This is my husband’s third great grandfather, Klaas van der Linden. He was born in the Netherlands in 1809 and died in Pella, Iowa in 1891 at the age of 81. He is the reason my interest in genealogy really sparked. I had been listening to my husband and his father talk about various other family members and my father-in-law mentioned that Klaas had been arrested in the Netherlands for unlawful assembly because he was part of a revolt against the church. He supposedly sent his family ahead to follow Reverend Scholte to Iowa, while he was in hiding in Europe and then followed later.
For a history geek like me, this was like putting a match to tinder. I had a ton of questions but all the family really had at hand were oral traditions and unsubstantiated (and often disagreeing) memories of hearing or reading something.
I’m not Dutch and really didn’t have a lot of information at the time but I started to dig back and sort of find my way around in the hunt for answers. This quickly went from looking into this one item to a having a huge family tree chart and trolling through every resource I can find. I’ve learned a lot along the way which I plan to share, in case the crickets are listening. I also am a writer by trade and words are my drug of choice.
There was a lot of turbulence in the Netherlands over religion in the 19th century. Catholicism was very much out of favor in most of the country and the liberal Calvinist protestants of the Dutch Reformed Church basically dominated the country and the government. In 1834 there was a split called the Afscheiding where a group led by Rev. de Cock split off from the Dutch Reformed Church to form a more orthodox church. Then another split happened in 1886, led by Abraham Kuyper. These two splintered off orthodox groups formed a new church in 1892 called the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. Eventually there were two large waves of immigration of these neo-Calvinists to the United States to seek religious freedom.
When I was learning about the religious history of the Netherlands, it struck me how many times this situation has played out in the history of the world. Religious tension has lead to a lot of waves of migration and power struggles.
Oh – and, yes, Klaas was indeed arrested for unlawful assembly and jailed for a short time. Almost the entire family immigrated to the United States to join Rev. Scholte in Pella, Iowa in the late 1860’s. Klaas followed the rest of the family about 4 months later to join them. He is buried with his wife, Evertje, in the Oakwood Cemetery in Pella, Iowa.