The Next Generation: Pieter Jans Sjoeks

Pieter Jans was the first child of Jan Pieters Sjoeks and Wytske Roelefs Hoogland Sjoeks. He was born on 27 February, 1870 in Driesum, Freisland, Netherlands. At the age of 14, Pieter and his family which by now included his brothers, Roelof Jans, Antoni Jans, Jan Jans, and Watse Jans as well as his sister Doetje Jans, left their large expanse of farmland in Driesum and sailed to the United States. Accompanying the family were seven of their servants.

The Sjoeks family arrived in North Blendon, Michigan, in May of 1884.Their first year was spent living with many other Dutch immigrants in Georgetown Township Hall in Ottawa County. By October of 1885, the family had moved to their own farm near Bauer's Corner in Ottawa County.

Little is known about Pieter, but he and his brother Roelof are listed in the 1891 Grand Rapids, Michigan city directory as laborers living at 104 W. Leonard Street.

Sometime after 1891, Pieter married Anna Lavina Swart, daughter of John and Louwina Swart. The Swart family came to the U.S. in 1888 and settled in the North Blendon area also.

Pieter and Anna had six children. There were five sons: John (who died at 3 years of age), Lawrence (Larry), Truman Edward (Eddie), Russell and John (Jack), who was named in memory of baby John; and one daughter, Winifred.

Eventually, Larry, Winifred, and Truman, along with his wife, Doris Ione Sherman and their son, Truman Jay (TJ), moved to Tucson, Arizona. After Ione's death, Truman Edward married Jessie Junetta Jordan in 1968 in Tucson. Truman Edward passed away on May 28, 2000 and is buried in South Lawn Cemetery in Tucson.

Truman Jay (TJ) had a son, Steven, born October 1965. Steven married Analydia in 1995 and they have three sons: Steven TJ, born August 1991; Nathan Edward, born April 1993; and Glen Albert, born October 1994. They all live in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

John Peter Shooks, aka Jack, was born to Pieter Jans and Anna Lavina Swart Shooks in 1901 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He married Lillian Mae, and together they had two sons, Robert and Carl. Jack died in 1979 and is buried in Algoma Cemetery in Sparta, Michigan.

Around 1911 Pieter fell from a roof and was an invalid for the next 20 years. He died on July 19, 1931, at his home at 1243 Monroe Avenue in Grand Rapids. Anna passed away on June 1, 1934, after an eight month illness.

Pieter and Anna Shooks are buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan.

The above story was submitted by Janet Shooks Dean. Thanks to Junetta Shooks, Donna Greer, and Analydia Shooks. Without their help this story could not have been written. Additional information was obtained from the 1891 Grand Rapids city directory and The Grand Rapids Press, a daily newspaper.