Gerrit Van Schelven was born in Holland on 16th November, 1842. He emigrated to the United States on the ship South Carolina on 26th June, 1855. He settled in New Holland, Michigan, a community created by Albert Van Raalte in 1846. Soon afterwards he became involved in the publication of the Dutch-language newspaper, De Hollander.
After the war Van Schelven returned to journalism and edited two weekly newspapers, Holland City News and De Hope. He also served as postmaster of New Holland (1899-1916) and was acknowledged as the community's historian. Gerrit Van Schelven died on 6th April, 1927.