Page 9 - Poat_to_Poot_Engels
P. 9


                  A biography must, of necessity, start in the middle.  A person's birth may
                  seem like the beginning, but life is not so simple.  As you consider the many
                  events leading up to a birth, there are parents, grandparents, social
                  conditions, and geography that are all important in the creation of a new life.
                  The reader must bear with me and be patient, while I attempt to weave
                  together a myriad of facts.  The intent is to give a little more feeling and
                  understanding of what life was like and how things came to pass.

                  Willem Frederik Poot (pronounced to rhyme with boat), was born on Easter
                  Sunday, April 21, 1878.  He was born in Berlikum, in the Menaldumadeel
                  district, of the Middle Friesland province, in the Netherlands.  His name was
                  later anglicized to William Frederick Poot and still later changed to "Poat".  To
                  his family he was known as "Papa", to his wife as "Will" and to most as
                  "Reverend" or "Doctor".  I have attempted to use variations of his name that
                  seem appropriate to the time period or situation under discussion.  I use
                  "Willem" during his youth in the Netherlands.  I sometimes use "W.F." for
                  brevity.  I hope I haven't made a muddle of it!

                  W.F. Poot was born at the beginning of an era of radical changes.  There were
                  no vaccinations or antibiotics, and death from disease was common.  There
                  was no electricity, no telephones, no recorded music or movies.  Battery
                  operated telegraphs were the wonder of modern communication, but were
                  not available everywhere.  The steam-powered locomotive was the fastest
                  form of transportation, and there were no automobiles or airplanes.  Instead
                  of internal combustion engines, factories used either river power or steam
                  power from coal heated boilers.  Although most of the scientific principles
                  had been discovered, the practical implementations that revolutionized life
                  were only just beginning.  Life was slower, harsher, and work was hard.
                  Possessions were fewer and dearer.  All of the great wonders that
                  transformed life into the modern age occurred within his lifetime.  Willem
                  would play his own role in the growth of America.  His preaching brought
                  many souls to the church, which helped strengthen the civilizing of the west.
                  He possessed the ability to lead and inspire people, helping communities to
                  accomplish their goals.  He provided leadership or advice to numerous civic
                  groups and public institutions.  His work electrifying towns was an important
                  contribution to progress and economic growth.

                  Willem Frederik was the eldest surviving son of Jan Willem Poot and Fredrika
                  Sophia Vink (pronounced "Fink").  Jan Willem Poot was also a minister, and he
                  found himself caught up in the religious turmoil of the Reformed Church in
                  the late 1800s.  J.W. Poot made his own contributions to the religious
                  debates and to the reform movement in the Netherlands.  He was a published
                  religious writer and participated in the split of the Dutch national church in
                  1886.  Ultimately, he led his family to America.  The religious freedom of
                  America was a welcome change, yet there was still religious turmoil and
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