Peck and Pearl

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.

Paul Raymond “Peck” Dremann. (Courtesy of M. Dremann)

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.

One of Peck’s hobbies was making objects from stained glass. This is one of his lamps. (E. Lyon)

Feature image: Pearl Ramona and Paul Raymond Dremann, undated photo. (Courtesy of M. Dremann)

Sources:

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.

41 thoughts on “Peck and Pearl

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  1. I am always fascinated by how people once lived in the days not only before cell phones, the internet, and social media, but before widespread availablitiy of so many things we take for granted—like indoor plumbing, running water, and electricity. Thanks for sharing their story!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, I love this story! The oldest children in Grandma Leora’s family also weren’t allowed to go to high school, but the younger ones were. Especially one brother with an education had his own business. In “Leora’s Dexter Stories,” that was a godsend for more members of the family. And the impetus for Leora’s own determination, in spite of the setbacks during the Depression, to get all three children through high school. That lamp! The only thing better than an heirloom is one with a story! lump in throat

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Peck and Pearl were very nice looking; a lot of older photos are not as flattering as this one and the individual photo of Peck as well. I like the stained glass lamp. My boss has a penchant for stained glass and has a beautiful Tiffany lamp in the conference room and several full-window pieces around the office. His late father was also an attorney, but he practiced in a small town, often bartered his services; one client was a church that could not pay so they offered up their stained glass window instead.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Some of the very old portraits they looked so stiff and formal – they looked relaxed and more modern looking. I agree with you – why didn’t he leave them intact and use his name as a donor? Hmm.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, that’s true. A former boss had triplet daughters. Two were identical and one fraternal. They were inseparable; even went off to college and lived together in an apartment in Chicago, until one by one they married.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I designed my own stuff, but didn’t make too many before we moved and I lost my studio. Favorites were a beautiful pink fan I made my aunt and a mizrah that I never completely finished. That is meant to hang in an east-facing window to show which way is “east” to Jerusalem (traditional). I wish I had finished it when I still could. Now I can no longer break the glass. It’s a skill you learn and can apparently unlearn. I used copper foil rather than lead solder which is what Peck used.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. How odd that the skill has gone away. Seems it could be relearned. Still, it seems a rather painstaking craft. I have a beautiful piece I bought locally with a polar bear on an ice floe and northern lights. I managed to crack a couple pieces of the glass, but it’s not too noticeable, fortunately.

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