Jacoba Fiet, My Great Grandmother

My very first best friend, possibly my very first friend, was a girl who lived across the street named Jacoba. Sadly she moved out of my neighborhood and although we were classmates through high school, we never really rekindled our friendship (until we reconnected as adults). I don’t know how to explain it, but through my childhood I still valued those days with Jacoba as my playmate.

I think I was about 11 years old the first time I filled out a family tree. It turns out that my great-grandmother (my mother’s father’s mother) was also named Jacoba! I felt an instant connection to her. Her name became my favorite name in all my family tree.

Which leads me to this week’s #52ancestor challenge prompt: “favorite name.”

Despite the fact that I love her name (and her face), until preparing for this post, I really didn’t know much about her.Jacoba Fiet

Jacoba Fiet was born 29 May 1888 in Antwerp Belgium to Dutch parents. By 1890 her family was back in Holland. At age 6 she immigrated with her family, departing from Glasgow Scotland and arriving in New York on 1 September 1894. By December of that year her family was settled in Utah, likely Roy. She married young, only 16. Her groom, Richard Galloway was also an immigrant, but from England. They were married in Salt Lake City, Utah. Together they had nine children: 2 born in Utah, 5 in Idaho (including my grandfather Ernest Richard Galloway), and 2 in Oregon. by 1952 Jacoba and Richard returned to Utah, this time to Ogden. Jacoba died on 19 February 1963 and was buried in Ogden, Utah.

That’s everything I know. Here is what I wish I knew:

  1. Why were Jacoba’s parents in Antwerp Belgium at the time of her birth? They were married in Holland 7 June 1887, lived in Antwerp when Jacoba was born, and back in Holland when their second daughter was born in July 1890.
  2. Why did the Fiet family immigrate to the United States? I theorize that it was for religious reasons. Her parents were baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 24 March 1891. That was near the end of the time period in which “‘gathering to Zion’ was the second step after conversion.”
  3. How did she meet her husband and how did she feel about marrying another immigrant but from a different country of origin?
  4. What drove each of their moves from Utah, to Idaho, to Oregon, and back to Utah?

Until I studied her life for this post I never realized that my maternal grandfather was a first native-born generation American. I love that realization, knowing how close I really am, in a family history sense, to Europe. This is especially interesting to me when I consider that my maternal grandmother descends from early New England settlers, including original Massachusetts Bay Charter members. But that is for another post.

Jacoba’s name first drew me to her, but the more I learn about her life the more I am interested in knowing her better. Next time I am at my mom’s place I am going to delve into the Galloway history books and see what else I can discover about Jacoba Fiet.


7 thoughts on “Jacoba Fiet, My Great Grandmother

  1. LuJean, here are some answers to your questions about Jacoba Fiet:
    1. Onno Fiet, Jacoba’s father, had a freighting and fishing boat/ship with sails and with a captain’s cabin on it. Because he needed to make a trip, he took his pregnant wife Altje with him. Jacoba’s daughter, Rozella Galloway Sinclair, recorded that Jacoba was born on a ship on a Belgium canal, and Family Seach has Jacoba’s birthplace listed as Antwerpen, Antwerpen, Belgium. (My 2007 Galloway book shows two pictures of a replica of Ono’s boat, and it says this model resides in the Curator’s office of the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.)
    2. The Fiet family was baptized March 25, 1891. When Jacoba was six years old (1894), they decided to immigrate. After they had actioned all they had, Onno still had to borrow from his father-in-law to have enough for two adult and three children’s passage from Holland to America. After getting to Chicago, they had to lay over two days in the train depot because they couldn’t speak English well enough to make contact with Onno’s father, Freek (known as Fredrick) Fiet, who had lived right there in Chicago. (Because his wife died during their visit to Holland and he had to go back to Chicago to run his estate, Onno’s father had left Onno in Holland with Onno’s maternal grandmother 30 years before Onno’s family immigrated and went to Ogden.)
    3. Jacoba met Richard (Dick) Galloway in Roy, Utah where he had been working for some time. Even though she was only 16 years old, Dick wanted to marry her instead of a lovely girl his parents had chosen for him. (His parents had even used the money Dick had sent them for a ship passage ticket for his sister Elizabeth, who had declined to immigrate to America with them, to pay for passage for their choice of a wife for him). However, Jacoba’s father said, “No, she had to wait until she grew up or at least weighed 100 pounds first.” Nothing was mentioned about how Jacoba, who was almost 17, felt about marrying Dick, who was 23, in the Salt Lake Temple. Their daughter Rozella wrote: “Mother would work right alongside of Dad, doing a man’s work, as they cleared the land for planting and building fences for their animals and building shelters before winter set in. Dad, being English, had the old country idea that a wife and family were property and he dominated them that way. He never seemed to realize that although Mother was much smaller than he, she did have other responsibilities besides helping him… Mother was truly a good helpmate. She found that by wrapping her feet in a pair of Dad’s old boots and putting on a pair of his old overalls, she could work in the fields better than in her skirts… Work was a game when we were with Mom.” Rozella also mentioned that her parents sang duets on many programs.
    4. After Dick and Jacoba were married in 1905, Dick’s job was delivering coal to the homes in Ogden. He also hauled cream from Ogden Valley down the canyon to the Ogden creamery for his Dad. This was about 26 miles a day and was done by horse and wagon. In 1908, Dick decided to change his occupation to farming, so they homesteaded a 160-acre farm next to Ddick’s dad’s 160-acre homestead in the Teton Basin, in the town of Clawson, in Idaho. When they had seven children and Dick needed more land, he answered an ad in a farm magazine of a ranch for sale near Bully Creek about 10 miles out from Vale, Oregon. After they sold their homestead, they moved to a lot bigger house and a lot warmer climate in the fall of 1919. In 1923, Dick and Jacoba took Ernest and Irene to Utah. They stayed with relatives, probably Jacoba’s parents, because Ellen was born in Ogden 18 Aug. 1923. Jacoba’s mother passed away later that year. While in Ogden, Dick got a job in the ice plant and made good money by working extra hours during the winter. In 1925 and 1926, they raised hundreds of turkeys on the Bully Creek Ranch. After their family grew up and got married, they decided to quit farming and move to Ogden. Here Dick went into the real-estate business.


  2. The name of the book is Richard Michlethwaite &Mary “Elizabeth” Galloway, the History of one Family With a Vision and Courage. It was compiled by LaVel J. Galloway and printed June 30, 2017.


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