GRAAFSCHAP


 Graafschap was settled by "BENTHEIMERS". Bentheim is just across the Holland border in the
then Kingdom of Hanover. It was founded during the last days of June 1847. The people from
Bentheim spoke a dialect practically the same as that of those from the Provinces of Drenthe and
Overijsel. Harm Hendrik Schoemaker supplied the necessary initiative in Bentheim. One of the
chief leaders was Jan Berend Sundag.

 THE TRIP:They left Bentheim on March 25, 1847 and journeyed through Coevorden and Hasselt
by Canal, to Rotterdam, where together with 34 emigrants from Drenthe, they boarded the
"ANTOINETTE MARIE" on April 4. After an uneventful voyage of 49 days, they arrived in New
York on May 23. Traveling by way of the Hudson River to Troy, and then by the Erie Canal to
Buffalo, they sailed across lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan and finally, June 20, landed at Macatawa.
This ended 77 days of travel for the group happily. The Sailors rowed them to the shore and showed
them how to construct shelters from the boughs of evergreen trees. These shelters were a protection
against wind but not against rain, much less against mosquitoes. After resting a few days, they were
determined to go on to Holland and there took up residence in the Indian Village. Van Raalte was to
ill to help them at this time so Jan Rabbers helped them purchase Government land, which at the time
was going for $1.25 an acre.

Not all the people who established themselves in this region came from Bentheim. Some came from
Drenthe and a group from Zeeland also settled there.
 
 

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