A. J. Elings
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Dutch

Some Notes on the Adrian Johan Elings Family

By W. T. Block, C. Konynenbelt, and Ron Van Zomeren

Nederland, TX. Lethbridge, ALB. & Galesburg, MI

{Most credit for this story is due to Mr. Ron. Van Zomeren and Mrs. Carol Konynenbelt}

In the course of building the Kansas City Southern Railroad from Kansas City to Port Arthur, TX, during the middle 1890s, rail magnate Arthur Stilwell purchased 42,000 acres of treeless prairie land between Beaumont and Sabine Pass, Texas. He planned to colonize the empty spaces with migrations from Holland, Germany, and Russia, but only the Dutch migration to Nederland ever transpired. Adrian J. Elings, his wife Agatha, and 4 children were a part of the first contingent of colonists to arrive in November, 1897.

“...We owed a debt of gratitude to the Dutch people for their support of the Kansas City Southern,” Stilwell recalled. “...So I founded a town and called it Nederland and instructed my emissaries to make a drive on the country districts of Holland to entice a good class of citizens to the newly-organized community. We housed them in a large hotel especially erected for that purpose...”1

Stilwell sent his Dutch emigration agents, Albert Kuipers, B. J. Dijksma, and G. W. J. Kilsdonk, back to the agrarian provinces of North Holland, Friesland, Groningen, and Gelderland to solicit farmers, dairymen, nurserymen and journeymen to move to Texas. One newspaper ad portrayed Nederland as a Garden of Eden in Texas rather than the open prairie land that it was; hence many Hollanders were greatly disappointed upon arrival.2 Since Adrian J. Elings was a hotel keeper in Amsterdam, it is tempting to surmise that he was purposely recruited to operate the new 3-story, 33-room Orange Hotel, intended to house immigrants until they could build homes.

Agatha Elings (1853-1926) and husband, Adrian Johan Elings (1857-1941), longtime hotel operators in Amsterdam, Holland, arrived in Nederland with first contingent on Nov. 18, 1897. They were the host family in the Orange Hotel from Nov. 1897 until Dec. 1, 1900, when they moved to Amsterdam, Montana. They later homesteaded at Conrad, MT. before moving to Zillah, Washington, where they are also buried.Adrian J. Elings was born in Amsterdam on June 30, 1857. His wife, the former Agatha Stufkens (or Stufkes), was born on July 25, 1853 in Gorinchem, Holland (although some descendents thought in Brussels, Belgium). Almost nothing is known of their life in Holland except that they had lived in Amsterdam for a long time, where they operated a hotel. Recently Willem Frederiks did research in the Amsterdam City Archives. He discovered that the couple moved back to Daniel Stalpertstraat 51 in Amsterdam, although they had lived earlier in both Rotterdam and Amsterdam. In 1883 Adrian worked as a hotel waiter. Their marriage date most likely took place in 1880, since their oldest child was born in March, 1882, and since their youngest child was born in Amsterdam in 1888, they obviously were long-time residents of that city. Frederiks connected their religious preference with the “Nederlands Herwormd.”3 Ron van Zomeren determined that the name Adrian J. Elings is recorded in North Brabant and North Holland as far back as the 1600s-1700s A. D.

The Elings family sailed from Antwerp, accompanied by Kuipers, about Oct. 22, 1897 aboard the German Diedericksen liner Olinda, and docked in Galveston on Nov 14, 1897. Of a first party of 50 immigrants, 46 men, women, and children were bound for Nederland. The Galveston newspaper was especially laudatory of them, explaining that the Dutchmen were the “cleanest, best-dressed people to arrive in Galveston in many years. None carried less than $30, and several speak some English...” The immigrants traveled via the Gulf and Interstate Railroad to Beaumont and then over the Kansas City Southern rails to Port Arthur where they spent the night of Nov. 17 in the Nash Hotel. The next morning they were taken to the Orange Hotel in Nederland, where sadly the host lady, Agatha Elings, had to begin cooking for 46 hungry tenants.4

The Elings children ranged in age from 15 to 9 upon arrival, and they were unable to attend school for the first 6 months that they lived in Nederland. They included John D. Elings, born in Rotterdam on Mar. 11, 1882 (married Priscilla van Dyken); Carolina, born in Amsterdam on Jan. 2, 1884 (married Clauson Bos); Joe Elings, born Dec. 1, 1886 (married Minne Hyink); and Dick (or Dirk), born in Amsterdam, May 16, 1888 (married Freda Kemper).5 When the Elings family arrived, there was only the hotel building, 2 buildings for stores, and 1 or 2 houses. Only 2 blocks of Heeren Straat were shelled, and all other streets in the survey and outlying roads were of dirt only. The first school began about May, 1898, in a room behind the hotel, taught by a woman teacher from Beaumont, with Klaas Koelemay, formerly of Hoogkarspel, acting as interpreter.

It is known that one reason A. J. Elings wished to leave Holland was because in Amsterdam the hotel required him to work on Sundays, and he was a devout member of the Christian Reformed Church. His presence on Sunday at the Orange Hotel may have been his cause for leaving Nederland. However the Orange Hotel was also the local church for perhaps 2 years, with services held there each Sunday by a lay minister, Dirk Ballast. In May, 1898, Dr. Henry Beets of Sioux Center, Iowa arrived to organize a parish, associated with the Classis of Iowa. Although the railroad built a Christian Reformed church at “Kuipers and Heeren Straats” (now 10th and Boston), the congregation numbered only 4 families and 28 members in 1898.6

Early records reveal that Agatha Elings served a very sumptuous table. Meals cost 25 cents each; a boarder paid $15.50 a month which included laundry. On Sept. 6, 1898, during the Queen Wilhelmina Coronation celebration, Mrs. Elings served Dutch soup, boiled fish, roast beef, Savoy cabbage, green peas, roast chicken, veal cutlets, Liberty cake, and ice cream to the town’s several hundred visitors. Fresh meat, ice, even trash firewood from the sawmills for the fireplaces, were shipped daily from Beaumont. A newspaper article observed: “...A word of praise to Mr. and Mrs. Elings for taking care of our immediate needs, and I must admit that those that traveled with me were thankful for the care they received at a moderate price from Mr. Elings, manager of the Orange Hotel...”7

The hotel had a library of 1,000 Dutch volumes, and a game room, where immigrants gathered in spare moments to play games. On Saturday nights, tables were pushed back for dancing. On the night of the coronation festival, the most popular number was the “Rose Grip Polka,” strummed from the zither of Dieuwertje Koelemay, whose musical enchantment guided the toes of the polka dancers. And the Beaumont and Port Arthur visitors were “...all convinced that the Dutch know how to conduct an affair of this kind, so all people present can have a good time...”8 The marriage of Will Block Sr. (my father) to Dieuwertje Koelemay in 1899 was the first wedding in the Dutch community.

The Elings family left Nederland in 1900, settling at first on the East Coast. His reason for leaving Nederland is unknown, but descendents note that he was smitten with wanderlust. Among other possible reasons, it was hot with lots of mosquitoes during summer months. Nederland was very primitive during those first two years, and Mrs. Elings must have endured much back-break labor in the hotel. Of about 350 Dutchmen who arrived in Nederland by 1902, fully 200 of them left for the Dutch colonies in the North, or else returned to Holland. As Willem Beukers noted in 1898: “Pretty good in the old country is better than very good in Texas...”9

In Dec. 1900 the Elings family resettled at New Glatz, MD., which is in Prince George County, a short distance south of Washington D. C. According to Ron van Zomeren’s research, New Glatz was located where Arthur Drive intersects Oxon Hill Road, the latter running parallel to and somewhat west of Highway 210. Elings remained in New Glatz only 2 years, perhaps a little less, and his occupation there is likewise unknown, perhaps a farmer or farm laborer. At any rate he must have learned while there of the new Dutch colony of Amsterdam, Montana, being built on a stretch of the Northern Pacific Railroad between Bozeman and Butte, Montana. Family notes of Carol Konynenbelt date that move to about June 24, 1903.10

On Mar. 19, 2004 Ron Van Zomeren received the following email from Gordon E. Katz, relative to New Glatz, as follows:  “...New Glatz is in Prince Georges County outside Washington D. C... The post office was established as Fort Foote on Jan. 3, 1871. The name was changed to New Glaltz on Nov. 6, 1893...and is located on the banks of the Potomac River across from Alexandria, VA. From what I can determine the post office was named for the town of Glatz in Prussia. There were a number of immigrants from Germany that settled in that part of the country in the late 1800s...”

To be more explicit, the towns/unincorporated villages of Manhattan, Belgrade, Amsterdam, and Churchill are all located within a 10-mile stretch of Highway I-90, ten to twenty miles northwest of Bozeman. Manhattan and Belgrade are incorporated cities, whereas Amsterdam and Churchill are approximately 10 miles south of Manhattan. Since both Amsterdam and Churchill are unincorporated localities, each receives US mail service on rural or city routes emanating from the Manhattan post office.

The book, “The Persistence of Ethnicity: Dutch Calvinist Pioneers in Amsterdam, Montana,” by Rob Kroes is about the only record of that early Dutch colony in Montana. Actually it is intriguing as to why Dr. Kroes (who is chair, American Studies, University of Amsterdam) would choose the Montana colony in preference to the many Dutch colonies that exist in Iowa or Michigan; perhaps he was related to some one there. The following are excerpts from his book:11

“...A missionary from the Classis of Orange City, Iowa, of the Christian Reformed Church visited the area during the summer of 1902, and held services in both the Hills school in the south and the Heeb School in the north. In 1903 a group of 19 families and 5 single men from north and south jointly decided to form a Christian Reformed congregation. The first consistory, in the membership, reflected the consolidation of the community. The first elders were J. H. Bos, A. Elings, and W. Broekema; the first deacons E. Bos and J. Braaksma... It was decided to build the church on Church Hill (later changed to Churchill) in the center of the settlement... The congregation would see a rapid increase in its numbers, due to the influx of new settlers up to World War I. In 1906 it counted a total of 40 families; 50 in 1908, and 90 in 1913...”

Amsterdam and Churchill are in the Gallatin Valley, which runs into the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park, north of West Yellowstone. Carol Konynenbelt found an interesting item in a book in her possession, entitled “A Goodly Heritage,” as follows:12

“...In 1911, when the Northern Pacific Railroad was building a line through what became Amsterdam, some of the railroad men boarded at the Verwolf home. Mrs. Verwolf was asked to name the village. There was some sentiment among the Friesian immigrants to name it Friesland. Some felt that since there were so many men named John, it should be named Johnstown. Mrs. Verwolf chose Amsterdam...”

People around Bozeman MT. are well-acquainted with the fact that Amsteram, MT was settled by a sizeable migration of Dutch immigrants. The Dutch colony there is much older than Nederland, TX and may have been the pattern or role model that Kansas City railroader Arthur Stilwell emulated when he founded Nederland. The settlement’s origins began when New York entrepreneurs of the Manhattan Malting Co. purchased large tracts of arable land in the Gallatin River valley. A grain elevator and miles of irrigation ditches, to be filled from Gallatin River, were built. The West Gallatin Irrigation Co. acquired 28,000 acres of land along the Northern Pacific Railroad, and adjacent to that were 25,000 additional acres of land owned by the Federal government.

By 1889 the first obstacle was overcome when water flowed into the 40 miles of ditches. Rev. A. J. Wormser, a Presbyterian, played a dominant role in recruiting Dutch farmers from the provinces of Friesland and Groningen, and very soon such Dutch surnames as Braaksma, Broekema, Wiedenaar, Van Dyken, Alberda, Bos, and TeSelle were common all over the river valley.13

A letter written by D. J. Walwoord of Wisconsin, who visited in Amsterdam (Avant Courier, Feb. 2, 1895), noted that Jan TeSelle had harvested “3,500 bushels of grain from 120 acres,” and another farmer harvested 10,600 bushels from 320 acres of land. John Weidenaar grew 45 bu. of barley per acre and 65 bu. of oats per acre. Hence, since by 1895 Walwoord found that several Dutch immigrants already owned substantial homes and outbuildings, it appears probable that the earliest settlers may have arrived from Holland by 1892. Walwoord was the first school teacher in Amsterdam in 1893.14

As early as 1903 Rev. J. Holwerda was associated with the Christian Reformed Church in Churchill. During his pastorate there, the first church wedding occurred when William, son of Peter Alberda, married Clara, daughter of Jacob Braaksma. In 1908 when Rev. Holwerda was replaced by Rev. J. Vander Mey, the church could boast of 50 families among its members. In 1911 a new church was built at a cost of $24,400, and was dedicated on Mar. 17th. In 1913 Rev. Vander Mey left, leaving a pastoral vacancy until 1917 when Rev. T. Vander Ark arrived. By 1911 Amsterdam’s Christian Reformed Church was associated with the Classis Pacific of North America. In 1923, when Rev. A. B. Voss arrived, the church roster enumerated 98 families, at which time 123 families lived in the Dutch community. From 1928 until 1942 Rev. Albert H. Bratt pastored the Manhattan C. R. Church, and was replaced in 1942 by Rev. John DeJong. By then such family names as DeBoer, Bos, Danhof, Noot, Triemstra, Bolhuis, Alberda, and Dykman had been added to the church roll. In Jan. 1949, Rev. Peter Spoelstra replaced Rev. DeJong. The name of the church has always been called the Manhattan Christian Reformed Church because of its mailing address.15

Three forces may have been at work to lure A. J. and Agatha Elings to Conrad, Montana. There is no available census in Montana that I have found to verify A. J.’s occupation as farmer, farm laborer, whatever, but there seems little doubt that he actually was a farmer, at least between 1902 and 1908, and later in Conrad. One force may have been his penchant for wanderlust. A second force may have been an extended drought around 1908, which is always a curse for any dry land wheat farmer. A third force was created when the Bureau of Land Management opened up public lands for homesteading in Teton and Pondera counties at that time.

Some early history of Conrad is also a prerequisite. The narrow gauge Great Falls and Canada Railway was built in 1890 to bring Canadian coal to north central Montana. The frontier village of Pondera was built at that time, but when the Great Northern built standard gauge tracks a mile west of Pondera, the village and trading post moved to the present site of Conrad. In 1902 the Conrad Investment Co. surveyed the 600-acre townsite, which was incorporated in 1908. The area suffered a devastating and lingering drought between 1916 and 1926, which probably caused A. J. Elings to move once more. And in 1927 the large Pondera oil field at Conrad was discovered.16

Carol Konynenbelt’s recent email correspondence with David Elings revealed that the latter has a box of newspaper clippings and an obituary for Dick (Dirk) Elings. The obituary revealed that Dick arrived in Texas at age 7 {error—Dick born Mar. 16, 1888, arrived Galveston, TX Nov. 14, 1897}; that he moved with his parents in 1909 to a farm 9 miles east of Conrad; and that he married Freda Kemper, the girl on the neighboring farm, in 1916.17

Adrian J. Elings apparently applied for a homestead CA. 1912-1913, which was patented in Teton County (Patent No. 633, 357) and signed in behalf of Pres. Woodrow Wilson on Dec. 23, 1918. The patent reads as follows:

“...The Northwest Corner of Section 33, in Township 28 North, Range 1 West, Montana Meridian, containing 160 acres, more or less, according to the United States Government Survey thereof...”

Strangely and for reasons unknown, Adrian J. Elings deeded his impending patent on Oct. 25, 1917 for $1 to Agatha Elings, the date being one year prior to the actual date the patent was granted. The northwest corner of Teton County passes within 3 or 4 miles of Conrad, and most likely the Elings homestead was west southwest of Conrad in the general vicinity of the village of Pendroy, Montana. The Elings homestead is recorded in both the Teton and Pondera county courthouses.18

Hence by 1916 A. J. Elings was already 2 years into a 10-year devastating drought that lasted around Conrad until 1926. There was a great flight of dry land grain farmers elsewhere to areas where irrigation water was available. And since the Clauson and Carolina Bos family had already moved to Zillah, Washington by 1918, the die was already cast for A. J. and Agatha Elings to follow them. Gerald VandenAcre could not remember A. J. Elings, but he did remember John and Priscilla Elings, who apparently moved to the homestead that A. J. had relinquished, according to Joe Bos, who is now age 95.

John D. and Priscilla Van Dyken Elings were the parents of 10 children, none of whom are still alive in 2003, as follows:  Agatha Elings, 1910-1984, mar. Art DeVries; Bert Elings, 1911-1990, mar. Eliz. VandenAcre; Annette Elings, 1912-1973, mar. Cornelius Greyn; Adrian Elings, 1914-1975, mar. Dorothy Vustnow; Don Elings, 1916-2000, mar. Grace Yager; Lester Elings, 1918-1982, mar. Ruth Vos; Priscilla Elings, 1921-1991, mar. 1) Jack Welton, 2) Tom Bryden; Jennie Elings, 1923-2003, mar. Denny Fry; Robert (1923-1996), mar. Leona O’Keefe; and Ed Elings, 1928-1995, mar. Shirley Kincaid.19

The 1920 Pondera County census revealed that John D. and Priscilla Elings and 6 children, also Dick (Dirk) and Freda Elings and 1 child, were enumerated in Pondera County. The Montana Death Index revealed that many of them are buried in Conrad, including John D. Elings, d. Mar. 4, 1967, age 85; Priscilla Van Dyken Elings, d. May 25, 1959, age 78; son Robert, d. July 16, 1996, age 72; Son Adrian J., d. Dec. 18, 1975, age 61, and son Lester, d. Jan. 8, 1982, age. 63.20

Joe and Minnie Elings lived in the general Amsterdam-Churchill-Bozeman vicinities for all of their married lives. They were parents of four daughters, namely, Dena A., b. Nov. 19, 1908, mar. Hebert Hokanson; Esther L., b. Mar. 18, 1916, mar. Joe Danhof on June 20, 1939; Dorothy, b. May 4, 1923, mar. John Weidenaar; and Nettie Ruth, b. Dec. 21, 1921, d. Apr. 11, 1995, mar. Leonard Reed. In the 1920 census, Joe Elings was listed as age 34 and Minnie Elings as age 30.21

The Joe Elings family started out as farmers in Gallatin County. Later Joe Elings was superintendent of a county road work crew, working to build and maintain the roads in the county. His later job was superintendent of the High Line Canal, one of the irrigation canals running through Gallatin County. At first they had lived in a house that Joe had built, northwest of Amsterdam. Later they moved to a house, built earlier by Clauson Bos, about a ¼ mile from the cemetery in Churchill. During their later years, the couple lived in Bozeman.  Joe had a special “green thumb,” and his gardens were filled with trees, shrubs, and flowers. His real hobby was raising gladiolus. After his death, the Gallatin Garden Club dedicated their 1953 garden show to Joe Elings, recognizing that he was one of Montana’s outstanding authorities on the culture of gladiolus.22

Dirk (known as Dick) Anton Elings was still living with his parents in Conrad, MT. when he married his local sweetheart, Freda Kemper (b. 1898) in 1916. They became the parents of 3 children, James T. (b. 1919); Richard, and Ruth Elings (Bruinsma, her husband having died in the Korean War). According to an obituary, Dirk Elings attended Hope College in 1915. He also served in the Medical Corps during World War I. According to C. Konynenbelt, Dirk was a school teacher and later principal of Brady High School, before he entered the C. R. C. Seminary in Holland, MI for 2 years. Later he switched to Western Theological Seminary (RCA), and he was ordained and licensed by Classis of the Cascades in 1927. Thus Dick Elings was age 39 whenever he entered the ministry.23

Dick Elings served the Reformed Church of Monarch, Alberta, Canada from June, 1927 until 1933. He then pastored First Reformed Church of Yakima, WA. from 1933  to 1946, and he was still there when his father Adrian died at Zillah on Jul. 7, 1941, and his wife Freda died at Yakima on March 18, 1943. About 1946 he married Jean Rammerman. He accepted the call to Sandham Memorial Reformed Church at Monroe, SD. in 1946, and to First Reformed Church in Platte, SD. in 1950. He had just returned to the Classis of the Cascades as regional missionary to found a new church in Bellingham, WA, when he had a heart attack at the breakfast table on July 8, 1951 and died that afternoon. He was buried in Yakima beside his wife Freda.24

Gordon Assink was a boy in the religious classes and services of Rev. Dirk Elings at First Reformed Church in Yakima, WA, during World War II. Assink recalled Rev. Elings as a very “proper dominee... No one addressed him by his first name... On Sunday he wore a black, long-tailed suit with a crisp white shirt. No clerical robes for him; he practically always wore a suit... Once a month he preached a sermon from the Heidelberg Catechism... he taught the high school catechism class on Wednesday after school...” Assink was in his last class of 1947.25

Carolina Elings married Clauson Bos on Oct. 18, 1905. They lived in Churchill, Mt., 1905-1918; Zillah, WA, 1918-1926; then back to Churchill. For several years Clauson Bos was in a grain farming partnership, known as Bos Brothers, and photographs survive, showing their steam tractor and threshing equipment.

Carolina and Clauson Bos were the parents of five children. Joe (Johan) Adrian Bos, b. Oct. 12, 1907, married Cora Alberda on Oct. 16, 1935, and they became the parents of four children. Grace Agatha Bos, b. Aug. 12, 1909, mar. James Veltkamp, who lived in the general areas of Churchill and Bozeman; John Henry Bos, b. May 26, 1911, mar. Martha Veltkamp, and farmed in the general Churchill and Bozeman areas; Dick Adolf Bos, b. Mar. 4, 1913, mar. Jennie Hoekema (b. Apr. 8, 1914 - d. Dec. 10, 1986), the former living in San Diego; and Henry James Bos (b. July 8, 1914 - d. Oct. 7, 1997), mar. Nell Veltkamp, farmer and salesman in the Churchill and Bozeman areas.26

The Clauson and Carolina Bos family moved to Zillah, in the Yakima River valley of Washington, in 1918. The following email is from R. Van Zomeren, a forward of C. Konynenbelt’s email, as follows:27

“...Harry TeSelle, son of Aaltje Bos/TeSelle, had asthma very bad in Montana; so they decided to try farming in the Zillah, WA area. They rented a box car, in which they loaded their household items, tools, a team of mules, and a cow... Clauson Bos went along, riding in the box car, to look after the livestock...”

“...Clauson came back to Montana and decided that Zillah was the place to live. They held an auction to sell the household goods, and went to Zillah; my father (Joe Bos) remembers the sale. Clauson and Carolina lived in a small house near Moxee City (which is closer to Yakima). My brother, Don (Bos) saw the house and it was still standing a few years ago. Clauson learned to prune (apple) trees for a big orchard company that spring...”

“...When that job was finished for the season, he got a job to set up machinery for Tum Lumber Company, which also sold coal. They moved to Zillah at that time... Adrian and Agatha moved (to Zillah) some time later... When they moved to Zillah (Ca. 1921), a boy named John, whom they had adopted in Conrad, also came with them...”

In the 1920 Yakima County census, the Clauson Bos family was enumerated in the Orchardvale community. The following information was obtained by Carol Konynenbelt from her father Joe and her aunts, who are still living, as follows:

“...Clauson and Carolina (called Lena) moved in the spring (1918) to Moxee City, where they worked in the orchards until they were finished. Joe and Grace had to walk a mile to school. Joe remembered that Moxee was a French Catholic town. Then they moved to Zillah, when Clauson was hired to set up machinery. There the children went to school in Orchardvale...”

“...During this time Clauson would travel back and forth by train during threshing season to Montana, while Carolina and the children worked in the orchards. Carolina also worked in the shed, sorting and packaging apples. Clauson was away often, either working or looking for work. Joe remembered his mother being happy when her mother moved to Zillah. Adrian then became a janitor at the Orchardvale School, and he also worked in the cooling warehouse, where the apples were stored. Joe doesn’t remember what Adrian did after his wife died, but he could have traveled to Spokane ‘since he was of a roaming nature’...”

On another occasion when Carol Konynenbelt was conversing with her father, she learned from him the Clauson Bos family lived briefly in Tonasket, WA. They had sold the 10 acres they owned in Zillah, and Clauson and Joe went to work in a sawmill, sawing up sawmill slabs. While there Clauson Bos built a 4-room house, using the slabs for siding by overlapping each piece. The sawmill went broke after a few months, at which time the Clauson Bos family decided to move back to Montana.

After living a life, characterized by excruciatingly hard work, Agatha Elings died on Jan. 3, 1926, at age 73, and was buried on Plot S-12 of the Zillah cemetery. It seems logical that the grave is still marked, since the General Web Coordinator had no difficulty in obtaining birth/death dates for both Agatha and Adrian. Later in 1926, the Clauson Bos family moved back to Montana. In the 1930 census, the C. Bos family was enumerated in the township of West Gallatin. Also in the 1930 census, A. J. Elings was enumerated as a 73-year-old widower, lodger, and farm worker in Seattle. A 25-year-old man named John Elings, believed to be Adrian’s adopted son, was enumerated in Yakima, but had been born in Montana.29

The life of Adrian Johan Elings is difficult to track during his later years. In 1926 his son Joe built a cabin so Adrian could live near Joe’s home; but Adrian was dissatisfied in Montana, and soon returned to Washington. It was as if he wanted only to remain near the grave of his wife. As long as he was able, it appears Adrian found work in the apple orchard or packing business. In a letter from Jim Elings to C. Konynenbelt, the former said that Adrian lived with his son Dirk’s family for the 2 years immediately prior to his death. For several years prior to 1941, Rev. Dirk Elings had pastored the Reformed Church in Yakima; hence he probably cared for his father in many respects anyway. Adrian died on July 7, 1941, and was buried beside his wife Agatha on Plot S-12 in the Zillah Cemetery.

In summary, these are the annals of the Adrian J. Elings family, who lived half of their lives in Holland before deciding to resettle in America. After arriving in Texas they lived in a half dozen other communities, states and farms before their deaths in Zillah, Yakima County, Washington. Today there are (or has been) probably about 1,000 descendents of this Dutch couple, now scattered all over the Western United States and Western Canada.

Also in summary, the writers, Carol Konynenbelt, Ron Van Zomeren, and W. T. Block has found it an absolute joy to try to prepare a family history that every Elings descendent can be proud of. Today at least six generations of A. J. Elings descendents are alive. Descendents should be apprised of the costs in time, travel, telephone calls, gasoline, and computer time so selflessly incurred by Carol Konynenbelt and Ron Van Zomeren in order to bring this story to fruition. Mrs. Carol Konynenbelt and Shirley (Mrs. Ron) Van Zomeren are cousins and granddaughters of Clauson and Carolina Bos.

Endnotes

1 Stilwell and Crowell, “I Had a Dream,” (Port Arthur: 1972), 44-54, 75-85; T. W. L. Sheltema “A Dutch-American Railroad: The Kansas City Southern,” Knickerbocker Weekly Free Netherlands (Nov. 23, 1944), 15-18.

2 Dutch-language (Holland) Heerenveenche Currant, Dec. 4, 1897.

3 Family records of Carol Konynenbelt and Ron van Zomeren; Obituary of Dirk Anton Elings; email of Apr. 9, 2003 to Ron Van Zomeren from Willem Frederiks, from Amsterdam Archives. 

4 Galveston Daily News, Nov. 15, 1897; Port Arthur (TX) Herald, Nov. 18, 1897; W. T. Block, “Tulip Transplants to East Texas: The Dutch Migration to Nederland, 1895-1915,” East Texas Historical Journal, XIII (Fall, 1975), 36-51.

5 Marie Rienstra Fleming, “History of the Orange Hotel,” Nederland Diamond Jubilee, 15; email from W. Frederiks in footnote 3.

6 Yearbook of the Christian Reformed Church-1899,” Calvin College; (Holland, Mich.) De Grondwet, May 24, 1898; W. T. Block, “Tulips amid the Bluebonnets,” (Beaumont, TX) Enterprise, Nov. 9, 1980, p. 11B.

7 (Holland Mich.) De Grondwet, Apr. 12, 1898;(Port Arthur, Tx.) Herald, Sept. 8, 1898.

8 Port Arthur Herald, Sept. 8, 1898; W. T. Block, “Tulip Transplants to East Texas: The Dutch Migration to Nederland, 1895-1915,” East Texas Historical Journal, XIII No. 2 (fall, 1975), 36-51.

9 Willem Beukers, “Vraag en Antwoord,” Neerlandia (publication of the Algemeen Nederlandsche Verboon), July, 1898, 38-39.

10 Research of Ron van Zomeren and Carol Konynenbelt.

11 Rob Kroes, “The Persistence of Ethnicity: Dutch Calvinist Pioneers of Amsterdam, Montana,:” pp. 54-55.

12 Book, “A Goodly Heritage,” p. 9, located by C. Konynenbelt.

13 Bozeman Mt. Courier, Dec. 3, 10, 1948.

14 Ibid. Dec. 24, 31, 1948.

15 Ibid. Jan. 7, 14, 1949.

16 ”History of Conrad, MT., as it appears on the town’s website.

17 C. Konynenbelt conversation with Gerald VandenAcre in Conrad, MT., also Dick Elings’ obituary in possession of David Elings.

18 Recorded Patent Record 6-G, p. 299, and Book 1-P, p. 490, Teton County, MT.; also in Patent Book 4,  p. 112 and Book 11, p. 111 in Pondera County courthouse, MT.

19 Information furnished to C. Konynenbelt by David Elings, son of Lester Elings.

20 Records furnished to me by Ron Van Zomeren.

21 Information furnished by C. Konynenbelt.

22 Information furnished by Ken Danhof, grandson of Joe Elings, and C. Konynenbelt.

23 Information furnished by Ron Van Zomeren and C. Konynenbelt; Article XII, Synodical Archives Necrology, Biog of D. A. Elings, p. 162, C. R. Church and School News, Aug. 17, 31,  1951.

24 Obituary of Rev. Dirk Elings in Christian Herald, Church and School News, June 8; Aug. 17, 31, 1951.

25 Emails from Gordon Assink, Yakima, WA. to Ron Van Zomeren, March 24, 28, 2003.

26 Email, C. Konynenbelt to W. T. Block, Feb. 22, 2003.

27 Email of Ron Van Zomeren, Feb. 23, 2003, as told by C. Konynenbelt.

28 Email, C. Konynenbelt to W. T. Block, Mar. 19, 2003.

29 Information furnished by Mike Sweeney, State and Yakima County Coordinator of the General Web Project; 1930 census information furnished to me by Ron Van Zomeren, emails of Feb. 28 and Mar. 16 2003.

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