(Photo taken and scanned September, 2006 by ES.)

William Ver Meulen Store and Residence Burns
(Article in the Zeeland Record, Friday, August 5, 1904)

The store and residence together with the barn of William Vermeulen at Beaverdam was totally destroyed by fire early last Sunday morning. The loss is estimated at about $4,000, including nearly all the contents of both buildings. The fire was discovered by a member of the family and alarm was immediately given, but without fire protection nothing could be done and the flames had gained such headway that nothing outside of a few articles of clothing could be taken from the house and only a very small portion of the stock of dry goods was saved from the store building while the horses were narrowly rescued with their lives from the barn.

The store consisted of a general stock such as usually carried by country storekeepers, postoffice, and public telephone station. Mr. Vermeulen has conducted business at Beaverdam very successfully for many years. He is past middle age and, it is reported will not rebuild. The origin of the fire is unknown.

Ver Meulen Store and Residence

    William and Grietje 'Maggie' (Huyser) Ver Meulen owned a country store in Beaverdam for many years.  He was a long time store owner and peddler and went to Grand Rapids regularly.  One time he was fined for peddling without a license.  They sold all types of items including patent medicine.  The store was originally run by William's father.  When the father realized that some of the neighborhood gentleman were buying too much patent medicine and becoming what he termed "booze hounds", he stopped selling it although it meant losing some business.

    William and Grietje had ten children and they all lived to maturity.

    After the fire in 1904 they rebuilt the store and residence .  They retired and moved to Holland, Michigan in 1915.  They are both buried in Pilgrim Home Cemetery along with three of their daughters.

    After the Ver Meulen's retired some of the Huyser relatives owned the store and it served many through the years.  It had been closed for some time when it was renovated and open in May of 2006 as a sandwich shop and ice cream store.

(The information on the family came from a great grandson, Richard Bixbee.)

Transcriber: ES
Created: 26 Jul 2006
URL: http://ottawa.migenweb.net/twprecords/zeeland/beaverdamfire.html