Generation X - American Rutger Branch
This page and following American pages cover two American branches, one founded by Isaak van Gorkom and his whole family, and one founded a little later by Abraham van Gorkom and his children. Click here for a chart of the genealogical connections between the American and Dutch branches. It also shows a third branch, which is a "not official" maternal branch, founded by the children of Aletta van Gorkom (gen-Xa51).
It is not unlikely that Abraham knew Isaac. Abraham's father was not only a namesake of Isaac, but also a full cousin. The difference of one generation between Abraham and Isaak explains the twenty year gap between the departures of the two families. Motives will neither have been the same. When Abraham left, there was no religious repression in the Netherlands anymore, which had been Isaak's reason to leave.
The branch founded by Isaak van Gorkom and Antonia van Hensbergen is certainly the biggest one. As told on the page about generation IX, they emigrated with their children from Utrecht in the Netherlands to Pella, Iowa, between 1847 and 1856. Most of them did not stay in Pella forever, but moved to the west. The site www.iowagreatlakes.com (not on air anymore, as it seems) tells about another important Dutch settlement called Orange City:
When four men came in the 1860's to survey the land on which Orange City stands, it was clear to them that they had found a place to carry on their Dutch traditions. This unsettled land was a place they call home. 'Here is the place!' they proclaimed as they scanned the rich soil they called 'Holland.'
Returning to Pella, the four men excitedly shared word of their findings with friends and family. The news spread quickly and 70 families set out in 1870 for the northwest corner of the state, where they would settle down, make their homes, and share their Dutch hospitality with visitors. They attracted nearly 1,000 people to the new settlement over the next two years.
Those early settlers were happy about their 'Holland,' a place where they were free of the persecution of their prince. Despite the persecution, Orange City's ancestors prided themselves on their Dutch heritage as 'Orangemen' or ancestors of the House of Orange. Out of that pride evolved the name Orange City.
It should be noted that Orangemen were not ancestors of the House of Orange, but loyal supporters of Prince William of Orange--a name that referred to King William III, who ruled the Netherlands from 1849 till 1890.
A number of the Van Gorkom families moved further to the west to South Dakota. A little passage from the book "History of South Dakota" (1904) by Doane Robinson (Chapter LXXXVIII, Vol. I, published on Rootsweb) illustrates the history of the Dutch in South Dakota and gives a good historical insight in how life was experienced those days:
History of the Holland Colony in Douglas and Charles Mix Counties
by Rev. Henry Straks, Harrison, S. D.
It is known that during the early history of our land the Dutch came in great numbers to our eastern shores, and settled in the middle Atlantic states and prospered there. When the English language became the language of the court and had to be taught in our schools the Dutch language gradually became obsolete. In the years 1840 to 1860 another stream of emigrants from the same source sought to benefit themselves by the opportunities this country so richly offered, and they settled in many states west of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo, New York. Whole churches, pastor, elders and people, settled in the chosen locations; among others, western Michigan, northeastern Illinois and southern Iowa. In 1870 these settlements, becoming crowded, poured out their surplus settlers into northwestern Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska. At first they suffered discouragements, not only such as are usual in new settlements, but the grasshoppers robbed the fields, luxuriant with acres of the finest crops, for two or three years in succession; but soon the country was rid of these pests and the land became valuable for agricultural purposes. In a short time the land was all taken up and raised rapidly in price, so that, as early as 1881, many settlers having large families and lacking means to purchase the high-priced farms, began to look for cheaper land farther west. In said year a mass meeting was held at Orange City, Iowa, of all the people interested in migrating to regions more congenial for our meager purses. A committee was appointed to reconnoiter and look up a suitable location in the great territory of Dakota, consisting of Hon. Frank Le Cocq, Jr., Mr. Leendert Van der Meer and Mr. Dirk Van der Bos. This committee started out overland, with teams, and finally halting in Douglas and Charles Mix counties, South Dakota, decided to locate in western Douglas county at a place now called Harrison.
Very likely, this Frank Le Cocq, Jr., was the son-in-law of Isaak van Gorkom and Antonia van Hensbergen, also known as François Le Cocq, married to Maria van Gorkom (generation IX-m29).