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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 VIII: F. Edward Daems,   pp. [98]-100 PDF (4.0 MB)

Page [98]

REV. F. EDWARD Daems, whose portrait is printed as a
frontispiece to this volume, was born near Diest, Belgium,
August 26, 1826. He came to America in September, 1851,
and for a few months assisted Father Vanden Broek at Lit-
tle Chute, Wis. In May, 1852, he came to Bay Settlement to
take charge of the Holy Cross congregation of the Catholic
Church. He thus became the first resident clergyman on
the Door Peninsula. A small log church had been built there
by one of his itinerant predecessors. In June of the same
year he and his parishioners began the erection of a large
church which was soon finished and served the congrega-
tion for Almost eighty years.
    In the summer of 1853, when the first company of agri-
cultural immigrants arrived from Belgium to Wisconsin,
he was instrumental in causing them to settle on vacant
lands in the vicinity of Bay Settlement. These first pioneers
were quickly followed by a multitude of others. It is esti-
mated that during the next four or five years about fifteen
thousand Belgians settled in the timbered region east and
northeast of Bay Settlement. To all of these many country-
men Father Daems was for a time pastor, friend and ad-
viser. There were no roads, but he traveled around on foot,
holding divine service in their log cabins, baptizing their
children and burying their dead. He was also their only

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