Hope College

Document Type



The Den Herder family migrated from the Netherlands to Zeeland, Michigan, in 1847. The parents of family were Christiaan Marinus den Herder, born in 1796 in Borselen, Zeeland, the Netherlands; and his wife, Cornelia de Jonge, born in 1794. They had three sons and three daughters: Jan, Marinus, Jacob, Jannetje, Janna, and Neeltje. The majority of the papers in this collection are from Jacob, born in Borselen ca. 1833 and died in 1916. He was married to Adrianna Klaassen in 1856. Jacob and Adrianna had four children: Christian J., George, Mary (Mrs. Matthew Kolyn), and Mrs. James Ossewaarde. The children of Christian J., who was married to Johanna Bosch, were Jay, Harmon, Edward and Mrs. Margaret Vander Velde. The Den Herders became a prominent Zeeland, Michigan, family after Jacob founded the Den Herder Bank. It became the Zeeland State Bank and then First Michigan Bank in 1958. The Huntington Bank of Columbus, Ohio, acquired FMB in 1997. The Den Herders, as a prosperous clan, became involved in many Zeeland and Holland businesses. Christiaan Marinus Den Herder, son Jacob, and grandson Christian J., were amateur historians. Their papers include primarily memoirs and Zeeland local history. Nearly all of their papers are written in their native Dutch language. Perhaps the best known of Jacob’s work is his history of the Zeeland colony that he wrote for the semi-centennial celebration of the Holland Kolonie in 1897, and his “Life Sketch of Jacob Den Herder.” These are the only essays in the family collection that have been translated. Christian J. composed several essays of the history of the Sunday school of the First Reformed Church of Zeeland and instructional materials. He also wrote a few essays on the early church fathers, such as Polycarp.


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