Event Date : Wednesday, November 28, 1956
Event Type : Death
Description : Though in failing health for the past several years, Mr. George C. Verkaik was only seriously ill for about ten days before his death, which occurred on Wednesday, November 28. Mr. Verkaik can surely be called the father of today's thriving village of Springdale. Twenty-two years ago, Mr. Verkaik purchased some ninety acres of land, almost all of which was on the Holland Marsh, from the late Mr. Matthew Brandon and proceeded to clear land and build a neat home on the West Gwillimbury side of the river. He brought his wife and family here from the Chatham district and as the sons of the family married and built homes of their own their little group of homes became known as the Verkaik settlement. Roads were a problem in those days and the Verkaik settlement, in relation to the rest of the then partially-settled marsh, was isolated. In those years of the 30's the only access to the Verkaik property was over the hills of the Brandon farm and across a too-long bridge suspended over the canal. But unlike most of the bigger land owners of that period Mr. Verkaik made a success of his venture, and under his guidance his family also succeeded, and together they laid the foundation for today's pretty and promising village. Mr. Verkaik was born in Haarlemmermeer, Holland, in 1883, coming to Canada and the Chatham area in 1926, where he farmed before coming to the Holland Marsh in 1934. When the sons of the family accepted responsibility for the big land acreage, Mr. Verkaik moved to Bradford where he built the pretty home now owned by Mr. N. Porter on Barrie Street, and where he and Mrs. Verkaik lived for several years. During this period he purchased the site and built the building known as the Verkaik block on Holland Street north. But Mr. and Mrs. Verkaik loved the marsh, they missed the convenient companionship of their family and friends there, and in 1950 they built a home in Springdale and returned to reside there close to seven of the nine members of their family. Surviving are his wife; five sons, namely, Jacob, George, Harry, Peter and Anthony, all of Springdale; and four daughters, Elizabeth (Mrs. Wm. Horlings) of Holland Marsh, Lena (Mrs. Harry Israels), Anne (Mrs. Stanley Mol), and Agnes (Mrs. Arthur Van Dyke), also of Springdale. A devout member of Springdale Christian Reformed Church, his funeral services were held from that church on Saturday afternoon, and were conducted by his minister, Rev. R. Wildschut, with a former minister, Rev. Vandermeer, now of Barrie, leading the graveside prayer. Interment was in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Bradford. The pallbearers were Messrs. Anthony Van Dyke, Jack Israels, Frank Janse, Anthony De Winter, Jacob Mann, and Harry Horlings.