Documentation about the emigration  to the US in 1846 lead by Rev. A.C. Van Raalte

(Wanneperveen 1811-Holland, Michigan 1876) One of the men of the Secession in Overijssel. Known for the Van Raalte-trek, which referred to him a group emigrated to the United States in 1846 Drentse dissenters.

From 1840 until 1844 he stood as breakaway pastor in Ommen; from there he had contact with kindred spirits, especially in Sleen and surroundings. He initially wanted to emigrate to the Highlands of Java in Dutch East Indies. When the Minister of Colonies wanted to give no guarantee of religious freedom, he chose for North America. He founded In the State of Michigan between Kalamazoo and Grand River in 1847 the settlement Holland. In three years (1845-1847) emigrated there from Drenthe 303 persons, of which 214 belonged to the Breakaway Church, 28 and 22 reformed Roman Catholics. The Sleener preacher ds. Otto Schultz committed suicide in 1852, indirectly as a result of the schism in the village community.

Commemorating the Van Raalte-trek is on 16 June 1948 to the facade of the town hall a sculpted head ' The Seer ' unveiled by Herman Baruch, Ambassador of the United States in our country. In 1997, in Holland (Michigan) founded the A.C. van Raalte Institute as part of the Hope College as a historical research center of the Dutch-American history in the 19th and 20th century.


Albertus Christiaan van Raalte (1811-1876)

Albertus Christiaan van Raalte was born on 17 October 1811 in Wanneperveen, the son of Albertus van Raalte and Catherine Christina Harking. He came from a large family, of which a number of children died early. His father was preacher managed.
Albertus Christiaan studied theology in Leiden, but he was not officially Reverend. The Commission, which would let him to the Office asked the question or he could connect to the rules of the Church governance. Van Raalte replied that he didn’t know all rules, but he did not believe that they were in conflict with the religious forms. That question was not entirely incomprehensible. Van Raalte belonged to the so-called club of Scholte, a number of theology students from Leiden, who brought the unrest in the in-active reformed church by their ideas about the separation of Church and State and their wish to return to the requirements of the Dordtse Synod.
He was not admitted to the Office and thus driven into the arms of the secession.
Eventually this led to the schism of 1834, initiated by Hendrick de Cock ever from Ulrum in Groningen, which, incidentally, not until that group belonged. The Cock had studied in Groningen.

Van Raalte's first commune in 1835 was in the vicinity of his place of birth: Genemuiden and Mastenbroek. On March 11, 1836, he married Johanna Christina in Leiden with the Moen. In 1840 he moved to Ommen, where he also trained others to teacher and preacher except anywhere in and outside the province of Parsons turns loved. More than once he was arrested, he got house arrest or actually was locked up. It didn't stop him from what he saw as his vocation: the people the faith preach.

The forties of the 19th century were economically incredibly bad: the potatoes, public food number one, members to the so-called potato disease, a fungal disease, which brought great need to weigh throughout Europe. There came to that climate fluctuations, harsh winters, wet summers decent, knew far too little sun. For the people of the Netherlands also had a major impact, because the Government was not able to intervene with adequate measures. Now the same government tax measures causing great unrest suryaningrat strict arose across the country. Known are the grutters insurgencies in the big cities, which was shot by the army sometimes with sharp.

In 1840 knew senator Groen van Prinsterer to get the room that the Dissenters were recognised as independent church community next to the Reformed and Catholics.
That didn't in that the concerns were over. Local disturbances to, the emergency also held among the people. All that together made that Van Raalte foresaw no improvement of the economic situation in Netherlands and started thinking about emigration. That idea came not just fall from the sky. Emigration blew in those years as a kind of ideal about Europe. It was started when Hessian soldiers returning from the battlefields in America and told about that immense great country where space was for everyone. The young United States of America, but still three quarters of a century, tried to draw independently country movers with promises of almost free crossings, free country and especially freedom of religion.

Together with his colleague from the Achterhoek, Ds. Anthony wrote a pamphlet about Van Raalte and Brummelkamp emigration that circulated among his followers and other parts of the population. Many Nob to a future search in den stranger.
Van Raalte was initially charmed by Indie, but then he sat under Dutch administration. Thereafter, he founded the look at South Africa, but South Africa knew all measures against emigration, especially among farmers. There was too little land for them. In those years the South African farmers are already established in the North of South Africa, in Natal. In addition, the crossing was unaffordable for his people. It was so America.
In 1846 he departed with a group of people, mainly from Ommen and Hellendoorn. There were preceded him all groups from Winterswijk and surroundings. It was his intention to reside in Wisconsin established, hence the ' Achterhoekse ' optimistic messages of emigrants were reasonable. But on the road, after a tough stormy crossing, he decided, on the advice of the pastor of Albany to go to Michigan. There he founded the city of Holland. In 1847 and 1848 to Holland, Michigan came several groups, including from Zeeland, Bentheim, Overijssel, Groningen and Friesland. The first years were incredibly heavy for the new colony. Many emigrants died by deprivation and diseases.

Van Raalte was not only preacher, he was a lawyer, Director, land registry official, financial expert, judge. He did everything for his followers. He also got criticism, not only from their own people, who found that he loved the reins too tight, also of outsiders, who accused him of zakkenvullerij: he sold the land to his followers more expensive than the offical le price, which the u.s. Government early. He defended his method because there are churches and schools and even an orphanage should be built.

Van Raalte joined the Dutch Reformed church of America, the old Dutch Reformed Church, which already existed since 1610. Not everyone that took him in thanks. That old church they had in precisely with all woe and misery behind Netherlands stoical and Van Raalte joined there again. It became a divisive and in 1857 had to respect how the first separation Of Raalte was a fact: Dutch Reformed and Christian Reformed.
He had founded in Holland in 1851 Hope College, a school for training to teachers and pastors. Prompt founded the Christian Reformed Church has become much more famous Calvin College in Grand Rapids.
His wife died In 1871, to whom he had had a great support throughout his life.
In 1876 he succeeded her in the Tomb. He was not really old, 65.