|Lewis Wood Pattillo|
My paternal grandfather was an ordinary man who lived during an extraordinary time period. He was the son of parents who were directly impacted by the Civil War, and during his lifetime he lived through the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War. While he registered for two of these conflicts he did not serve in any. The radio, movies, airplanes, radar, television, helicopters, jets, computers, fiber optics, and the bikini were all invented while he was alive. Eight new states joined the union – Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii. The internet launched and we walked on the moon.
|Lewis as an infant|
Lewis was born on March 18, 1890. He was the first son born to Carrie B. and James W. Pattillo who lived beyond infancy. Carrie’s first three births were all boys – Wirt, born May 23, 1880, James H. born September 18, 1882, and a third unnamed son that was born and died on January 31, 1884. Lewis had two older sisters – Jo and Mary, one younger brother, Elmer (see July 2016 blog post), and twin sisters Maude and Ruby. The three boys who died were all born in Handley, Texas. Jo and Mary were also born in Texas. Lewis, Maude, Ruby, and Elmer were all born while the family was living in Los Angeles. Elmer also had a twin – a brother named Edward who lived to be a toddler.
|Lewis as a young boy|
When Lewis was born his family was living at 3443 Delmonte in Los Angeles. By 1900 when the census was taken, he was ten years old, and the family had moved to 212 Jefferson Street, Los Angeles. The 1909 city directory shows the family living at 1176 W. 37th Place which was considered an upscale neighborhood at the time. Lewis’s father was a self-employed concrete paving contractor with a successful business at that point. In later years, James had financial difficulties, which is probably why they moved to Fresno in 1918.
Homes & Professional Life
Lewis started working for his father when he was still a teenager. City directories list JW and LW Pattillo working at JW Pattillo & Co. starting in 1909. He continued in that profession his entire life as did his son Bert, so there are three generations of concrete workers in our family. One of the most notable projects Lewis worked on was the concrete work for the Posey Tube that runs under the Oakland Estuary and connects the cities of Oakland and Alameda.
|Phone directory listing showing Lewis|
Working for JW Pattillo & Co.
|221 52st Street, Los Angeles where Lewis and Anna lived|
shortly after they were married
On July 3, 1917, Lewis filled out his draft registration papers for World War I. By that time he and Anna had moved to Fresno and were living at 3454 Nevada Avenue. Lewis was working as a cement finisher at Thompson Brothers in Bakersfield. A year later they’d moved to 3512 Tulare Street in Fresno where they stayed until 1927.
|Home that Lewis and Anna rented for $28 per month at|
1310 49th Avenue, Oakland
When the 1930 census was taken Lewis, Anna, and their two sons, Edward and Bert were living at 1310 49th Avenue in Oakland, California, and Lewis was working as a cement contractor. They were renting their home for $28 per month. They continued to live at that address until about 1949 when they bought their home at 5632 Hilton Street in Oakland. This is the home where I remember celebrating holiday dinners. It was a small stucco house on a small lot. The dining room was so small that Gramma had to set a separate table in the living room for her four youngest grandchildren – that included me. There were only two bedrooms. As a boy, my father had to share a room and the bed with his younger brother. I have no recollection of the kitchen but I distinctly recall Grandpa sitting in his chair which was in the corner of the living room near the front door. Gramma crocheted so there were doilies on the arms of all the furniture and table tops.
I have a note in my database saying that Lewis was a maintenance foreman at the Alameda Naval Base in 1938. Mom gave me this information but I have nothing to collaborate it. I have some doubt about the accuracy of the information because my Grandfather worked as a cement finisher his entire life, and he did not seem like the “foreman” type. On the 1940 census, Lewis was listed as a cement finisher earning $1500 a year and working 36 weeks per year.
|Lewis and Anna's home on Hilton in Oakland where I|
remember celebrating holidays with our family
In 1942, when Lewis registered for World War II he was 52 years old and working for a man named Nat Lena at 1174 19th Street in West Oakland. Nat emigrated from Italy in 1902 and started his construction business in Oakland in 1914. Nat was a member of Oakland Rotary for 47 years and when he died he left $85,000 to the club’s scholarship fund. I found this information on a blog called Oakland Underfoot. Linda Hamilton shared the information about Nat in 2011.
Searching historic newspapers yielded very little information about Lewis but I did find one article that included a blurry photo. The news clip was dated December 13, 1949. The photo caption said that Lewis and Erik E. Waldius served coffee at a Fifty-Plus Club event. This seems to be some sort of community service group.
|Lewis and Anna on their wedding day|
As a child, I visited my grandparents regularly with my family. We celebrated most holidays together along with and my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. My grandfather’s appearance never changed during the time I knew him. My impression of him is simply that he was very quiet. My cousin Laine says that is because whenever he tried to speak up his wife Anna would tell him to be quiet.
Sometime after he retired Lewis and Anna moved to Contra Costa County and lived in a retirement facility near their son Bert and Aunt Marge. They were living there when Lewis and Anna celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Lewis died on March 22, 1978. He was 88 years old. Jimmy Carter was president at the time. He and Anna are buried in the mausoleum at Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette, California.
|Lewis and Anna's crypt at Oakmont Memorial Park|
|Lewis and Anna at Grandpa|
Thornally's cabin in Brookdale, CA
|Back: Lewis, John and Emma Thornally|
Front: Anna, Ed, Marge, and Bert Pattillo
|Lewis and Anna with sons Bert (L) and Ed (R)|
|Lewis and his father James William|
Pattillo, Ed in the overalls, and two
|Lewis and Anna with their first grandchild,|
Terry Pattillo, 1942
|Lewis & Anna with Chris Pattillo, 1950|
|Lewis and Anna 50th Wedding anniversary|
|L-R: Emma Thornally, Lewis and Anna, Ed,|
and Chris Pattillo
|Lewis, Anna, Ed, Lottie, Terry and Emma 1970|
|2707 LaSalle, Los Angeles, where Lewis and Anna lived|
when they were first married, 1911
|Lewis, Anna, and Ed with their model T Car|
|Lewis and his sister Jo.|
|Lewis in the plaid jacket with the crew that poured the|
concrete for the Posey Tube between Oakland and Alameda