12. Henry Kremers (1850 -1914)
Henry Kremers was born on
July 15th 1850 in Drenthe, Michigan, the oldest child of Willem Kremers and Anna Heins,
both of whom had been born in the Netherlands, Willem in Drenthe, and Anna in Beylen.
Willem was one of the original 47 settlers of Holland with A.C. VanRaalte in 1847.
Henry Kremers received his M.D. from the University of
Michigan Medical School in 1876 after two years of attendance. On May 1, 1877 he married
Alice Van Zwaluwenberg, the oldest child of Reyer Van Zwaluenberg and Sarah Kools. They
had five sons, William, Robert, Edward, Clarence, and Ernest, who all excelled in their
Dr. Kremers had moved with his family to Holland in 1882
from Drenthe, where he had his first medical practice shortly following graduation. By
1888 he was well established as a prominent citizen. As one of the most respected
physicians in Holland, Henry owned his own pharmacy on 8th Street where the name
"Herold and Kremers" can still be seen engraved above a door near Alpenrose
Restaurant. He was a very devoted practitioner who was involved in medical issues. He
traveled the country to attend medical conventions. Many persons in his family followed
him into the medical field. He practiced medicine from 1880 until his death.
In addition to his life as a surgeon he also was an
influential businessman and politician. The list of occupations and affiliations of Dr.
Kremers was immense. It included: member of the Ottawa County Medical Society, President
of the Board of Education, Surgeon for the Pere Marquette Railroad, Director of a Bank,
Board of a Sugar Company, and Organizer of Holland Furnace Company among others.
In 1889 he ran for and won the mayoral election. In his
inaugural address he emphasized low taxes for businesses and homes, the removal of
barriers to trade, the need for proper sewers, and the inalienable rights of man
guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
It was in this election year that he commissioned George
Dalman to build a suitable house for such a prominent man as himself. Completed in 1889,
Mr. Kremers' home on the corner of 12th and Central was, and still is one of the most
magnificent structures in Holland. After Dr. Kremers' death the house became the City
Hospital in 1919. For a few years the house belonged to the Knickerbocker Fraternity. The
Netherlands Museum took over the premises in 1940 and remains there to this day. The house
was registered as an official state historic site in 1985.
In 1910 or 1911 Dr. Kremers ran on the State Democratic
ticket for the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan and was defeated. He was
later appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands, which ruined him financially.
His son Ernest described him as "clear-minded but not
sharp witted. He liked to dress well but was not dashing. And he was neither wild nor
He was known for his love of dogs, love of University of
Michigan Football (at least one child attended the University from 1895 to 1912, and
Ernest played on the team in 1904), and his good nature in providing medical service for
the poor and for Civil War veterans. He died on his 64th birthday, July 15, 1914 in
Mayors of Holland Home