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Charles Marion Dewey


Charles Dewey Charles Marion Dewey was born in Martinsburgh, New York on 6 August 1856. Charles was the son of Milton Dewey and Pamelia Riggs. When Charles was 8 years old his family moved from Martinsburgh to Binghamton where Charles spent the rest of his youth. In 1880 when Charles was 22 he did not show up with his parents in the 1880 census in Binghamton, New York. I could not find a trace of him until he married Etta Kent in Binghamton, New York on 1 January 1884. That same year his parents decided to leave Binghamton and moved to Jersey City, New Jersey. Charles and his young bride followed and lived with his parents there. In October Etta gave birth to a son they named Duane Dee Dewey. During this time, Charles was an avid cyclist and joined a local team in Jersey City and raced in many competitions. He raced on a team called The Hudson County Wheelmen and came in second place in a competition held in 1897.

Charles Dewey's Patents

On December 27, 1884 Charles filed his first application for a patent with the United States Patent Office. The patent was for a sewing machine attachment that allowed the user to sew a zig zag stitch. His patent was published on September 22, 1885.

On January 13, 1885 Charles filed another patent application. This patent was for a puzzle. In reading the patent application and drawings, the descriptions and pictures bore a striking resemblance to a baby's developmental toy every modern parent is familiar with. Shaped blocks (triangle, circle, etc) that fit into a board with matching shapes. At the end of the patent application Charles wrote, "I am aware that it is old to make a puzzle." I have to assume Charles was inspired by his young son to invent this puzzle. A month later Charles submitted another patent application that was similar to the original with a few minor changes.

Children and The Final Years

A few months after Charles filed his patents, on Christmas Eve of 1885, Charles and Etta's 14 month old son Duane Dee Dewey died. At the time of his death Etta was 5 months pregnant. Four months later, on 23 April 1886, Etta gave birth to another son that they named Don. One year later, they had another son named Dix Darius who was born on 1 June 1887.

Sometime in 1898 Charles moved his family to Ames, Iowa. They did not stay long. By 1900 Charles had moved his family to St. Louis, Missouri where he took a job as a foreman in a clothing house. Charles suffered from melancholia (depression) for many years. One day in late May of 1904 Etta Kent sent her teenaged sons Don and Dix to look for their father. He had not come home the night before. After several days of looking Dix found his father's body in an empty field. According to his death record, Charles Marion Dewey died on May 25, 1904. Charles had walked to an empty field and ingested carbolic acid in an attempt to commit suicide. He was 48 years old.


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