1838 - 1910
Her name was recorded as Hilligje Niezing on her birth record, as Hillettje Niessing on the
passenger ship manifest, as Hellen Niezen on her marriage record, as Hellen on her headstone,
and as Helen Nason in her obituary and some documents.
Helen was born on 2 May 1838 in Smilde, Drenthe, Netherlands to Jan Willems Nijsing and
Grietje Jans (Vredeveld) Nijsing. Helen's parents gave her age as 10 when Helen emigrated in 1847,
which explains the 1837 birth year date. Census records aren't of much help, because they give differing ages.
Her headstone has the years 1837 - 1910 engraved on it. But her birth record has 2 May 1838.
She emigrated on the passenger ship "Mississippi of Demerara" departing Rotterdam on 17 May 1847
and arriving in Baltimore on 6 July 1847 with her parents and siblings. Her father wrote home of
the family's crossing and about life in Michigan. The contents of that letter can be read at the Nasoncousins
website - see my Links page noted below.
Helen married Garrett Frielink, son of Gerhard Frielink, on 19 November 1858 in Kalamazoo, MI.
According to the 1900 Census, Helen was the mother of eleven children; ten have been identified, six
sons and four daughters.
She was a deposition witness for the U.S. Civil War pension application of John W. Nason, one of her brothers.
When her son John co-owned the Frielink Candy Company in Kalamazoo, many family members worked there
creating wondrous treats.
Helen died on 5 July 1910 at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo of a "stroke of paralysis."
Her funeral was held at her home, 417 Seminary, with her sons, William, John, Frank and Herbert
acting as pallbearers. She was buried on 7 July 1910 at Riverside Cemetery in Kalamazoo, MI beside
her husband Garrett.
The estate probate was filed on 15 September 1910, with her son, Herbert, named administrator and finalized in 1913.
Those named in the records were William H., age 51 of Kalamazoo; Minnie Grace Williams, age 45 of Dalton, Barry County MI;
John, age 43; Lillie Lewis, age 40; Fannie Lewis, age 38; Helen Marie Walton, age 35; Frank Edward, age 33;
Herbert, age 30 all of Kalamazoo; Harry, a grandson age 20; and Lulu, a grand-daughter, age 16 both of Chicago IL.