1849 Emigration & Settlement in America 
In 1849, the Eenigenburg family emigrated to America in a group of 64 courageous souls.  The emigration party included 3 Eenigenburg siblings and their families:  Gerrit & Jannetje (Ton) Eenigenburg, Geertje (Eenigenburg) & Jakob De Jong and Hark & Aaltje (den Toom) Eenigenburg.

It was April 24, 1849. Imagine the thrill, the apprehension, and the hope that filled the hearts of the party of young Dutch families as they boarded the Massachusetts of Boston in LeHavre, France. Having departed Schoorl on April 14th (first by canal barge to Rotterdam, followed by a steamboat to LeHavre), this courageous group headed for the new world, with visions of making a good living for their young families, and the promise of religious freedom.

Exact Replica of the Massachusetts of Boston in the North Sea

Three days into their 42-day voyage, Asiatic Cholera broke out.  It ultimately consumed 17 lives, including 13 children, from the original party of 64.  The grief was unimaginable, as one-by-one, adults were stricken in their prime, grieving parents lost their children, and victims were torn from their loved ones for immediate burial at sea… all in a futile effort to contain the spread. 

Gerrit and Jannetje Eenigenburg, lost 3 of their 4 children on the journey – Jan (1845), Joris (1846) and Pieterje (1849). Only 5-year old Trijntje (1843) survived. 

Jannetje (1818-1883) and Gerrit (1814-1893) Eenigenburg

Mercifully, the group finally landed in New York harbor on June 4, 1849. Two weeks later, after traveling through the Great Lakes, the survivors of the 60-day, tragedy-filled voyage arrived in Chicago. On the dock, they were met by Klaas Pool, an old acquaintance who had traveled to America two years earlier. Klaas led 4 of the men, chosen as the scouting party, on foot the final 20 miles, to the High Prairie (now Roseland).

Greater detail on the voyage:
In 2015, the Eenigenburg Museum created the following descriptive presentation of the voyage to America.   It is being shown to museum visitors in Dutch, and has been translated it into English so the family can enjoy it.   Click on the image to view.

The New Settlement – High Prairie (Roseland)
On July 3, 1849, the settlers bought 160 acres of prime land for $5 per acre from 103rd to 111th Streets, and from Indiana Avenue to State Street (as we know the area today). Gerrit & Jannetje purchased 10 acres at 110th Street.

But the hardships were not over. The country was wild and primitive, the winters were extremely harsh, and the farming was difficult. There were no railroads or wagon roads, only a primitive trail.
The new settlers were up to the task, and the land was extremely fertile. The pioneers were successful in their new community. In fact, many of them did extremely well in the boom years that followed. 

Gerrit & Jannetje Move to Oak Glen
In 1853, seeing greater opportunity in raising live stock, Gerritt, Jannetje and their family moved again. They bought 160 acres of land about 15 miles south (Oak Glen, now Lansing), for 93 cents per acre. They were the second family to settle there.  Gerrit was successful enough to retire early, leaving the farming to his sons George and John, while Harry chose to leave home to pursue the carpentry trade.