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.

Kortlever Family Portrait

The Kortlever Family:
Seated: Jan Kortlever, daughter, Maaike Bel Kortlever
Back: Hugo Kortlever, daughter, daughter, Mary Kortlever Burgraff, John Cornelis Kortlever
The three daughters are Maggie Pen, Nellie Van Diest, and Jennie Noteboom, but I don’t know which is which.

Kortlever Family Portrait

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

Kortlever Tombstone

John and Maaike Kortlever Tombstone

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.

Kortlever Family Two

Based on the information in John (Jan) Kortlever’s obituary, the family arrived in Lynden in about 1900.1 Both John and his son Hugo appear in the Bellingham City Directory (which included Whatcom County) in 1901 and 1902. His obituary further stated that the family had spent the four years previous to their arrival in Minnesota.

I have not yet been able to locate the Kortlever family on the 1900 census. It is possible that they are on the move during the time of the June enumeration. Daughter Mary and the Burgraff family are in Nobles County, Minnesota, as are John’s brother’s Bastiaan and Peter Kortlever.

Jan and Maaike appear on the 1910 census in Lynden with their two youngest daughters Nellie and Jennie.2 On this census Maaike states she is the mother of 12 children, 6 of whom are still alive. Counting Baby Cornelis born about 1884 – I know of 10 children:
Cornelis – born 1873 Netherlands – not found after arrival record,
Maria (Mary) – born 1874 Netherlands – alive on 1910 census Lynden,
Hugo – born 1876 – alive on 1910 census Lynden,
Maaike – born 1877 – died 1877 Netherlands,
Bastiaan Cornelis – born 1878 Netherlands – not found after the 1885 Iowa census,
John Cornelis – born 1882 Netherlands – alive on later records,
Cornelis – born 1884 Iowa – not found after 1885 census,
Maaike (Maggie) – born 1885 Iowa – alive on 1910 census Lynden,
Cornelia (Nellie) – born 1890 Iowa – alive on 1910 census Lynden,
Jennie – born 1892 Iowa – alive on 1910 census Lynden.

The records are up on Genlias for the births of Jan and Maaike’s children and there are no other children listed in the Netherlands, although there is a gap between 1878 and 1882. There is also a gap between Maggie and Nellie in Iowa 1885 to 1890. Records in Iowa for the time period are pretty sketchy – anyone know of a family bible?

John and Maaike next appear on the 1920 census completed 7 January 1920 in Denver Colorado.3 They are there with their daughter Jennie and her husband Abraham Noteboom and Jennie’s child Cornelius Noteboom. They are in Denver because Jennie is desperately ill with pulmonary tuberculosis. The clear, dry air and higher altitude in Denver was a last hope for the family. The treatments did not help and Jennie was taken home to Lynden where she died later that year.



1. “Will Hold Kortlever Services Next Monday,” (Lynden) Lynden Tribune, Thur., 17 Aug 1922, p. 2.
2. 1910 U.S. census, Whatcom County, Washington population schedule, North Lynden, enumeration district (ED) 351, p. 5A, dwelling 87, family 87, John Kortlever, age 61; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 Aug 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 1674.
3. 1920 U.S. census, Denver County, Colorado population schedule, Denver, enumeration district (ED) 46, p. 6A, dwelling 130, family 135, John Kortlever, age 70; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 Aug 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 158.

The Jan Kortlever Family

Mary Kortlever’s parents came from the Netherlands in one of the later wave of immigrants in the 1880s. Jan Kortleever was born 18 January 1849 in Leerdam, Zuid, Netherlands, to Cornelis Kortleever and Maaike den Besten.1 He was married to Maaike Flora Bel on 6 March 1873 in Kedichem, Zuid, Netherlands.2 Maaike was born 5 February 1853 in Leerdam, and was the daughter of Hugo Bel and Maria de Leeuw.3

Jan left the Netherlands aboard the Waesland, landed in New York on 15 May 1882,4 and proceded to Sioux County, Iowa. Maaike made the trip on the W. A. Scholten and arrived in New York on 15 September 1882.5 She travelled with her children; Cornelis age 11, Maria age 8, Hugo age 6, Bastian age 4, and John age 4 months.

The Kortlever family appears on the 1885 Iowa State Census and at that time is: Jan age 36, Magie Flora age 31, Maria age 10, Hugo age 9, Jan age 3, Cornelis age 1.6 There is some confusion about oldest son Cornelis who would be 13 or 14 at the time of this census. He is not with the family on that 1885 census and a baby boy has been given the name. Baby Cornelis (born about 1884) and the older Cornelis are never heard of again in this family group. An unsourced family group sheet lists only the older Cornelis with no death date.

A Cornelis of the right age (23) appears on the 1895 Iowa State Census, and then again on the census records in Lynden Washington. After further research I have conclude that this Cornelis is the son of Jan’s older brother Bastiaan Cornelis Kortleever (1847 – 1920).7 Bastiaan also immigrated from the Netherlands in the early 1880s with his wife Jannigje van Klei and his son Cornelis and daughter Maaike. Once again the repeating names makes searching a challenge. However, Bastiaan Cornelis and his family would take the same journey as his brother – first to Iowa, then to Minnesota, and finally to Lynden.

Jan and Maaike had three other children born in Iowa; Maaike (Maggie) in 1885, Cornelia (Nellie) in 1890, and Jantje (Jennie) in 1892.



1. Genlias database, Genlias (http://www.genlias.nl/en : accessed 11 Aug 2009), Birth, Jan Kortleever, 18 Jan 1849; Nationaal Archief (Rijksarchief Zuid-Holland).
2. Genlias database, Genlias (http://www.genlias.nl/en : accessed 11 Aug 2009), Marriage, Jan Kortleever age 24 & Maaike Flora Bel age 20, 6 Mar 1873; Nationaal Archief (Rijksarchief Zuid-Holland).
3. Whatcom County, Washington, death certificate no. 90 (15 Aug 1931), Maaike Kortlever; Washington State Vital Records, Olympia, Washington.
4. “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” online images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 Feb 2010), manifest, Waesland, 15 May 1882, Line 14, Jan Kortlever.
5. “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” online images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 Feb 2010), manifest, W.A. Scholten, 15 Sep 1882, Line 31, Maaike Kortlever.
6. 1885 Iowa State Census, Sioux County, Iowa, population schedule, Alton, p. 6 handwritten, 266 stamped, dwelling 32, family 37, line 26, Jan Kortlever; digital images, The Generations Network, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Jun 2009); citing Iowa State Census Collection, 1836-1925.
7. Washington State Digital Archives, “Death Records,” database, Washington State Digital Archives (http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/default.aspx : accessed 20 Feb 2010), Bartiaam C. Kortuver, died 29 Aug 1920.

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.