Venantius Van Eeckhoute, a prosperous blacksmith of Bois Brule Bottoms, was born in Sheboygan County, Wis., in 1856.
His father, Leonard Van Eeckhoute was a native of Belgium and his mother of Holland. They were married in Wisconsin in February, 1855, and Venantius was four years of age when they came to Perry County, Mo. Locating at Allen's Landing, Mr. Leonard Van Eeckhoute began working at his trade, that of carpentering and wagon-making. The first store house at that place was built by him. He built many houses in Wisconsin prior to coming to Missouri. Besides his work at his trades he rented land and was engaged in agriculture.
Both he and wife died in Perry County, he on January 17, 1876, aged nearly sixty-six years, and his wife on April 8, 1881, in her fifty-fifth year. They were the parents of five children: Venantius, Polycarpus, Mary G., John B., and Mary Josephine, of whom only the oldest two are living.
Venantius was married on July 26, 1880 to Mary J. Layton, seventh daughter of Augustine A. Layton, and to them have been born five children, only two of whom, Joseph V. and Peter Francis, are living.
At the time of his marriage, Mr. Van Eeckhoute was engaged in the blacksmith business at Brewer, where he had previously learned the trade with Thomas W. Robinson. In 1885 he began business at his present location, where he has been very successful. He operates a blacksmith and general repair shop in both wood and iron, having learned the wagon-maker's trade from his father.
In the fall of 1886 he was elected justice of the peace and is filling the office in a satisfactory manner. He is the second youngest justice in the county, James H. Difani being his junior only a few months.
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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