Finding Ancestors wherever their trails led with Genealogy Trails History Group

Lyon County, Minnesota 
Genealogy and History



St. Eloi Church Roster


St Eloi Church
Street: 306 West McQuestion Street
Ghent, mn 56239-9750
Phone: (507) 428-3285

"By far the largest and most important Catholic settlement of Belgium and Dutch in Minnesota lies farther west in the Ghent-Marshall-Minneota cluster in Lyon County, one of the few planned Belgian colonies in the United States. It originated as a project of Bishop John Ireland's Catholic Colonization Bureau designed in the first instance to settle Irish on the land. Dutch and Belgians became involved because one of Ireland's agents in England distributed literature on the project to a fellow priest who happened to be a Belgian. In the spring of 1881 this man's brother led a contingent of 50 families to the elected site in western Minnesota. Discouraged by reports of the harsh winter of 1880, many had abandoned the agricultural colony to remain in the Belgian enclaves in Chicago and Moline, Illinois, but about a dozen families went on. A new recruiting drive was organized, which resulted in the arrival of 17 families from Belgium and the Netherlands in 1883. By this time the first settlers had petitioned in 1881 to have the name of the post office and Winona and St. Peter Railroad station changed from Grandview to Ghent in the hope of attracting more Flemish colonists. Two years later they founded a Catholic church named for
St. Eloi, one of the apostles of Flanders.
Much is made of the Belgian character of the Ghent colony, but the 1885 census showed 164 persons of Belgian stock to 182 of Dutch extraction living in the eight-township area around the villages of Marshall and Ghent. Although most accounts do not recognize this early preponderance of Dutch, it was a thoroughly mixed Dutch-Flemish colony from the beginning, and intermarriage between the two groups was common. While people living there in the 1970s retained a distinct memory of whether their family names were "Belgium" or "Holland," they were in many instances descended from mixed stock."
[Source: "They Chose Minnesota: A Survey of the State's Ethnic Groups", By June D. Holmquist, 1981]



Church Roster
Contributed by Ellen Skramstad

Buysi (Buysse)
Brewers
Caron
Cavennaugh (Cavanagh)
Clays (Claeys)
Grambez
DeCock
DeVos
DeReu
Dieken
Dobbelaere
Dudene
Foulon & Vergote
Gits
Hennen
Lambert
Lanners
Lammens
Lanceau
Leersihen (Lerschen)
Lord
Maertens
Missine
Mebly
Meerman
O Preen
Paradis
Pilotte
Princen
Regnier
Schreiber
Surprenart
Soucheray
DeBaere
Regnier
Schreiber
Engels
Princen
Van Altvorst
Vanhouwe
Van Hecke
Van Hee
Van Keulen
Van?nundil
Van Den Abeele
Van de Woestyne
De Wulf


*These names represent an individual or families. The script is hard to read, I may have not read the name exactly correct. In some cases I put the more common spelling in later documents in parenthesis. Note also names of some first settlers (Jennen, Van Hallebeke, Elbers, Sanders, Tillemans, Tholen, Traen, Senden, Jensen and Bot are not on this church list.)
Ellen Skramstad




BACK -- HOME
Genealogy Trails History Group

Copyright ©Genealogy Trails