Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 138 years

 


MHS
Events


Fall
Field Trip:
Ukrainian
Settlement


Manitoba
History

No. 83


This Old
Grain
Elevator


Abandoned
Manitoba


War
Memorials
in Manitoba


Digitized
Local History
Books


Memorable
Manitobans


Historic Sites
of Manitoba

The Nuyttens of Belgian Town

by Raymonde Loudfoot

Manitoba Pageant, Volume 19, Number 3, Spring 1974

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make it available here as a free, public service.

Please direct inquiries to webmaster@mhs.mb.ca.

Mrs. Loudfoot is the granddaughter of Victor Wyndels and Constant Bossuyt, members of Winnipeg’s Belgian community who are mentioned in this article.

Nuytten Street in East St. Boniface commemorates a well known Belgian family who were pioneers in that area.

The Nuyttens arrived in Manitoba in 1895. Edmund Nuytten had been born in Moorselede, West Flanders in 1851. He grew tobacco, sucraine and chicory and raised a few cattle on the farm he had inherited from his father. After his first wife died, leaving him a three year old daughter, Hermine, Edmund married Octavia Devodder in 1880. They had six children: Theophiel, Jules, Emellie, Leon, Harry and Gerald. When les gendarmes found that Edmund grew four more tobacco plants than the law allowed he had the choice of leaving his homeland or facing imprisonment. This was a common occurrence as local authorities used strict enforcement of laws to relieve overcrowding. He and Octavia were about to go to Argentina when at a local pub they met Charles and Constant Bossuyt, two brothers who were visiting their native Belgium from Manitoba where they had settled in 1888. Charles owned land near Winnipeg at 33-34 Stadacona Street where he ran a stockyard and abattoir. The Bossuyts had a farm at 79 Kingston Row in St. Vital next to the Riel farm. After their short visit to Belgium the Bossuyt brothers returned to Manitoba with Constant’s Belgian bride, Emmerance Vermeulin, and Edmund Nuytten’s daughter, Hermine. Hermine bought a twenty acre farm for her father in East St. Boniface, Belgian Town or “the Dump,” as it was once called. The farm was near an open area where Indians often camped and held their pow-wows. Edmund, Octavia and their family arrived later that year and occupied a small house cabin which had been on the property before the land was surveyed.

Edmund bought the adjoining lot #268 on Dugald Road and built a two storey house for his family. His mother who had accompanied the family on their move to Canada helped Octavia look after the children. Edmund operated a dairy farm known as Nuytten’s Dairy. Everyone worked hard, even the smallest child. The cows had to be milked and the milk canned. Milk containers had to be scoured and hay had to be made. A large kitchen garden had to be looked after by anyone who had time. As the children grew, the house became too small and the family moved to an old big barn of a house that already stood on the twenty acres on the other side of Bourget Road (now Lagimodiere). This house had to be abandoned soon because of inadequate heating. One of Edmund’s sons, Gerald, recalls snow falling on the children’s faces when they were in bed. The Continental Can Company factory now (1974) stands on site where this big house once stood. The house on lot 268 remained for many years but was moved to 1038 Blair St. when the C.N.R. underpass was built.

There were always people arriving from Belgium. Room was made for them in the different farms and houses in the neighbourhood until they were able to buy or build a house of their own in East St. Boniface or Belgian Town, as it came to be known. The Belgians would relieve the drudgery of hard work in their first years in their adopted country with their own kind of fun and their own kind of music. Octavia would wrap paper around a comb and put this to her lips while someone else would tap on pots or flex a saw and another would sing. Parties were held once a week, usually on Sundays. Edmund’s mother would make a Belgian dish called pup or pap—buttermilk with rice, flour and apples which was stirred until it boiled. Kegs of beer were consumed as everyone let their hair down before another week’s labour began.

1900 marked the end of an era. Edmund died of a very painful illness in his forty-ninth year. His mother had died a few months earlier at the age of eighty-nine. Theo married Antoinette Durand and became head of the farm. Octavia returned to Belgium for a few years with her younger children. When she was not overseas she lived in the small two storey house Edmund had built and shared farm work with her next door neighbour, Emma Verraes. As each of her sons married, Theo had a house built on the original twenty acres on the south side of Dugald Road. In 1911 Octavia married a Belgian widower, Victor Wyndels. The following year Victor Wyndel’s son, Firman, an architect and builder, constructed a house for them at 340 Holden St.

Theo became one of the most prominent citizens in the area. He and Antoinette operated a small grocery store. In addition he bought and sold pigs and raised them. Firman Wyndels built a large house for him at the corner of Dugald and Holden (1024 Dugald Road) which served as a rooming house and store. One room upstairs was set aside for raising pigeons which was quite a sport amongst the Belgians. A pig barn on the lot behind the house housed as many as three hundred pigs. Edmund is also remembered for the long sleigh, partly filled with hay and covered by a tarpaulin which he would use to take the children of the area to school in the winter months—St. Joseph’s Academy for girls and Provencher School for boys. He gave of his time unstintingly to help others in the Belgian community. As time passed he became known as the little mayor of the district. The street where his father and mother first settled became known as Nuytten Street.

Time has brought many changes as descendants of the early pioneers have moved away from Belgian Town and it developed as an industrial area. Yet some roots with the past remain. 1045 Nuytten, on the site of the old cabin house which Edmund and Octavia occupied immediately after their arrival almost eighty years ago, still is owned and occupied by a descendant of the Nuytten family.

The Belgian Sacred Heart Church recorded some three hundred names of families who arrived in Manitoba from Belgium between 1880 and 1914. These records were lost but a new compilation of the names of the Belgian immigrants of these years appears below. Some seem of German, French or Dutch origin because many of the immigrants came from Belgian communities on or near the borders of these countries. Early spellings are used. (e.g., Wijndels instead of Wyndels).

Adam
Adrianus
Anseeuw
Avanthay
Bacelaere
Baeckland
Baert
Bailleul
Beghin
Beheydt
Bellens
Bernaerdt
Bettens
Beyeyt
Blondeel
Bockstael
Bogaert
Bonne
Boone
Bossuyt
Bougard
Bouveraerts
Boux
Brabant
Brat
Brengman
Brunelle
Brutin
Bultinck
Buydens
Buysse
Byl
Callewaert
Caplette
Cappaert
Cappen
Castelein
Catry
Catteuw
Cheramy
Cheys
Claes
Claeys
Clement
Clincke
Coddens
Collez
Cortvriendt
Cottens
Croft
Daeninck
Damman
De Bleu
De Buck
De Caigny
De Cock
De Coster
De Couessin
De Cruyenaere
De Cuypere
De Decker
De Grave
De Jardin
De Jaye
De Joncheere
De Jurck
De Klerck
De Leeuw
De Mare
De Meyer
De Moor
De Nobele
De Pape
De Ressemier
De Reuck
De Roo
De Ruyck
De Rychere
De Serranno
De Smet
De Spiegeleer
De Sterck
De Stoop

De Veylder
De Vlieger
Deblaere
Debrourvere
Debuck
Declercq
Decloux
Decock
Decraene
Decru
Defoort
Degraeve
Degueldere
Delbaere
Demarcke
Demeyer
Demulder
Deneweth
Desilets
Desimplaere
Desle
Desmet
Destine
Deswaite
Deswarte
Devisscher
Devodder
Devogelle
Devolder
D’haene
D’hont
Dierkens
Doigny
Dornez
Druwe
Dusessoy
Eberley
Ellewaut
Fiers
Francois
Gamby
Gatin
Gelaude
Gevaert
Gheyssens
Gobert
Goderis
Goethals
Goovaerts
Grauls
Gysel
Haerts
Herreneys
Hijsentriyt
Hoge
Hooland
Huraid
Huyghe
Jansens
Janssen
Kesteloot
Knockaert
Kumps
Langedock
Langsweirdt
Lannoo
Lapeire
Lavallee
Leenknecht
Lemaire
Lipps
Lis
Lobaert
Maas
Maertens
Maes
Mager
Magnan
Mahu
Malbranche
Malfait
Marginet
Mayre

Menu
Missaens
Missinne
Mourant
Nappe
Nuytten
Ostro
Pallheeuws
Parvells
Pattyn
Paurvels
Pavot
Petit
Pirotton
Poncelet
Poppe
Puybasset
Pynket
Pynoo
Remmery
Renaud
Revnaert
Reyns
Rodts
Roolsaert
Rottie
Rotty
Samyn
Savor
Schortyen
Schotte
Seys
Simmoens
Smet
Soennen
Soens
Soulery
Spitaels
Stragier
Strubbe
Suppeen
Sys
Taillieu
Teite
Thange
Theys
Thijsbaert
Tijchonick
Timmerman
Toussaint
Tuck
Tytgat
Uijlerhoeven
Vallaey
Van Annoo
Van Belleghem
Van Beselaere
Van Brabant
Van Buggenhout
Van Burin
Van Burrin
Van Caurvenberghe
Van Coppenolle
Van Crayenest
Van Daele
Van Damme
Van de Cave
Van de Caveye
Van de Maille
Van De Walle
Van De Weghe
Van De Wiele
Van den Ameele
Van Den Ameule
Van Den Berghe
Van Den Bossche
Van Den Brook
Van Den Bussche
Van Den Driessche
Van Der Straeten
Van Driessche
Van Elslander
Van Gelve

Van Ghelunve
Van Haute
Van Hee
Van Hooiland
Van Hoorenbeke
Van Hoven
Van Hyfte
Van Kerkvoorde
Van Komporey
Van Krayennest
Van Landeghem
Van Mellaert
Van Moerkocke
Van Morhem
Van Navel
Van Neiuwenhuise
Van Neste
Van Onacher
Van Peteghem
Van Raes
Van Rijskenwelde
Van Rompaey
Van Roose
Van Ryssel
Van Slaeyen
Van Steelandt
Van Steenkiste
Van Tanhout
Van Walleghem
Van Werberghe
Van Wijnsberghe
Vanacher
Vandaele
Vandenberghe
Vandenbosch
Vandenbroele
Vandendorpe
Vandepoele
Vande Put
Vanderelst
Vanderen
Vanderkeere
Vanderkerkhove
Vanderlip
Vanderpoorten
Vanderveken
Vandevelde
Vandevijvere
Van deVoorde
Vandewalde
Vaneleghelve
Vanhalst
Vanhavebeke
Vanmoerkierke
Vannevel
Vanoutrive
Vansteenkiste
Vanwynsberghe
Vasman
Vercaigne
Verfaillie
Verhaeghe
Vermander
Vermeirch
Vermeulin
Vernacht
Verplaetse
Verraest
Verschoot
Versheure
Verstraete
Vinckier
Vogels
Waelbroeck
Wallbrock
Wijhaert
Wijnant
Wijndels
Wijtting
Willems
Winne
Wolfaert
Ysenbaert

Postscript added in Autumn 1974.

Page revised: 8 November 2013

Back to top of page

   


To report an error on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations Policy

© 1998-2017 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.