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Early Settlers–August and Clemence Schauvliege, St. Lawrence Cemetery, Jetmore, Hodgeman Co, Kansas

August Schauvliege had just buried his wife and infant son in Belgium. Going to America would allow him to forget the past and start a new life. He earned his passage to America by caring for a load of horses. He first landed in Canada, then hearing of the Homestead Act, he came to Kansas in 1889.

August was born in Belgium in 1858. He arrived in 1888 and made his way to southwest Kansas. On June 18, 1890, he married Clemence Wauters at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Dodge City. It was the nearest church but still a two-day trip by horse and buggy.

Clemence (b. 1866) came to America with her father, a widower, and her brother in 1886. She and August had known each other in Belgium. Their first home was in Hallet Twp., Hodgeman County. A sod house was constructed where their four children were born. Later, they were able to build a two-story frame house. They raised cattle and planted wheat, cane, and corn.

While August took care of the farm, Clemence was the “nurse” as she tended to the sick and the births and deaths of many early settlers. She carried mail from Kidderville, drove to Laurel, and then into Jetmore. She stayed overnight at the Mersereau home and returned home the next day. This was her routine twice a week.

August and Clemence were devout Catholics and without a local church to attend, they would drive many miles to find a Catholic Church. In 1902, a little frame church was built 11 miles south of Ness City and 13 miles north of the Schauvliege homestead. The new church was dedicated and was named St. Ignatius in the community of Nonchalanta.

August and another Catholic settler, Nicholas Goebel, worked to establish a Catholic Church in Jetmore. They succeeded in 1923, as St. Lawrence Catholic Church was dedicated.

Their oldest daughter, Louise died in 1913 from a complication resulting from measles. The couple retired in 1924 and spent their last years in Jetmore. Clemence died in 1942 and August in 1948. They are buried in Fairmount Cemetery with all four of their children.

Note: At first, Mass at St. Ignatius was held once a month. Eventually, it became a mission church with priests coming from Ness City and Ransom. Due to a declining population and difficulty in finding a priest, St. Ignatius’ final Mass was said November 26, 1961.

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