Sunday, July 19, 2020

Who's Your Daddy, Dorothy?

Dorothy Grotz was the granddaughter of my first cousin three times removed, Ada "Addie" (Wells) Grotz. Addie was the niece of my great great grandmother, Clementine (Wells) Riggin Collins. I learned about Dorothy while researching Addie's husband, Edward Grotz. He died in Collinsvile, Illinois, in 1940 after having been a widower for over three decades. He died intestate and his daughter, Augusta, administered the estate.

On 17 October 1953 a list of Edward's legal heirs was published in The Edwardsville Intelligencer.

List of Edward Grotz' heirs;
courtesy of

How did Dorothy Beaman fit into the family group? Was Beaman a married name or her surname at birth? I've learned a lot about Dorothy yet still have many, many questions. If you know more about her, please leave a comment on this post.

Dorothy was born about 1914 in Illinois to Matilda "Tillie" Maria Kopp and one of Edward Grotz's sons -- either Fred, Frank or Donald. Tillie's marriage didn't to the Grotz son didn't last long. By 1917 she was married to Adlai Stephenson Dixon and had a son with him that year.

In the 1920 census Dorothy was listed as Dorothy Dixon and her relationship to Adlai was listed as daughter, but in 1930, she is listed as Dorothy Grotz and her relationship is step-daughter. Her step-father worked as an electrician at an aluminum ore company and the family lived on Summit Avenue in East St. Louis.

When the 1940 census was enumerated, Dorothy was married to Victor Delmus Beaman, a 30-year-old Kentuckian, who worked as a clerk in the sales department of a tin can company. We know from Victor's World War II draft card, that "tin can company" was Continental Can Co.

Victor and Dorothy remained married at least through 1950 when they were listed in an East St. Louis city directory. Victor was a salesman for John Morrell & Co. Some time after that, Victor married Julia Marvin Gill. He died in 1998 and was interred beside Julia at the Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

I have been unable to trace Dorothy after 1950. So much of her life remains a mystery.

I reviewed Fred, Frank and Donald's World War I draft cards to see if any of them claimed a child as an exemption for serving, but each of them stated they were single at the time they registered for the draft, which was true as the marriage with Tillie was over by then.

Fred Grotz was born on 6 February 1891 in Collinsville, Illinois and married Ida Louise Jackson some time after 1926. They lived in Maywood, Illinois, and Fred worked in Chicago for many years. They had one son, Glenn Forrest Grotz (1926-2017).

Frank Grotz was born on 15 November 1892 in Collinsville, and lived in California by 1914. He entered the Army Air Service on 18 Jun 1918 and was assigned to the Signal Corps in Vancouver, Washington. He married Myrtle Scott on 17 Apr 1919 in Los Angeles County. They had no children. Frank died in 1966.

Donald Grotz was born on 7 September 1896 in Collinsville. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 23 June 1918. He was assigned to Company A, First Battalion, 13th Marine Regiment, which shipped out to Brest on 25 September 1918. The regiment was responsible for guarding supply depots throughout France. After the war, he moved to California, where he co-owned the Grotz Bros. Cafe, with his brother, Frank. He married Mary Roberta Ridout sometime before 1940. They had no known children. He died on 14 February 1959 in Los Angeles County.

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