The Story of Feltje Sjoeks
Feltje Sjoeks was born in Engwierum, Friesland, the Netherlands on April 28, 1831. She was the sister of Jan Pieters Sjoeks and came to the United States with Jan and Wytske Hoogland Sjoeks and their children. In addition, seven servants also joined them on their journey to the "New Country".
Feltje was "engaged" to a young man from the Netherlands. However, he went out to sea and never returned; he was "lost at sea." Feltje became despondent over this loss and never recovered from the emotional trauma. Prior to this time, she had been an avid writer and left behind many essays and other forms of writing. What happened to them? No one seems to know. Jan and Wytske assumed responsibility for her keep and care. She lived with them for the rest of her life moving with them to the farm in Antrim County, Michigan.
Feltje, who never married, died on February 7, 1916, and was buried in the Atwood Cemetery although there was no indication of her exact burial site. On May 30, 2000, with the help of John Hastings, the funeral director in Ellsworth, Michigan, the original records of burials for Atwood Cemetery were reviewed. Feltje is listed only as "old lady" in the grave at the north end of the plot of Jan, Wytske and Walter Shooks (Sjoeks).
Thanks to a collection taken up at the 2000 Shooks reunion, a marker was purchased for Feltje's grave and placed there in late July 2000. Below is a photo of the marker:
This story was submitted by Janet Shooks Dean. Thanks to Winifred Shooks Green and the late Walter Shooks for relating details of Feltje's life. Also, thanks to John Hastings for his help and patience in the search for Feltje's grave site. Vital statistics, name and burial information obtained from the Antrim County Courthouse records, Bellaire, Michigan.