Wilterdink, Jan Willem and Willemina Gesiena Fonhof

Jan Willem Wilterdink and his wife Willemina Gesiena Fonhof emigrated from Winterswijk to Clymer in 1883 together with their family. Their son Herman married a woman from Alabama, but could not cope with her homesickness with dramatic results.


Jan Willem Wilterdink, b.21 Jan 1831 Winterswijk, died 3 December 1906 in French Creek, NY, son of Gerrit Willem Wilterdink and Gesiena te Boske, married on 30 April 1874 in Winterswijk with Willemina Gesiena Fonhof, b.11 September 1839 Winterswijk, died 30 May 1905 French Creek, daughter of Hemannus Vonhof or Fonhof and Aaltjen Ernst. The two children of Jan Willem and Willemina Gesiena were Willemina Gesina, b.29 Sep 1875, and Hermanus (Herman), b.24 Feb 1881. The family left from Dorp 649, Winterswijk on 6 July 1883 to come to America.

Herman Wilterdink

When Herman grew up he became a farmer on Ravlin Hill Road in French Creek and he married rather late in life. His wife, Ruth Bruner from the southern state of Alabama was his postal bride. That is, he advertised for a wife in newspapers and she responded to his request. She came to French Creek and wed with Herman. They became the parents of two daughters.


By 1924 Ruth had become very homesick and talked about returning to Alabama. That was not what Herman wanted to hear. It was too much for Herman to bear. On the morning of 3 December 1924, when she again mentioned leaving, he bashed her in the head with a flatiron. One of the daughters tried to intervene and he also injured her. The other daughter ran to the house of a neighbor for help. The neighbor immediately called the police. Before the police could get there, Herman went to the barn, set it afire and then shot himself, fatally. Ruth and the daughters survived and moved to Alabama.

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