The photo is of my great-great grandparents, John W.M. Gibbons and Harriet J.B. Pewtherer, married in 1904. John’s mother was Georgianna Decock, daughter of Fransciscus Decock and Dorcas Stone. Franciscus was born in Hoegaarde, Antwerpen, Belgium on 8/11/1797. He served in Napoleon’s Army as a bugler and in 1812, at 15 he was at the siege of Moscow and sounded the retreat from Moscow. In 1815 he sounded the call to arms at Waterloo. He was in the French camp and remembers hearing the French troops cheer at the sight of an approaching army, thinking re-enforcements were arriving. But it was Blucher’s forces arriving to defeat Napoleon’s troops. After the defeat Decock helped remove the wounded and dead from the field and later bury the dead. He was one of four boy buglers to survive and after the war he and a friend decided to travel the world. His “passport” (1823) describe his appearance as 1.70m tall, brown eyes, thick nose, normal mouth, with brown hair. His travels brought him to Bermuda where he met and married Dorcas in Devonshire on 15/6/1837. He worked as gardener for Mr. Perot, the postmaster and it was DeCock’s hands that planted the rubber tree outside the Bermuda National Library in Par-la-Ville. He died in Smith’s parish (a resident of 60yrs) on 13/06/1876 leaving his wife, three daughters and 12 grandchildren. His obituary in RG 20/06/1876 reads: “all who have employed him speak in the highest terms of his moral character, his industry and kindness of heart.”

Franciscus DeCock Passport