Henry Griffin



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The letter of Henry Griffen, county clerk, reporting that he met with about 300 Hollanders who declared their intention to become citizens. The average age was thirty-five. Griffenwas impressed that only six persons had to make a mark because they could not sign their names. He made three stops: Holland City, Zeeland village and "Staatsland" [Drenthe]. He mentions what land is now in possesion of the Hollanders including land purchased from the Indians for $5 an acre. Some of this land had been cleared. Many farms had five to ten acres in crops such as corn and potatoes. Some farmers had already cleared up to 40 acres. There are about 200 houses in Holland city, ranging "from the rude hut covered with bark to the well finished and painted house; every lot occupied having a fine garden, and yard in front of the house, with a gate, and at every window on the street the neat white curtain". Several stores are selling provisions; one windmill is over 100 feet high and driving four saws. 500 were present at the church service; there is an English school in the church which is 40 by 60 feet. Griffen also helped them organize a district school "agreeable to our primary school law system." Zeeland village has 100 houses. Their church is nearly built of white cedar. A Holland school has 70 scholars. Staatsland is six miles east of Zeeland, a community of 70 families.




Grand Haven, County Clerk's Office


Description of the document by Dr. Elton J. Bruins.

About the collection:

Elton J. Bruins, long-time professor in the Department of Religion at Hope College, spent years collecting documents by and about Albertus C. Van Raalte, founder of Holland, Michigan and early patron of Hope College. Documents were gathered from dozens of public and private collections, making a nearly exhaustive collection of Van Raalte's writings and reflections. It is these documents that make up the "Van Raalte Papers."

Digitizing the Van Raalte papers was supported by the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York. The project was done in partnership with Heritage Hall at Calvin University, which also digitized its Van Raalte collections.


Grand River Eagle, July 14, 1848, p. 2.

Letter of Henry Griffin, the County Clerk, Reported He Met with About 300 Hollanders