Belgians Americans







Eduard Daems

Reverend Eduardus Francsicus Daems

Settler in Wisconsin

Born at Schaffen, Diest, Flemisch Brabant, Belgium on 28 augustus 1826

Deceased at Bay-Settlement, Scott, Brown County, Wisconsin on 12 februari 1879

Son of Michael born in France about 1800 and Catherine Van den Broek born in France about 1802


Father Daems was born near Diest, Belgium on August 26, 1826. He came to America in September of 1851 and for a few months he served as an assistant-pastor at Little Chute. In May, 1852, he came to Bay Settlement and became the first resident clergyman for the Holy Cross Parish. In June, a new church was built replacing a small log church that had been used by visiting priests from Green Bay.

When the first group of Belgians arrived in Green Bay in 1853, Father Daems was responsible for getting them to settle in his parish. It is estimated that ten thousand Belgians settled in the forests east and northeast of Bay Settlement during the years 1853 to 1860. His parish was fifty miles long and ten miles wide and he traveled on foot, holding mass in log cabins when away from Bay Settlement, baptizing the children, marrying couples and burying the dead. He was pastor, friend and advisor. He was also familiar with medical remedies and acted as their only doctor. News from the old and new country, or happenings in the parish was usually obtained through him. He was cheerful, energetic, and humorous and his narratives were entertaining. His visits were cherished by the pioneers.

Father Daems died of pneumonia at Bay Settlement on February 12, 1879 and his remains are buried in the Holy Cross cemetery.

SOURCE: Joseph J. Pierre and Mary A. Pierre, Historical and Genealogical Information On Our Belgian Ancestors, © 1976.


Father Eduard Daems of the Colonists in Wisconsin

Eduard Daems was born on August 20, 1826, in Schaffen, near Diest, Belgium. His father, who died only a few years after Eduard's birth, was a farmer and belonged to one of the oldest families of the village. His mother was one of those soundly religious farm wives who really understood the art--without the knowledge of methods and educational systems--of equipping her children with all the things most important for their adult lives. lt vvas she who gave Eduard his missionary hea1t. Eduard was a truly religious young man, meaning more than a mere "good boy"; he had an energetic will and an intelligent mind. Cheerful and optimistic, he quickly became a friend to everyone.

Father Van den Broek

"After his return from Holland to his old home in Little Chute, Father Van den Broek's once rugged constitution began to succumb to the effects of the hardships and privations he had to endure in his vast field of labor, when he was the only missionary in Wisconsin.

"It was therefore with great joy that he welcomed the young missionary Father Daems, who came from Holland to assist him. What particularly struck Father Daems when he first saw the venerable priest was his attire, even more so than the primitive appear ance of his dwelling. On this occasion he wore a large straw hat, such as were made by the Canadian women, a red flannel shirt, and pantaloons that were supported by a belt, while one shoe and a moccasin formed the covering for his feet. Father Daems was often heard to speak of this occasion, expressing his unbounded admiration for the many saintly qualities of Father Van den Broek, knowing as he did the opulence of his family in the Old Land, and realizing the sacrifices he made for religion and souls in this New Land of ours.

"When Father Daems came to America he was accompanied by other Fathers of the Order of the Crusade Fathers; among these were Rev. Father Nuyts, Rev. W. De Jonge, and Rev. E. W. Verhoeff. They brought with them from the Old Country a set of Dalmatics.

"On All Saints Day in the year 1851, a solemn High Mass was to be celebrated for the first time in Little Chute. Father Van den Broek was to be the celebrant, and alas, was also a victim. After Mass .vhile preaching on the beauty of heaven and the glory of the saints, he was stricken with apoplexy and dropped unconscious into the arms of Rev. Father Daems. He remained unconscious until the 5th, his birthday, when he died the death of the just. His burial took place on the 9th, the feast of his patron saint.

Little Chute, Wisconsin

Little Chute is a village in Outagamie County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 10,449 at the 2010 census. It is Immediately east of the city of Appleton and runs along the Fox river. The town was settled mainly by Catholic Dutch immigrants in the mid 19th century and today has a full-scale authentic working Dutch windmill which serves as a museum and tourist attraction. Prior to the European exploration it is likely the Mississippian culture tribe, the Oneota lived in the area. The Oneota are believed to be the ancestors of the Winnebago or Ho-chunk tribe. A historical marker near Little Chute commemorates THE TREATY OF THE CEDARS, a treaty which ceded 4 million acres of Native American land to the US government.

Passing away

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Passing away

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Obituary (English and Dutch)

Thiry Daems, Wisconsin

© Patrick Mommaerts

Thiry Daems is an unincorporated community in the town of Red River, Kewaunee County, Wisconsin, United States. Thiry Daems is 4 miles (6 km) north of the village of Luxemburg. The community was settled by Belgian immigrants and was named for a surveyor named Constant Thiry and a priest called Father Daems.