Wedding photo of Constant Petrus and Leoni Jammaer.
Constant was born September 16th, 1876 in Nopstal-Rillaar, Belgium. He had his first communion at the age of 11.
Constant did his First Communion on Passion Sunday and Gustaff started to learn after his first year, those kids are about even tall now. -- Louis Petrus letter to Ferdinand Petrus dated June 10th 1888.
Two years later, in 1891, Constant immigrated to America at the age of 13 with his father Joseph, mother Christina, sister Rosa and brothers Alphonse and Gustaf. (see Joseph Petrus page for information about the crossing to America).
Constant first married Leoni Jammaer (Belgian surname "Janmart" was apparently "Americanized"). Leoni died August 31, 1918 at the age of 33. Together they had 4 children:
Cecelia Mary Petrus. Cecelia was born June 14th, 1910. Cecelia married Hilrey John Dufour and they had one son, Hilrey. Hilrey later assumed the surname of Cecelia's second husband, Robert Watson.
My father was the only child of Cecelia Petrus-Dufour and Hilrey John Dufour. When my grandmother remarried he decided to take her new husband's last name. Therefore, Dad became a Watson.-- Mark Watson
Cecelia and Robert Watson had three more children - Maryanne (died as an infant), Myra, and Robert.
Louis Petrus. Louis was born May 16th, 1913.
Robert Leonard Petrus. Robert was born May 7th, 1916.
Constant Leon Petrus. Constant was born August 27, 1918. He married Louisa C. Pilkinton March 3rd, 1939 in Alto Loma, Texas. Their children were Constant Lee, Louisa K, Eileen "Snuffy", Samuel David, Joseph Hal, and Cheryl Ann Petrus.
It appears that Leoni died as a result of complications of childbirth since her fourth child Constant Leon was born just 4 days prior her death.
Constant's second wife was Louisa Brems. Edith Petrus shares and anecdote about Constant and Louisa.
Constant and his second wife were one of the first ones to have an indoor bathroom.In the winter (they had a huge bathroom) they would just keep that bathroom heated and whenever company came over they would sit in there. -- Edith Petrus
Constant made his living as a farmer according to information from his naturalization papers.
Form 2203, U.S. Department of Labor, Naturalization Service, No. 209
Declaration of Intention
Invalid for all purposes seven years after the date hereof
State of Louisiana, Parish of Rapides
In the 13th Judicial Dist. Court of Louisiana
I Constant Petrus, aged 43 years, occupation truck farmer, do declare on oath that my personal description is: Color white, complexion, florid, height 5 feet 6 inches, weight 155 pounds, color of hair grey, color of eyes grey, other visible distinctive marks scar left cheek and left hand. I was born in Rilaar, Aerschot, Belgium, on the 9th day of September, anno Domini 1876: I now reside on the 8th and Winn Streets, Alexandria, La. I emigrated to the United States of America from Antwerp Belgium, on the vessel Dupuy de Lome; my last foreign residence was Rilaar, Belgium; I am not married; the name of my wife was Leoni Jammaer; she was born at St. Joris Winge, Belgium, and now resides at (dead). It is my bona fide intention to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, and particularly to Albert I, King of the Belgians, of whom I am now a subject; I arrived at the port of New Orleans, in the State of Louisiana, on or about the 15th day of October, anno Domini 1891; I am not an anarchist; I am not a polygamist nor a believer in the practice of polygamy; and it is my intention in good faith to become a citizen of the United States of America and to permanently reside therein: So help me God.
Subscribed and sworn to before me in the office of the Clerk of said Court this 4th day of Feb., anno Domini 1920.
R.M. Hetherwick, clerk of the 13th Judicial Dist. Court. By G.Ariail(sp), Deputy Clerk.
United States of America
Petition for Naturalization
To the Honorable the 13th Jud Dist Court of Louisiana at Alexandria. The petition of Constant Petrus hereby filed, respectfully showeth:
First. My place of residence is Alexandria, Louisiana P.F.D #1 Box 296.
Second. My occupation is Farmer.
Third. I was born on the 9 day of September, anno Domini 1876, at Rilaar Aerschot Belgium
Fourth. I emigrated to the United States from Antwerp, Belgium, on or about the 16 day of September, anno Domini 1891, on the vessel Dupuy de Lome.
Fifth. I declared my intention to become a citizen of the United States on the 4 day of Feb, anno Domini 1920 at Alexandria, in the 13th Jud Dist Court of Louisiana.
Sixth. I am (blank) married. My wife's name is Louisa Brams; she was born on the 13 day of December, anno Domini 1874 at Rillar Aerschot Belgium, and now resides at Alexandria R.7 D #1 Box 296. I have four children, and the name, date and place of birth, and place of residence of each of said children is as follows:
Cecelia Mary, 11 yrs, June 14, 1910, Alexandria La.
Louis, 8 yrs, May 16, 1913, Alexandria La.
Robert Leonard, 5 yrs, May 7, 1916, Alexandria La.
Constant Leon, 3 yrs, Aug 27, 1918, Alexandria La.
Seventh. I am not a disbeliever in or opposed to organized government or a member of or affiliated with any organization or body of persons teaching disbelief in or opposed to organized government. I am not a polygamist nor a believer in the practice of polygamy. I am attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and it is my intention to become a citizen of the United States and to renounce absolutely and forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, state, or sovereignty, and particularly to Albert King of the Belgians of whom at this time I am a subject, and it is my intention to reside permanently in the United States.
Eigth. I am able to speak the English language.
Ninth. I have resided continuously in the United States of America for the term of five years at least immediately preceding the date of this petition, to wit, since the 15 day of October, anno Domini 1891, and in the State of Louisiana continuously next preceding the date of this petition, since the 15 day of October, anno Domini 1891, being a residence within the State of at least one year next preceding the date. of this petition.
Naturalization document provided by Audrey Vandersypen
Constant is pictured here with his grandson Hilrey Watson, son of daughter Cecelia. Hilrey was born September 3, 1932.
Constant died August 22nd, 1958 and is buried in the Pineville Cemetery in Louisiana.
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