Holland City News, February 27, 1913
Lieutenant John Kramer Answers Last Roll Call Thursday Evening
Passed Through Hardships of Civil War and Served the City in Many Capacities
At about 7 o’clock Thursday night, Lieutenant John Kramer reported to the last roll call. He died peacefully, after an illness of more than two years. During the past two weeks he had been seriously ill, and his death did not come as a surprise to his near relatives. Mr. Kramer was 75 years old, and he is survived by two daughters, Minnie and Johanna, and three sons, Otto P, John W. and Pete O. Mrs. Kramer died in 1899.
John Kramer came to America as a young man, in1847, with his parents and two sisters. He was born on November 1, 1837, in the city of Kolvoorn, province of Drenthe. The family left the Netherlands in March 1847, and arrived in the Holland Colony here in June of the same year. Both sisters of Mr. Kramer died in the same year, in 1850. His father died soon after in 1854, and in 1855 his mother died, leaving him alone in this new colony. Mr. Kramer’s father was one of the first carpenters and mechanics in this colony. He was the builder of the Orphan House that was located on the site of the Western Theological Seminary. His death was the result of a fall from a building he was erecting on the site where Van’s Café is now located.
As he grew up, John Kramer followed the trade of his father, and he was engaged in this work until early in the war when he was one of the first to enlist in what later became known as Company 1 of the 25th Michigan Infantry. He served nearly three years to the end of the war, and he passed through all kinds of battles and the hardships that this famous regiment endured. At the close of the war he had been raised to Lieutenant.
On his return home, he embarked with a number of others in the planing mill business. He and his associates built the old red mill that was torn down by the Scott Lugers Co. about a year ago to make room for the post office building that is to be built on the site, corner 10th St. and River Avenue. The name of the firm that started this business was H. W. Ver Beek and Co.
During the last years of his active life, Mr. Kramer was engaged in the general merchandise business with Peter Boot, under the firm name of Boot and Kramer. He retired about five or six years ago.
Mr. Kramer, during his long and active life, had been prominently identified with municipal affairs of the city of Holland. He served as foreman of the old Eagle Fire Company, No. 1. Later he was Chief Engineer of the Fire Department. For eight years he served the city as alderman, and he helped in this capacity to do much toward the growth of Holland in its early years when it was struggling up from a village. For eight years more he was a member of the Board of Water Commissioners, and for a number of years he was superintendent of the Water Works. It was while he was serving in this capacity that Holland’s water plant was installed. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Pilgrim Home Cemetery, and he was one of the charter members of the A. C. Van Raalte Post of the G. A. R. This post he also served as its first commander.
He came very near being mayor of Holland. He ran for that office against Mr. Kanters, and Mr. Kanters defeated him by a very small margin.
He was deeply interested in those early years in the musical development of Holland. He was one of the originators of the first brass band that was organized here, and he was also interested in the organization of singing societies and other musical organizations.
The funeral was held Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock from Hope Church. Rev. Bruske, pastor of Hope Church, and Dr. G. J. Kollen officiated. Both spoke with pathos in describing the good deeds and the life led by the departed old soldier. The ceremony was very impressive. The funeral was in charge of the A. C. Van Raalte Post of the G. A. R. and the W. R. C.
Mrs. Pardee, Miss Kolyn, Prof. J. B. Nykerk and Mr. Kridenier sang "Tenting Tonight On the Old Camp Grounds," and "Lead Kindly Light."
(Buried in Pilgrim Home Cemetery)
Transcribed by Joan M. Van Spronsen