History of John & Gesina Mettes and Their Descendants

Donated by:

Christi Mettes Williams

A 179-page METTES family history book, “Our Mettes Ancestors, A Family History of John & Gesina Mettes and Their Descendants”, was compiled by Christi Mettes Williams in collaboration with David Garth Mettes.  A copy of this book has been provided to the Macon County, MO Library, Macon County Historical Society, and the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City.   A few copies of this Mettes family history book are still available. 


For people interested in information about the METTES family (or related families such as DELANEY, HEALY, LYNCH, LATCHFORD, WILL or WILLS, MALONEY, etc.) or people having information to share, please contact Christi Mettes Williams at mets2@inbox.com or cmets2@att.net or contact David Garth Mettes at Dgmettes@aol.com.


Abbreviated biography of

John and Gesina METTES

(This is a shorter version of their biography from the Mettes family history book. 

Compiled by Christi Mettes Williams in collaboration with David Garth Mettes.)


This history of our METTES lineage in America begins in the spring of 1851 when John “Johannes” Mettes, born 10 Jan 1829 in Hoorn, Holland, emigrated to the USA from Hoorn, Holland. Family stories say John arrived in the USA in 1851 and that a year later, he made arrangements for his sweetheart, Gesina Halfschepel, to join him.  Gesina was born 12 Oct 1824 in Hoorn, Holland.  A New York Passengers Record lists that "Gezina Halfschepel", age 27, departed from Rotterdam, Netherlands on the ship "South Carolina" which arrived in New York on 6 April 1852.  On the ship registry, Gezina is listed immediately after a Klaas Mettes, John's father, who accompanied her to the USA.


On 19 April 1852, thirteen days after Gesina's arrival in the USA, they were married at St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church located on St. Mary's Hill in Lancaster, Erie County, NY.  The marriage registry for John & Gesina lists the names of his parents as Nicolas and Gertrudis (or Gertrude) Mettes of Nord, Holland and her parents as Simonis and Maria (?) Halfschepel (or Halfschaepel).  In Feb 1853, John & Gesina's first child, Nicholas, was born in Lancaster, Erie Co., NY.   Family stories say they lived in or near Lancaster until they moved to Michigan sometime before 1855.


John and Gesina moved to Michigan between early 1853 -1855, the exact dates and locations of their residences in MI are uncertain.  Family stories say their 2nd child, John, was born in Pittsburg, Bennington Twp, Shiawassee Co., MI in July 1855.  Their next four children, William, Martinus, Mary & Anna, were born in or near Pentwater, Oceana Co., MI.  (Pentwater is on Lake Michigan, south of Ludington.)


MettesUnka_1                     MetJa                     MetJb 

probably John "Johannes" Mettes                      John Mettes in Union uniform -1865                              John Mettes after 1870

as a teenager in Hoorn, Holland                        in Baltimore, MD

On 2 Aug 1862, John, at age 33, volunteered in Pentwater, MI to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War as a Private, Company “A”, 26th Regiment, Michigan Infantry (Last name is spelled "Mettis" on some Civil war records.)   His 1917 obit states, "when the Civil War was raging (1862) he with the spirit of American patrotism, bid good bye to wife and children, and proudly marched away to battle for the protection of his country and served for three years."   On 12 May 1864, John was wounded in the right foot or leg at Spotsylvania Court House, VA.  (Family stories say he wasn't wounded in the battle of Spotsylvania, but while marching to Williamsburgh, VA.)   Another genealogist states John was hospitalized at Fort Richmond on Statten Island, NY, then at Lincoln Hospital in Washington, D.C., and then at Jarvis Hospital in Baltimore, MD.  That genealogist shows John received a 20-day furlough on 23 Oct 1864.   John was discharged 25 May 1865 at Jarvis Hospital, Baltimore, MD.   He received a Civil War Veteran's medal when they were produced and awarded to veterans in the 1880s.


Family stories say that while stationed in Missouri during the Civil War, John developed a liking for the MO countryside.  However, records relating to his Civil War regiment, show they were never in or near MO.   One family genealogist states, "After being discharged, on his way back home from the war he came through Missouri and loved it so much he decided to move his family."   Facts show that about 1866, John and his family packed up their possessions and traveled for three weeks by covered wagon to settle in a small Catholic farming community, known as the “Healy Settlement” (pronounced "Hay-lee") located in Jackson Twp in northwest Macon Co., MO.   


John & Gesina purchased a 60-acre farm, which may have already had a home on the property.  According to Maude Lynch in "From Whence We Came", the description of the farm land he purchased in the Healy Settlement was as follows, "SW/NW Sec. 8, Twp 59, R. 13, and N 1/2 (?) of NW/SW Sec 8, Twp 59, R. 13, and the N 11/12 of the SE/SE Sec. 6, Twp 59, R 13 conveyed to John Mettes from Guy Griswold on Oct 9 1866 and filed June 6, 1867, book 1, page 497, Macon county court house.  Consideration, $960.00."    The house was described as a four bedroom, two-story with two porches and no built in electricity, water, bathrooms, or heating system.  Wood stoves in the living room and kitchen furnished heat and candles or coal oil lamps were used for lighting.  There was a cistern on the east end of the south porch, which caught and stored run-off water from the roof.  The home was about ¼ mile from Bear Creek School, which their younger children attended. 


MetJGJa           File0932_2

                   Gesina & John Mettes after 1890                                                     John & Gesina's house in the Healy Settlement

         (John is wearing his Civil War Veteran's medal)                                                                  (in Jackson Twp, Macon Co., MO)



The year after arriving in the Healy Settlement, John & Gesina's final child, Nettie, was born.  John and Gesina were listed on the 1870 Jackson Twp, Macon Co., MO Census with their children and 19 year old, Nickolis A. Mettes, (born in Holland). Stories say John's father came for a visit and died and was buried in the old Catholic cemetery in Macon, MO.  The 1880 Census for Jackson Twp, Macon County, MO lists John & Gesina Mettes and three of their children; Martinus, Mary, and Annie.   Their two oldest children, Nick & John, were living with their families nearby. William was living with his brother, Nick.   The 1900 census shows John & Gesina Mettes with a servant, Minnie Prumwell (or Crumwell).   John & Gesina, as well as many of their children, continued to farm and prosper in Jackson Twp and the nearby townships of Lyda and Independence.



John was listed as 6 feet 2 inches tall on the Declaration of a Widow For Original Pension form.   It states he had a light complexion with light hair and blue eyes. Another genealogist says a record shows John as weighing 195 pounds on 13 July 1898.   Family stories say John was college educated.  One story says that as the oldest son, he was sent to Oxford University.  Old family letters written by John "Johannes" show that he was an intelligent, literate man, who appeared to be a caring father.


For a period of time, John & Gesina's home in the Healy Settlement served as the "Luxor" post office, based on family stories and postmarks from 1899 - 1901 letters.  Neighbors came to John & Gesina's home for their mail, where John served as postmaster.  Family stories say that, at times, John & Gesina's house also served as home to some of their young grandchildren whose mothers had died, including Mabel Mettes (1a) & Edwin Mettes (1b) , Mary "Mayme" Mettes (3a) & James Martin Mettes (3b) .


Gesina’s died on 22 Aug 1904, at age 79.   She was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Macon, Missouri. 



File0922_1                         File0924

John & Gesina Mettes  - before Golden                                                    John Mettes with 2nd wife, Anna E. (Curtis) Mettes and her daughter,

Anniversary celebration in April 1902                                                          Loretta Curtis





On Sept. 30, 1905, John married his second wife, Anna E. Curtis of St. Louis, MO by a Justice of the Peace.  (On the application for John's Pension,  Anna states that this was her first marriage.)   Anna was born 3 April 1864 in St. Louis, MO to                   Curtis & Anna Buons (?), who was born in Ireland.   Anna had one child, Loretta, who was a child when Anna and John married.  (A genealogist states records show Annie living at 1429 Granville Place, St. Louis on 4 Oct 1904.) 


In 1906, John and Anna moved to a small farm in Leasburg, Crawford Co., MO.  Family stories say the house and farm in the Healy Settlement were sold to John & Gesina's grandson, Francis Grace Mettes (2a).   All of Grace's children were born there, before they moved in 1927 and the home was rented to another grandson, Willie Lynch (6c).  The house and farm were sold to someone outside the family in 1933.  The house and buildings on the property were gone before 1984.


The 1910 Census for Leasburg, Benton Twp., Crawford Co., MO lists John, Annie and her daughter, Loretta, who is listed as John's adopted daughter.  (However, John's obit listed her as his step-daughter.)  John's occupation was listed as a poultry farmer.   According to an old Sept. 2, 1914 letter John wrote to his daughter, Annie (Mettes) Lynch (6), he was still working this farm.  The letter states his health was good, but that he was nearly blind in his left eye and wasn't seeing well out of his right one. 


John died 10 March 1917, at age 88, in Leasburg, Liberty Twp, Crawford Co, MO of chronic myocarditis.  His funeral was conducted 13 (or 18) March 1917 by Rev. Father T. J. Barrett at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Macon, MO.   John was buried next to his first wife, Gesina, in St. Mary's Cemetery in Macon, MO. 


After his death, Annie continued to live in Leasburg, MO for a time.  She applied numerous times to the Pension Bureau for John's Pension benefits (file #242628) and was awarded $12/month starting 1 March 1917, which was increased to $25/month on 6 Oct 1917.   Based on old postcards, Annie seemed to be on good terms with her husband's family.   However, some family stories say Annie was not close with his children.  The Jan 1920 census shows her as a 54-year-old widow living in St. Louis, MO and listed as a lodger.  Annie's daughter, Loretta, had married someone with the surname, Holmberg after 1917. Money may have been very tight for Annie if she was living on John's $25/month pension and her 1921 request for a raise in benefits was denied.  


Annie died 1 Dec 1927 in St. Louis Co., MO at the home of her daughter, Loretta Holmberg. Annie was buried in Calvary Cemetery on 5 Dec 1927.   John & his second wife, Annie, had no children together.




Children of John “Johannes” Mettes 1 and Gesina Halfschepel 1 :



1.       Nicholas Henry Mettes 2  born Feb 1 (or 2), 1853 in Lancaster, Erie Co., New York  

                                                 died Jan 26, 1916 in the Healy Settlement, Jackson Twp, Macon Co, MO


2.       John Simon Mettes 2  born July 26, 1855 in Pittsburg, Shiawassee Co., MI  

                                           died Mar 3, 1932 in the Healy Settlement, Jackson Twp, Macon Co, MO


3.       William Sylvester Mettes 2  born Oct 1, 1857 in Shiawassee or Oceana Co., MI 

                                                     died Feb 5, 1950 in Shelby Co, MO


4.       Martinus James Mettes 2  born Nov 11, 1859 in or near Pentwater, Oceana Co., MI

                                                   died Feb 6, 1939 in Colorado Springs, El Paso Co., CO


5.       Mary Euzenia Mettes 2   born Feb 22, 1862 in or near Pentwater, Oceana Co., MI 

                                                died Feb 3, 1950 in Los Angeles Co., CA


6.       Anna Johanna Mettes 2  born Apr 26, 1866 in or near Pentwater, Oceana Co., MI

                                                died Sept 10, 1951 in Macon Co., MO


7.       Nettie Frances Mettes 2  born Feb 15, 1868 in the Healy Settlement, Jackson Twp, Macon Co, MO                            

                                                died Jan 19, 1870 in the Healy Settlement, Jackson Twp, Macon Co., MO









                              John "Johannes" and Gesina  Mettes with family members - about 1888









                                          Identification of Mettes family members from photo above

1) John Simon Mettes      2) Mary Ann "Molly" (Lynch) Mettes       3) James Haley Mettes       4) John William Mettes 

5) Francis Grace Mettes     6) Edwin Mettes    7) Mabel Mettes     8) possibly Lena Will    9)  probably Mary Tresia (Frobes) Mettes      10) William Sylvester Mettes       11) Mary Estela "Mayme" Mettes       12) James Martin Mettes     13) John "Johannnes" Mettes  

14) Gesina (Mettes   15) Anna Johanna Mettes   16) Alice (Cole) Mettes  17) Martinus "Tean" Mettes    18)  Nicholas Henry Mettes  19) Emma (Fulmer, Will) Mettes    20) Mary Gertrude Mettes     21) John Martin Mettes


Send comments or suggestions to:
Ernie Miles