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eSmits Family Historyf
Jacob Smits (1843-1931)
Parents: Theodore Smits (1804-1867)
Petronella Philipsen (1814-1895)
Maria Katharina Smits (1846-1893)
Spouse: Christina Baeten (1856-1893)
Peter Jacob Smits (1885-1978)
Theodore Smits (1893-1893)
Jacob Smits c. 1920's
Jacob Smits was born in Horst, Limburg, Netherlands on December 6, 1843 the son of Theodore Smits, a farmer, and Petronella Philipsen, a housewife. (It should be noted that some U.S. sources list Jacob's birth year as 1841 and are incorrect). His father died when Jacob was 23 and at the age of 29 he left Holland arriving in New York in March 1873.
On March 2, 1876 Jacob married Christina Baeten, the 19 year old daughter of Godfried Baeten, the owner of a local brickyard & Petronella Janssen. Their first child, Theodora "Dora" was born on January 31, 1877 and a son John J. was born December 3, 1878. In June 1880 Jacob, Christina, their 3 year old daughter Dora, and 1 year old son John are living with Godfried on Eleventh Street in West DePere, Wisconsin with Jacob working in Godfried's brickyard.
Jacob Smits & Christina Baeten with children Dora & John at their home in Ashwaubenon
In October 1888 Jacob, together with Leonard & Henry Baeten (two of Christina's brothers) bought 160 acres of land for $5,000 located just south of the land Godfried Baeten had purchased with his partner, Hubert Berken, in 1870.
On July 29, 1893, just 9 days after the birth of their last child Theodore, Jacob's wife Christina died. Theodore would die just two months later on September 24, 1893. In June 1900 Jacob was living on his farm in Ashwauben with all 8 of his remaining children along with Peter Mathey whom Dora married on January 18, 1898. (Although Peter & Dora are also recorded as living in the City of DePere with their two children.)
In May of 1910 Jacob is still on his farm in Ashwaubenon, now just with his sons Peter & Henry and daughter Nellie. By January 1920, Jacob's son Peter had taken over the farm and Jacob continued to live there with Peter; Henretta Linders, his wife; and their four children. Jacob spoke English & Dutch and would give the children chores to do, such as filling the woodbox.
Jacob Smits died on the farm in Ashwaubenon on June 3, 1931 at the age of 87 from an edema of the lungs and was buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery in DePere on June 6, 1931.