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23 Jan 2019

Peter Gerrit Vos & Anneke Nederveen in Colorado, USA

On 12 November, 1892, a total of 28 families with their 116 children and another 31 single persons boarded the steamship "Dubbeldam" in Amsterdam, Holland. Among them were Peter Gerrit Vos and Anneke Nederveen and their 2 children. The couple had been married on 18 December, 1875, in Almkerk, Brabant, The Netherlands.
Anneke Nederveen was born on 11 March, 1838, in Oudenbosch, Brabant. Her parents are Wouter Nederveen (1803-1867) and Maria Hagens. Peter Gerrit Vos was born in Almkerk on 7 April, 1839, as a younger son of Krijn Vos (1799-1866) and Adriaantje Confurius (1797-1875). His paternal grandparents are Bastiaan Vos and Jacoba Nieuwenhuizen. 
In Almkerk Peter Gerrit and Anneke had become the parents of 2 children: Maria Wouterina, born on 13 October, 1876, and Adriaan, born on 22 November, 1878.

The immigrants on board steamship "Dubbeldam" arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey, where they were met by Albertus Zoutman and Cornelis W. Van der Hoogt. They accompanied the newcomers to the San Luis Valley north of Alamosa where they arrived on November 30, 1892. Soon the immigrants discovered that the dazzling prospects described in the brochure were diametrically opposed to the facts.

Middelburgsche Courant, 21-2-1893
On January 31, 1893, 14 families and 6 single men left for Crook with a special train - the fare paid by the Immigration Company. About 10 days later Arnaud J. Van Lummel and Andries Bruintjes, immigrants from the "Empire Farm" near Alamosa, visited their fellow Dutchmen in northeastern Colorado. They found the colonists there in a wretched condition, some of them still living in railroad cars of the Union Pacific, parked on a side track. Several weeks later, the immigrants were "huddled together in two barn-like structures." Soon some of the Dutch children were stricken with diphtheria and scarlet fever.

The soil in the San Luis Valley was extremely dry, making the labor very hard. It had not rained for about three months, leaving the irrigation with dried ditches. After some time, the immigrants had managed to broken about 180 acres of grassland, and subsequently seeded these with sugar-beets that need moist soil. The strong winds, however, blew away the dry soil, and laid bare the seeds, resulting in just a small portion of the seed taking root. Suger-beets have a weakness for frost, but the growing season in the San Luis Valley is short; the last killing frost occurs around June tenth, and the first one around September tenth.
De Volksvriend, 7-12-1893
In April 1893 Van der Hoogt left the Dutch settlement for Brooklyn, New York, while Zoutman left early May 1893. Soon afterwards all kinds of swindles and scandals of Zoutman and Van der Hoogt surfaced.

After a bad harvest with low wheat prices, the Christian Reformed Church held a sale for the immigrant's goods and livestock, and had them resettled in Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. By December 1893, one scant year after the Dutch settlers came to the valley with their dreams for a new beginning, all but one family had left Alamosa. Peter Gerrit Vos and his family had moved to Luctor, Kansas.

Sources: Calvin Resources, WieWasWie.nlPeter de Klerk: "The Alamosa Disaster: The Boldest of Swindles",

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