah. Shirley is too young yet to attend school. Johanna, Florence, and their parents are still able to speak

            the Dutch tongue, he said.


            Mrs. Verhagen said that she "believes she’d like to see her native home just once more". Her father, now eighty years old, is still there, as well as three of her sisters and three

            brothers. "Since the war began, we have had only one letter from them," she said.