A New Life in a New Land

A New Life in a New Land

The mass exodus from the Netherlands in the 1840s was caused by a number of reasons.  Each individual’s reason for emigrating from the fatherland now lies in rest with that person’s remains.  Whether it was the severe upheaval between church and state, the potato crop failures or the desire to better themselves economically, only those now retired to God’s mansion can reveal their reasons for leaving.  Even in those early years the Netherlands was a heavily populated country.  The farmers had little chance of expanding their small farms to accommodate their growing families.  Many decided to immigrate to a new land in search of religious freedom.  The following article describes the odyssey of several Dutch families who took the challenge to make a new life in a new land.  The families this saga pertain to are:

  1. Klaas Dalenberg and family along with brother Pieter, father Cornelis Dalenberg, father in law Cornelis Hoogendonk and farmhand Jan Ton.
  2. Johannes Ambuul and family
  3. Jakob de Jong and family
  4. Pieter de Jong and family
  5. Gerrit Eenigenburg and family
  6. Hark Eenigenburg and family
  7. Pieter Oudendijk and family
  8. Jan Jonker and family
  9. Jan Bras and family
  10. Cornelis Kuijper and family

Modern Flag of Schoorl


It was in 1849 when ten families from the area around Schoorl, Noord-Holland decided to make plans for a better life in “Amerika”.  Most of these people were farmers and owned their own homes but saw little chance of ever doing any better.  With families of from two to eight children, what would their future be?  The families that preceded them to America two years earlier sent back reports of wide open lands and limitless room for growth.  Since this seemed to be the land of promise they decided to make a new colony and a new life.  Several of the men set out to obtain information about the cost of the voyage, the time it would take and what possessions they could take with them.  They held meetings in their little homes and when the necessary information was in place it was decided that all their property would be sold and the money put together for the common cause.  They exchanged the money for twenty-dollar gold pieces, which were sewn into canvas belts and worn around the chests of several of the men.  When all the money was accounted for they had approximately $6000.00 after they landed in America.

It was Saturday, the 14th of April 1849 that all of their belongings were loaded onto a Frisian barge in the Noord-Holland canal.  Since the next day was Sunday, and the Hollanders were a godly group, they attended church service at Krabbedam in the morning.  That night they all boarded the barge in preparation for their journey the next day.  So, on the 16th of April they bade farewell to the Fatherland and looked in anticipation of their new life in America.

The trip down the canals and waterways to Rotterdam was uneventful and everything went well.  Shortly after their arrival in Rotterdam the family of Leendert van der Zijde from Zuid Holland joined the group.  During the few days they had to wait in Rotterdam they experienced the first death of the trip.  Klaas Dalenberg and his wife Cornelia lost their daughter Maartje, cause unknown, and buried her in Rotterdam.  Struggling with their grief they boarded a coastal steamer which took them to Le Havre, France where they once again waited a few days to board the ship that would take them to their destination.  While they were in Le Havre a baby was born.  This would be the last child born of this group on European soil.


So it was on Saturday, April 28, 1849 they all boarded the three masted schooner “Massachusetts of Boston” captained by George W. Samson, and began their voyage to New York.  Three days out on the ocean the Asiatic Cholera broke out among the passengers.  Accounts of the number of deaths from this outbreak vary from article to article but from the original passenger manifest there are 25 deaths recorded by the captain.  The voyage lasted 42 days with no severe weather to concern the passengers.  The grief felt from the loss of loved ones was only made more tolerable by taking refuge in the grace of God.  The names of the deceased in our group who were buried at sea according to the passenger manifest are:

Cornelia Hoogendonk Dalenberg, age 38, wife of Klaas Dalenberg

Cornelis Hoogendonk, age 79, Cornelia’s father

Maartje Kuijper, age 9, daughter of Cornelis Kuijper

Cornelius Kuijper, age 8, son of Cornelis Kuijper

Pietertje Kuijper, age 3, daughter of Cornelis Kuijper

Antje Kuijper, age 2, daughter of Cornelis Kuijper

Cornelis Pieterz Dalenberg, age 65, father of Klaas, Pieter, Trijntje de Jong and Maartje Kuijper

Willem Ambuul, age 3, son of Johannes Ambuul

Saakje Ambuul, age 2, daughter of Johannes Ambuul

Jan Eenigenburg, age 3, son of Gerrit Eenigenburg

Floris Eenigenburg, age 2, daughter of Gerrit Eenigenburg

Dieuwertje (Dina) Dalenberg, age 1, daughter of Klaas Dalenberg

There are 25 deaths recorded by the captain on the passenger manifest.  There may have been more that were not entered for some reason.  Accurate records did not seem to be too important at that time.  On the last Sunday of the voyage the Hollanders held a religious service to ease their grief over their loss.  The Germans on board mocked them but the American captain showed reverence and put a halt to the German’s mockery.

Finally, on June 8, 1849 the ship came to rest in New York.  After being inspected they boarded a steamboat up the Hudson River to Albany.  From Albany they were put on board a mail-boat through the Erie Canal to Buffalo, New York.  In Buffalo they boarded another steamboat, the Key Stone State, which took them through the Great Lakes to Chicago where they were met by Klaas Pool who had immigrated in 1847 with Klaas Paarlberg.  After obtaining temporary lodging in a warehouse on West Randolph Street they made plans on what to do in this great new country – but that is for another story.

Written by:  Duane D. Dalenberg  4th great grandson of Pieter Cornelisz Dalenberg

Note: Accuracy of information stated in this article is open to debate.  I have used some literary license to clarify information from various sources to the best of my ability.  I am not an author by any means but I wish to remember and honor the Hollanders in any way I am able to do so.  This is part of my contribution to the memory of those that endured the hardships and made a better life for their descendents.


“The Calumet Region and Its Early Settlers” by Harry Eenigenburg

Article written by Pieter de Jong 1908 published in “The Dutch Connection In South Cook County Since 1847” by Ross K. Ettema.

Additional Family Tree information can be found in the book Down and Indian Trail