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So, this is Dad and Mom. Ray is the son of Conrad Herrmann and Kate Bundock. He is the step-son of Edith Armstrong and Wally Hewitt. ...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Grandpa Hewitt and his Family History

Wallace Homer Hewitt.
Grandpa Hewitt.
I did not really know him that well. In the early '70s, we were on one of our many family trips driving through California. Dad hadn't seen his mother, Kate, in years and for his reasons, he drove us up to the Sierra Nevada's (about 60 or so miles from Sacramento) to see her. It was this trip that would lead to Dad buying property in the community of Grizzly Flats.
The only things I remember about that first visit was stopping at the old Post Office as Dad really didn't know exactly where Grandpa and Grandma Hewitt's house was located off the main road leading to Griz.
I remember that we were in the motor home, and a slight memory of pulling onto their property in front of their little cabin in the forest.
After that visit, and after Dad bought the property a year or two later, I remember stopping by their house, once, while hiking around the area. 
But the visits stopped. After Dad had a falling out with them, we were forbidden to see them again. So, my personal knowledge of Grandpa and Grandma Hewitt is quite limited. Only my genealogy research and stories told by other family members have extended what I know of them.
Wally was born to Homer Dexter Hewitt and Lydia Mae Childs in Minnesota. He had one sister, Dorothy.  His parents divorced when Wally was young, and his mother remarried to Thomas Brennan, son of Richard and Anna Filbach Brennan. 
His father, Homer, married at least twice after the divorce. First, he married, in 1915, Clara Maud Benton. His third marriage, in 1921, was to Edna M Hallar. As of this post, I have found no children for any of Wally's parents other than himself and his sister. 
Wally and Kate had three sons together, and Kate had a daughter from a previous relationship. She was raised under the Hewitt name by Wally and Kate. 
My Aunt with her Aunt Dorothy Hewitt

My aunt sent me a story that Grandpa Hewitt had written concerning a time in his late teens. I failed to scan the story and it is packed away in storage, so I am going by memory only. Grandpa Hewitt wrote about his joining either the military, or Merchant Marines, or something to that effect. I remember reading that his father did not think it was such a good idea, but Grandpa Hewitt did it anyway. I remember reading that he hated it, and while in South America, he "jumped ship". He spent a good amount of time wandering, before stowing away on the cargo ship La Marea which was owned and operated by the United Fruit Company, arriving in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1925. He was discovered as a stowaway as the passenger list records the discovery. I also remember reading that after his arrival back into the U.S., he traveled to Michigan to stay with an aunt for a time. The story was probably the most revealing item I've ever read about Grandpa Hewitt.
By 1930, Wally was living in Marin County, California, and by the 1940 Federal Census, he was married to Kate and living in Sacramento. 
Grandpa and Grandma Hewitt remained in Sacramento until the 1960s, at which point they relocated to Grizzly Flats in El Dorado County. They resided there until the 1970s when they moved to Oregon. 
Wally died there in 1979, and Kate died there in 2005.

Top left: Lydia Mae with her son, Wally   Top right and bottom left: Wally as a young boy  Bottom right: Wally with his father, Homer.

Top left: Wally and his sister, Dorothy  Top right: Wally as a young man    Middle left: Wally in his kitchen at the house in Grizzly Flats, CA   Bottom Left: Dad, Grandpa and Grandma Hewitt (I think this was the first visit we had with them)   Bottom Right: Dad and Grandpa Hewitt joking around