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Rankin Family History Project

Fr. D. L. DeCeunynck


Rev. Father D. L. DeCeunynck, was born in Furnes, Belgium, in 1836, and was educated for the priesthood at the Furnes Rousselaere and Bruges Colleges. At the penultimate he graduated in philosophy, and at the latter, where he remained four years, he was ordained for the priesthood. For twenty years he had charge of parishes in France, Belgium and Holland.

In 1884, he sailed for America and landed at New York on July 10, of that year. He came in response to a letter of the Chancellor of St. Louis, Rev. Henry Van der Sanden, who saw the need of an able man to organize a church in the great Bois Brule Bottom.

He held his first service at the Claryville Catholic Church on August 15, when measures were taken to organize a church among the Belgium families. The Archbishop gave him permission to build a church in East Bois Brule Bottom, and he took up his residence with Bernard Modde, where he held his first services on the first Sunday in January 1885. Between forty and forty-five families were enrolled as members of the new congregation, and donations for the church began to come in.

During the following spring a neat frame building 24x40 feet was erected, and on May 10 it was dedicated by the Rev Chancellor of St. Louis. It received the name of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The congregation is steadily growing, and a comfortable frame house has been erected for Father De Ceunynck.

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The Goodspeed Publishing Company compiled a series of histories of various counties in the U.S. in the late 19th century. The information in the History of Southeast Missouri, published in 1888, was provided by the contemporary residents of Perry County and her neighboring counties. The biographies are a valuable source of genealogical information, despite a few minor inaccuracies. We are glad to present the transcribed biographies here for anyone researching Perry County's history.

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