Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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VAN DEN BROEK, Theodore, clergyman, born in Alkmaar, Holland, in 1783; died in Little Chute, Wisconsin, 5 November, 1851. He belonged to the order of St. Dominick, and came to the United States in 1832. After spending some time in studying the language and customs of the country at the Dominican convent of St. Rose, Kentucky, he determined to devote himself to the Indian mission. After laboring at Green Bay in 1834-'6 he went to Little Chute and established a school for the Indians; but his mission embraced almost the entire state of Wisconsin for several years. He visited the more distant stations generally in winter, often slept on the snow, and was frequently called to visit sick persons at a distance of 200 miles. He taught the savages agriculture and trained them to use carpenter's tools, as well as instructing them in the arts of masonry and plastering. With their aid he built a fine church in 1839. Between 1834 and 1842 he converted more than 600 Menominees. In 1844 he established the mission of St. Francis on Wolf river or Lake Powahegan, which in 1846 numbered 400 Indians, with a good church and school. Father Van den Brock was the pioneer of Roman Catholic colonization in Wisconsin. In 1847 he left Little Chute and went to Europe. Shortly after his arrival in Amsterdam he published a pamphlet describing the advantages that Wisconsin offered to industrious immigrants. This publication, with his lectures, induced a large number of Hollanders to emigrate, and in 1848 three vessels arrived with them at New York. These people were settled at Little Chute, Hollandtown, Green Bay, and other localities. The work of Father Van den Brock in Holland continued to bear fruit, and Dutch colonies were founded not only in Wisconsin, but in Minnesota, Nebraska, and other western states.
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