Constance Anna Rusche (born Herrebrugh)
Conny was born in 1914 in the Ulee Lheue region of Banda Aceh, on the most northwestern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It was then a Dutch Colony called The Dutch East Indies. It was a very important seaport just brought into Dutch Colonial rule. Banda Ache was the entrance to the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. Not to be confused with The Banda Islands where the Herrebrugh’s were from. She was born a Dutch National.
Louis Reynard Herrebrugh (1890-1915)
Conny’s father was Louis Reynard Herrebrugh, the son of Andries Michiel Herrebrugh (1860-1922) the owner of the Nutmeg Plantation Matelenco on the island of Ay in the Banda Islands of eastern Indonesia.
- 1908 – Conny’s father and grandparents, Louis, Andries and Anna Constance Herrebrugh moved from the Banda Islands after the Nutmeg plantations went bankrupt in 1904 because of the gradual loss of monopoly of the spice. They moved to the most northwestern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, Banda Ache.
- 1914 – Louis became a customs officer at the port of Banda Ache and marries Anna Minke Teffer.
- December 1915 – Louis Herrebrugh dies of Cholera in Banda Aceh at age 25. Cholera outbreaks were common during this time period.
The Banda Islands were also called the Spice Islands, an elusive place for centuries. It was the only place in the world where you could find the valuable spice Nutmeg. Christopher Columbus tried to find the islands in 1492 and the Portuguese finally found them in 1511. The Dutch took control in 1621 to monopolize the trade of Nutmeg.
In the 1667 Treaty of Breda, the British traded the last Banda Island under British rule, Pulau Run to The Dutch for New Amsterdam (now New York)!
There were 5 generations of Herrebrugh’s that lived, cultivating and trading the valuable spice. They were plantation owners or Perkeniers of the Perk’s Matelenco and Spantje Bji from 1794 until 1904.
Evert Coenrardsz Herrebrugh was the first of the Herrebrugh’s that came to the Banda Islands circa 1794. This was shortly before the VOC, the Dutch East India Company, that held the Nutmeg monopoly, went bankrupt.
Anna Minke Herrebrugh (born Teffer) (1889-1984)
- My grandmother (Oma Minke) was born on June 16, 1889 in
- She was the daughter of MattheusTeffer and Constantia Lenggoe Didop
- Constantia was the daughter of an Indonesian island Queen and therefore a princess!
- 1914 – She marries Louis Herrebrugh
Conny Rusche in The Dutch East Indies (1914 – 1950)
- November 1914 – Conny is born in Banda Aceh.
- December 1915 – Conny’s father, Louis Reynard Herrebrugh dies of Cholera at age 25.
- Johan was captured as a Prisoner of War by the Empire of Japan and sent to interment camps throughout World War II.
- * Photo: 1943 – Japanese Internment Camp Record
- Conny and her mother Anna Minke Herrebrugh were sent to family camps.
- See more about Johan Rusche here at RuscheFamily.com.
- 1946 – Johan released as POW, but was not reunited with Conny until months later! They moved to Bandung, Central Java, because all they had before the war was lost.
- Soon before WWII was over, Indonesia reclaimed their independence from The Netherlands. Violence increased toward the former Dutch and also the Japanese occupiers.
1950 – The drive for Indonesian independence spurred violence toward the former Dutch occupiers and the family flees on refugee boats for refuge to The Netherlands.
Conny Rusche in The Netherlands (1950-1961)
- 1950 – Our family as Dutch Nationals seek refuge back to the Netherlands
- 1950 – Family moves to Den Haag (The Hague) on Regentesselaan.
- 1951-1960 Johan works at Zuid-Holland Brewery
195x – Moves to Lonnekerstraat in Den Haag.
1956 – Conny gives birth to Arthur Denis
1959 – Conny gives birth to Peggy Minke.
1960 – Art attends Kindergarten in Holland.
Feb 20, 1961 Immigration to the United States of America
Conny Rusche in The United States of America (1961-1995)
- The Rusche family, Johan (54), Conny (47), Joyce (14), Arthur (5) and Peggy (2) were sponsored by The First Baptist Church of Olympia, through the World Council of Churches.
- On February 20, 1961, they arrived by a Holland-America ship to New York and were admitted on a K-14 class VISA, “Netherlands National Refugee from Indonesia“.
There was a national airline strike on at the time and it took a long time to get to Seattle. We arrived at night in a downpour and were picked up by Reverend Henry S Rahn, the pastor of The First Baptist Church and Mrs. Dorothy Bingham the church’s secretary. The Church set us up with a rental duplex on Olympia’s Westside near the old St Peters hospital. They also furnished us with a ‘Woody’ wood paneled station wagon. We stayed in that house until we gained citizenship in 1966. From the moment we arrived in America, Conny and Johan worked all types of jobs, cleaning office buildings, washing cars and working in the church.
- 1962 – Johan starts, “Johan’s Radio Repair” inside Modern TV on 700 4th Ave E. in Olympia. Johan was one of the first technicians to learn transistor technology and was the place to go for transistor radio repair.
- Family also works at the church, washing dishes and serving food at church functions
- Art and Peggy attend Garfield Elementary and Jefferson Jr. High Schools
- 1965 – Joyce graduates from Olympia High School and attends Western Washington University.
- In 1966 we became citizens of the United States of America!! Johan, Conny and Joyce were naturalized and Art and Peggy were “Derivatives of Naturalization”. We were then able to sponsor Conny’s mother, Anna Minke Herrebrugh to America!
- 196x – Conny starts work as a second-shift Keypunch operator at the Washington State Department of Licensing. She would wait for the kids to come home from school, start dinner, then Johan would come home and bring her to work. At midnight he would pick her up at the Capital Campus. Because of her work we had Keypunch cards all over the house as note cards!
1971 – Conny’s second grandchild, Ryan James Chester is born to Joyce.
- 1974 – Art graduates Olympia High School and attends Washington State University.
- 1977 – Peggy graduates from Capital High School and attends Washington State University.
- 1979 – Art graduates with as Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and starts work at Boeing at the Structural Test Laboratories in Seattle.
- 1980 – Johan ends the radio repair shop business.
- 1980 – Conny retires from the State of Washington.
- 1981 – Peggy graduates with a Bachelor of Arts in Education
- Conny goes on several holidays working her bucket list! A Safari in Kenya, a visit to Masii tribe, The Great Wall of China, Qin Shi Terracotta Army, Europe, Egypt and several trips to Hawaii! I took a trip with her to The Netherlands, France, and Italy where we visited Rome, Sorrento, Capri, Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, Napels and the Amalfi Coast. It was a trip that I’ll never forget!