de Leuw/Smeulders/Gray

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Click here for various pictures---for birth marriage or death records here


The deLeuw and Smeulders family of Tilburg and the US as related by Linda Theresa Gray (Hassler, Barbee) August 2011. 

My mother’s family came from the Netherlands to the United States because of Oma deLeuw (Adriana Maria Mathijssen, born 3 Dec 1856 in Berkel-Enschot, Netherlands , died 12 November 1916 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada , wife of Hubertus Franciscus de Leuw my great grandfather, born 03 October 1856 in Tilburg, Netherlands, died 1940 in Long Beach, Los Angeles, California, United States .  Oma knew that the Germans were going to get into another war (World War I).  She was in her 60s then, but was determined to save her family from the Germans. 

Early in 1913 she had Opa deLeuw sell the family business in Tilburg (it was a Café).  From the Tilburg records, regarding the café:  The current n. s. square, emerged after demolition of the corner House Koestraat (left) and Enschotsestraat (right starting with the gaslantaarn) and the construction of the Besterdring. The corner building in the Middle, (Koestraat 202) built in 1887 was always a café. Café holders in the beginning of the 20th century were h. Mansvelt, w. Noë, G. de Leuw and monument the bear.  After the war the property was known as café Spoorzicht.  Café holder until the demolition in the early sixties was J.L. Hanssen. He is then still café holder at the address kruisstraat 46. In 1903, when H. Mansvelt innkeeper, one patron, F. van Laarhoven during the digestion of the dubbeltjespot in this café, fell on the stairs and sustained (sic) a serious head injury, he died later in the ' Guest House ' on the gasthuisstraat. “


So everyone, including the grown married, children got on the SS Belgic and arrived in Portand , Maine in April 1913, and they took jobs on the Canadian Railroad in whatever capacity as steward, waiter, or carpenter.  They ended up in Calgary , Canada and settled down there.  Some stayed in Calgary .  A few are buried in St. Mary’s Cemetary. 

Photo of deLeuw family ca. 1912.  Alphonsus is front row at right.  Huburtus and Adriana in front center. Back row: L-R, male?, male? Helena , male?, Hubertus. Front row: Joanna, H. F. deLeuw, Adriaan, Adriana Mathijssen deLeuw, Alphonsus. Adriaan, little 9 year old boy in middle was Andrew in US. This picture must have been taken in NL before the whole family broke up and immigrated. Adriana Mathijssen died not long after they got to US....1916. Listed as immigrants on SS Belgic 13 Apr 1913, Joanna was married to Martinus Van Houten and had a 1 year old male child, Hermanus.  

Some of the Smeulders came over for the same reason most stayed in the Netherlands. My maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Marie Smeulders, born 8 September 1892 in Tilburg , Netherlands ; died 12 December 1976 in Seattle, Washington, USA.  She was accompanied by her brother, Josephus Smeulders, age 18. They were aboard the SS Frankfurt and landed  May 1914 in Quebec and traveled to Calgary. Since the Dutch community in Calgary was small they all met each other frequently.  The deLeuw brothers and the Smeulders male family decided that Elizabeth should marry Alphonsus.  My grandmother wasn’t so sure and she bailed right before the wedding to travel to Lake Louise where she wanted to be a seamstress and live independently. Well, that didn’t go over big with the brothers so they came and took her back to be married.  Pre-WWI women didn’t have the right to vote or make financial decisions on their own.  

In the picture on the right below is my grandmother about 4 years before she passed away. She crocheted lace, rugs, garments, everything. This is how I remember her. This is my Mother's favorite picture too.

Photos of Elizabeth


                                                               1912                                                                             1972



Smeulders Family:  Back row: L-R Theodore, Anna, August, Adam, Marie, Hubertus, jr.; Front row sitting: L-R Willem, Hubertus Smeulders, Elizabeth (leaning on father's knee), Josephine (front of Elizabeth ), Harry, Wilhelmina Van Langen Smeulders, Joseph (in lap), John.  Circa 1897, Tilburg , NL.


As a small grandchild I remember my grandparents bickering a lot. My Mom said they did when she was growing up too. Probably not a good memory.  But, since they were Roman Catholic, they didn’t believe in divorce.  They did have 5 children, one, Adrian was born in 1917 in Calgary. Marie, the next oldest was born in December 1918 in Seattle ; followed were Alphonsus Jr. (Bud ) born 1924, Peter born 1929, and Elizabeth (Betty) born 1932.  Alphonsus who was apprenticed as a carpenter in Tilburg got construction jobs in Seattle and built two of their homes in Seattle, one on 25th Ave. overlooking Lake Washington and the one most remembered is the one at 1630 37th Ave. NE. They lived there until after WWII then moved to their final place at 12738 7th Ave. NW. My grandparents went back to the Netherlands for visits twice, once while my father was stationed in Germany 1960-63, but that trip got cut short because the Berlin wall went up and Dad didn't want my Mom's folks in a possible war stuck in Germany just in case. So he hustled them back to the Netherlands and they didn't stay long to visit their relatives because Dad was darn sure they got on a plane out of Europe. It was pretty tense in Germany when all that was going on. My grandmother and grandfather were a little confused and hurt that Dad was pushing them to go home thinking they were in the way or unwanted. My Dad, a Lieutenant Colonel, worked in the HQ for the US Army Europe at Heidelberg then and knew things ahead of time, but couldn't say what to the "civilians" (us). When they got back to Seattle and the Berlin wall went up, my grandmother (the sharp one) told my grandfather "See, Alphonse! I knew there was something Howard wasn't telling us!!!" My grandparents bickered a lot and they loved to tell each other what was what. LOL. All the grandchildren loved going to Grandpa and Grandma’s house.  Grandpa let us play in his carpentry shop in the basement and help him do whatever he was working on.  He was so patient and loving.  Grandma was a quiet woman but loved all eleven grandkids and tolerated us being underfoot.  We were a large family when we all got together for reunions and the best thing we all enjoyed was big picnics in one of Seattle ’s many beautiful parks, most remembered is Volunteer Park .  Grandma was a talented seamstress, she crocheted lace items that are now heirlooms.  Our collective conscious memory of her was seeing her sitting in the bay window, overlooking her garden with a crochet needle in her hands.  Just as we remember Grandpa with a saw or hammer in his.  They celebrated over 50 years marriage.   

Photo of family on 50th anniversary 4 July 1966.



Photo of the deLeuw brothers L-R: Adrian/Andrew, Hubertus, Antonius, Alphonsus; Los Angeles 1961.  Alphonsus Jr. and Marcia (wife of Peter deLeuw) in back.


Mother is the eldest living deLeuw, she is 92 as of August 2011 and is living in Albuquerque , New Mexico .  She remembers the old stuff and has helped keep memories alive of the family.  Her husband, Howard Gray, who she married in 1942 died in 1988 so she has survived him by over 23 years.  She remembers her folks speaking Dutch in the home, but they never talked to the kids in Dutch because "they lived in America and should speak English"; such a shame, so nobody in the family learned Dutch. She did communicate with a cousin, Minnie (Wilhelmina) Smeulders who was born in Calgary, but her mom died young and her dad, Ted Smeulders, sent her back to Tilburg to live with other Cousins/Aunt who raised her. The genes are strong and the Dutch are stubborn.

Various records of the family

Birth record Adriani de Helt 7 July 1723

Marriage Adrianus de Helt & Digna Stockermans 11 May 1755

Adriaan de Helt death record 12 March 1797

Dingena Stokkermans death certificate 9 May 1802

Helena de Helt birth record 10 February 1756

Marriage of Jan Stokkermans and Gerardina Musters 1745

Hubertus Franciscus de Leuw birth record 4 October 1856

Johannes de Leuw Birth record 17 January 1826

Marriage Hubertus de Leuw and Adriana Maria Mathijssen 20 June 1886

Marriage Johannes Cornelis de Leuw and Johanna Maria Peters 3 July 1851

Marriage Hendrikus de Leuw and Cornelia Heerkens 21 August 1823

various birth records of the "de Helt" family




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