History

Father Joseph VerboortJohn Verboort, his wife Theodora, and their four children (one of whom would become the Catholic priest, Father William Verboort) left Volkel, Uden, Province of  North Brabant, Holland on March 9th, 1848, spurred on by the famine of 1846, poverty, and the promise of America.

 

After 58 days at sea, they arrived in Boston on Friday, May 5th, 1848. From Boston, they traveled by boxcar to Buffalo, N.Y., then the gateway to the West.  From Buffalo, they sailed to Mackinaw Island, MI where they stayed 3 days until they could obtain passage by ship to Green Bay, Wis. From there theywent by flatboat to Kaukauna, and then by oxen drawn wagon to Little Chute, Wisconsin.  Before the winter set in, they settled in the larger French-Canadian town of DePere, Wisconsin. They* stayed in Wisconsin for 25 years, before being drawn West, like so many others of their time, by the promise of a better life.

 

After having looked around in different localities, they resolved to buy the Black place in Washington County, about four miles northwest of Cornelius, the same distance northeast of Forest Grove, seven miles from Hillsboro, the county seat.  In the month of April they commenced work on the farm.  They all lived under one roof for quite awhile.  The land had to be surveyed and divided, houses and stables to be put up, and all that could not be accomplished in a short time, so much more as the farm had to be cultivated to make a living.

 

Father William Verboort arrived soon after the first families, and in short order the settlers had built a 29×49 foot temporary chapel out of rough lumber. It was blessed in September under the title of St. Francis Xavier. The community called itself  “The Catholic Colony of Forest Grove”, the year was 1875.

For all of Father Verboort’s accomplishments, he was never of robust health.  He had developed infection in a knee and was unable to recover. His mother died on June 23, 1876, and Father had the sad duty to administer the last rites and preside at her funeral mass.  Twelve days later, Father was so ill that local men had to transport him by wheelbarrow to administer the last rites to his dying father.  Ten days later  Father Verboort died of  leg infection and pneumonia. Archbishop Blanchet traveled from Portland to offer the Solemn Requiem  Mass, assisted by Father Verhaag and  Father Thibau.  At this time, the name of the community was changed to “Verboort.”

 

Source: Verboort Centennial 1875-1975 and “Welcome to Verboort”, millennium brochure

 

*[from church records]
“In the month of February, 1875, arrived 6 (six) Hollandish or Dutch families of Portland, Oregon, with the intention to start a Catholic colony in that state.  They hailed from De Pere, Brown County, Wisconsin, Diocese of Green Bay, where their nation and creed were represented in great numbers. The following are the names of those immigrants:
I. The aged John Verboort (senior) and his wife Theodora de Rayt, their eldest son John Verboort (junior)
II. Albert Verboort, the youngest son of the former couple -his wife Antonetta Jansen -and two children: 1. John and 2. Theodora.
III. Martin Hermans, the son-in-law of the first mentioned -his wife Theodora Mary Verboort and five children: 1. Cornelius, 2. William, 3. John, 4. Mary, 5. John.
The last named child about a year old, died after a few months, and was buried in the orchard of the Black farm in Washington County.
IV. The widow Hendrina Jansen, her only son Peter, and his wife Johanna Hendricks.
V. John (Adrian) van der Velden, his wife Angeline Kuene, and 1 child Anna. Their other child (a baby) had died on the ocean and it’s remains were buried in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery (East Portland)
VI. Anthony Krieger, his wife Mary Martin, and three children: 1.Wilhelmina,
2.Johannes Albertus, 3. Peter John. With him came along Peter Martin, the father of Mrs. Krieger, and John Krieger, the brother of Anthony Krieger.