Thursday, September 4, 2008

Grandpa DeWees

This blog is about me. However, there are events that shaped my being long before I was born, so I don't feel too bad about going back to decades before I was born. I want to introduce you to my maternal grandfather, Earl Cyrus DeWees. He was of Dutch extraction and Pennsylvania Dutch by upbringing. DeWees means "the orphan," or so I am told. Most Pennsylvania Dutch are actually of German extraction and are often called Pennsylvania German. The Dutch is a perversion of Deutsch, which is what the German people are called in German. Grandpa and Grandma DeWees, however, were both of Dutch Ancestry.

Grandpa DeWees was born in the Autumn of 1897 and was about 21 years of age when this photograph was taken. He lived a long life, passing away in the Summer of 1972.

I had little interaction with my mother's father. He visited the family home several times, especially after my mother was injured in an automobile accident. I remember him well. In the 1950's he was somewhat heavier than he was in the photo above. He also had a wine birthmark or facial scar (it doesn't show in this picture, which may have been retouched) that was quite large.

I know that he had been an electrician and worked as a lineman at one time. I am told he was once knocked off a power pole.

I did not see him again until after I had joined the Navy. In fact, I was in my second enlistment when I visited him in Richmond, Virginia. He was then 77 years old and failing in health. It was a nice, but short, visit.

While I know little of him and his story I know that without him I would not be here today. I still have a few relatives alive who knew him well. I think I'll ask them to fill in the large gaps of my knowledge.


reddog said...

Most Pennsylvania Dutch were Anabaptists. Brethren, Mennonite and Amish. There are also Hutterites but we don't talk too much about them.

My family are PD on both sides. They long ago moved on to Illinois and Indiana and from there to all points on the compass, including California, where my branch is from.

Was your grandfather an Anabaptist? At one time, I think they were better than 20% of the population. It isn't a sect that made the transition to modern times unscathed. Not many left.

Willard (Bill) Paul said...

My grandfather was German Reformed, or at least his father was. My mother was raised Dutch Reformed but in her latter years attended a Baptist church.