kolff: de colve: IV: 1


Artikel overgenomen uit De Colve IV - 1999: A Paper from Staten Island (1/2)

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Kolffen in het buitenland (Artikel was gepubliceerd in het Engels) - A paper by Cornelius G. Kolff (CBCE, XVw) of Staten Island in collaboration with scholars of the Middelharnis High School, Staten Island, September 2, 1938. Included the following dedication: "This book is dedicated to the memory of my dearly beloved American mother, Mary Amalie Kolff, widow of my father Cornelius G. Kolff, born Rotterdam, Holland, in 1831, died Staten Island 1860". From 'The Niagara Frontier and Middelharnis Over Flakkee Holland' Story of two great grandfathers Eli Hart of the Niagara Frontier and Adrianus Quirinus Kolff of Middelharnis.

After my father's death, my widowed mother moved to a cottage which her father owned on the Richmond Turnpike at Tompkinsville, Staten Island. It was located at the foot of a hill in a park which contained a number of cottages and through which a winding road, shaded by cedar trees, led to the top of a hill. From here a wonderful view was had of New York Bay. My mother told me a great deal about my father and of Holland and the Dutch people. One day when she took me to the top of the hill, she pointed out where New York City was and about where Bond Street was, the place where I was born. The most prominent structure of New York City at that time was the steeple of Trinity Church, which stood out far above the surrounding houses. In the bay and the river you could see the masts of sailing vessels sticking high into the air. Ofcourse there was no Brooklyn Bridge, no Statue of Liberty, no Ellis Island, but I was shown the Jersey Highlands and Monmouth County hills... Down on the waters of the bay were many ships arriving from and departing for all parts of the world. Somehow or other, my thoughts turned to Holland and looking up inquiringly at my mother, I asked her, "mother, where is my father's land, where is Holland...?"

She pointed in the direction of Sandy Hook and said to me, "there, beyond that point is Holland." I looked hard but could not see anything and told her so. She asked me what Holland looked alike and all I could say was that I thought it had a red roof with a windmill on it. I even dreamed about it and pictured Holland with its red roofed houses and its dikes and windmills.

Finally when I was about six years old my mother told me that I was to have a new father and that he would take me to Holland, and I was happy. No Dutch mother could have done more to make her son love Holland than my little American mother, who firmly implanted in my heart a love for Holland which lasted to this day. Eventually I was able to visit Holland many times during my boyhood and later.

It is a peculiar sensation for a native born American in his 78th year to find himself in a small fishing village or town in South Holland and to sit in the same chair, at the same desk in the office and building owned and occupied by his paternal great grandfather from 1768 to 1826.