The Dutch Book

Whidbey Island

Whidbey History  



The Dutch Book
by Dorothy Neil


If it isn't written down, it is lost.

Having lived in the "Dutch Village" of Oak Harbor for 72 years of the 107 since the first Hollanders arrived on Whidbey, we are convinced that our friends deserve recognition for their efforts in becoming part of America.
It was a difficult book to write, especially for someone without a drop of Dutch blood. But maybe that made it all the better, seen from an outside perspective.

America, "the melting pot" has become home to peoples from all over the world who fled their mother countries because of persecution, crowding, famine and war, and within a few generations have become "Americans." America is one of the great mysteries of the world.

In 1620, 120 pioneers of English Separatists who had fled England and had been living in Leyden for 12 years, embarked on the Speedwell in the Port of Delfshaven, with others leaving Rotterdam on the Mayflower, to become what America regards as The Pilgrim Fathers.

The City of New York was New Amsterdam for many years, as more and more Dutch left their native land for other shores. An industrious, God fearing people, with more than their share of talent, it took them some 300 years more or less to emigrate to a lonely Island in northern Puget Sound in 1894.

That is what this book is all about. It is not a genealogical book, it is a story. A story of families, and struggles, of hard work and enterprise, of churches . . . but mostly it is about a people bent upon becoming Americans.

To all our great good friends among the Dutch in Oak Harbor we dedicate this trivial record of their generations, with an apology for not being able to include all of the wonderful stories that only happen in families.

As our old friend Charlie Vander Voet said, "Dot's right! Pull up the broekie and show 'em vot you can do!" . . .

Dorothy Neil