Christina van der Slik was born on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee in 1839 to Johannes Pietersz van der Slik and Jannetje Kruijthof. The history of both families on the islands is documented back to the 1500s. The van der Sliks immigrated to America in 1855, settling in Ottawa County, Michigan. Christina married GIjsbert Haan from Hilversum, Noord-Holland, Nederland. He was the son of Gijsbert Haan, founder of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and his wife Marretje Pos. Gijsbert died in 1869 of tuberculosis, leaving her with eight small children. In 1875, Christina married Jan de Groot from Menaldum, Friesland, Nederland, the son of Eeltje Aukes de Groot and Trijntje Teuniswas.
Gijsbert Haan was born in 1801 in Hilversum, Noord-Holland, Nederland. He was a carpet weaver and manufacturer, and lived on a farm at the corner of the Groest and the Herenstraat. As a part of Afscheiding (the Secession of 1834 from the Dutch Reformed Church), Gijsbert faced religious persecution and financial hardship. In 1847, he immigrated with his family to America, where he founded the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
George Ward was the son of James Ward and Maria Willoughby of Aston and Cote in Oxfordshire. George moved to Mortlake in Surrey, where he married his Irish-born wife Bridget McCann. George and Bridget left for America in 1863, after their leaving-shop was investigated in a sting at the Woolwich Police Court. The Ward Family settled on a 40 acre farm in Mundy, Genesee County, Michigan. **Updated with new images and references**
Two years ago, I made a spectacular find related to my family’s history. A simple Google search let me to an eBay listing for a putter stamped with “Alf. J. Ward, Special”…They were definitely my great-grandfather’s clubs, family heirlooms that found their way back home after 90 years.
In April of 1923, a “slender Englishman” named Alf Ward walked into the office of Indianapolis mayor Lew Shank. He introduced himself as the new golf professional for city’s municipal club. The mayor sent Alfred out to Irvington with shovels, horses, and a few men. He was to build Pleasant Run, the “finest municipal golf course in the country.”
Young Jimmie seems to be about the most popular player on the Irvington course, for whenever he steps up to the tee with his small bag of clubs, the crowd gathers. The little chap will step up to the ball after his father, Alf Ward, who is the professional at the course, has teed it up for him, then get ready to swing. Then he will look around with a mischievous grin and say “Watch me.”