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The Hollanders

Reprinted from Our County Our Story by Malcolm Rosholt, 1959, pages 145-148.

South of Mill Creek and across Hayden Creek, half way between modern H-34 and the Wood County line in the west of Carson, runs a town road known for the past half century as "Holland Road." Here a small settlement of immigrants from Holland and first generation descendants of Hollanders from around Little Chute and Hollandtown in Outagamie County made their homes, cleared off the terrible array of pine stumps and oak stumps and then, in the Depression years, moved away. The people were ethnically pure Dutch or, as they often referred to themselves, "full-blooded wooden shoes.”

The settlement originated around 1900 and when Mrs. Albert Peters came here as a bride with her husband (ca. 1901) there were still only a few Dutch families in the neighborhood. The Peters, like their Dutch neighbors, were Catholics who either originated, or whose parents originated in Brabant and Limburg provinces, and in the city of Amsterdam, Holland. Mrs. Peters watched the settlement along Holland Road grow and by the beginning of World War I it included the families of Cornelius Vanasten, John Van Ert, Joseph Van de Loop (or Vandenloop), Cornelius Newbore, Theodore Timmerman, John Hartjes (pronounced "hart-cheese" but originally spelled Hartjens), Henry Van de Wetering, Cornelius Van Lith, Joseph Peters, and Fred Manders. Others living off the road a short distance, east and west, included Peter Hartjes, John Joosten, and Henry Van Gemmert, a bachelor, and one Belgian family, the Adolph Shelfhonts who remained only a few years and sold out to Van De Wetering. The names listed by Mrs. Peters are all confirmed in the 1903 and 1915 plats, although the 1915 plat, in addition, lists Jos Van De Berge in See. 20.

These people conversed in Dutch among themselves, although the first generation born in Outagamie County spoke both Dutch and German as well as English. Most of them apparently had ceased to wear wooden shoes by the time they reached Portage County, although Joseph Peters (living near Rudolph, Wis.) remembers that he was wearing wooden shoes as a youngster in grade school near Little Chute. When his father, Peter Johannes, a native of Limburg province who emigrated to Outagamie County in the mid-1850s, wished to show his displeasure at some prank of the youngsters, he nearly always kicked his wooden shoe into the air and woe to him who caught it behind.

Although the Dutch Catholics of Holland Road celebrated Christmas holidays, their big feast day was December 6, known as the feast of St. Nicholas or "St. Nick's Day." After chores had been finished, the neighbors drove from one farm to the other, ate candy, popcorn, apples and, while the children played parlor games, the older folks enjoyed a game of cards and seldom got home until past midnight.

Most of the Dutch along Holland Road attended St. Philomena Catholic Church across the county line at Rudolph, and St. Phillip's Parochial School. The Sunset Valley School, the neighborhood public school, was once located on Holland Road in Sec. 30.

But most of the original settlers of Holland Road are dead and their descendants have nearly all moved away and the name of the road itself is being forgotten except by the few, a nostalgic memory of things past not of thoughts present.

In a family history prepared especially to eulogize Peter Johannes Peters and his wife Maria-Ann, nee Van de Loop, first generation settlers in Outagamie County and parents of the two Peters families once of Carson, one of the final paragraphs ends with this prayer:

"Let us say with Peter and Maria-Ann:
God Hemelschen Vader!

Ik bedank U, uyt geheel myn hert. Ik offer aIle
de werken van myne dagen tot uwen
glorie!

Ik Maek en voo'nee' men van better te leven.
In den naem des Vaders, des Zoons, en des
Heglegen Geest, Amen."

(Literally, "God, the Father in Heaven! I thank you with my whole heart. I offer the works of all my life toward Thy Glory! I promise to live in a better way. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.")1

One of the favorite dishes prepared by the Dutch along Holland Road is called bry. According to Mrs. Peters, this is made with "scrapples" i.e. the lard fried out. Her recipe:

"Take quart or more of water and put scrapple in salt and pepper; let come to a boil and stir in flour, either buckwheat or white flour, to a batter hard to stir. Pack in large pan and pat down solid and, when cold, slice and fry with lard."

But long before the settlement along Holland Road developed, individual families of Holland or Flemish descent had settled in various parts of the county. Probably the first was William Vanderverker who purchased a tract of land in the town of Plover from A. Brawley in 1845. Later arrivals included Van Buskirk, Vanskiver, Van Myer, Van Ellis, Van Gorder, Valtenburg, Vandervoot, and Van Order. A disproportionate number carried the prefix "van" which suggests that some may have adopted this when coming to America at one time or another in order to add a touch of gentility to their family background.

1 Booklet in collection of Joseph Peters, Rudolph, Wis.