How the Van Koevering brothers thrive with disabilities

The Van Koeverings have a legacy.

In 1847, after Albertus Van Raalte, Jan Rabbers, and Jannes Van de Luyster led their followers from the Netherlands, Izaak and Adriana Sonke Van Koevering and family arrived with Jacob Wabeke, who financed the trip.

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Izaak and Adriana’s son, Anthoni (a builder) married Cornelia De Jonge, daughter of Jan De Jonge and Jannetje Den Herder De Jonge. Two of their children were Adrian and William, who at a very young age contracted polio.

The disease weakened Adrian’s left arm and right leg and weakened both of William’s legs. On the recommendation of Zeeland’s first doctor, Dr. Daniel Baert, Adrian was taken to see a specialist in Cincinnati who attached six leaches to his arm in an attempt to remove the “poisonous blood.” The treatment didn’t work.

As they got older, it became clear because of their disability the boys could not join their father in the construction business. So, in 1893, the boys’ mother, Cornelia, approached her uncle, Jacob Den Herder, for a loan to help Adrian open a printing business.

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