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Derks, Anna (1881-1938) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Derks, Anna (1881-1938)

Historical Note:

Anna Derks was born on March 20, 1881 in Germany. The Derks family immigrated to the United States the same year. At the age of 22, Derks left Grand Rapids, Michigan for Tohatchi, New Mexico to become a campion to Mrs. L.P. Brink, whose husband Rev. L. P. Brink often travelled for work. During this time, Derks became a cook for the local United States Indian School, a position her very much enjoyed. She was even considering a permanent position as a cook at the Sherman Institute near Riverside, California.

When news got out that she was considering a government position, the Secretary of the CRC Board of Heathen Missions urged her to work for the Rehoboth Mission School because there was a great need for a cook there. Despite that the Sherman Institute would have paid $550 a year compared to Rehoboth's $100.00, Derks accepted the call from the Mission School in Rehoboth, New Mexico. She arrived on May 8, 1905 and began her work as cook for a sixteen student boarding school. Derks eventually became a matron in the girl's dormitory.

Derks faced many hardships during her time in Rehoboth. There was one winter where she and two other women had to take care of the children, the animals, and the property by themselves.  Before they had an established hospital, Derks was also responsible for the care of the young girls when they were sick. In 1916 Anna Derks left the school to become Mrs. Henry Teusink. During her time she saw the school grow from 16 to 68 students.  Anna Teusink née Derks passed away on Jun 22, 1938.

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