WILLIAM O. WALVOORD, a well-to-do and popular merchant of Holland, and senior partner of the firm, Walvoord & Co., dealers in general merchandise, has won his way to a position of eminence in the mercantile world of Lancaster County by his clear-sighted business policy, patient industry, and strictly honorable dealings.
He is a native of Holland, over the sea, and is a son of Gerritt J. and Berendina (Prinsen) Walvoord, likewise natives of Holland, the father born in Lichtenvoorde and the mother in the town of Aalten. His father was a farmer in his native country until the latter part of 1870, when he and his wife and children came to this country to join our subject, who had preceded them a short time before, and they all settled in South Pass, took up land under the Homestead Act, and engaged in agricultural pursuits. The father and mother are now living in their pleasant home in Holland Village, passing their declining years in the midst of well-earned comfort, presenting the spectacle of lives rounded by various experiences into a serene and active old age, he being now seventy-two years old and she seventy-one. Nine children have blessed the marriage of these worthy people, namely: William, Jane, Grace, Tunia, Henry, Tony, Girard J., Bereadina and Hannah. All are living, and make their homes in Holland Township, with the exception of Tunia, who lives in Kansas.
William Walvoord, who forms the subject of this sketch, was born April 17, 1843 (sic)**, in the town of Aalten, Holland.
He was six years old when his father returned with his family to his birthplace, the town of Lichtenvoorde, to again take up his abode there. Our subject attended school there, receiving instruction in the common branches and obtaining thorough, practical education, At the age of fourteen he was confirmed in the church of Lichtenvoorde. He remained at home with his parents, giving his father valuable assistance on the farm until 1868, when, having heard much of America through relatives who had come here to locate, he desired to try life in this Western world, feeling assured that a young man with plenty of courage, brain and muscle could not fail in time to win his way to success where labor was so encouraged and protected. Accordingly he embarked July 1 on a steamer at Rotterdam, bound for Quebec.
After landing on this continent, Mr. Walvoord made his way from that Canadian city to Chicago, and thence went by lake to Sheboygan, Wis., where his uncle owned a farm. His relative gave him a warm greeting and put him to work on his place. Our subject liked it so well in this country that he sent back word to the old country urging his parents to come here with the remaining members of the family. Consequently they all joined him the second year of his stay here, and after a short visit to their friends in Wisconsin, they all came to Nebraska, and, as before related, all who were old enough took up land in South Pass in the spring of 1870, and have since been very much prospered.
Our subject established himself in his present mercantile business in Holland over sixteen years ago, and by strict attention to business he has met with unbounded success, and has built up a good trade. He commands the respect of his many patrons, whom he has served strictly on a fair business basis for more than sixteen years. In March, 1886, his health being poor, and feeling the need of a capable partner who could assist him in the management of his extensive business. he admitted Mr. T. Liesvelt into partnership, and they have since continued together at the old stand. Our object has accumulated much valuable property since becoming a resident of Holland. He owns his store building, some fine village property, has erected a handsome and commodious house, and he also owns the following farms: one of 160 acres, one of eighty acres, one of forty acres, another of twenty acres, and some village property comprising fifteen acres of land, all his real estate amounting to 315 acres. Although all are worthy being presented to the reader by the artist, the view which accompanies this sketch, showing the home of Mr. Walvoord, will be of, perhaps, greatest interest.
Mr. Walvoord has been twice married. His first wife, whose maiden name was Hendrikka Wubbles, died six weeks after the wedding, thus ending what had promised to be an exceedingly happy marriage. The present Mrs. Walvoord was formerly Miss Jane Kolstee. She was born in Holland, came to America when seventeen years old, and was married at the age of twenty-two. The pleasant married life of our subject and wife has been blessed to them by the birth of five children, namely: J. Hendrikka, Berendina, John C., Evedine and Garret J.
Mr. Walvoord and his amiable wife are esteemed members of the Reformed Church of America, and. take an active part in the Sunday-school and every other good work of the church. Our subject is especially interested in all matters pertaining to education, and has helped the cause along in his district by his faithful discharge of his duties as a school officer, he having held every position on the board.
*Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Lancaster County, Nebraska. (1888)
** (Walvoord History Note): William O. Walvoord was actually born April 17, 1843. The above source printed the wrong year.