Johan Gerrit Jan Hardiek
Johan Gerrit Jan Hardiek (1874-1944) is one of the more colorful people in the Dutch family tree. His youth was not free of troubles: he came frequently in contact with the police and justice due to fights. It must be said that not all of these were caused by him: at least once he 'helped' a friend in a fight. The newspaper clipping is from Tubantia 17 Apr 1896. In 1894 he married Henriëtte Anna Charlotte Freiberg, whose family also was not spotless. What exactly happened (and also when) is not clear, but around 1897 Johan left both his wife and the Netherlands. The actual divorce came in 1902.
In 1902 he can be found as a fireman on the Dutch steamship "SS Statendam". The working conditions on the ships of the Holland-Amerika Lijn (HAL) were harsh. Hard work and frequently the bosses were not too kind, to put it mildly. That prompted Johan to leave the ship in New York without permission. He found work on a ship going to Brazil and after ten weeks of sailing arrived again in the port of Wilmington (USA) without any money, only gotten a written proof of the fact that he had made this trip (he would be paid by the agent who hired him in New York).
He decides to go back to New York. Assistance and good advice from a farmer called Gieterboer from Warffum (Groningen, he Netherlands if you have any idea who this is please let us know) helps him getting there. In New York he finds the agent who had put him on the ship to Brazil and demands his money: in the end he gets twenty dollars.
in 1903 Johan works as a manservant for millionaire Lheman (most likely one of the Lehman brothers) in New Rochelle. In that year he writes a lengthy and detailed letter to his family in the Netherlands, stating how he came to the USA and describing the people, customs and nature. In the end of that letter he mentions that "the only problem is that I have to appear happy all the time but with the sad memories of my past this is sometimes difficult".
His whereabouts after that are unknown until 1906, when he is married to Elisabeth Eberhardt in Fort Wayne (picture of unknown date). In letter written in 1932 from Fort Wayne he mentions his children and the fact that some of them are active musicians and that he is a member of the "America Ligeoen Band" .
Every year his decendants have a reunion in Fort Wayne. This picture was taken in 1998:
If you know more of Johan Gerrit Jan Hardiek and his family please let us know.
Last Updated (Sunday, 18 July 2010 07:19)