Monday, May 9, 2016

Uncle Leo the Artist

Everyone has a unique family and one of the people who made my husband's family unique was the artist/author, his Uncle Leopold Paul Dauwer (born Leopoldus Gislenus Dauwer*).
Uncle Leo
Uncle Leo was born in Grammont, Belgium in April 1904 to Marie (Van der Beeken) and Camielle Geslenus Dauwer. He was the 2nd of five children, there was also William, Martha, Dorothy (Rose) and Alice. Only he and his brother were born in Belgium.
Uncle Leo's Belgian Birth Certificate
According to Uncle Leo's naturalization paperwork he was a young child of three when he arrived in America on the ship the Ivernia which left from Liverpool England. He wouldn't become naturalized until he was 25 years old. During the time his parents arrived in America it was expected that immigrants would assimilate to the American way quickly. I'm sure his parents worked hard to learn English and make a living.
Ivernia passenger list from 1907 (

Leo went on to meet Irene Robbins and soon married her probably sometime around 1924. They had at least three children. Eventually they moved to Plymouth in a beautiful location on the cliffs.
According to city directories he was a shipper. He must have enjoyed drawing and writing through the years because many of his family were blessed with his drawings.

Eventually he went into write two books, I "Remember Southie" in 1976 and "Boston's St. Patrick's Day Irish" around 1980. His art definitely had a distinct style.

Sadly Uncle Leo passed in May, 1981. Even though I never met Uncle Leo I've felt I have known him all these years because my in laws have always remembered him fondly to us. His art and books are an amazing legacy to leave his children, grand children, nieces and nephews for generations to come. Thanks Uncle Leo!

*Thank you to Rasmus Dahlqvist for providing me w/Uncle Leo's Belgian birth certificate from the Belgian archives!

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