Jan Willem Woordes and Johanna Dora Bloemers both worked
as hired hands on the Heemink farm in the hamlet of Huppel near
Winterswijk. They emigrated independently from each other and were married in the United States.
Jan Willem Woordes
Jan Willem Woordes was born in
Winterswijk on 5 February 1820 as the son of Hendrik Willem Woorts
(a.k.a. Woordes) and Janna Geertruid Beusink. He worked as a weaver. In
1847 he emigrated from the Heemink farm, together with his employer
H.J. Kooijers and his family. The Kooijers family perished on Lake
Michigan during the Phoenix disaster. Some authors have assumed that
Jan Willem Woordes died as well, but he had remained in New York for
several years after reaching the United States.
Johanna Dora Bloemers
Johanna Dora Bloemers was born in Winterswijk on 21 July 1826 as the
daughter of Gerrit Willem Bloemers and Janna te Selle. When her parents
emigrated in 1846, Johanna Dora went with them, even though she wasn’t
living at home anymore at that time.
Jan Willem Woordes and Johanna Dora Bloemers emigrated in 1846, arrriving at Boston. They were not married at the time but the families travelled on the same ship, the ‘Hollander’. They remained in Boston for six months and then moved to Jordon, New York where they were married on 19 May
1849. In the US, he used the name ‘Wordes’ instead of ‘Woordes’.
Life in the US
On 9 May 1851, Mr. and Mrs. Wordes and one child moved to Wisconsin. They lived on a farm in the Town of Lima, Sheboygan County, WI.
According to the 1860 census, the couple had 5 children (Janna, Gesiena, Hendrick W., Hanna and Jan)
and owned $800 in real estate and $200 in personal property.
Ten years later, the couple still lived in Town of Lima. Daughter Janna
is no longer mentioned, she may either have left home or died. They had
7 remaining children (Sina, Henry, Hannah, John, Tina, Jane and Mina).
The last three were born between 1860 and 1870. Their wealth had
increased considerably. They now owned $4000 in real estate and $1000
in personal property.
Jan Willem had just turned 80 years old when he died on 6 February
1900. His wife survived him for another 18 years and died at the old
age of 91 on 16 February 1918.
- Swierenga, Dutch households in US census records
- Winterswijk emigration lists
- Winterswijk census records
- Willem Wilterdink: "Winterswijkse pioniers in Amerika"
- Henk Voges: "De Plantenhoek tragedie"
- 1899 newspaper article about Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Wordes, collection Sheboygan County Historical Research Center