The Story of My Family History


            One of my great great grandfathers on my fatherís motherís side, Martin Witte, emigrated from the Netherlands to Fremont, Michigan.  I am not positive on their reasons for coming to America in the 1850ís, but my father told me he thought it was for religious freedom and for economic reasons, common for quite a few immigrants.  Martin Witte married Alice Paars and worked on his farm in Fremont.  Alice was a homemaker, as were most of the early women on my fatherís side.  They farmed mainly for personal consumption, but they took what extras they had to the market to sell.  They had 6 children together including my great grandfather, George Witte.

            My other great great grandfather on my fatherís motherís side, John Mast, came to America from the Netherlands.  We do not have an exact date for when John came here, but we believe it was sometime in the 1860ís.  He moved to Fremont, Michigan too and also worked as a farmer.  Farm work was common due to the availability of land to immigrants.  While in Michigan, he met and married Henderika Masselink.  Together they had 7 children, including my great grandmother Clara Mast.

            One of my great great grandfatherís on my fatherís fatherís side, Aart Vliem, came from Gelderland, Netherlands.  He moved to Graafschap, Michigan which is near Fremont.  He was a farmer there, and married Fannie Schuiteman before coming to America.  Their reason for traveling to the United States was for the opportunities it presented.  America was and still is known as the land of freedom and opportunity.  Together they had 7 children, including my great grandfather Herman Vliem.

            My final great great grandfather on my fatherís side, Henry Tripp, moved to Cadillac, Michigan with his wife, Fannie Arens, from the Netherlands.  He too worked as a farmer, specializing in chickens.  They had 11 children together, including my great grandmother Frances Tripp.

            I have heard no knowledge of any discrimination against my relatives.  In fact, here in America they were free to express their religious beliefs and live as free men.  From what I have seen from class and the CD-Rom, the fact that all of my great great grandfathers on my fatherís side moved to the same area is not uncommon.  I would even wager that Fremont, Michigan held a large number of immigrants from the Netherlands.  Overall, my fatherís family had a relatively easy time adapting to life in the United States.