Grand Haven Daily Tribune - 26 January 1917, Pg. 1

Mrs. Angie Ball, One of the Founders of the First Reformed Church, Dies at Home Here.

A woman, who had seen the transformation of Grand Haven from a pioneer settlement, nestling down in the midst of vast timberland into a growing city, passed into the beyond this morning, when death claimed Mrs. Angie Ball. While her health has not been robust for some time, Mrs. Ball has remained bright minded and cheerful in spite of her advanced age of 94 years. She enjoyed her children and took keen interest in their every day life. Neither has she at any time lost interest in the things going on about her, and her friends and family never ceased to appreciate her rare character and her wonderfully cheerful personality. Her type of motherhood was of the finest, and in this the greatest of all duties of a human being, she fulfilled every ideal. It is indeed a sweet memory she is leaving behind.

Death came peacefully this morning to the aged woman. As though passing merely into sleep at the close of a day, she entered the great beyond as calmly, as sweetly and as quietly as she had lived during her 94 years of live.

Mrs. Ball was born in the Netherlands. Her maiden name was Angie Winter. She was married to John Ball in the old country, and with her husband, set sail for America in 1849 from Zoutkamp in a little Dutch sailing ship which was to be abandoned in New York for a more modern ship. The voyage across the Atlantic consumed 52 days, during which time the ship was constantly threatened by storm and sea. Landing in New York, at last Mr. and Mrs. Ball came on to Buffalo where they stopped for a time. Grand Haven and the eastern coast of Lake Michigan was then becoming known as a new country of opportunity where many of their countrymen were settling to follow professions and trades learned in the old country. Mr. and Mrs. Ball came on to the new country in the pine forests arriving in 1850. Since that time, Mrs. Ball has been a constant resident of Grand Haven.

The husband at once became connected with early day interests and later became engaged in the grocery business. He died in 1871 at the age of 53 years. Her eldest son, Riepke, 31 years of age, died in 1877. Those of her family who survive her are four sons, Jurrien, John, Peter and Gerrit, and one daughter, Mrs. Rena Balgooyen all of this city.

Until death claimed her today, Mrs. Ball was the only surviving member of the little band which organized the First Reformed church in this city in 1851. In the new, strange land, there were but few families from the Netherlands, who longed for a place to worship according to the ideals of their belief, taught them at home across the sea. They banded together and with the true optimism and thrift of their race resolved to build a church.

The first building was a small, rough little edifice built from lumber picked up out of the Grand by zealous workers of the faith, who went out in canoes to gather the material from the mills, which had been thrown away as waste. Mill owners also gave them lumber from the mills along the river bank, and the men of the faith carried it away for the church. Every nail driven, every plank placed, every hour of labor expended, was an evidence of the devoutness and the faith in God of these pioneer Holland settlers.

During the years which were to follow, Mrs. Ball had the joy and the satisfaction of seeing this church whiche she fondly loved, grow from its small beginning to a great prosperous congregation, the largest in the city. She was made to feel thus that all of the early struggles, all of the disappointments, all of the difficulties of the struggling congregation, at the beginning, was worthwhile. Although Mrs. Ball has not been able to attend church of late her interest and her loved for the institution never waned.

Death today removed one of the few remaining of the city's pioneers, on of the group of strong-hearted ones who came into the wilderness in the early days, to live and endure the hardships and discomforts of the new land, that others who were to follow might have the comforts and the pleasant things of life. The reward on earth for these men and women of the past, can be only the loved and respect of those who have come after. Mrs. Angie Ball claimed the devotion of her friends and her family in life, and after her almost century of life, she is leaving memory long to be cherished. Announcement of funeral arrangements will be made later.

Transcriber: ES
Created: 16 Dec 2011