Not Just Family

In 1906 my grandfather’s family had a sponsor in the United States that helped them immigrate. I was curious about the man on the ships record that my great grandfather was to meet in Pennsylvania. The name on the ships record was spelled Peter Duperder, so I went looking to see what I could find.

Peter Deprater was born August of 1863 in Belgium and lived in Rekkem, West Flanders at one point in time. In 1893, Peter, his wife Adele “Della” Mesdaegt and 4 children boarded a ship and immigrated to the United States. The only connection I can find so far between my great grandfather Victor Emile Van Houtte and Peter Deprater is that Victor lived in Rekkem in 1893. Victor would have been 29 at the time and single. The woman that would be my great grandmother, Clemence Mary Defruytier who was born in Rekkem, was married to Joseph Vercruysse and celebrating her third year of that union. It is also possible that connection was through the Defruytier family.

My great grandfather would settle in Mount Alton, McKean, Pennsylvania, and the same location where the Depraters were living. By 1906 Peter and Della would have 10 of their 12 children. In 1900 the census record shows that they had 6 children of which 6 were still alive and had been married for 13 years. Peter was a day laborer in 1900 and a fireman for a chemical plant by 1910. The couple had 9 children by 1910 of which 8 were still living. This seems to be a miscount, as I have 10 living children from the documentation and no visible deaths.

By 1916 Peter would have passed on. His wife would live on to 1942 and move to be near some of her children in Lewis Run, Pennsylvania. Some of their children would scatter to the four winds, Henry to California, William to Oklahoma, Victor and Madeline to St. Marys, Pennsylvania, and Della, their youngest, to Maryland.

I found while researching that the Deprater last name could be found spelled multiple ways such as, Deprator, Dyprater, De Prater and De Prator.

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