Compiled by Rick Dreves (with a great deal of help!)
Addendum to the First Edition
About this Addendum »» What’s Now Online Since publication of the First Edition and its revision in 2010, some of the web links referenced therein have changed (because in 2013 Deb and we sold our company and had to relocate my website [RickDreves. com] to a new site host). However, all of the referenced materials, as well as some important new additions, can now be found at rickdreves.com/ dreves-family-history. Here, you’ll find links to PDF files of the First Edition narrative; Dreves Descendant Chart and Dreves Family Tree. The gallery
of photos at the bottom of this page
has been updated to include additional historical images that have received since the 2010 publication of the First Edition; a few of those images also appear in this Addendum. On a separate page are several short videos -- including a 4-minute video ‘tour’ of the ancestral locations of the Dreves Family in Germany between A.D. 1500 and 1900; a 4-minute ‘music video’ that chronicles the immigration saga of George August Dreves, Sr; and a 6-minute video ‘tour’ of the location of George’s various businesses and investments in the Greater New York City area, from the time of his arrival in the States ‘til his retirement.
It has been four years since we compiled the First Edition of The Dreves Family: a Working History, and in that time, much has changed. More information has become available online; more family photos and historical documents have surfaced; and so an Addendum to the First Edition is now in order. First, let’s recap the provenance of this work: The First Edition (the only one that has also appeared as a printed, bound volume) was published on May 2, 2010. (As a point of historical interest, had its final layout completed by battery power, as Nashville was in the midst of experiencing an epic flood, and all local power was out). The First Edition was distributed as a bound, printed volume to the “Dreves Kids” (which, for this purpose, is defined as the four surviving children of George A. and Emma C. Dreves) at a reunion in Tennessee, later that week. The week following that reunion, based on input from “the Kids” and others, we issued a revised First Edition, which was published online [only]. The title page of that version said “Second Edition,” but truly, it was simply a revised First Edition, and so we will refer to it as such from here on out; the copy posted online has been corrected to reflect this, as well. Certainly, there is much of the Dreves Family story yet to tell; the First Edition’s “timeline” ends on the eve of World War II; and as we all know, there is a lot of Dreves Family history in the war years, and after. At the end of the First Edition, we promised a subsequent edition that would cover the war years and beyond -- and we hope to make good on that promise later this year (2014). However, in the interim, it seems appropriate to publish this Addendum to the First Edition, both to correct information that is erroneous or has changed since the First Edition’s publication in 2010; and to incorporate new, additional information we’ve learned about topics addressed in the First Edition. In short, this Addendum will bring the First Edition “up to speed” before we move on to compilation of the Second Edition.
»» What’s Now Online (continued from page 2)
Also in this section of the website is a page with various recordings and oral histories, plus photo ‘slideshows’ from two Dreves family reunions (2010 and 2013). The oral histories are detailed and fascinating; set aside time to watch them if you haven’t done so already: Carl Edward Dreves, Sr. interviewed May 15, 2013 (age 96) [1 hour, 18 minutes] George August Dreves, Jr. interviewed May 15, 2013 (age 93) [29 minutes] Arthur Frederick Dreves Three two-hour “chapters,” recorded between 2000 and 2006 (ages 77 to 83) Dorothy Emma Dreves interviewed August 8, 2013 (age 88) [26 minutes] All five of the ‘Dreves Kids’ : Bob, Carl, George, Art and Dot interviewed at Dot’s 75th birthday in 2000 [2 hours]
In the meantime, if you have a printed copy of the First Edition, we would urge you to print out this Addendum and slip it into the back of the First Edition, so that the historical record may be as whole as possible for future readers of The Dreves Family: a Working History. I will be in contact with many of you over the coming months as we research and assemble information for the Second Edition; your suggestions, contributions and insights will be most valuable and welcomed! -- Rick Dreves Nashville, Tennessee May, 2014
Contents »» Updates from Germany . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 »» 850 Years in Cadenberge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 »» Snapshots of Life in Westercadewisch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 »» On the matter of ‘Dreves’ vs. ‘Drewes’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 »» The Breyer Branch of the Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 »» The Kronke Branch of the Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 »» Clarification on Pop’s Stores . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 »» Early Stock Investments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 »» New Photo of the Dreves Ice Cream Truck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 »» More about Pop’s Theater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 »» Pop’s Stroke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 »» The Northern Boulevard Store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 »» Other Updates to the First Edition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 »» Historical Family Photos, since the First Edition . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 »» Appendix A: “American Names: Declaring Independence” . . . . . . . 32
Updates from Germany As you know, in the course of doing research for the First Edition, we connected online with Karl Michaelsen, a distant cousin who lives in northern Germany and who has done extensive genealogical research on his branch of the family. (The Michaelsen and Dreves families intersect at the marriage of Sophie Dorothea Elisabeth Michaelsen to Jacob Dreves in 1804.) For several years, Karl and we exchanged emails; we also sent him a PDF of the First Edition. In August of 2010, Karl emailed me this message, which casts some interesting light on the migration of Michaelsen descendants to the American Midwest (his English is limited, so I’ve taken the liberty of cleaning it up a bit for better readability):
Hallo Rick, Thank you very much for your eMail of the 14th of August with the [First Edition]. The downloads gave me no difficulties. I am looking forward to reading your “book”, although [with my limited English] it may be a challenge for me. After reading the first few pages, I believe that I will be able to understand most of it. I am astonished how diligent you were. I think we had written you that my Familienchronik [family history] is as good as finished. I distributed it - because of my age - to interested members of the family. Now I can include new information in my working copy, for example, what you sent to me [about your family]. In addition to you, [in the U.S.] I still have contact with the Sulzbach branch of my family, which is descended from the youngest sister of my grandfather (who emigrated to the U.S. in 1873). [The Sulzbachs] had a farm in the vicinity of Hemingford, Nebraska. Their descendant, with whom I am in contact, currently lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and also works diligently on the family’s genealogy. I hope you and your family are well. Sincerely, Karl
Karl also sent me an interesting item -- an image of a court document from November, 1846, concerning distribution of the estate of Carl Gottfried Michaelsen, who passed away in September of 1843. (His daughter, Sophia Dorothea Elisabeth Michaelsen, married Jacob Drewes (George Dreves, Sr.’s grandfather) and moved to his farm at Westercadewisch in 1844.) The document was lengthy (the image only shows the first page), but Karl indicated that Sophia received cash and/or loans totaling 4000 Marks (Hanoverian currency, the common currency of the time; roughly $2800 in today’s money) on the day she married Jacob Drewes:
Stempel zu 12 gg Gegenwärtig: Herr [Name] der Hauptmann Meyer
Transscriptum Actum Freyburg, beim Gräfengerichte, den 5ten November 1846
The translation, in part, reads:
“They [received] loans and receive cash from the Hauptmann Max Hinrich Junge a[s] part of the inheritance of the Sophia Dorothea Elisabeth Michaelsen, [who] married Drewes on this day, so four thousand marks Hanoverian Courant ...” I last heard from Karl in May of 2012, when he sent me this photo of one of his daughters, who was recently married. According to Karl’s family tree on Ancestry.com, his wife, Margret (neé Schmale) passed away in December of 2013; but I have not been able to contact Karl recently.
850 YEARS IN CADENBERGE In my online research, I found a fascinating book, 850 Years in Cadenberge: 1148-1998, written in 1998 to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the town’s founding in 1148 A.D. After further digging, I was able to buy a copy of the book from an online bookseller in London. While the book is in German (and I have spent many hours typing German phrases into www. FreeTranslation.com to decipher them ;) -- several tantalizing items stood out: From 1899 to 1910, the organist for the St. Nicholas Lutheran Church in Cadenberge was one Johann Cordes, who lived from 1875 to 1915. The possibility that he was related to “our” Cordes family is more than just random supposition; as we discussed on page 22 of the First Edition, it is entirely possible that the Cordes and Dreves families knew each other in Germany, well before emigration:
“In Germany, Charles’ home town, Osterbruch, was only 2-1/2 miles from Westercadewisch. (It well may have been that George’s father, Carl August, grew up knowing Charles Klaus, since they were only three years apart in age. Perhaps Carl had made prior arrangements, or at least had encouraged George to “look him up” when he arrived in New York.)” Thus, it is not improbable that Johann Cordes, perhaps hailing from Osterbruch, got the job as church organist in Cadenberge.
In addition, a Cordes (no first name given) is listed as a teacher in a 1900 class photo from the Cadenberge Primary School [left]; and certificates from the school are also signed “Dein Lehrer, Cordes” (“your teacher, Cordes”) [below]:
Cadenberger school class with teachers Cordes, Arp, Lingemann and Poppe, around 1900
This does, of course, raise the question of whether all of “our” Cordes family emigrated to the U.S. (beginning with Charles Klaus Cordes in 1866), or whether are still Cordes descendants living in that area of Germany; the Cordes surname is fairly common, and so it would be difficult to discern this without deeper research. Another interesting side-note is the history of Westercadewisch and Ostercadewisch, the western and eastern ‘suburbs’, respectively, of Cadenberge. The Dreves family worked a farm in Westercadewisch.
850 Years in Cadenberge provides considerable detail about the various aristocrats who, over the centuries, owned much of the land in this area. As late as 1821, the land was still being handed down from generation to generation, either by inheritance or dowry (marriage). In any case, it is fairly certain that the land the Dreves family worked in Westercadewish was not owned by them; they, like most others in the region, were simply tenant farmers, which may partially explain why there was little to hold them in Germany when the promise of a better life in America presented itself.
That said, Cadenberge was a prosperous community, notable for its community mill, powered by a very large, Dutch-looking windmill (below, left). The town was also known for its spring and fall harvest markets; for its pottery works; and, for a time, a large orphanage. It had culture, too, including its own “theatergruppe”, gymnastics squad, scout troop, annual carnival and social organizations. The Lutheran church, of course, was a focal point for the community. It is almost certain this is the church (page 42 in the First Edition) that George Dreves, Sr. and his family attended. Below, right, is a photo of the interior of the church, probably not much changed from its appearance in 1901, when George received his Certificate of Confirmation there:
The Cadenberge Mill in 1910. The church interior, before renovations in the 1960s. »»
850 Years in Cadenberge chronicled numerous events in the town’s history, which may have some connection to our family: On April 10, 1880, the Savings Bank of Cadenberge was chartered to serve the municipalities Cadenberge, Wingst and Voightding. The bank opened for business on October 6, 1880; the bank’s first depositer was listed as Mrs. Anne Marie Haak; she opened her account with 1.20 Marks. (There is a Marie Haack in the Dreves Family Tree, (born in Cadenberge in 1792); this could have been her granddaughter.) Church records in Cadenberge stretch back to the mid-1700s. One entry indicates the Vicar of the Church, from 1899-1910, was named “Ernst Wilhelm Drewes.” This would have coincided with the tenure of Johann Cordes as Church Organist (see page 7). While there is nothing further to indicate any relation to the Dreves family, it is possible the Vicar is a distant relation, who, coincidentally, served at the Church during the time George Dreves, Sr. went through Confirmation there. The book revealed one interesting historical fact that may have had some bearing on the decision of the Dreves family to leave the farm at Westercadewisch for the United States: In 1892 (shortly after Gustave Heinrich Drewes [“Uncle Gus”, the oldest Dreves sibling of that generation] left Westercadewisch for New York), there was a severe outbreak of cholera in the Hamburg area, claiming “numerous victims”. As a precautionary measure, the Cadenberge town leaders created a quarantine facility to accomodate anyone in the Cadenberge area who became sick. However, the book states that the cholera epidemic never reached Cadenberge, and thus the facility was never needed. Still, Hamburg is only 50 miles east-southeast of Cadenberge, so no doubt the threat of a cholera epidemic weighed heavily on the minds of Cadenberge-area residents, and may have motivated some to leave the area. While the book did not provide any other significant new clues to the Dreves Family’s history in Cadenberge, it did contain some excellent period photographs (samples of which are shown on next page) of the local homes and farms, in a location that is still largely agricultural to this day …
Snapshots of Life in Westercadewisch from “850 Years in Cadenberge: 1150-1998”
Farmer Carl Hinck and haulers with family and horses, Westercadewisch.
The Schlichtmannsche barns at Westercadewisch, 1912.
Barn of Heinrich Hinck, Westercadewisch, 1938.
Former Inn on the Canal, 1922. George Dreves, Sr., is said to have skated on this canal as a boy (ca. 1890s), when it froze over in the winter.
On the matter of ‘Drewes’ vs. ‘Dreves’… On pages 13-15 of the First Edition, we discussed the matter of the spelling and pronunciation of the Dreves family name; including the vagaries of documenting emigration, and the possibility that names were changed by emigration/immigration officials, often unintentionally, in the process. While we have ample evidence that the George August Dreves, Sr. had already begun spelling his name, in Germany, with a “v” instead of a “w” (“Dreves,” not “Drewes”), as evidenced by several of his official documents (confirmation certificate, school matriculation certificate, etc.), it may be that this was a preemptive move on his part to get ready for his emigration to America in 1902. Bear in mind that Gustave Heinrich Drewes (“Uncle Gus”) was the first to arrive in America in 1890, and it could well be that his accounts of life in America provided incentive for the other “Drewes” siblings to aspire to emigration. Gus may even have suggested the spelling change, to “Dreves,”as a result of his experiences in the New World; it is interesting to note that, except for George, the subsequent Dreves Family members who emigrated were all listed as “Drewes” on emigration and immigration records; but all quickly adopted the ‘Dreves’ spelling once in America. While the “Ellis Island name change theory,” — which suggests that “Drewes” was simply written down phonetically (as “Dreves”) by clerks at the Ellis Island immigrant processing center — continues to tantalize us, an article I found on Ancestry.com, written by Marian Smith, the senior historian for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, rather convincingly debunks that idea. In Appendix A, at the back of this Addendum, you’ll find her interesting take on that possibility. You can also read the original story, posted on the Immigration Daily website.
The Breyer Branch of the Family There is an interesting, if distant, connection between the Dreves family and another, albeit more well-known, family confectionery business: Emma Cordes Dreves’ uncle, Theodore Welp, married Caroline Breyer in 1879; however, they divorced sometime between 1900 and 1910, but not before having four children: George August Welp; Martin Welp; Edward B. Welp; and Frederick W. Welp. Caroline (born April, 1851 in Pennsylvania; died August, 1911, in Philadelphia) was a cousin of William A. Breyer, who founded the Breyers Ice Cream Company and opened his first retail ice cream shop in 1882. (It was William’s son, Henry, who, in 1908, incorporated the business and made it into a national ice cream brand). Most of the Breyer family lived in the Philadelphia area; Theodore Welp lived about 45 miles east of there, in Egg Harbor, New Jersey. Interestingly, Caroline’s brother, Lewis (born 1845) served with the 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry during the U.S. Civil War. He served in Mulvany’s (1862) and Murray’s (1863) Independent Companies. He enlisted in September of 1862 as a Private; and was honorably discharged in August of 1863 as a Corporal. « Lewis F. Breyer, whose sister, Caroline, married Emma C. Dreves’ uncle, Theodore Welp, fought in the Civil War for the 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry. ABOVE: His service record. BELOW: His gravestone, in Pennsylvania, which also documents his service to the Union Army.
The Kronke Branch of the Family Since publication of the First Edition, we’ve now learned more about the family of Walter Kronke. Walter’s father, Christian, was a butcher who married Anna Dreves (George Dreves Sr.’s sister). After Christian’s untimely death due to an accident in the butcher shop, Walter (who was only about 10 years old at the time of the accident, circa 1922) and Anna became very close to George and Emma and their family; Walter was essentially the sixth “Dreves Kid”, spending much time in his youth with Bob, Carl, George, Arthur and Dorothy. We’ve now learned that Christian’s father, Henry (according to the U.S. Census, a laborer), was born in Germany in 1825 and married Catharine M. Krueger (born 1834) before emigrating to the U.S. in 1852, so all of their children were born in the States. (L to R): Arthur, Dorothy, George Jr., Walter Kronke and Carl, ca. 1929
Christian (born 1862) had a brother, Albert (born 1867), and sister, Emma (born 1873). On Ancestry.com, descendants of Albert can be traced to the present day.
Clarifications on “Pop’s” Stores In response to questions I received about exactly how many confectionery stores George Dreves, Sr. (“Pop”) bought and sold, here is a clarification I wrote back in 2011:
“Yes, six stores for sure, and maybe a 7th. The first (Hancock Ave.) store is interesting, because it was purchased (and, apparently, sold) before Emma Adelaide (“Grammy”) started keeping her journal of Pop’s business transactions. After Charles Klaus Cordes retired in 1907 and moved to the Bronx, his son (and Emma’s brother), Charles Henry, came back to run his father’s store on Eighth Avenue. Since Charles Klaus was truly Pop’s “mentor,” Pop may not have had the same allegiance to Charles Henry -- and beyond that, by then Pop had five years of “apprenticeship” under his belt -- so, being both smart and entrepreneurial, Pop probably was ready to venture out on his own.
So Pop, in partnership with Fred Buck, either bought or started the store on Hancock Avenue in Brooklyn, around 1908. We don’t have any documentation about when he sold it, but in Emma’s [written] memoir, she says that “my first automobile ride was going to my new home on King’s Highway after the marriage…” Of course, they were married on June 5th, 1912 -- so apparently Pop had sold Hancock Avenue and acquired (or started) the King’s Highway store by then. The real mystery, though, is the possibility that Pop had acquired an interest in yet another store, in Cedarhurst, out on Long Island, sometime in late 1922. Grammy’s journal says he sold the Flatbush Avenue store (the “fourth store” in the video) in October, 1922, receiving $6,000 in cash and the rest in notes on the Cedarhurst store from a Mr. Louis Campagna. There is no further entry in the journal about whether Pop was actively or passively involved in the Cedarhurst store, but the deal must have gone well, because by the next spring, Pop had put $7,000 down on a new house at 1417 Avenue P in Brooklyn (this is the house, we believe, in front of which the photo [at left] of Carl, Bob and George, with George “smoking” a pipe, was taken). Of course, from there Pop went on to buy and sell yet another store in Richmond Hill (Queens), on Jamaica Avenue, before deciding to pack up the family and move out to Little Neck. So yes, he definitely had his hand in at least six stores, and, if you count Cedarhurst, a seventh.
The Dreves Kids in Brooklyn (clockwise from left): Carl Edward, Robert George, and George August, Jr. Judging from their ages, this photo was probably taken in front of their home at 1417 Avenue P.
What Pop was doing during most of 1923 (beyond welcoming Arthur Frederick Dreves to the world in November) is a bit of a mystery. He was either working on (or in) the Cedarhurst store; or was taking a “break from the action” -- because according to Emma’s journal, he owned no other confectionery store, other than his interest in Cedarhurst, between late October of 1922 and late November of 1923, when he bought the Jamaica Avenue store. In the middle of that “gap,” he did purchase the house on Avenue P (putting $7,000 down); and so perhaps he was using those 13 months to regroup; and to have some role in the Cedarhurst store -- although we doubt he was actively involved, because Cedarhurst is a pretty fair distance from Avenue P (Google says over 18 miles by car; a significant distance in city terms; and we doubt the subway lines ran that far out into the countryside back then...”
Early Stock Investments Thanks to Dorothy Emma’s careful preservation of historic family documents, we now know that, among their many other entrepreneurial traits, both George Dreves (“Pop”), and his mentor (and later, father-in-law) Charles Cordes were also investors in stocks. Several investments were related to their profession -- the confectionery business. None of these particular investments ever produced a capital gain (though some may have yielded dividends), as they held the certificates beyond the lives of the respective companies. Here is a summary of their investments, along with representative stock certificates (enlargements of these certificates are in the “slide show” at the bottom of
»» CHARLES CORDES CONFECTIONERS’ MANUFACTURING COMPANY
2 certificates, 5 shares each; total 10 shares; face value $100; total value at issuance: $1000 According the State of New York, Department of State, Division of corporations and State Records, the Company was dissolved in March of 1926.
»» GEORGE A. DREVES, SR. UNITED CONFECTIONERS’ SUPPLY COMPANY
1 certificate for 20 shares; face value $500. This company was an outgrowth of the United Confectioners’ Supply Association, a trade group that serviced the growing confectionery industry in the New York area. According the State of New York, Department of State, Division of corporations and State Records, the Company was dissolved in December of 1938. CARBO-FROST, INC.
2 certificates, for 10 and 25 shares, respectively; total 35 shares; no par value. Carbo-Frost made machines that produced dry ice.
According the State of Delaware, Department of State, Division of Corporations, the Company (incorporated in July of 1929) was dissolved by consent in January of 1942. FILMLAND PLAYERS, INC.
1 certificate, for 10 and 25 shares, respectively; total 35 shares; no par value. This company was formed, apparently, to build and operate a chain of movie theaters. This description of one of their theaters is from the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Vol. 1 by Cezar Del Valle: “Ground was broken yesterday for the erection of a new $300,000 motion picture theatre near Nostrand Avenue. The new house, which will occupy a 100 foot frontage on Church Avenue, is the first of a chain of motion picture places to be built by the Filmland Players, Inc. The funds, according to E.T. Maul, secretary-treasurer of the company, were raised by popular subscription, the majority of the stockholders being Brooklynites…” (It is interesting to note that George purchased the Filmland Players stock in October, 1922, about a year-and-a-half after he sold his interest in The Newkirk Flatbush (“T.N.F.”) theater on 16th Avenue in Brooklyn; see the excerpt from Del Valle’s book, below, which describes the T.N.F.) According the State of Delaware, Department of State, Division of Corporations, Filmland Players, Inc. (incorporated in May of 1920) became inoperative in April of 1928 and dissolved for non-payment of taxes in January of 1929. HEMRICH PACKING COMPANY, INC.
STOCK RESEARCH SOURCES: State of Delaware, Dept. of State (Corporations) [letter to Dreves family attorney, Dec., 1963] State of New York, Dept. of State (Div. of Corporations & State Records) [letter to Dreves family attorney, Dec., 1963]
2 certificates for preferred stock, 10 and 40 shares, respectively; face value $25 per share; total 50 shares; face value $1,250; (2) certificates for common stock, 5 and 20 shares, respectively; no par value; total 25 shares. According to the National Park Service website, the Hemrich Packing Company operated clam and salmon canning operations at Kukak Bay, Alaska. According the State of Delaware, Department of State, Division of Corporations, the Company (incorporated in September of 1921) became inoperative in April of 1930 and dissolved for non-payment of taxes in January of 1931.
DURANT MOTORS, INC.
1 certificate for 5 shares; no par value. According to Scripophily.net, “The Company was founded by William C. Durant, (1861-1947), the founder of General Motors Corporation. Durant began his career with a horse-drawn carriage company in 1886 and took over Buick in 1904, forming the General Motors (GM) Company in 1908. He lost control in 1910 to Chevrolet but regained ownership in 1915. He was forced out for good in 1920 and founded his own company, Durant Motors, Inc., in 1921.” According the State of Delaware, Department of State, Division of Corporations, the Company (incorporated in April of 1921) became inoperative in April of 1934 and dissolved for non-payment of taxes in January of 1935. STOCK RESEARCH SOURCES (cont’d): Brooklyn Theatre Index, Vol. 1 by Cezar Del Valle (2010) ISBN 0982772408 -http://books.google.com/books?id=X8GqBndVPZ YC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
http://scripophily.net/dumoinde191.html http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_ books/katm/hrs/hrs7.htm
New Photo of the Dreves Ice Cream Delivery Truck Several images exist of the Dreves Little Neck confectionery store’s classic delivery truck; however, none of them, individually, show the entire vehicle. However, I found two images, circa 1927, taken from roughly the same angle, that could be digitally “stitched together” to create a composite image of the whole truck. Yes, that’s Dorothy Emma (then about two years old) in the passenger seat! This image also appears on the cover of this Addendum, as well as on the home page of my website, www. RickDreves.com.
More about Pop’s Theater On page 28 of the First Edition, we discussed one of the more interesting business investments of George Dreves, Sr., in the section titled George and the Moving Picture House. At the time, there was only limited information available online about the “T.N.F. Theater,”, in which George (in partnership with a woman named Tillie La Roache) had invested $15,000 cash. Since then, however, a reference book called The Brooklyn Theatre Index, authored by Cezar Del Valle (ISBN #0982772408) has been published. It contains a much more detailed description of “Pop’s Theater” (at left), which provides some intriguing details about the place.
Pop’s Stroke In 1937, George Dreves, Sr. suffered a stroke that effectively eliminated his use of his left arm and hand. This made it difficult for George to continue the frenetic pace and workload required to operate the Little Neck store. According to Arthur, “Dot and I recall that Pop had his stroke in 1937, when he was 50 years old. We lived over the store at that time and about a year later (i.e., 1938) he sold the store to Herman Meyer. After the sale, we all moved to 18 Van Nostrand Court, just around the corner from the store. I worked in the store, for Meyer, for about a year or less, and then went to work for Mr. Luff [Luff’s Hardware, which was next door to the store, on Northern Boulevard] before I enlisted in the Marines.”
The Northern Boulevard Store According to Arthur Frederick and Dorothy Emma, the correct address of the Little Neck store was 253-24 Northern Boulevard [the First Edition had it listed as “25 Northern Boulevard”]. According to Arthur, “That, I remember, because our telephone number at the store was BAyside 9-2534 (229-2534).” At the time publication of the First Edition, the original building that housed the Dreves confectionery store (and, upstairs, the entire Dreves family!) was shabby, but still intact, as the Google Street View from 2010 (below, left) attests. However, by 2012, the structure had been completely replaced by a new store, now home to an Italian restaurant, “Il Bacco” (below, right). While it is sad to know the original store no longer exists, it is good to see that Little Neck is experiencing something of a real estate renaissance, and is apparently still a desirable place to have a business!
Google Street Views of “The Store”, in 2009 (left); and after it was rebuilt in 2012 (right).
Other Updates to the First Edition Certificate on page 12, left column: The document shown on this page (and at left) was incorrectly identified as Carl August Dreves’ (George Dreves, Sr.’s father’s) birth certificate; it is actually his Lutheran church confirmation certificate. Carl August would have been 20 or 21 at the time, given the 1868 date on the document, which is signed at lower right by his Pastor. Chart on page 27: This chart shows all of George Dreves, Sr.’s business transactions between 1919 and 1929. In the column titled “Partner or Funder,” there were several people referenced who were not obviously family members. we asked the “Dreves Kids” for clarification on these folks. Here is what we received from Dorothy and Arthur:
“Dot and I remember ‘Uncle Hundermann’, as we called him. [Hundermann held a second mortgage on George’s house at 1734 E. 13th Street in Brooklyn; and later, was George’s 50/50 partner on the purchase of the Jamaica Avenue confectionery store.] He was a good friend of Fred Burdewick [who helped finance many of George’s acquisitions]. When ever he came to Little Neck, Uncle Hundermann and Uncle Fred used to come over and visit with Mom and Pop [Emma and George]. [Hundermann] had money, too, and financed Pop on a couple of his stores.” On the acquisition of the house on 13th Street in Brooklyn, a “Mrs. Reig” held the $5,000 first mortgage, while Hundermann held the $2,000 second mortgage. According to Arthur, Mrs. Reig was the seller of the house; so, in effect, she was simply providing “seller financing.” Name correction: Vera (Dreves) Willi wrote to point out that her mother’s maiden name was Ferrer (not ‘Farrar’, as indicated in the Dreves Family Tree and Dreves Ancestor Chart). Carl August Dreves’ Lutheran confirmation certificate, issued 1868.
Historical Family Photos, since the First Edition In this section are several historical family photos that have come to my attention since the publication of the First Edition; many of these can also be viewed online at RickDreves.com.
Either a report card or diploma for George Dreves, Sr., age 14 – dated 1901, the year before he emigrated to the United States.
Emma and George, Sr. at the Coney Island Amusement Park, ca. 1913.
LEFT: George Dreves, Sr., circa 1920, outside his Kings Highway (Brooklyn) store with “Zero”, the family’s adopted dog, so named because that was the outside temperature on the day they found him. ABOVE: Reprising an earlier photo taken in front of their house on Avenue P in Brooklyn (shown on page 15 of this Addendum), the (now) four Dreves brothers pass the pipe to the youngest, Arthur Frederick, for the re-take.Clockwise from top left: Carl, Bob, George and Art Dreves, ca. 1927 RIGHT: Emma C. Dreves, circa 1927, at some sort of German naval exhibition in the New York area (note the flag in the background)
Henry Hildebrandt with Arthur Dreves, in back of the then-new Little Neck Store, ca. 1925. After apprenticing with George Dreves, Sr., Henry would go on to open his own successful confectionery business in Williston Park, NY, which, to this day, still operates under his name. Arthur Frederick and Dorothy Emma, Fall, 1927.
Beatrice Claire Cordes (later Lorenzen), George Sr., and infant Dorothy Emma in front of the Northern Blvd. store, ca. 1926
ABOVE and LEFT: Bob, Carl and George engage in summer backyard horse-play, ca. 1925.
Robert George (“Bob”) Dreves, 1927.
LEFT: George Dreves, Sr., in front of the Little Neck store with Dorothy, ca. 1927. ABOVE: Arthur, Dorothy and George, Jr., in the back yard at Little Neck (notice the rear of the Dreves delivery truck in the garage), ca 1928. RIGHT: Dorothy Emma, Fall, 1928.
AT THE HESS FARM, POUGHKEEPSIE, NY TOP LEFT: Dorothy Emma in the barn, August, 1928. BOTTOM LEFT: Robert sharing a secret with Dorothy, August, 1928. ABOVE: Bob, Carl, holding Dorothy; George and Arthur with the Hess family, ca. 1928. IMMEDIATE LEFT: George, Sr., putting Dorothy and Arthur up on a cow as George looks on, ca. 1928.
At the Hess Farm, Poughkeepsie, NY, ca. 1928. Clockwise from lower left: George, Jr.; Robert; Carl; Audrey Hess (in car); Dorothy; John Hess (behind car); and Arthur.
Robert with Dorothy, at home, ca. 1931.
Robert with dog, ca. 1929.
George, Sr., with Dorothy and Arthur, enroute home from a visit to Milford, Pennsylvania, ca. 1927.
Arthur, George Sr. and Dorothy at Long Lake, NY, ca. 1935
Clockwise from top left: Carl, George Jr., Arthur and Dorothy, ca. 1934.
Emma and the family REO sedan, ca. 1938.
George Jr., on his confirmation, ca. 1935.
Robert G. Dreves, college graduation (?), ca. 1935.
»» Appendix A
American Names: Declaring Independence by Marian L. Smith, Senior Historian for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
The following story is a perfect specimen of a peculiar quality of the American mind: I have a friend who tells the story of her ancestor coming from one of the Slavic countries and he, of course, could speak no English. At Ellis Island when he was being processed and any question was asked, he would nod his head and smile. Since all he did was smile when they asked his name, the clerk wrote down ‘Smiley’ for his surname. That was the family surname from then on. Whenever I see one of these “name change” stories, I’m reminded of the beautiful creation stories of the Native Americans, “How the Bear Lost his Tail,” for example. These stories contain an important truth. They help us understand our world. But we are foolish if we take each one literally, without further investigation. The idea that all bears have short tails because an ancient bear’s tail was frozen into the ice is not a very scientific explanation. Similarly, the idea that an entire family’s name was changed by one clerk--especially one at Ellis Island--is seldom supported by historical research and analysis. American name change stories tend to be apocryphal, that is, they developed later to explain events shrouded in the mist of time. Given the facts of US immigration procedures at Ellis Island, the above story becomes suspect. In the story, the immigrant arrives at Ellis Island and a record is then created by someone who cannot communicate with the immigrant, and so assigns the immigrant a descriptive name. In fact, passenger lists were not created at Ellis Island. They were created abroad, beginning close to the immigrant’s home, when the immigrant purchased his ticket. It is unlikely that anyone at the local steamship office was unable to communicate with this man. His name was most likely recorded with a high degree of accuracy at that time. It is true that immigrant names were mangled in the process. The first ticket clerk may have misspelled the name (assuming there was a “correct spelling”--a big assumption). If the immigrant made several connections in his journey, several records might be created at each juncture. Every transcription of his information afforded an opportunity to misspell or alter his name. Thus the more direct the immigrant’s route to his destination, the less likely his name changed in any way. The report that the clerk “wrote down” the immigrants surname is suspect. During immigration inspection at Ellis Island, the immigrant confronted an inspector who had a passenger list already created abroad. That inspector operated under rules and regulations ordering that he was not to change identifying information found for any immigrant UNLESS requested by the immigrant, and unless inspection demonstrated the original information was in error.
Furthermore, it is nearly impossible that no one could communicate with the immigrant. One third of all immigrant inspectors at Ellis Island early this century were themselves foreign-born, and all immigrant inspectors spoke at least three languages. They were assigned to inspect immigrant groups based on the languages they spoke. If the inspector could not communicate, Ellis Island employed an army of interpreters full time, and would call in temporary interpreters under contract to translate for immigrants speaking the most obscure tongues. Despite these facts, the Ellis-Island-name-change-story (or Castle Garden, or earlier versions of the same story) is as American as apple pie (and probably as common in Canada). Why? The explanation lies in ideas as simple as language and cultural differences, and as complex as the root of American culture. We all know names have been Anglicized in America (even the word “Anglicized” has been Americanized!). As any kindergartener learns, we live in a world where people ask our name, then write it down without asking us how to spell or pronounce it. Immigrants in America were typically asked their name and entered in official records by those who had “made it” in America and thus were already English-speaking (i.e., teachers, landlords, employers, judges etc.). The fact that those with the power to create official records were English-speaking explains much about small changes, over time, in the spelling of certain names. Many immigrants welcomed this change. Anyone from Eastern Europe, with a name LONG on consonants and short on vowels, learned that his name often got in the way of a job interview or became the subject of ridicule at his child’s school. Any change that might smooth their way to the American dream was seen as a step in the right direction. Perhaps this was the case with Mr. Smiley. It was the case of another family from Russia, named Smiloff or Smilikoff, who emigrated to Canada at the turn of the century. By the time their son immigrated to the US in 1911, his name had become Smiley. But some name changes are not so easy to trace. Rather than a different spelling of the same-sounding name, an entirely new name was adopted. These are the most American stories of all. “Who is this new man, this American?” asked de Toqueville. He was Adam in the Garden, man beginning again, leaving all the history and heartbreak of the Old World behind. The idea that what made America unique was the opportunity for man to live in a state of nature, a society of farmers whose perception of Truth is unfettered by ancient social and political conventions lies at the base of Jeffersonian democratic theory. The New World became a place for mankind to begin again, a place where every man can be re-born and re-create himself. In such circumstances, the adoption of a new name is not surprising. Nor is it surprising in the cases of immigrants who came to America to abandon a wife and family or to escape conscription in a European army. There were all kinds of reasons, political and practical, to take a new name. A newspaper in California recently ran the story of a Vietnamese immigrant with a long, Vietnamese name so strange-looking to Anglo eyes. The young man came to this country and began to work and study. He began
every day by stopping at a convenience store to buy a “bonus pak” of chewing gum. Chewing all those sticks of gum got him through long days of working several jobs and studying English at night. When he finally naturalized as a US citizen, he requested his name be changed to Don Bonus--the surname taken from the “Bonus Pak” and chosen to signify all his work and effort to become an American. He was a new man. If not for the newspaper story, we would not understand this name change. Mr. Bonus’ naturalization papers would simply record the name change but not the reasons behind it. If he had not naturalized, his Bonus family descendants generations from now would be at quite a loss to explain the origin of their name. The documentation of name changes during US naturalization procedure have only been required since 1906. Prior to that time, only those immigrants who went to court and had their name officially changed and recorded leave us any record. Congress wrote the requirement in 1906 because of the well-known fact that immigrants DID change their names, and tended to do so within the first 5 years after arrival. Without any record, immigrants and their descendants are left to construct their own explanations of a name change. Often, when asked by grandchildren why they changed their name, old immigrants would say “it was changed at Ellis Island.” People take this literally, as if the clerk at Ellis Island actually wrote down another name. But one should consider another interpretation of “Ellis Island.” That immigrant is remembering his initial confrontation with American culture. Ellis Island was not only immigrant processing, it was finding one’s way around the city, learning to speak English, getting one’s first job or apartment, going to school, and adjusting one’s name to a new spelling or pronunciation. All these experiences, for the first few years, were the “Ellis Island experience.” When recalling their immigration decades before, many immigrants referred to the entire experience as “Ellis Island.” So, let us welcome Mr. Smiley, Mr. Bonus, and all the new immigrants who will, in the next few years as they become Americans, make changes to their name which will confuse and confound their descendants for generations to come.
About The Author
Marian L. Smith is the senior historian for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Washington, D.C. She writes and speaks about the history of the agency. Readers may contact Ms. Smith at [email protected]