(Gerrit Pieters Link)

by Rhonda Wisse

Garret Link was born in Friesland, the Netherlands on August 13, 1877 and came to the United States at age 14 with his mother and sister, Anna. He attended school in the Netherlands until he was 12 and then decided to go to work in a bakery. Although he never finished school, his mother had always wanted him to be a teacher.

He became an American citizen at age 45. After he came to the United States, he worked for Mr. Peter Hoitsma as an apprentice carpenter. Mr. Hoitsma was also an organ teacher and on many occasions, Garret Link helped him write music for his students. He later worked for a Mr. Barney Cook in Paterson and was a foreman under Mr. Cook when they built the Third Christian Reformed Church on Haledon Avenue in Paterson. Garret Link also worked on the Northside Christian Reformed Church which was at that time in Passaic. He later went in business for himself and was the general contractor when Building #2 of the Christian Sanatorium was erected. During World War I, he worked as a foreman at the Newark Bay Shipyards building freighters. Transportation at that time was very difficult and he had to leave his home in Hawthorne, New Jersey at 5 a.m. every morning. Garret Link also built many houses in Prospect Park, approximately ten of which are on North 12th Street where he once lived.

He married Julia Rhoda and had two children, Tillie and Peter. Julia Rhoda Link died in 1903 at the age of 32. In 1909 he married Katie Van Dyk and had four children, Marie (my grandmother), Bertha, Anna and Gerald.
Katie Van Dyk died in 1929 after a long illness. He then married Jennie De Young in 1935 and she died in 1942 prior to her husband.

Garret Link was a member of the Second Holland Christian Reformed Church which was then located on First Street in Paterson. He later joined the newly organized Prospect Park Christian Reformed Church on North 7th Street in Paterson where he served for more than thirty-five years in the consistory, both as a deacon and elder and he was also clerk of the consistory during most of that time. He often attended Classis meetings and travelled with Mr. Hamstra of the Droste Company to Men’s Society Federation Meetings. Garret Link also served on the Eastern Academy School Board.

Another project which he was involved in was a mission Sunday School which started in his church. They later held open air meetings on Westervelt Avenue in Hawthorne with Rev. Heeres. These Sunday School sessions were later held in Mr. Link’s living room at 92 Westervelt Avenue. Two of the teachers in the Sunday School were Miss Kate Riemersma and Miss Maude Van Vessum (who later became Mrs. Barret, a missionary to Africa). The Link living room became overcrowded, so the group went to the Sanstra home on North 8th Street and Westervelt Avenue. Finally a building for the group was erected on Westervelt Avenue near what is now “Everett’s Cozy Market”.

The Link family lived for many years on Westervelt Avenue raising their own fruits and vegetables. They also raised pigs which were often butchered by Mr. Steiginga, a well-known butcher in the area.

All six of the Link children attended and graduated from North 4th Street Christian School.

Garret Link was a firm believer in Christian education and a true Christian man, a great-grandfather I would have been proud to have known.

Prepared by Rhonda Wisse with the help of

  my grandmother and several other relatives.