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Pierre Jean (Peter John) Verheyden

Ellis County farmer born on home of famous Battle of Waterloo 93 years ago in August.

(Compiled by John Philip Verheyden)


Peter John Verheyden, a native of Belgium, born on the battleground of the great Battle of Waterloo, six miles from Brussels, Belgium, walks to town and back from his farm five miles north of Waxahachie at the age of 92 and thinks nothing of it.  He will be 93 years old in August.


Holes from bomb explosions rendered the Verheyden home place practically useless from an agricultural standpoint and Mr. Verheyden’s parents moved away to another section.  At this time, Mr. Verheyden, then a lad in his teens, came to America, living for a number of years in Missourii.


Sixty odd years ago he came to Texas, and for the last 62 years has lived in this community.  When he first came here, Mr. Verheyden plowed with oxen the section of the city now known as the “East End”. 


He was a confederate soldier, going through the entire Civil War.  Mr. Verheden was captured by the northern forces, and was offered release if he would agree to cease fighting against the union men. 


“I’ll fight ‘til hell freezes over and then fight on the ice for a while,” was his reply.


Mr. Verheyden’s place adjoins the farm of Judge O.E. Dunlap, president of the Citizens National Bank.  He is one of Ellis County’s successful pioneer farmers.


There was a day when Mr, Verheyden was a picture of physical power, and today he appears to be many years under his actual age.  His grandmother died at the age of 97 and his mother lived to be 95.


Judge Dunlap, who is an old friend of Mr. Verheyden, has visited the scene of the latter’s nativity in Belgium.


Grandpa Verheyden was born Aug. 11, 1830, at Waterloo, Belgium.  He died at Waxahachie, TX.  His father was a farmer.  He had 4 brothers.  They attended school in Brussels at a boy’s finishing school after his father moved close to Brussels, buying a home and selling the farm that had been bombed.  They spoke the Flemish language.  He was a Catholic, but taught in country Baptist church and was the Sunday School Superintendent there.


Grandma (Caroline Virginia) Verheyden was born in Tennessee June 25, 1845, daughter of B.M. Murphy, a Virginian.  She had 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls.  Jewel was killed in the Civil War.  Harrison lived in Dallas.  Sarah was living with her sister when she married.  Grandma received her schooling in Nashville.  Her Dad and elder brother were school teachers.  Her Dad had a general store.  Her mother was Lucinda, who died May 27, 1889 at Cedar Creek, Stevens County, TX.   Lucinda, Ewel, and Virginia Murphy were in Nashville in school while BW. Murphy was close to Jasper with Harrison.

                  Note: text here was copied from typed document as seen.


On a cold winter day in late December of 1922, , Peter John Verheyden was found dead outside between his home and downtown Waxahachie.  It was determined that he died of exposure to the cold from one of his 5 mile walks.


Gaius & Ruby

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