The Fiems family to USA

I saw behind me those who gone; And before me, those who are to come; I looked back and saw my father, His father, and all our fathers. And in front, I saw my son, And his sons upon sons beyond, And their eyes my eyes.


Camiel & Elizabeth


Camiel was born in Oostkamp, Western Flanders, Belgium to parents Jan and Leoni (De Vrieze) on 9 February 1890. Elizabeth was born Meulebeke in, Western Flanders, Belgium to parents Victor and Leona (Cousement) Tuytens on 16 October 1893. Camiel had a brother Archiel who had come to Canada and settled in Delhi, Ontario. He was a tobacco farmer. Archiel wrote him about the opportunities in North America and instilled in Camiel a desire to come to the USA. For reasons of his own, he came to East Moline, IL, became a US Citizen and then sent for Elizabeth. The two were married at St. Marys Catholic Church, East Moline, IL on 4 June 1914. He was 24 years old and she was 20 years old. Camiel was a butcher and a grocer. He eventually built his own place! The store was located at 19th street and 8th avenue, East Moline, IL. It is still standing with his name CFiems on the front of the building. It was a two story dwelling with family quarters upstairs and the grocery store down stairs. By this time, three sons had been born; Joseph 1916, Archiel 1918, Francis 1919. Around 1925, Camiel lost the store. He was a kind hearted man who had extended credit to out of work railroad employees (due to a strike) who never paid back what they owed him. These same people that he had given credit to would avoid him on the street because they owed him money! Even when the railroad went back to work; they did not pay him. In 1929 they moved to Moline, IL where he bought and operated "The Wooden Shoe" Tavern for twenty years, retiring in 1955. The tavern building located at 228 - 3d avenue consisted of an apartment behind the tavern and two apartments upstairs. Camiel was quiet and easy going. Elizabeth was more outgoing with a bit of a temper! Everybody liked them and most people called them "Ma" and "Pa" Fiems. Archie told me that this mother had the temper! One time his mother threw a butcher knife at the boys because they kept pestering her! Franck doesn't remember that. He can only remember two times in his life that his dad ever got mad. One time was when Archie sassed his mother and his father slapped him hard on the arm with a butcher knife. Frank only remembered the good times and said they had great parents. He recalled the times when they'd go swimming at the Hennepin Canal and his dad would swim while carrying him or his back. He also revealed that Archie was mama's boy and whenever he and Joe wanted something, they always sent him to ask for it. When the family moved to Moline - Archie attended Moline High School and Joe attended United Township High School (laws not being so strict in those days regarding residential boundaries). It was not unusual for the two brothers to face each other on the football field on opposite teams! Joe and Archie were the athletes in the family. But Archie was a born athlete! He was so good at football and had an outstanding season for MHS during 1935-1936. He had offers of scholarships from all the big colleges. However, he didn't consider himself a scholar and declined to go to college. Camiel died on 26 January 1968 and Elizabeth died 11 June 1984. They are both buried at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in East Moline, IL. At the time of Camiels death he had a sister Alida Van Poucke and a brother Prudence still living in Belgium. His brother Archiel had died a few years earlier. He had been a bachelor for years but married late in life. He had no children. Elizabeth had a brother Leo Tuytens who lived in Chicago. I have no information on him.


Joe & Irene


Joe was born on 22 January 1916, East Moline, IL to Camiel and Elizabeth (Tuytens) Fiems. Irene was born on 4 March 1918, Hardwick, Iowa to Mr. Alois and Alice (De Vilder) Tanghe. Joe was an outstanding athlete during his high school years. He played football for East Moline High School (Class of 1934. He often played against his younger brother Archie who attended Moline High School (Class of 1936). Irene came to Moline in 1923 with her parents and her older sister Margaret (Margie). But she attended high school in Dowd's, Iowa, class of 1936. It is not known how they met. But they were married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on 12 June 1937. He was 21 years old and she was 19 years old. Joe and Irene had six children. Joseph 1939, Michelle 1944, Thomas & Jeri 1953, Richard 1951, and Charlene 1957. Michelle died when she was 16 months old. She was born with one lung and a tumor growth on the other. At the time she died Joe was on duty in the South Pacific serving the Navy on a Distiller Ship as a Water Tender, Second Class. They had trouble locating him since he was in the Okinawa war zone and could not be immediately notified of his daughter's death. In 1955 when Camiel retired, Joe bought the Wooden Shoe Tavern and added a Bait Shop. It was about this time that they bought their own home moved to 1420 - 11th St. A. Moline, IL. After Irene died in 1926, Joe sold the tavern and moved his family to Port Byron, IL and became the proprietor of the Riverview Inn. He owned it for several years then sold it. He then went on the work as custodian at Black Hawk College, retiring in 1978. Irene died on 12 March 1966 of lung cancer at Moline, IL. She was 48 years old. Joe died on 6 September 1980 of cancer at Moline, IL. He was 64 years old.


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