The story of Jacob Den Herder, Part II

This is the second half of the story of Jacob Den Herder.

In 1878, at age 44, Den Herder opened a bank in Zeeland.

In 1880, he was elected to the office of elder in his church, First Reformed Church in Zeeland. It wasn’t his first time. He also partnered with his son, Christian, then about 15, to purchase a shoe business from Roelof Veneklasen, son of brickmaker Berend Veneklasen.

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In 1882, he lost $1,000 because of forged bank notes. He recovered $500 and, in gratefulness, gave $100 to charity.

In 1883, burglars broke into his upstairs office at the bank. They drilled a hole through the top of his safe, dropped in a stick of gunpowder and exploded it with a fuse. Fortunately, they didn’t do enough damage to get any money. But in response, Den Herder decided to join a mutual insurance company.

In 1884, he partnered with his son-in-law, Albert LaHuis, married to Christine, to open a dry goods store. In 1887, fire destroyed the store but, thankfully, the contents were insured.

In 1886, Den Herder was elected as state senator. Even though he concluded the position negatively affected his financial position, he ran again. But he lost.

In 1891, Jacob recruited his son Christian, then 31, to join the bank as cashier. In 1898, the bank lost $4,000 when burglars successful blew the doors off Den Herder’s safe. But now he was insured.