My grandmother told me a story about her great-grandfather. I posted about it almost three years ago, but I just stumbled upon some more evidence for it. Here is the story from my grandmother about Charles Ludovicus VAN PARIJS (who changed his name to Charles Van Price in America.)
Charles Van Price was born in the early 1800s and came to U.S. in 1874. He traveled to Dousman, Wisconsin in Waukesha County. He worked for Mr. Dousman, later moved to Little Chute, Wisconsin, then to Phlox, Wisconsin in 1887. While staying with his daughter, Effie, in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1922, he went grocery shopping for her and was never seen again. After investigating, it was assumed that he returned to Holland from Milwaukee. He sold his land earlier, and was now one of the wealthiest men in that part of the state. His daughter found he had withdrawn all his savings (a very sizeable amount) and probably left for Europe. They traced him to Antwerp, Belgium — then all trace was gone. He was never heard from again.
I tried to find any sort of trace of him in Belgium. Maybe he’s listed on a death record or a cemetery listing, but I never found anything. I was re-adding all of Charles’ census record information into my family tree, since I never actually put in the exact source info in the past, when I ran across a listing for a “Charles O. Price” in the Applications for US Passports database that closely matched him on Ancestry.
There were actually two applications listed which looked to be a year apart, but they match pretty closely. The first one says that he was born on June 6th, 1844 in Isendick, Holland. The information I have is July 6th, 1846 in IJzendijke, Netherlands (Holland) which is almost a match. It also says he lived most of his life in Phlox, Langlade Co., Wisconsin which is the area where Charles and his family did live. He mentions in the application that he is planning to go to the Netherlands to “visit my brothers” and that he will return in 3 months traveling on the boat, Finland, from New York on August 5th, 1922.
What is odd is that there is a second application right after the first one for a Charles O. Price born on June 6th, 1844 in Izendag, Holland. This one lists Charles’ father as Jacob Price. That matches with me as I have his father as (his original name) Jacobus Bernardus VAN PARIJS. This one also notes that he lived in the Little Schute[sic] & Antigo, Wisconsin area which is also near Phlox. It also notes that he owns a previous passport which was obtained on July 24th, 1922 (the previously mentioned application.) Now, this application says that he intends to “visit my brother” in the Netherlands and stay for one year leaving from the port of New York. This one does not list a ship or a date. It almost seems like he didn’t actually go in 1922, or maybe that he went for 3 months and then went back in 1923 when this second application was made. Obviously, according to stories, never came back after that one.
There are a few notable and even oddly humorous things on these applications. The first thing is that when describing Charles’ physical appearance, under “Nose” it says “Quite Large.” Also, how on both documents the birth places are completely different (at least in spelling), the immigration dates don’t match, and the living locations aren’t exactly the same. On both documents he uses a witness that has known Charles for awhile. H.A. Friedman swears that Charles is a good dude and that he should get a passport. In the first document in 1922, H.A. says that he, a “native” American, has known Charles for 15 years. In the second application in 1923, H.A. says that he, now a “naturalized” American, says that he has known Charles for 20 years. Great Scott! Has Charles invented the flux capacitor?
Though, one wonderful thing about this document is that the applicant is required to attach a photo of themselves. The first document’s photo is not very good, but the second one is much clearer and it is the first time that I’ve seen Charles. I’m not sure if my grandmother has ever seen a photo of her great-grandfather, so I’d love to show this to her.
I still don’t know what happened to Charles after he arrived in Belgium or the Netherlands, but at least this does prove that he planned to go back. Maybe it makes more work. Oh well, isn’t that how Genealogy works? The two documents are shown below. Click for larger copies. The first half of the first page and last half of the end page are from other individuals, so please ignore them.