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Van Raalte, Dirk B.K. (1844-1910) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Van Raalte, Dirk B.K. (1844-1910)

Historical Note:

Son of Albertus and Christina Van Raalte, Dirk B.K. Van Raalte was born in Ommen, the Netherlands on March 1, 1844. In 1846, the Van Raalte family immigrated to the United States, settling in Western Michigan. During the outbreak of the Civil War, Dirk and his older brother Benjamin both enlisted to serve the Union army. Dirk was part of the 25th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment. During the Battle of Atlanta, Dirk was riding his horse through the woods to deliver a message when a group of confederate soldiers ambushed him. They shot him twice in the arm, but he managed to escape with his life. Due to his injury he had his right arm amputated from the shoulder down. Dirk began his military service as a private and was discharged as a hospital steward.

In 1864, Dirk returned to his home in Holland, Michigan. After returning to civilian life, Dirk entered the business world. He was president of the Holland City State Bank and the Scott Lugers Lumber Co. He earned the respect and admiration of his fellow citizens, and in 1877, they sent him to Lansing to serve the state legislature as their representative of their district. He worked on the committee of ways and means. He served two successful terms in the state legislature. In 1909, he returned for his third term. In 1910, however, Dirk B.K. Van Raalte passed away. He was survived by his wife Katharine Ledeboer and their two sons.

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