Week 46: #52 Ancestors – Birthdays
By Eilene Lyon
There is a group of people who always share a birthday with someone close to them: twins. The Putterer’s Uncle Peck (real name Paul) Dremann had a fraternal twin sister, Pearl. The anniversary of their birthday will be on Monday, November 22.
Dremanns arrived in Bureau County, Illinois, from Germany in the 1850s. Henry Dremann arrived first about 1854. His younger brother, Carl Wilhelm (known as William), sailed from Bremen in late 1856, arriving in New Orleans in December. After taking a riverboat to St. Louis, he made his way through brisk winter winds to his brother’s home, in time for the Christmas holiday.
William Dremann married another German immigrant, Anna Maria Welhoener, in 1862. These were Pearl and Peck’s paternal grandparents. Their father, John G. Dremann, was the eighth of their nine children. He married Amy Belle Wiggim, of English descent, in 1906. Pearl and Peck were the first children born to this couple in 1907. Imagine having twins for your first pregnancy at age 28.
According to Peck’s wife, Betty (Lyon) Dremann, the household lacked emotional warmth and John dictated over the rest of the family. Three more children–Roy, Carl and Doris–came along and all were expected to help out on the farm.
The children attended school for a time, but none went to high school. Peck would drive himself and siblings to school with horse and buggy. Horses and other livestock provided John Dremann with additional income, brokering sales at the farm. However, it seems he rarely held on to the earnings for long.
The Dremanns lived in a farmhouse with no electricity or running water. It was not until the 1930s, when the family bought a house near Princeton in a foreclosure sale, that they finally acquired those amenities.
One tale that Betty shared about the twins’ early years involved a bottle of peach brandy hidden in the barn by a hired man. Pearl got quite sick from drinking it. The experience soured Peck on alcohol—he later became the “designated driver” when he and his buddies went out partying during Prohibition. His friends knew where to find a bottle of hooch, but he wanted none of it.
Though their father didn’t encourage childhood education, he paid for Peck go to trade school in Chicago to learn welding. This provided Peck with a career that didn’t involve farming.
Peck married Betty Lyon and they had three sons together. Pearl married a farmer name Howard Simon and they had one son. Howard had several strokes and after his death Pearl married another Howard, last name of Adkins.
Peck (Paul) passed away in February 1991. His twin, Pearl, had five birthdays more before her death in October 1996.
Feature image: Pearl Ramona and Paul Raymond Dremann, undated photo. (Courtesy of M. Dremann)
Lyon, Avis Elizabeth (Betty). 1995. This is My Life.
Bradsby, Henry C. History of Bureau County, Illinois. (Chicago, Illinois : World Pub. Co., 1885) p. 507.
The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois. (Chicago, Illinois : S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1896) p. 513.