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Friday, June 3, 2011

No. 44 The Dredge Boat Captain from Lennoxville who was my Grandfather

Shortly after moving to Harkers Island from the Banks,[my grandmother] Bertha met and married [my grandfather] Richard Lewis, a dredge boat captain from Lennoxville (near Beaufort). Dick, as he was called, was never quite certain as to who was his own father, at least officially. His mother, Charlotte, had three children that included him and two sisters, but she was never married. She would later relate to her son that his father was a well known doctor who was much revered throughout the county. In fact, Dick would later confide that it was the same doctor who provided him with the financing he needed in order to get started in the dredging business and eventually to become a captain.

Richard Lewis, the Dredge Boat Captain from
Lennoxville who was my maternal grandfather.
Charlotte was much loved by her new daughter-in-law, and most especially by the large group of granddaughters that Dick and Bertha soon presented. My mother would often explain that her favorite month of every year was August. That was because when she was a girl, her grandma Charlotte would spend every August with them and help her mother sew new clothes for the upcoming school year.

Immediately after marrying, my grandmother Bertha began having daughters, a total that eventually reached nine, although only seven grew to maturity. My mother, Margarette, was the second of those girls. Grandpa Dick, as he later was known, was successful as a dredge boat captain  and provided his large family with a spacious home and a relatively comfortable standard of living; so comfortable in fact, that often, and for extended occasions, Bertha was able to take in orphans or other children that, for whatever reason, could no longer be cared for by their parents. At various time she had in her home as many children who belonged to others as she did of her own. Eventually, one of those would become the son she had always wanted.

Captain Dick’s work responsibilities caused him to be gone for extended durations, usually several months or more, without ever returning home. It often was said, and not entirely in jest, that he came home only often and long enough to father another child. When he did come home, his long absences served to make him very remote from his children. My mother would sometimes lament that she could not recall that he ever kissed or told her that he loved her. She related how on one occasion when her father was expected home later that evening, she and her twin sister, Helen, made a pact that “this time they were going to run up and hug him, and kiss him on his cheek.” But in spite of their pledge, she lamented, when he presented himself to his children, his attitude was so aloof that neither of the twins, or any of their sisters, could muster the courage to ask for his affection ...

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize your mother was a twin. I am enjoying reading your blog so much!!