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Gabriel De Keyser

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Gabriel De Keyser

LEFT, TOP:  Gabriel De Keyser (1810-1893) is shown on this page with a portrait of his oldest son, Walter.  The photo of Gabriel is an enlargement made from the 1888 photograph of Gabriel when he visited his daughter, Therese (De Keyser) Dricot in Belgium.  You can see that he wears a bandage over the wound that he received in a sword fight during the War for Belgian Independence.  It was told that he lost his ear in that skirmish.  He made the trip back to Belgium the year following his wife’s death.

BOTTOM, LEFT:  According to the family records of Joseph J. Pierre, Walter De Keyser immigrated to Union Township, Door County, Wisconsin with his parents and two siblings in 1855.  To quote Mr. Pierre, “Gabriel De Keyser, at the age of 45, Rosalie, 51, and three of their children, Walter, 23; Joseph, 17; and Angelique, 15; left La Hulpe for America on April 27, 1855.  They sailed from the port at Antwerp, Belgium to Quebec, Canada, on a ship called the Quennebec.  From Quebec, they transferred to various canal and lake steamboats for their journey to Green Bay... Angelique later stated that the family was very grateful for the help Father Daems gave them.  They settled in the present township of Union, one and three-fourth’s miles west of Brussels.  The claim on this eighty acres of land was recorded on July 20, 1857, and payment for the deed was made on May 2, 1859.  It has remained in the De Keyser family through four generations and is presently [1976] owned by Gabe De Keyser.”

Gabriel De Keyser Visits His Daughter and Family in Belgium

In 1888, Gabriel De Keyser went back to Belgium to visit his daughter, Therese (De Keyser) Dricot and her family, and this photo was taken.  The men in the photo are standing behind their wives with Gabriel (the father and grandfather) in the center.  They are (left to right): Pierre Joseph Dricot (born Feb. 19, 1831) with his wife Therese De Keyser Dricot (born Jun. 23, 1835) in front of him; Pierre Gabriel Dricot (a son, born Feb. 25, 1855) and his wife Josephine Wery; Prosper Jean Dricot (a son, born Aug. 20, 1857) with his wife Pauline Aldegonde Rayee; and Pierre Dricot (a son, born Sep. 19, 1861) with his wife, Marie Francoise Eveline Lecharlier.  Many thanks to Joseph J. Pierre, son of Joseph Pierre and grandson of Angelique (De Keyser) Pierre, for sharing this photograph with us.  A special thanks also to Bernice (Dury) Barrett for her faithful research in the Belgian records to identify the names of their three sons and their wives.  Gabriel De Keyser had fought in the War for Belgian Independence and had lost an ear in a sword fight in that war.  You can see that his left ear is bandaged in this photo.  His wife, Rosalie Spreutels, who died in 1887, a year before his trip back to Belgium, lived near Waterloo at Alland, within the sight of the battlefield where Napoleon was defeated in 1815.  The stories were passed down on the Pierre line to Joseph J. Pierre, who faithfully recorded them in his book, Historical and Genealogical Information on our Belgian Ancestors.

Two Daughters of Gabriel De Keyser

We are fortunate to have photographs of not only Gabriel De Keyser, but also three of his children.  On this page, two of his daughters are shown.

TOP:  This is a close-up of Marie Therese De Keyser Dricot, called Therese by the family.   It is a computerized enlargement of her from the 1888 photo of her family when Gabriel came to visit them after the death of his wife.  Therese and her family remained in Belgium.  Two interesting letters from her grandchildren to the Pierre side of the family have survived.  The first gives some family information and the second tells of the horrors they suffered at the hands of the Nazis during World War Two.

BOTTOM:  This portrait of Angelique De Keyser Pierre was also given by Joseph J. Pierre.  He informs us that Angelique was one of the three children who came with their parents to America in 1855.  The photo was taken in 1893.  We are indebted to him for not only the photographs of these Gabriel De Keyser family members but also for preserving and sharing so much of this family’s history.  Thank you Mr. Pierre.

There is a strong family resemblance between these two sisters who lived an ocean apart.  Although the upper photo of Marie Therese is not as clear as we would like it to be, we can see that her features are much like the portrait of Angelique, her younger sister.  She was seated on the extreme left of the old photograph from which this enlargement was made, and her image was a bit blurred because of this.  But we are grateful to have a likeness of her, even though it is not very clear.