Netherlands

Ralph or Roelof Kuiyers

Ralph or Roelof Kuiyers was born in 1846 in the Netherlands.

“Ralph” immigrated to America sometime before the war broke out and eventually settled in western Michigan.

He stood 5’4” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Zeeland, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company F on March 25, 1864 at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Zeeland, and was mustered the same day. (He was probably related to Jacob Kuiyers who was also from the Zeeland area.)

“Ralph” joined the Regiment on April 2 at Brandy Station, Virginia, and was killed in action on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia. He was presumably buried among the unknown soldiers at the Wilderness.

Hendrikus "Henry" Dykema

Hendrikus Dykema, also known as “Henry,” was born 1836 in the Netherlands.

“Henry” immigrated to the United States, and eventually settled in western Michigan. (He may have been related to a farmer named Pieter Dykema and his wife Ida, both born in the Netherlands and both of whom immigrated to America sometime before 1850 when they were living in Holland, Ottawa County; they were still living in Holland, Ottawa County in 1860.)

By 1860 Henry (listed as “Dickma”) was employed as a mill worker in Allendale, Ottawa County, working in the Richard Roberts’ mill along with Jerry Sullivan, who would also enlist in Company C.

“Henry” was 25 years old and possibly still living in Allendale when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles”, a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.)

He was wounded in the shoulder on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, but his wound was apparently not severe and he soon returned to duty.

Henry was wounded a second time, this time severely, on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and subsequently hospitalized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania through the rest of the year. He was dropped from the company rolls on January 10, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, but returned from dropped status on March 5, 1864, at Brandy Station, Virginia. Nevertheless, he apparently did not rejoin the Regiment and was a provost guard at Philadelphia in March, and in April was reported on detached service in Philadelphia. He probably remained on detached service until he was mustered out of service on June 20, 1864.

After his discharge Henry apparently returned to Ottawa County.

Henry apparently died sometime before January of 1869 when he was reburied on January 13, 1869, in Pilgrim Home cemetery in Holland, Ottawa County. (It is entirely possible that Henry died of his wounds in Philadelphia and his body returned to Michigan for burial.)

No pension seems to be available.

Meerweis DeKraker

Meerweis DeKraker, also known as “John M. Dekraker,” and “Munnis DeKraker”, was born 1839 in the Zeeland, the Netherlands.

Meerweis immigrated to the United States sometime before 1861 and eventually settled in western Michigan. (In 1860 there was one Isaac R. DeKraker, born around 1802 in the Netherlands living with his wife and family in Holland, Ottawa County.)

Meerweis stood 6’0” and had blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 22-year-old farmer possibly living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company A on June 10, 1861. (Curiously, Meerweis did not enlist in either the German-dominated Company C or in Company I, the Ottawa County-dominated company which was made up of a significant number of Netherlanders.) He was reported missing in action during a charge of the enemy’s position before Richmond on June 30, 1862, and he returned to the Regiment on August 12 at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. (He may have been held briefly as a prisoner or perhaps he had been hospitalized.)

Meerweis reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids, was presumably home on veterans’ furlough in January of 1864, possibly in Michigan and he probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was reported absent sick in June of 1864, and was supposedly still absent sick when he was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

In any case, he was serving with the Fifth Michigan at Petersburg when he was wounded in the right arm and shoulder on June 18; the arm, which had been fractured at the shoulder, was amputated at the shoulder joint on the field the same day and he was admitted to the II corps hospital at City Point, Virginia on June 23, furloughed on June 26, and admitted to Campbell general hospital in Washington on June 28.

In July he was reported as a corporal as absent wounded. He was furloughed again on October 24, re-admitted on November 14 and remained hospitalized until he was discharged on March 21, 1865, at Campbell hospital in Washington, DC on account of “resection of head of humerus of right arm from wound received in action. . . .”

Meerweis gave his mailing address as Grand Rapids on his discharge paper, but by 1874 he was living in Plainwell, Allegan County.

He was probably living in Allegan County when he married Michigan native Mrs. Helen H. Plantz (1844-1922) on October 5, 1875, in Martin, Allegan County, and they had at least one child: Thomas Edgar (b. 1877). (Helen was a widow whose husband George Plantz died in 1874.)

By 1880 Meerweis, known as “John M.” was working as a farmer and living with his wife and son in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County; also living with them were two stepchildren: Carrie (b. 1868) and Burt (b. 1871). Meerweis was living in Orcutt (?), Kalamazoo County in 1883 drawing $18.00 for wounded right shoulder (pension no. 42,274), and drawing $30 per month by 1885.

He was probably a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and a member of Grand Army of the Republic Orcutt Post No. 79 in Kalamazoo County.

Meerweis died of lung disease on February 1, 1886.

His widow was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 224462). She was living on 1546 Sherman Street in Grand Rapids, Kent County, when she died in 1922.

Johannes Laurentius DeGroot

Johannes Laurentius DeGroot, also known as “John DeGroot,” was born around 1829 in Groningen, the Netherlands, the son of Dirk and Alida (Jacoba).

John was married to Ebeltje Boetes (b. 1836) on April 29, 1857, in the Netherlands and they had at least one child, a son Henry (b. September of 1857). While his family remained behind in the Netherlands, John and his brother Dirk (or Durich) immigrated to the United States sometime before 1860 when John was probably living with the Huburtus family in Polkton, Ottawa County, Michigan, where he was working as a miller with his brother Dirk.

Unfortunately 1860 turned out to be a bad year for John, as he made clear in at least two letters home to his family back in the Netherlands. He was living in Eastmanville, Ottawa County when he wrote on August 23 to his “Dear wife and little son”

I received a letter on the 20th of Aug. with great pleasure. I have tried to obtain employment in a mill and I succeeded at last. But after a few days I was taken sick, very seriously, and confined to bed. My employer sent for the doctor. I bled from the nose fort 5 hours. The doctor advised me to return to the place from whence I came, because the climate and water would not agree with me and I would die if I should stay any longer. I am now recovering. I had saved $23 and all of that was . . . during my sickness. I feel assured that with the help of the Great Lord I will completely recover. Give my best love to our old mother.

He was still in Eastmanville and when he wrote home on November 22.

Dear wife and little son, with great pleasure I received a letter from [you] and hasten to write a few lines in answer. I have been very sick for 10 weeks. It has cost me over 100 guilders (1 guilder = 42 cents, translator) and that is the reason that I have not come home in the fall although I had a great desire to do so. But it cannot be helped now, as the distance which now separates us is too great; even if I should try it, it is not so easy. Be patient and trust in God; what He does is well done and for a good purpose – to make man better. Everything will come out straight.

John stood 5’9” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion, and was 32 years old and probably living in Kent County with his brother’ family or perhaps in Georgetown, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles”, a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.)

John reenlisted on December 21, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Polkton or Ada, Kent County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, possibly in Michigan, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was reported absent sick in February of 1865.

In fact he had apparently been admitted to the 3rd division hospital II Corps on January 20, 1865, suffering from chronic diarrhea and was transferred on February 1 to the 2nd division hospital at city Point, Virginia. Although he was returned to duty February 10 he entered the general hospital at Point Lookout, Maryland on February 12.

On February 25, 1865, while a patient at Point Lookout hospital in Maryland, John wrote to Dr. Van Camp, the surgeon in charge of the hospital requesting a furlough. “Dear Sir: I am a patient in your hospital [ward 3], suffering from chronic diarrhea. I have been three years and eight months in my country's service and have had but one furlough. My sickness is of near four months’ standing and I believe that a visit home enjoying the climate and advantages that would thus surround me would aid materially toward my recovery and restoration to the service. I therefore would most respectfully ask a furlough at your hands. . . .”

DeGroot’s request was approved and on March 16 he returned to western Michigan recover his strength. On March 25 the Grand Rapids Eagle reported “John DeGrote [sic], one of the bravest and best of soldier boys, who went out with the glorious ‘Old Third’, after four years of service has just returned to his home in this vicinity. He has just been compelled to leave his comrades in arms for a time, by that army scourge, chronic diarrhea. Young DeGrote left here, the picture of good health, robust and strong, and now, though he has been sick but a few weeks, he is a complete skeleton, so emaciated that his most intimate friends scarcely knew him at first sight. We hope he will soon recover and be able to exclaim, ‘Richard’s himself again.’”

John was reported as a deserter as of April 30. In fact, his health had deteriorated significantly while at home on leave and he died of chronic diarrhea at his brother Dirk’s home in Grandville, Kent County, on Saturday, April 7, 1865. He was buried in Grandville cemetery.

By 1878 Ebeltje was living in Grootegast, province of Groningen when she applied for and received a pension (no. 185320).

Martin DeBoe

Martin DeBoe was born March 19, 1837, in the Netherlands, the son of John (b. 1810) and Caroline (Van Loob. 1811).

As a young boy Martin immigrated to the United States with his family, and eventually settled in Holland, Ottawa County, Michigan, perhaps as early as 1847. In any case, by 1850 Martin was living with his family in Grand Rapids where his father worked as a laborer.

Martin married Jannetje or “Janke” (“Jane”) Goodluck (b. 1838) on November 2, 1859, and they had at least two children, a son by the name of Jacob, who was, according to one report, born around the time they got married, and another son Peter.

Martin apparently worked off and on in Grand Rapids and in 1859-60 he was working as a carpenter and boarding at John Minderhand’s in Grand Rapids; by 1860 he was reported to be working for Leonard Storb, another a laborer, in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward but was living with his wife and son in Holland, Ottawa County.

Martin stood 5’4” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 24 years old and probably still living in Holland when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) He was shot in the right hand/wrist on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia. He was subsequently hospitalized in Stewart’s Mansion hospital in Baltimore, but by early July he was reported to be “doing well.” He was discharged for a disability caused by his gunshot wound on August 9, 1862, at Baltimore.

After his discharge from the Third Michigan Martin returned to Holland where he reentered the service as First Lieutenant in Company I, Twenty-fifth Michigan infantry at the organization of that Regiment on August 22, 1862, for 3 years, commissioned as of August 10, crediting Holland, Ottawa County.

In April of 1863 he was promoted to Captain, commissioned to date February 17, and was mustered out as of March 1 to accept the promotion, replacing Captain Dowd. In June of 1863 Martin was with the regiment at Green River, Kentucky, but from October 14, 1863, through at least January of 1864 he was at home on sick leave, although the details of his illness are unknown. He was absent sick again in April of 1864, suffering from “remittent” fever, and from typho-malarial fever April 19-24 and again from fever on July 11 but was present for duty in August of 1864. He was suffering from “debility” August 1-18 and from acute diarrhea in November of 1864.

Martin was wounded in the right foot at Nashville, Tennessee, on December 16, 1864, returned to duty and was mustered out of service at Salisbury, North Carolina, on June 24, 1865.

After the war Martin returned to Holland where he resumed the carpentry trade, and for some time worked for the Cappon & Bertsch tannery.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, as well as Grand Army of the Republic Van Raalte Post No. 262 in Holland, a Protestant, and he received pension no. 74,396, drawing $6.00 per month in 1883 for a gunshot wound to the right hand, increased to $12.00 in 1907 and then to $15.00.

He was living in Holland in 1883, 1890 and in the Third Ward in 1894, and indeed he probably lived in Holland until he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 4948) on April 4, 1907. In September of 1907 Martin had one of his hands amputated at the Home hospital.

Martin died of carcinoma of the right arm and axilla at the Home hospital at 8:00 a.m. on October 17, 1908, and his remains were sent to Holland where he was interred in the Pilgrim Home cemetery, Holland.

Daniel Bugel - update 1/28/2017

Daniel Bugel was born in 1835 in the Netherlands or Prussia.

Daniel was married to Prussian-born Anna Maria or Mary Brenitian (b. 1838) on November 7, 1854, at St. Mary’s church in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and they had at least five children: Mary (b. 1851), John (b. 1855), Adam (b. 1857), Anna (b. 1859) and Elizabeth or Bertha (Mrs. Brinker, 1861-1925). (The 1860 census lists their first child Mary as having been born in Prussia.)

Daniel and Anna Maria eventually settled in Michigan (he may in fact have been living there before his marriage) and were living in Grand Rapids, Kent County by the time their son John was born in 1855. By the time their daughter Anna was born they were reportedly living in New Salem, Allegan County. By 1860 Daniel was working as a clerk and living in Grand Rapids’ 3rd Ward, possibly running his own business (he owned $1,000 in real estate). Dan McConnell, who would command the 3rd Michigan in the spring of 1861, stated in late 1862 that in fact Daniel had clerked for him in his store and furthermore that he had known Daniel for some eight years prior to the war. That would place Daniel in Grand Rapids by 1852 or 1853.

Daniel was 26 years old and probably still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. (His family was still living in Grand Rapids in November of 1861 when his daughter Bertha was born.) Daniel was killed in action on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and was presumably buried among the soldiers whose remains were removed from the Manassas battlefield and reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1862 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 3670). In 1870 Mary was still living in Grand Rapids’ 4th Ward, along with four of her children who were attending school. Mary eventually remarried to Peter Mais and by 1890 Mary and Peter were living in Tallmadge, Ottawa County.

Heinrich or Henry Bruer - updated 8/20/2016

Heinrich or Henry Bruer was born on February 2, 1821 in Schlaseberg or Braunschweig, Germany.

He was married to Dutch-born Mary (1825-1863) and they had at least five children: Katy (b. 1847), Mary (b. 1849), Henry (b. 1855), Milo (b. 1857) and Elisabeth (b. 1859).

Henry and Mary were probably married in the Netherlands (thrier first three children were born in Holland). Henry emigrated to the United States in 1853, arriving at Baltimore, Maryland on August 23.

Henry and his family eventually settled in Michigan sometime before 1855 when their son Henry was born and by 1860 Henry was living and working as a farmer and living with his family in Coopersville, Ottawa County.

Henry stood 5’9” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion, and was 35 years old and was possibly living in Eastmanville when he enlisted on May 23, 1861 in Company C. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles,” a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.) He was discharged for consumption on November 29, 1861, at Fort Lyon, Virginia.

Following his discharge from the army Henry returned to his home in Eastmanville where he reentered the service in Company G, 21st infantry on August 2, 1862 for 3 years, crediting and giving his residence as Polkton Township (probably Eastmanville), Ottawa County, and was mustered on September 3 at Ionia, Ionia County. The regiment was organized at Ionia and Grand Rapids and mustered into service on September 9, and left Michigan for Louisville, Kentucky, on September 12. The 21st was involved in the battle for Perryville, Kentucky, on October 8. Henry was present for duty through October of 1862, and was on detached service with Hancock’s Battery in December of 1862, but was back with the regiment through the winter and spring of 1863, probably at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where the regiment was on duty until June of 1863. Probably in April of 1863, Henry was sent to the hospital, suffering from inflammation of the lungs, and was discharged for inflammation of the lungs on May 4, 1863 at Murfreesboro.

 Henry returned to Eastmanville following his discharge from the army.

After Ellen died in Eastmanville in April of 1863,  Henry married a woman by the name of Caroline (1826-1920), and they had at least one child: Louis (b. 1866). Caroline had been married once before.

Henry applied for a pension in Ottawa County in June of 1863, no. 144,153, drawing $4.00 per month by 1877.

He eventually left Michigan and moved to Minnesota, settling in Courtland, Nicollet County, by the summer of 1870; he was still living in Courtland in 1875. By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and son and stepson John in Courtland; in 1885 Henry was living with Caroline and Louis in Courtland.

Henry died at Courtland, Minnesota, on May 23, 1893, and was buried in Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery, in Courtland. Henry’s widow received pension no. 421902; she was living in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, in 1894 and 1913.


James Baker

James Baker, also known as “Baeker”, was born 1834 in the Netherlands.

James immigrated to the United States, eventually settling in Michigan and by 1860 he was a laborer living with and/or working for Genurus Bummstron in Bridgton, Newaygo County (John Kempf, also of Company C, lived in Bridgton as well).

James was 27 years old and probably living in Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company C on May 23, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles”, a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.)

By June of 1862 he was sick in a hospital at Bottom’s Bridge, Virginia, suffering from fever. By April of 1863 he had been assigned to “guarding baggage”, possibly as a consequence of his remaining in poor health. In any case, he was admitted to a general hospital on September 10, 14 or 19, 1863, probably in Washington, where he remained until he was mustered out of service on June 20, 1864.

No pension seems to be available.

In 1870 there was a 40-year-old James Baker, born in the Netherlands, living in Norton, Muskegon County, with a farm laborer named John Baker and his family, also born in the Netherlands.