The First Attwoods The earliest known Attwood family member is a Peter AtteWode, allegedly descended from woodcutters. It's also speculated that this was the English translation of "de Bois" or "du Bois," the name of a family that came to England in the Norman Conquest and changed their French name to English. I am named after Peter AtteWode. The Attwood's came early to Connecticut, especially to East Haddam. There are still a number of Attwood's in Connecticut. This is as opposed to AttWode, which is the much more common spelling in the United States. Attwood is more common in Britain and Australia.
Frederic Attwood My great grandfather Frederic Attwood married Gladys Hollingsworth. The Hollingsworth's owned a house on the shore in Normandy, and so the family lived in France as well as the United States. My great grandfather served in World War 1 as a major in the American army but also got a decoration from the French. They were living in Paris when my Grandfather was born during the Bastille Day parade on July 14, 1919, an unusually big celebration, since the Germans had just been defeated the previous November.
William Attwood However, my Grandfather William Attwood grew up in New York City. He remembered hard times, but he still went to the Choate School in the 1930s, graduating in 1937 and going to Princeton, from which he graduated in 1941 and went into the US army. They sent him to Egypt in 1942, having given him hepatitis B in a bad yellow fever shot, along with 300,000 others. That hepatitis B flared up again in 1959 and clearly contributed to the heart disease that killed him just short of age 70, about 20 years younger than the usual in my father's family. It amused him, and me too, that while he was there, the bosses in the States asked someone for 1000 words on whether the Egyptian army would fight if the Germans invaded Egypt, to which the reply was, "No, a thousand times no Afterwards, they sent him to the Pacific. Where Captain Attwood fought at Okinawa and was nearly blown up by a mortar shell in June 1945. He had first met my Grandmother in 1943, when she was only 16 years old. Then they went their separate ways until they met again in Paris after the war. They got married in June 1950 at the American church in Paris.
My Grandmother My Grandmother's family came from around Lyon. They had a chateau on the western end of Lake Nantua on highway 84, the main drag from Lyon to Geneva. Her father Ernest Cadene was a chemical engineer that immigrated to the United States. He built a house in the New Jersey Palisades that was taken by eminent domain . This led to building of the Palisades Interstate Parkway and demolished in 1941. She was born in Montclair in 1927 and lived in Englewood after they lost their house.
Cardegene’s Ernest Cadgene had married one of the Pervilhacs who still live around Lyon. So they visited there from time to time when they were kids. Because my dad’s parents were in Nantua at the time. They went to Lausanne for my father’s birth in 1951. This ensured that by being born in Switzerland I would avoid being considered a citizen. By doing this he avoided being French and could not be subject to the French draft. They did not fore see that France, which was losing the Indochina War at the time. Which would soon begin to lose the Algerian War. This would then be through with imperial wars. Since they liked the clinic in Lausanne, they went back there for his sister's birth in 1952.
Settling down….. After living in a couple of other French towns around Paris, one of which my father remember well, they moved to the States in 1954. After my father’s Grandparents took a road trip, leaving them with his grandparents, they settled in New Canaan. Where his parents had a house built in 1957 on a piece of land which my Grandfather had bought in 1950 from his relative that owned the neighboring nursery.
My Grandfather My grandfather worked for John Kennedy as a speechwriter in the 1960 campaign. So when Kennedy was elected, he offered my Grandfather a job. As American ambassador to Guinea, in West Africa. After Guinea, my Grandfather returned to the States and served with Adlai Stevenson at the United Nations for a time. He also went to Cuba on behalf of Kennedy to talk to Castro about putting aside the enmity. That, and Kennedy's plans to do away with the CIA after the Bay of Pigs. This was to walk away from Vietnam after the 1964 election, alienated the wrong kind of people and led to Kennedy's death.
My Father He went to a hateful boarding school in 1962-1963. He was glad to have the good schooling, but he could have done without the emotional trauma.
My Father and Africa In 1964, they went back to Africa, to Kenya. His family lived there a year and went to school, and then his parents sent them back to the States. He ended up at Choate School, my grandfather's old prep school. There, too, I got some good schooling, but in April he was done, and announced that he was leaving. My grandfather told him that he wasn't, but Kenya was far off, and he ended up finishing the year at New Canaan High School.
My Father’s Later Yrs. So then they returned from Kenya. They passed through the 1960s, not pleasantly, not wisely. He never graduated from high school. He got a GED, eventually went to college, and got a good trade. As more time went on he eventually met my mother. We now resided locally where they have decided to raise a family.
Concluding This was a lesson of struggles and concurring new destinations, but we had to start some where and this is my family tree. This one day will lead to new conclusions on the paths that me and my one day family will one day build! By Joshua Attwood