Biography of William Ryken


Ryken, William, Grand Island, p. o. Sheenwater, one of the old and prominent residents of Grand Island, was born in Zeeland, Holland, in 1831, one of two children born to Dirick and Jacoba (Bodde) Ryken. Dirick was born and raised on a farm; he was an only son and received a liberal education and became a head teacher in the select schools, which profession he followed all his life. William Ryken attended the Holland schools until fifteen, when his parents moved to South Holland, where he spent two years studying French. When seventeen years of age his father started him in the mercantile business, which he conducted until he was twenty-five, and in 1856 sold his business and came to America, coming direct to Grand Island, where he lived for a time with his brother-in-law and assisted him in cutting wood and clearing land. In 1864 he purchased a farm of sixty-three acres, on which he has resided ever since, doing a general and successful farming. He early manifested an active interest in the political affairs of his town, affiliating with the Republican party, and in 1865 was elected to the office of town clerk, and with the exception of two years has filled that office successively ever since, making thirty years' service, a distinction which undoubtedly has not been paralleled by another man in Erie county. Mr. Ryken is a member of the Masonic fraternity. His wife was Susan Stoneway, daughter of Rev. John B. Stoneway of Holland, to whom he was married in 1853, and they have one child, Jacoba, wife of Nelson Bagley of Buffalo. Mr. and Mrs. Ryken are members of the Congregational church, in which Mr. Ryken is deacon and superintendent of the Sunday school.

Our County and its people
A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898


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