Holland township, Sheboygan county, was settled in the early times by many sturdy foreigners who made their first home in America in this section and named it after their mother country. They tilled the soil and developed the resources and their lives were distinguished by an unassuming but unremitting energy and perseverance. The virtues of the fathers have descended to the sons and find a worthy exemplification in the career of Adolph Stokdyk. He is now president of the Wisconsin Foundry & Steel Works of Cedar Grove, and his identification with this concern has been continuous since its organization.
Mr. Stokdyk is a native son of Cedar Grove, his birth having occurred here on the 3rd of October, 1857, his parents being Adolph and Annette (Peters) Stokdyk. His father was born in Holland, in 1812, and spent his life until 1847 engaged in various occupations in that country. In the latter year he came to America and settled immediately in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he remained for twelve months. At the expiration of that time he came to Sheboygan county and direct to Holland township where he joined a number of his countrymen in the cultivation of the soil. He followed farming until two years previous to his death when he retired from active life. He died in Holland township, on January 2, 1886, at the age of seventy-four, and his passing deprived the section in which he resided of one of its early pioneer settlers and a representative and enterprising citizen. He had been connected with local politics for many years and had held various offices. He was clerk of Holland township and held this office continuously for twenty-seven years. He resigned shortly before his death and the last two years of his life were spent in almost complete retirement. His wife also was born in The Netherlands, her natal year being 1816. She died in Wilson township in 1890 at the age of seventy-four and is buried in Cedar Grove.
Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Stokdyk, the parents of our subject, had nine children, three of whom were born in Holland: Henry, who is now a farmer in Lyndon township; Wilhelmina, the deceased wife of Leonard Van der Yack; Peter, who resides in Sturgeon Bay ; Alice, now deceased, who became the second wife of Leonard Van der Yack; John, who has also passed away; William, who is engaged in farming in Holland township; Fannie, the wife of John Pleyte of Milwaukee; Adolph, the subject of this sketch; and Annette, who married Henry Ramaker of Milwaukee.
Adolph Stokdyk received his early education in the district schools of Holland township. He remained at home and assisted his father in the labors incident to the tilling of the soil until he had attained his majority. He then rented a farm in the same section of the county and operated it successfully for two years. At the end of that time he took up the occupation of fishing and for twenty-eight years followed this line of activity with great success. His headquarters were established in New Amsterdam, Holland township, and he became known in that city and vicinity as a remarkably successful fisherman and a shrewd discriminating business man. He abandoned the fishing business in 1900 and retired for a short time, making his residence in Cedar Grove.
His retirement, however, was not permanent. In February, 1911, he was elected president of the Wisconsin Foundry & Steel Works of Cedar Grove in which enterprise he had been a stockholder since its organization in 1901. He served as secretary for five years previous to his election as president and in the two offices he has held has distinguished himself by marked business ability and shrewd knowledge of commercial values. Under his presidency the enterprise has grown in all its departments and has expanded along lines of modern and progressive development. His policy is one of strict adherence to business ethics and unwavering integrity and development in every legitimate channel. He has brought the enterprise with which he is identified to a gratifying state of prosperity and has founded its success upon the firm basis of upright and honest commercial morality. He has never entirely given up his connection with the fishing business but leaves its management to his two sons who have carried on his policy and made the business increasingly prosperous with every year. He is a stockholder and director in the Cedar Grove State Bank and his influence is felt in many lines of municipal activity. For seven years he was president of the village and his public life was distinguished by the same honorable qualities which marked his business career.
On June 20, 1879, Mr. Stokdyk was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Jane Van Ouwerkirk, a daughter of Peter and Jennie (Schwichtman) Van Ouwerkirk, well known residents of Holland township, both of whom are now deceased. To Mr. and Mrs. Stokdyk have been born two children, Adolph and James H., both of whom are engaged in the fishing industry in the interests of their father.
Politically Mr. Stokdyk is a republican upon national issues but in local affairs his principles are independent. He has always been a prominent factor in this line of activity and the municipal development of Cedar Grove has profited by his efficient and able conduct of the important public office which he held for seven years. The political, agricultural and business circles of Holland township have all developed and expanded to a greater degree by reason of Mr. Stokdyk's energy and activity. His career has exemplified the sturdy and reliable virtues of an honest man and a representative citizen.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL