By Rob Peters
The Peters family lived around Apeldoorn in the Gelderland province of Netherlands, which is 60 miles (90 kilometers) east from Amsterdam. The small town of Het Loo (or 't Loo) is about 5 miles north of Apeldoorn. The region is known by the name of Veluwe. Het Loo is interesting in that it was also the summer place of the Dutch royal family.
The royal family connection is important because Johannes was the caretaker of the King's hunting equipment at the Elephant House. Stories say that Johannes lost the thumb from his right hand while hooking up horses to a Singletree.
King Willem III (Willem van Oranje-Nassau) was very fond of the Peters children. Johannes' son Lambert fell into a fire near the Elephant House and lost 3 fingers from his left hand. King Willem III witnessed the accident and offered to school Lambert at the Kings school.
Johannes' only daughter Jannetje played a role with the royal family as well. As documented in Jannetje's obituary, “Her childhood was spent in one of the King's houses on his estate at 't Loo and her early education was carefully looked after as one of the servant girls, her occupation being flower girl for King Willem III ."
Johannes and Geertje had 10 children (9 boys and 1 girl) all born in the Netherlands. When they immigrated to the United States (1881), seven came with them. Two children immigrated later; Lambert with his wife Hendrika arrived at Ellis Island on July 23, 1894 [ship Maasdam] and Jannetje andher husband Willem van Loenen in 1886.
One child (Jan a carpenter) remained in the Netherlands. According to the Gemeente Archief of Apeldoorn, on Feb 17, 1916, Jan moved to the town of Laren in the province of Noord-Holland. His 3 children departed for different locations.
Johannes Gerrit, a blacksmith, moved to Woerden on March 24, 1902.
Hendrik Willem, a paperer, moved to the town of Hengelo in the province of Overijssel.
The last child Jan Willem, a carpenter by trade, moved to Rotterdam on Jan 4, 1910.
According to Garret Lambert. Peters, the reason for immigation to the United States was that Geertje had relatives here and that they enjoyed a higher standard of living. So, in 1881 Johannes and Geertje and seven of their children came to the United States. Lambert and Jeentje followed several years later with their spouses and children. It appears that Johannes left the Netherlands from Rotterdam in August of 1881 and arrived at New York. They took a train to Waupun Wisconsin where a large Dutch community existed.
Around 1910, Guy, Cornelius and Garret L. Peters (son of Lambert) moved to the Twin Falls area. Shortly after 1910, the US government decided to build a dam on the Salmon river in Idaho. They advertised for Dutch families to move out to Idaho to farm and work. Several of the children of Lambert and Hendrika move to Amsterdam Idaho. Amsterdam was a small town that later went out of existence. Some of Johannes and Geertje's descendants are located in the Twin Falls Idaho area.
Some time before 1900 Henry J moved to Winona Minnesota. Henry J. left Winona after 1910 and moved to Twin Falls Idaho and opened a shoe shop. Henry's father John was living with him in Twin Falls. In the 1930 census Henry J was listed as working in a second hand store in Twin Falls.
In 1899, Andrew (Andries John) moved to Winona Minnesota with his wife Victoria and two children, to live near his bother Henry. In 1905, Andrew moved to Stillwater Minnesota, taking a job as a forman at the Connolly Shoe factory. In 1910, Andrew left his wife Victoria and moved to Sioux Falls South Dakota where he divorced her. He married Cora May Grant and they settled Madison South Dakota and then moved to Flandreau.
Cornelius John Peters lived in Twin Falls after 1910. He owned a shoe shop in the city. Between 1920 and 1930 he moved to Milwaukie Oregon near Portland. Cornelius' descendants live in the Portland area.
Guy and his wife Louise moved to California around 1925 and lived around Palo Alto CA.
The other sons of John and Geertje lived in the Waupun area of Wisconsin.
According to the obituary of Geertje (Mrs. John Peters) published in Feb 13, 1905, “she leaves to morn her loss her husband and nine sons; one in Winona Minnesota, one in Europe and the others here [Waupun].”
In 1945, Gerrit Peters died. In his obituary it stated that he was survived by 3 brothers; Allan of Brandon Wisconsin, Guy living in California and Cornelius living in Portland Oregon.
Research continues on their descendants......