|Birth: ||Feb. 7, 1859|
Arrondissement de Verviers
|Death: ||Jun. 29, 1939|
Phillip was one of at least six children born to John Willems and Mary Ann Lernerts (Leonard) Willems.
In 1880 Phillip married Katherina Neiseus in an arranged marriage. The bride, daughter of Clemens Neiseus, was a school teacher and had been living and working in Alsace Lorraine, France. Arranged marriages were common in Europe during this time and the young couple had only met a few times before the wedding took place in Luxembourg.
Phillip Willems was a jovial good-hearted man who loved children and was a devout Roman Catholic. He loved to sing at church and at home. He moved his wife Katherina and two young sons John and Frank from their home in Luxembourg and migrated to the United States in 1883. Upon arrival in the US they moved to Streator, Illinois where Phillip's sisters Katherine and Margaret lived. He had two other sisters, one was married with many children and stayed in Germany with her mother and family, the other enumerated in a census as Catherine also lived in Streator and married Nick Wahl.
Phillip and Katherina's family grew with the arrivals of Anne, Joseph, and Alois. About 1889 Phillip, Katherine and their five children moved to Cuba, Kansas, the birthplace of Mary and Katie. Before the 1900 census Phillip moved his growing family to Franklin County, Arkansas near Charleston where his brother Mathias lived on a farm with wife Dorothea and their adopted daughter Maggie. The family farmed there also, and in 1905 heard through the Benedictine priests and brothers that a small Benedictine abbey was urging German Roman Catholics to move to Annaheim, Saskatchewan, near Saskatoon where 160 acre parcels of land could be claimed after homesteading and farming it for 5 years. Phillip, Katherine and six of the children, all but John, collected their belongings and loaded into a boxcar for the trip north to Canada. Phillip and family proved up on his claim and as the other sons reached the age, they too proved up on their own 160 acre tracts. Wheat was among the crops grown on the rich, flat land.
Later in life Phillip was hard of hearing. His ears perked up though if he heard any of his grandsons mention going to the cellar for some homemade wine. He got on well with his many grandchildren. Especially after a high mass which was two to three hours long, Phillip enjoyed going to Frank Lux tavern saying in a thick German accent, "Vell we've had food for de soul now we go to Frank Lux and get food for de stomach."
The 1920 US census shows Philip and wife Katherina living in Gage County, Nebraska in Beatrice township. Son Frank had a farm in the area. When the 1930 census was taken, widowed Phillip was living with eldest son John Martin Willems and family on his farm in Logan County, Arkansas.
Phillip and Katherine thought nothing of going to Canada during the summer to visit their children Alois, Mary, Katie, and Anne who were homesteaders near Annaheim, Saskatchewan and even went to visit Phillip's brother Matt in 1925 in Mission, Texas. In September of 1929 Phillip and Katherine were in Logan County, Arkansas, when Katherine died. She was buried at St. Benedict's Cemetery in Subiaco. Their children in Canada were upset that she would be buried in Arkansas instead of being sent to Saskatchewan for burial near her other offspring. So when Phillip died during one visit to Canada they had him buried at St. Ann's Cemetery in Annaheim, Saskatchewan. His tombstone reads:
we loved him YES , WE LOVED HIM
--- BUT JESUS LOVED HIM MORE
AND HE HAS SWEETLY CALLED HIM
TO YONDER SHINING SHORE
Eldest son John Willems and his family back in Arkansas didn't find out about his death until the bill came for his interment and of course the family in Arkansas was not only upset at being excluded, but that their beloved parents/grandparents were not laid to rest together.
Phillip's brother Math has a page at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=52345513
His sister Margaret's page is http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Sauer&GSfn=Margaret&GSby=1866&GSbyrel=in&GSdy=1940&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=8880356&df=all&
And his sister Katherine's page is at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Klever&GSfn=Katherine&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=85970620&df=all&
Katharina Neiseus Willems (1851 - 1929)
John Martin Willems (1881 - 1959)*
Frank Xaver Willems (1883 - 1938)*
Joseph Earnest Willems (1886 - 1951)*
Alois John Willems (1888 - 1931)*
Mary Willems Glabus (1890 - 1973)*
Katherine Lucille Willems Loeffler (1891 - 1984)*
Cecilia Willems (1893 - 1893)*
Saint Anne's Roman Catholic Cemetery
Prince Albert Census Division
Created by: K W Hodnett
Record added: Nov 04, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31130266