As I explained in my post of 2 Feb 2010, Jan Burggraaf had two distinct family groups and each had their own stories.
Jan married Elizabeth in 1879 in Marion County, Iowa, and first child Pieter was born there on 23 December 1880. Our family story is that Jan and his father did not agree on many things. While Willem appears to be a staid Dutch farmer, youngest son Jan is an American. He loved to dance, drink and according to his family was a man who saw himself as more of a boss than a worker.
Things in Pella had become expensive and land was at a premium in the late 1870s which may have precipitated the move to Sioux County. The young family moved to Holland Township in Sioux County a short time after Peter was born, and second son William was born there 12 August 1883. The 1885 Iowa State Census shows the family before the birth of their third son Albert. It also states that William was born in Marion County, but William always stated his place of birth as Sioux County. The next three children are all born in Holland Township: Albert on 15 November 1885, Arrie on 27 April 1886, and Sadie on 29 November 1887. These dates were provided on an un-sourced family group sheet. I plan on checking the available birth record for that period, and I will be looking for a local church for the family in Sioux County.
The 1885 Iowa State Census is currently the last documentation that I have for Elizabeth. She passed away 5 Dec 1892 of “bowel trouble and according to a letter from her niece, Minnie Van Den Top, was buried in Rock Valley Cemetery. I found no cemetery record for Elizabeth. Her obituary in the Rock Valley Register, 8 Dec 1892, p5 is simple— “On Monday morning [5 Dec 1892] Mrs. John Burgraff died at the family home about four miles northeast of town, of inflammation of the bowels. Deceased was about 32 years of age, and leaves a sorrowing husband and four children to mourn her untimely death. The sympathy of all goes out to them in their affliction.”
Sadly, three of Elizabeth’s five children would die in less than 10 years. First to pass away before his mother, was Little Albert, who died circa 1891/92. We know he is deceased based on the number of children in Elizabeth’s death notice. Little Albert is believed to have died of illness and was buried in a small cemetery near Doon, Iowa. What cemetery is not known and I have found no formal record of his passing. The reason I can’t use words of a more positive nature is that there are no records for Little Albert. The date of his birth was found on a family group sheet and was verified in a birth index for Sioux County by date and his parents, but not by name. He does not appear on any census record and the only mention of his passing is in the previously mentioned letter from Minnie Van Den Top.
Arrie died 10 November 1893 in Running Water, Bon Homme County South Dakota. I will cover Arrie’s tragic story in a future post.
Little Sadie died 25 February 1899 in Bigelow, Nobles County, Minnesota. While her death certificate does not list her cause of death, her niece told me that it was due to tubercular meningitis. There is no burial location given on her death certificate and a researcher in Nobles County told me there was no tombstone with any information for any Burggraafs in their records. It is possible that she was brought to Sioux County (not a great distance) and buried with her mother, but currently her place of burial remains unknown.
I have been using the term “Little” with these three children because none of them lived to maturity. The other reason is to help distinguish them from children of the Jan’s second marriage who bear the same names.
1. Family Group Sheet of Peter Burgraff (1880-1956), Burgraff-Scott Family Archives; privately held.
2. “Sioux County, Iowa State Census, 1885,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 5 Jul 2009), Jan Burggraaf, Dwelling 126, Fam 126; Sioux County, Iowa State Census, 1885, FHL Film #1020183.
3. Minnie Van Den Top, Letter dated 1973 to [Private] detailing death and burial locations of Burggraaf family members.
4. Nobles, Minnesota, death certificate (25 February 1899), Sadie Burgraff; Nobles County Superior Court, Worthington, Minnesota.