Place:Drenthe, Ottawa, Michigan, United States

TypeInhabited place
Coordinates42.782825°N 85.940482°W
Located inOttawa, Michigan, United States
Also located inZeeland (township), Ottawa, Michigan, United States    
See alsoVriesland, Ottawa, Michigan, United StatesNearby community
Dutch settlements in Michigan.Door Nederlanders gestichte plaatsen in Michigan
Dutch settlements in Michigan.
Door Nederlanders gestichte plaatsen in Michigan

Drenthe is an inhabited place. It is an unincorporated community located in Zeeland Township, Ottawa County, Michigan at the intersection of Adams Street and 64th Ave.

Vriesland is a community two miles north in the same township, at the intersection of Byron Road and 64th Ave.

Named for the province of Drenthe in the Netherlands, it is primarily an agricultural community.



Drenthe, Michigan. The year 1847 was one of great unrest and change in the province of Drenthe, in the Netherlands. Many of those who seceded in 1834 from the state church were finding life increasingly difficult, both economically and religiously. Reports of the success of Albertus Van Raalte's settlement along the Black River (now Macatawa River) near Holland, Michigan, reached them, and many farmers, both rich and poor, decided to sell out and emigrate to Michigan.

The first to arrive in the locality of present Drenthe was Jan Hulst, with his wife and family. Jan left his home at Staphorst and arrived at Baltimore on April 27, 1847. There he purchased an ox team and cart and arrived in Zeeland Township in the middle of June, the journey lasting about six weeks. He then purchased land in Section 28 of Zeeland Township and seems to have been the first settler in the Township. He was soon followed by others from Drenthe, some settling near him and some a few miles farther east. A few of these newcomers were quite well-to-do, but others were very poor, so the wealthier members of the group employed men so split rails for a two-mile fence along their property.

Bit by bit, with much suffering and hardship, the land was cleared and the people could begin their farming --- the occupation they understood well. These early farms prospered on the virgin soil of the area and the settlement soon became a thriving community. By the early 1900's Drenthe could claim a flourishing creamery, a canning factory, a post office, three general stores, a blacksmith shop, a harness shop and three saloons. However, the heart of the community was its church which was organized in 1848 as a Reformed church under Classis Holland. This church left the Reformed Church in America in 1882 to join the then fledgling Christian Reformed Church, where it remains today.

Community Drenthe is still a farming community at heart, although many of its people work in factories and other places of business. Even though many Dutch customs and ideas are still the community, the descendants of these pioneers have blended well into the American scene and have shown much love for this country.


source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

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Zeeland Township Map Showing Locations of Cemeteries