Francis Van Driele

Page 667-668 - Francis Van Driele was born in Middleburg, Zeeland, the Netherlands, June 6, 18l6. He came to this country in 1847 and for nine months lived in Ulster county, New York. From there he removed to Zeeland, Michigan, and four weeks later he moved to Grand Rapids. This was in 1848. He was a pioneer in the movement of bringing his countrymen here and in the establishment of the Reformed church in this country. He w as the person chosen to occupy the pulpit in this movement and held services in the basement of the First church. The resignation of Rev. Taylor of that church left a vacancy which he filled. Mr Van Driele married Mrs. Anske Postma of Vriesland, In 1849. Together they fitted up the basement of that church and made their home there. In 1849 Rev. A. C. Van Raalte, however, was called to fill the position which Mr. Van Driele held and the latter was then appointed one the the elders of the church. In September, 1875, the Fourth Reformed Church was organized with Rev. L. J. Hulst as pastor. Letters of accession from the mother church were numerous and in April, 1876, Mr. Van Driele was elected elder of this new church. Due to differences arising in the church, another faction sprung up and became known as the Holland Christian Reformed Church. Mr. Van Driele, however, remained loyal to the old organization and at the formation of a new consistory, he was chosen as one of the elders. He was a member of the Sweet & Clements Milling Company, and was associated with them for fifteen years, when he became head of F. Van Driele & Company with William and John Kotvis. In 1900 he was re-elected president of the Holland Old Settlers' Association. He died at his home in Grand Rapids, February 3, 1900. He was (1900) survived by a daughter, Mrs. C. J. DeRoo, of Flint, Michigan; a step-daughter, Mrs. William Kotvis, and a brother, Arie Van Driele, of this city. He was very active in building the Second Reformed Church on Bostwick street, which is now joined with the Central Reformed Church. He also, in company with others, erected the Keystone Block on the southwest corner of Monroe and Ionia avenues, which has just been torn down to make way for the new Grand Rapids Trust building. He was a Republican, but never sought office.

Transcriber: Gloria Paas
Created: 3 April 2003