Saturday, May 18, 2019

Pieter and Maria: Part II

(click image to enlarge)

"Ohio, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1977," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 1 May 2019), Hamilton > Declarations of intention 1860-1873 > image 150 of 306; county courthouses, Ohio.

(Part I can be found here.)

Life for Pieter and Maria in America as Dutch immigrants was very hard. While they had arrived in New York City, it was not their ultimate destination; rather, it was Cincinnati, Ohio. It's not clear why they and the others from the Netherlands that they traveled with went to Cincinnati, which was not a typical Dutch immigrant settlement location, like Western Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, or Washington State were. However, Cincinnati was a growing city with a growing economy. River commerce was high and spurred many industries, such as steamboat construction. It was well-known for its pork packing center, and many German and Irish immigrated there in the years before the Civil War.

The Ton family lived in a succession of boarding houses, and Pieter worked as a laborer. They likely worshiped in the homes of their fellow Seceders, for although Christian Reformed Church history states a congregation started in Cincinnati in 1867, no church by that denomination (called Holland Reformed Church in those days) was found in the city directories until long after they had left the city.

They faced grief many times. In March 1860, Pieter and Maria had a second son, Louis, likely an Anglicization of Leunis, named for Maria's father. He was not listed with the family in the 1870 Federal Census, so he likely died young. Pieter's sister Suzanna (Ton) Pape died 10 October 1860 from "confinement", probably after giving birth to a son Jacob. Her daughter, Neeltje, has not been found in records beyond the ship's passenger list, indicating she also died young.

Pieter's work as a laborer was probably quite dangerous. One of his employers was Wood & McCoy's Eagle White Lead Works. A history of the company can be found at this link, with information about the various toxic products their employees were exposed to over a century-and-a-half:  It is entirely possible that Pieter was familiar with processing white lead, used in those days as paint. There was a well-known method of processing called the "Dutch method" and it could be that Pieter had worked with this process in the Netherlands ( We shall see how working with this product may have affected his quality of life in the next post.

There were also celebrations. Pieter declared his intention to become a citizen on 22 January 1862 and was naturalized by 1870. By 1867, three daughters were born to him and Maria: Neeltje "Nellie"; Marina "Mary"; and my great-great-grandmother, Adriana, also known as "Jana" (YAH-nuh) or "Jennie". Maria's sister Adriana married Leendert Klinke in 1864, and Maria's daughter Cornelia married Joseph Meyer in 1874.

(Part III)

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