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Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963 / Wisconsin's Belgian community : an account of the early events in the Belgian settlement in northeastern Wisconsin with particular reference to the Belgians in Door County

Chapter I: The first Belgian pioneers,   pp. [9]-16 PDF (132.9 KB)

Page 14

Wisconsin, known as the Bay Settlement, some ten miles
northeast of Green Bay. Father Daems was also a Belgian
and was much interested in meeting his countrymen. He
was an energetic, friendly young man, full of enthusiasm
for his work and for his new country.  To the homesick
immigrants it was like meeting a long lost brother. They
told him of their decision to settle twenty miles south of
Green Bay, but to this he would not listen. At Bay Settle-
ment in the opposite direction was his parish. They must
see that first for there were many French-speaking people,
and the soil was unsurpassed. He would go with them and
find them good places to settle, where they could assist at
mass and partake of the sacraments, and attend divine
worship in their own language.
    This last prospect was so inviting, especially to the
women, that they decided to go with Father Daems and
see the land in his neighborhood. The priest set out ahead
with his horse and buckboard, while the immigrants, more
slowly, followed along the winding wood-road on foot. The
day after they reached Bay Settlement they started off
again with Father Daems and another guide to look for
land. Eventually, some ten miles northeast of Bay Settle-
ment and many miles beyond the last log cabin, they select-
ed lands in the vicinity of what is now known as Robinson-
ville, four miles south of Dyckesville. This settlement was
afterward known as Aux Premiers Belqes.
     The courage and self-reliance of these first Belgian
settlers is remarkable. The place they had selected for
their homes lay many miles back in a deep, primeval forest,
where not a ray of sunlight filtered through. They saw
more Indians than white people, and for a while feared for
the safety of their scalps. But the Indians were friendly,

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