Basic Info on Tuberculosis

People have forgotten just what a scourge the disease of tuberculosis was. In the farming communities of the 1800s and early 1900s entire families were afflicted by this disease and it was a common cause of death among the young as well as the old. TB has been around a long time – researchers have found evidence of the disease in prehistoric human remains and Egyptian mummies. I’m going to stay very non-technical in this post – if you want to know more just go Google the history of tuberculosis and prepare to be overwhelmed!

The two types of tuberculosis we dealt with in our family were known as pulmonary tuberculosis and “bone” or extrapulmonary tuberculosis. The primary cause of TB is a bacillus – in really lay terms “a bacterium” that can divide roughly every 16 to 20 hours. It’s not considered a fast grower, but it is a hearty little devil and can withstand weak disinfectants and survive in a dry state for several weeks.

Pulmonary tuberculosis is spread by the cough, sneeze, or spit of an infected person becoming airborne and someone else inhaling it. Think about the close living arrangements of families on farms and it’s easy to see how entire families were infected. Infection with TB did not always equate to the disease becoming active – I have seen numbers in my reading that show from 15-40% on the number of infected who became active.

Generally, the bone type of TB was acquired through the consumption of unpasteurized milk or consumption of meat from an in infected cow. On the Washington State Department of Agriculture website there is a compiled history concerning the State Veterinarian. There is an entry discussing tuberculosis testing of cattle and states, “Herds of up to 150 head were often found to be 100 percent reactive.”1 This was during a time when every farmer had from 4-10 dairy cows for production of, at least, the family milk, and usually sold the extra to the local dairy. The farmers also had a few young steers that they raised to butcher and almost all of these cattle carried the disease. “It would take until 1988 before Washington is declared Tuberculosis free by the Washington State Agricultural Department.”2

The real break-through with TB came in 1944 when a new antibiotic called Streptomycin was administered for the first time. It immediately stopped the progression of the disease and the bacteria disappeared from the sputum and the chance of recovery was excellent. All diseases mutate to survive and TB immediately did so, but combinations of drugs solved most of those problems. In developed countries TB has been significantly reduced. It remains a huge problem in undeveloped countries and new drug resistant strains are still being found. This development came after many in my Burgraff and Kortlever line died from the disease.



1. Washington State Dept. of Agriculture, Washington State Dept. of Agriculture – Animal Health (http://www.secstate.wa.gov/library/docs/AGR/SL_AGR2004_000007.html : accessed 19 Jun 2009), 1929 entry.
2. Ibid.

The Kortlever Children

Cornelis born 16 April 1873 in Leerdam, Zuid, Netherlands.1 The only documentation of Cornelis after his birth record on Genlias is the passenger list previously shown. I believe he died previous to the 1885 Iowa State Census because his name is recycled to Baby Cornelis born about 1884.

Maria Mary, 17 October 1874–16 April 1926, married John Burgraff . Mary and her 10 children were previously discussed.

Hugo 18 January 1876–16 Jun 1955.2,3 Hugo was born in Leerdam and immigrated with his mother in 1882. He married Martha Roo (21 July 1883–22 July 1974)4 on 22 September 1903 in Lynden, Whatcom County, Washington.5 They had five children: John H., Raymond B., Carl M., Marshall F., and Victor E. He appears to be close to his sister Mary since she requests he be named guardian of her minor children in her will. Hugo and Martha are buried in Monumenta Cemetery in Lynden.

Maaike 3 September 1877-21 October 1877, Leerdam.6

Bastiaan Cornelis born 30 December 1878 in Leerdam.7 He immigrated with his mother in 1882 and is last recorded on the 1885 Iowa census. I believe he may have died in Iowa before 1895 as I find not found any further record of him.

John Cornelis 6 June 1882–September 1969.8,9 I found no birth record for John on Genlias. It is possible that he was born in Belgium while his mother was waiting for the ship. His World War I Draft Record states his father John Kortlever of Lynden, Washington, is his point of contact. According to an un-sourced family group sheet, John married Mae Agnes Wilcox and died in Long Beach, California.

Cornelis born about 1884 in Alton, Sioux County, Iowa. The only record of Baby Cornelis is the 1885 Iowa State Census. I have found no other records.

Maaike 1 May 1885–18 June 1956. Maggie was born in Iowa and on 25 April 190410 she married Herman Pen (24 January 1875–30 December 1949)11 in Lynden. Maggie and Herman had 11 children: Frank, Johan (John), Jacob, Jennie, Florence, Hugo, Josephine, Dick, John, Marshall, and Cornelius. Herman and Maggie are buried in Monumenta Cemetery.

Cornelia 3 May 1890–13 June 1955.12 Nellie was born in Iowa and on 30 January 191213 she married Rendit Van Diest (5 February 1885-2 June 1959)14 in Lynden. They had 5 children: Cornelius, John B., Gerrit H., Margaret F., and Trenton. Ren and Nellie are buried in Monumenta Cemetery.

Jennie 15 October 1892-23 October 1920.15 Jennie was also born in Iowa and on 20 January 191816 she married Abraham Noteboom (30 January 1883–25 Nov 1970)17 in Lynden. They had one child: Cornelius. Jennie and Abraham are buried in Monumenta Cemetery.



1. Genlias database, Genlias (http://www.genlias.nl/en : accessed 10 Feb 2010), Cornelis Kortleever, 16 Apr 1873, Kedichem; Nationaal Archief (Rijksarchief Zuid-Holland).
2. Genlias database, Genlias (http://www.genlias.nl/en : accessed 10 Feb 2010), Hugo Kortleever, 19 Jan 1876, Kedichem; Nationaal Archief (Rijksarchief Zuid-Holland).
3. Whatcom County, Washington, death certificate no. 12360 (16 Jun 1955), Hugo Kortlever; Washington State Vital Records, Olympia, Washington.
4. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 Feb 2010), Martha Kortlever, 23 Jul 1974, Cert #017155.
5. Whatcom County, Washington, Marriage Licenses, 1753, Hugo Kortlever-Martha Roo, 22 Sep 1903; Whatcom County Marriage Records, Bellingham.
6. Genlias database, Genlias (http://www.genlias.nl/en : accessed 11 Aug 2009), Birth, Maaike Kortlever, 3 Sep 1877; Schoonrewoerd, Zuid, Netherlands.
7. Genlias database, Genlias (http://www.genlias.nl/en : accessed 11 Aug 2009), Birth, Bastiaan Cernelis Kortleever, 30 Dec 1878, Leerdam; Nationaal Archief (Rijksarchief Zuid-Holland).
8. “WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 Feb 2010), John Cornelis Kortlever, 6 Jun 1882.
9. State of California Dept. of Health Services, “California Death Index, 1940-1997,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 Feb 2010), John C. Kortlever, died 11 Sep 1969, Los Angeles.
10. Whatcom County, Washington, Marriage Licenses, Herman Pen-Maggie Kortlever, 25 Apr 1904; Whatcom County Marriage Records, Bellingham, Washington.
11. Whatcom County, Washington, death certificate no. 22307 (30 Dec 1949), Herman Pen; Washington State Vital Records, Olympia, Washington.
12. Whatcom County, Washington, death certificate no. 12357 (13 Jun 1955), Cornelia Van Diest; Washington State Vital Records, Olympia, Washington.
13. Whatcom County, Washington, Marriage Licenses, 748, Rendit Van Diest-Cornelia Kortlever, 30 Jan 1912; Whatcom County Marriage Records, Bellingham, Washington.
14. Whatcom County, Washington, death certificate no. 13179 (2 Jun 1959), Ren Vandiest, age 84; Washington State Vital Records, Olympia, Washington.
15. “Many attend Services for Late Mrs. Abe Noteboom,” (Lynden) Lynden Tribune, 28 Oct 1920.
16. Whatcom County, Washington, Marriage Licenses, 3625, Abram Noteboom-Jennie Kortlever, 10 Jan 1918; Whatcom County Marriage Records, Bellingham.
17. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 Feb 2010), Abram Noteboom, 25 Nov 1970, Cert.#026911

Maaike Flora Bel Kortlever Dies

Maaike survived John by several years and was with her daughter Mary when Mary dies of tuberculosis in 1926. Maaike herself will die of the same disease on 15 September 19311 and is buried beside Jan in Monumenta Cemetery.

FINAL RITES CONDUCTED FOR MRS JOHN KORTLEVER
LYNDEN WOMAN PASSES AWAY SUDDENLY FRIDAY MORNING [Sat 15 Aug 1931 per Death Cert]
Lynden said farewell to another of its honored citizens Monday [17Aug] afternoon when funeral services were held at the First Reformed Church for Mrs. John Kortlever, who passed away at her home in this city Saturday at 11 am.
The Rev. Vaner Woods of Oak Harbor officiated at the services. Burial was made in a local cemetery. Knapp & Knapp had charge of funeral arrangements.
Although Mrs. Kortlever had not been in good health for some time, her death came suddenly and unexpectedly Saturday morning. She was 78 years, 6 months, 10 days old.
Mrs. Kortlever had lived in Lynden and vicinity for the last 31 years. She was born in The Netherlands on Feb 5, 1853, and was married there to John Kortlever. The couple came to the U.S. 42 years ago and settled in Kansas [should say Iowa] where they lived until 1900, when they moved to Whatcom County.
Mr. Kortlever died 9 years ago this month. Surviving relatives include 2 sons, Hugo and John C. and 2 daughters, Mrs. Ren Van Diest and Mrs. Herman Pen. All reside in the Lynden district with the exception of Mrs. Pen, who lives near Sumas. 29 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren also survive.”2



1. Whatcom County, Washington, death certificate no. 90 (15 Aug 1931), Maaike Kortlever; Washington State Vital Records, Olympia, Washington.
2. “Final Rites conducted for Mrs. John Kortlever,” (Lynden) Lynden Tribune, Thur., 20 Aug 1931.

John Kortlever Dies

On 15 August 1922 Jan Kortlever died at the age of 73 of a heart attack.1 He was buried in Monumenta Cemetery.

WILL HOLD KORTLEVER SERVICES NEXT MONDAY
Funeral services for the late John Kortlever will be held on Monday at 1 p.m. at the family home, and at 1:30 at the Reformed Church on Grover Street. Rev. H. K. Pasma will conduct the services.
Mr. Kortlever passed away suddenly Tuesday evening a few minutes after retiring. He had been in apparent good health and the news of his passing came as a shock to his many friends. He had resided in the Lynden district for twenty-two years, and was universally esteemed and respected.
Mr. Kortlever was 73 years, 6 months and 27 days old. He was born in The Netherlands. He was married to Maaike Flora Bell in 1873. He came to the United Sates in 1883, and lived in Iowa for 13 years. After being in Minnesota for four years, he moved to Lynden.
Besides his widow, he is survived by two sons, Hugo and John of Lynden; three daughters, Mrs. Mary Burgraff, Mrs. Rendit Van Diest of Lynden, and Mrs. H. Pen of Okanogan; two brothers in the The Netherlands, and on in Edgerton, Minn.; one sister in Pella, Iowa, and one in The Netherlands.”2



1. Whatcom County, Washington, death certificate no. 634 (15 Aug 1922), John Kortlever; Washington State Vital Records, Olympia, Washington.
2. “Will Hold Kortlever Services Next Monday,” (Lynden) Lynden Tribune, Thur., 17 Aug 1922, p. 2.

Hugo Burgraff

Every family has a child that picks up the load – I refer to it as “the kid that carries the water.” In our family it is Hookie who seemed to take on most of the responsibilities. When his father died, Hookie was 20 years old and he took over running the family farm. His older brother John was living at home, but wasn’t much on farm work. Hookie also became the surrogate father to his younger siblings that were still at home.

My first Hookie story is about his mother’s illness. When Mary became very ill she went to Yakima to stay with friends. It was hoped that the dry climate would help her control her tuberculosis. Unfortunately, the disease had progressed too far for the treatment to help her. When it was obvious that she was failing, Mary wanted to come home to Lynden. Sadie, who was only 13, had been spending time with her in Yakima and she called Hookie to come help. He took the train over to Yakima and then made arrangements with the railroad to get his mother home.

Mary was too advanced in her illness to be allowed in the passenger car and was too weak to have sat for the entire journey anyway. Hookie loaded her cot into the baggage car and made the trip home sitting on the floor of the baggage car holding his mother’s hand. They made the transfers with Hookie carrying his mother in his arms and a station man moving her cot and luggage to the next baggage car. Albert met them at the station with the car and they took Mary home to the farm where she died. Hookie made all the arrangements for Mary’s burial.

Hookie and his brother Albert were executors to Mary’s will, but Hookie was the head of the household. Sadie went to stay with her older sister for awhile, but she really wanted to be home with her brothers. Hookie convinced his sister to let her come back and he was more father than brother to her in the years before she married. He loaned her the money for canning jars to put up vegetables and fruit to sell, and then let her pay him back after she sold her preserves.

When Bert died suddenly in 1938 it would be Hookie that took on the role of guardian uncle to his child. While all the siblings made sure Bert’s family remained part of the Burgraff family, it was often Hugo that made sure that they were included in all the events.

My favorite story of Hookie is about the death of his brother Ike (Arie). Ike died in the tuberculosis sanitarium in Salem, Oregon, and his body was sent to North Bend where his wife Dorothy was living. Dorothy and Ike were living on the edge of poverty and with no money for a funeral, Ike was going to be laid to rest in a pauper’s grave. Hookie stepped in, and taking his brothers Albert and Marion, along with Dorothy’s mother Lucy Jane Wilson Johnson, he went to North Bend to intercept the body. He brought with him on the train a coffin that he’d built the night previous to their departure and he went directly to the funeral home. There he claimed the body of his brother Ike and placed him in the coffin he brought.

The following morning the family, along with Dorothy and her daughter Donna, left for Lynden to bury Ike in Monumenta Cemetery next to his brother Bert. The two graves had originally been purchased by Hookie for himself and potentially a future wife, but he had given one up for Bert the year before and now he was giving up the other one for Ike. With money being tight only the women rode in the passenger car. Hookie and his brothers made the long ride back to Lynden in the baggage car sitting on Ike’s coffin. Hookie handled all the arrangements for the burial and paid all the bills.

Hookie married Kathleen Elnora Klander on 2 June 1939 when he was 38 years old. I like to think he was waiting until all of his obligations to his family were past. He had seen all of his siblings married and settled and completed his duty as “surrogate father.” Sadly, the man that had been a father to so many had no children. Kathleen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and spent many years in a nursing home later in her life. Hugo spent some time in a sanitarium for tuberculosis, but his disease never developed to the severe level of his brothers.

When I met Hookie in 1967 my immediate thought was, “I know exactly what my Dad will look like when he’s 65!” They had the same nose and the same lively eyes. Hookie was sweet, kind, and gentle with a warm hug and great laugh. He was adored by his siblings, their children, and their grandchildren.

John & Mary’s Children

Only the deceased grandchildren will be included here to protect the privacy of the living.

Maggie – 20 March 1892 – 20 March 1967.1 For the longest time I thought her first name was “Poor” because I almost always heard her called “Poor Maggie.” She was married three times. Maggie married William Den Adel (about 1896 – 14 March 1917)2 on 17 October 1913 in Lynden.3 Will died suddenly at age 31 from an asthma attack. Her next marriage was to Edward R. Hoekstra (20 April 1886 – 24 May 1934)4 on 28 October 1920 in Lynden.5 Ed was only 49 when he died in a fall from a water tower. Maggie’s last marriage was to Jake Haga (25 October 1901 – 19 February 1980)6 on 20 November 1942.7 She and Jake were married until her death. Maggie and Ed adopted a son they named Harold Clarence Hoekstra. Harold was killed in a hunting accident 14 October 1945.8 All are buried in Monumenta Cemetery in Lynden.

Elizabeth – 20 March 1895 – 5 August 1976.9 Lizzie married Jacob Thomas Dyksterhuis (5 February 1888 – 16 January 1973)10 on 26 April 1916 in Lynden.11 They had four children together. Two daughters (Helen and Marie) died of tuberculosis while Lizzie was still alive. Jacob and Lizzie are buried in Monumenta Cemetery.

John – 26 November 1896 – April 1983.12 John married twice that I know of. His first marriage was to Rose Gardner and I have been told by family member that the marriage ended in divorce. His second marriage was to Mary Jane Byrnes. John was often at odds with his family. He perceived himself to be a high-end home builder, but while he apparently did build nice homes, he was not particularly enthusiastic about any type of work. He also as previously stated did not have the talent his father had for the art of the deal. John often returned home for extended periods of time, but was not known to be quick to lend a hand with the chores. John moved to the upper peninsula of Michigan later in life. John had no known children. He is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Doyle, Schoolcraft County, Michigan. I’ve requested a photo of his stone on Find A Grave but as yet I don’t have one.

Janry – 6 December 1899 – 4 January 1969.13 Known formerly as Jane, she was called Jennie by her family and her death records and obituary are under Jennie. She married Berend “Ben” Nymeyer (27 May 1894 – 15 November 1973)14 on 15 October 1919 in Lynden.15 She and Ben had 6 children and are buried in Lakeside Cemetery in Lynden.

Hugo – 19 October 1901 – 13 April 1969.16 Hookie was the child that took care of everyone else. I will have more on Hookie’s life in a later post. Hookie married Kathleen Elnora Klander (28 October 1918 – 26 January 1982)17 on 2 June 1939 in Port Orchard, Kitsap County, Washington.18 Hookie and Kathleen had no children and are buried in Ten Mile Cemetery outside of Lynden.

Albert – 17 December 1902 – 19 June 1995.19 Albert married Jennie C. Ellofson (11 August 1907 – 17 December 2000)20 on 24 December 1924 in Bellingham.21 Albert operated several dairy farms and worked for the major dairy in Lynden. He was also well known as a local breeder. Their only child, Albert Leroy Burgraff died 15 December 1991.22 Albert, Jennie and Albert L. are buried in Lynden Cemetery.

Arie – 22 October 1908 – 28 April 1939. As previously discussed in a post from 28 Jan 2010 Arie died of pulmonary tuberculosis. He married Dorothy Josephine Johnson (16 January 1908 – 15 September 1992) on 3 August 1927 and they had four children: Jack, Donald, Robert, and Donna, all of whom are deceased. Dorothy will be discussed when I get to the Johnson line. He is buried in Monumenta Cemetery.

Bastjaan – 21 June 1909 – 1 April 1938.23 Bert was married to Gertrude Edith Telgenhoff (11 May 1906 – 26 January 1992)24 on 24 September 1937 in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington.25 Bert died from spinal tuberculosis just a couple weeks before the birth of his only child. Gertrude never remarried and remained close to the Burgraff family. Both are buried in Monumenta Cemetery, although not together. Bert is in the Burgraff plot with his brother Arie, and Gertrude is with her parents Walter Telgenhoff and Ida Vanderyacht.

I won’t discuss Marion or Sadie at this time.



1. “Maggie Haga Rites At 2 p.m. Friday,” (Bellingham) The Bellingham Herald, 22 Mar 1967, p. 17.
2. “MANY ATTEND FUNERAL OF WILLIAM DEN ADEL,” (Lynden) Lynden Tribune, Thur., 18 Mar 1917, p. 1.
3. Washington State Archives, marriage license 1586 (17 Oct 1913), William Den Adel-Maggie Burgraff; digital image, Washington State Archives, Washington State Digital Archives (http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov).
4.Whatcom County, Washington, death certificate no. 81 (24 May 1934), Edward R. Hoekstra; Washington State Vital Records, Olympia Washington.
5. Whatcom County, Washington, Marriage Licenses, 5088, Edward Hoekstra-Maggie Den Adel, 8 Oct 1920; Whatcom County Marriage Records, Bellingham.
6. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 10 Feb 2010), Jake Haga, 19 Feb 1989, Bellingham, Cert #004653.
7. Whatcom County, Washington, Marriage Licenses, 11185, Jake Haga-Maggie Hoekstra, 20 Nov 1942; Whatcom County Marriage Records, Bellingham.
8. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 10 Feb 2010), Harold C. Hoekstra, 14 Oct 1945, Cert #211.
9. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 7 Jul 2009), Elizabeth Dyksterhuis, death 5 Aug 1975, Whatcom County, Cert. #020111; Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington.
10. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Jul 2009), Jacob T. Dyksterhuis, death 16 Jan 1973, Whatcom County, Cert. # 002528; Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington.
11. Washington State Archives, marriage license 2736 (26 April 1916), Jacob T. Dksterhuis-Elizabeth Burgraff; digital image, Washington State Archives, Washington State Digital Archives (http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov).
12. Social Security Administation, “Social Security Death Index, Master File,” database, Ancesty (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 7 Jul 2009), John Burgraff, 367-16-8131; Social Security Administration.
13. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 10 Feb 2010), Jennie Nymeyer, death 4 Jan 1969, Cert #090744; Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington.
14. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 7 Jul 2009), Ben Nymeyer, death 15 Nov 1973, Cert. #027758; Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington.
15. Washington State Archives, marriage license 4431 (15 October 1919), Ben Nymeyer-Jennie Burgraff; digital image, Washington State Archives, Washington State Digital Archives (http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov).
16. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 7 Jul 2009), Hugo Burgraff, death 13 Apr 1969, Lynden, Whatcom, Cert.#010495; Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington.
17. Social Security Administation, “Social Security Death Index, Master File,” database, Ancesty (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 7 Jul 2009), Kathleen Burgraff, 534-28-2319, born 28 Oct 1918, died Jan 1982; Social Security Administration.
18. Washington State Archives, marriage certificate 11452 (2 Jun 1939), Hugo Burgraff-Kathleen Elnora Klander; digital image, Washington State Archives, Washington State Digital Archives (http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov).
19. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 8 Jul 2009), Albert Burgraff, death 19 Jun 1995, 539-12-0556, Cert. #021177; Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington.
20. Social Security Administation, “Social Security Death Index, Master File,” database, Ancesty (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 Jul 2009), Jennie C. Burgraff, death 17 Dec 2000, birth 11 Aug 1907, 532-58-5340; Social Security Administration.
21. Whatcom County, Washington, Marriage Licenses, Albert Burgraff-Jennie Ellofson, 24 Dec 1924; Whatcom County Marriage Records, Bellingham.
22. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 10 Feb 2010), Albert L. Burgraff, 29 Dec 1991, Cert #035289.
23. Whatcom County, Washington, death certificate no. Record No. 1, Registered No. 107 (1 Apr 1938), Bert Burgraff; Washington State Vital Records, Olympia, Washington.
24. Washington State Deparatment of Health, “Washington Death Index, 1940-1996,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 20 Feb 2010), Gertrude E. Burgraff, 26 Jan 1992, Cert #001505.
25. Washington State Archives, marriage certificate 74101 (25 Sep 1937), Bert Burgraff-Gertrude E. Telgenhoff; digital image, Washington State Archives, Washington State Digital Archives (http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov: accessed 20 Feb 2010).

 

Mary’s Funeral Card

Mary Burgraff's Funeral Card

The Wills

John’s will, dated 6 October 1916, was very simple.1 He left $1 to each of his children: Peter Burgraff, William Burgraff, Maggie Den Adel, Elizabeth Dyksterhuis, John Burgraff, Jane Burgraff, Hugo Burgraff, Albert Burgraff, Arie Burgraff, Bastjaan Burgraff, Marion Burgraff, and Sadie Burgraff.

The rest of the estate went to Mary and clearly stipulated that she could do what she wanted with it. He also named her as executrix of his will. I did not search out the probate files to look for an appraisal of the estate.

Mary’s will is dated 13 March 1926 and has a little more detail and two very interesting tidbits.2

Peter and William (sons of John and Elizabeth) each received $500.
John Jr. Hugo and Albert each received $500,
“…for the reason that they have given more of their services than the other children in accumulating my estate.”
This would be payable after the sale of real estate, but before the division of proceeds.

Everything left would be divided equally between: John Burgraff, Hugo Burgraff, Albert Burgraff, Arie Burgraff, Bastjaan Burgraff, Marion Burgraff, Maggie Hoekstra, Elizabeth Dyksterhuis, Jane Nymeyer and Sadie Burgraff – to share and share alike. There is one exception made to the property.
“I hereby declare that the piano in the home is the property of my daughter, Sadie Burgraff, and the same shall not be included as a part of my estate.”

Mary requests the courts appoint her brother Hugo Kortlever as guardian of the minor children: Arie, Bastjaan, Marion, and Sadie.

Interesting tidbit 1: Hugo and Albert are nominated as the executors. John Jr. is not named. She also provides a separate sum of $200 each for their services.

Interesting tidbit 2: In the final paragraph of her will Mary states,
“It is my further desire that my son John Burgraff do not remain on said farm with the other children but that he secure another place to board and room, and not take part in working or leasing of said farm, and I authorize my executors to take such measures as may be necessary to carry out this provision of my will.”

It sounds like John was persona non-gratis at this time. Several phone calls later I was able to determine that Mary wanted the boys (Hugo and Albert) to be able to ask John to leave. John was not a farmer and contributed little to the working of the farm, although he lived there and apparently did not hesitate to partake in all the benefits. He did not work much outside the home, but he perceived himself to be the wheeler-dealer that his father was. Sadly, according to my sources, John lacked the temperament and talent for this. Mary made it clear that she was aware of the problem and would not saddle the other children with a sibling that wouldn’t pull his weight.

On the 1930 census Hugo age 28, is listed as the head of the family and at home are: Sadie age 17, Bert age 20, Marion age 19, and at the end of the list is John age 31.3 Apparently Hugo did not ask John to leave.

Mary’s probate would not be closed until 27 April 1936. The drop in farm prices and products beginning in 1926 and continuing through the Great Depression made it almost impossible to sell the property. Hugo eventually bought the shares of the farm from his siblings. The following items are of interest in the probate file:4

In 1929 William entered an agreement with his grandmother Maaike Flora Bel Kortlever. She provided him the cash he needed and he signed away his $500 that would be coming with sale of the land. Her son Hugo Kortlever acting as executor, claimed her share after her death in 1931.

In 1934 Bert sold his share of the farm to his sister Sadie.

John’s shares (according to the 31 Jan 1936 document) were sold under Sheriff’s sale to satisfy a judgment at some time prior to that date.



1. Whatcom, Washington, Record of Wills and Probate, Vol 8 of the Whatcom Probate Index: p. 79, Will of John Burgraff; File No. 4445.
2. Whatcom, Washington, Record of Wills and Probate, Record of Wills, Vol 8: p. 237, Will of Mary Burgraff; File No. 5979.
3. 1930 U.S. census, Whatcom County, Washington, population schedule, Ten Mile Township, enumeration district (ED) 53, p. 7A, dwelling 165, family 165, Hugo Burgraff; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 7 Jul 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 2522.
4. Whatcom, Washington, Probate Files, 5979 – Mary Burgraff; Superior Court of the Sate of Washington, County of Whatcom, Bellingham, Washington.

Mary Kortlever Burgraff Dies

Mary stayed busy after John’s death raising her family. The boys were taking care of the farm and the three older girls were married and busy with their families. In August of 1921 Mary was appointed to the board of the drainage improvement district. Her son John Jr. had applied for the position, but he was not a land owner at the time which made him ineligible for the position. The judge appointed Mary.1 She remained on the board for several years.

Mary, like many of her family members, suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, and her health was slowly declining in the mid-1920s as the disease ravaged her body. Mary died 16 April 1926.2

HOLD SERVICES FOR LATE MRS. MARY BURGRAFF
Funeral services were held on Monday at 1:00 p.m. at the Burgraff home and at 2:00 p.m. at the First Reformed Church for the late Mrs. Mary Burgraff who passed away Friday.

Rev. P. Jonker and Rev G. DeMotts were in charge of the services.

Mary Kortlever was born October 17, 1874, in Holland, and died at the age of 51 years, 5 months and 29 days.

She is survived by eleven sons and daughters, Peter Burggraff, Mrs. Ed Hoekstra, Mrs. J. Dyksterhuis, Mrs. Ben Nymeyer, John, Albert, Hugo, Arie, Bert, Marion and Sadie Burgraff; her mother Mrs. Kortlever of Lynden. – Lynden Tribune 22 April 1926

[This should have been twelve children as William was alive and living in Minnesota.]
Mary is buried beside John in Monumenta Cemetery.



1. “Local News,” The Bellingham Herald, 16 Aug 1921, p. 5; digital images.
2. Whatcom County, Washington, death certificate no. 56 (1926), Mary Kortlever Burgraff; Washington State Vital Records, Olympia, Washington.
3. “Hold Services for Late Mrs. Mary Burgraff,” (Lynden) Lynden Tribune, 22 Apr 1926.

John Burgraff Dies

A large crowd of relatives and friends gathered on Monday at the home of Mr. & Mrs. John Burgraff to help Mr. Burgraff celebrate his 63rd birthday anniversary. A sumptuous birthday dinner was served in the early afternoon, and a good time enjoyed by the following; Mr. & Mrs. Hugo Kortlever, and sons Victor & Marshall, Mr. & Mrs. Ren Van Diest and son John, Mr. & Mrs. Jacob Dyksterhuis and children John & Helen, Mr. & Mrs. John Kortlver and son John, Mr. & Mrs. John Enos, Mr. & Mrs. A. P. Burgraff of Lawrence, Mr. & Mrs. Jacob Zweegman, Mr. Abe Noteboom and son Cornelius and Mr. Bastian De Hoog. In the evening more guests arrived to honor Mr. Burgraff’s birthday. The evening was spent very pleasantly in music and conversation and at a late hour refreshments were served. – The Lynden Tribune, Forest Grove Column 12 May 1921

Just 7 days later on 16 May 1921 John Burgraff died of a heart attack.1

WILL HOLD FUNERAL SERVICES FOR LATE JOHN BURGRAFF
Funeral services will be held this afternoon at 1:30 at Knapp’s Parlors for the late John Burgraff who died suddenly Saturday evening at his home at Ten Mile. The Rev. A.J. Brink and Rev W. O. Benadon will conduct the services.

Mr. Burgraff had been feeling well up to the time of retiring Saturday evening. He had entertained friends at his home was apparently in good health. He became seriously ill later in the evening, and passed away at 10:30.

Mr. Burgraff was 63 years old. He was born in Pella, Iowa. At the age of 35 he went to Minnesota where he was married to Miss Mary Kortlever, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Kortlever of Lynden. Sixteen years ago he came to Lynden with his family.

Besides his widow, he is survived by 12 children. – The Lynden Tribune, Thursday, 19 May 1921.

John is buried in Monumenta Cemetery.



1. Whatcom County, Washington, death certificate no. 85 (14 May 1921), John Burgraff; Washington State Vital Records, Olympia, Washington.