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1965 Dean Gooderham Acheson RSVPs to the family reunion

In a previous family story, we wrote of Dean Gooderham Acheson’s rise to prominence as Secretary of State in the US.

Years later, Dean’s responded to the invitation to our 1965 Gooderham reunion in a very amusing fashion, remarking, “I suspect that these reunions are merely a cover plan behind which to plot the Gooderham putsch. When the hour comes let me know so that I can delay the American intervention until we are firmly in the seats of power.”

So how is Dean connected on our family tree? Let’s start with his father, Edward Campion Acheson, who was born at the Aldershot Arsenal, in Great Britain. He had an uncle in Canada, and after his mother died Edward went off to live with him in Canada and studied for the clergy at what is now the University of Toronto.

In 1883, Edward enlisted in the Queen's Own Rifles and went out to fight in the Northwest Rebellion. His unit was ambushed in a place called Cut Knife Creek. Under heavy fire, he rescued two men who had fallen in a clearing and was later recommended for the Victoria Cross.

Edward subsequently finished his studies at Wycliff College and served his diaconate as curate at All Saints Church in Toronto where he met George Gooderham’s daughter Eleanor who he married in 1892. He was transferred to Manhattan and then to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown, Connecticut where Dean was born and his two younger siblings.

Dean Gooderham Acheson attended Groton and then Yale where he was known to be very social, loved parties, had many friends and was a sport with a modest interest in academics according to his son, David. It kind of surprised Deans friends when he went to Harvard Law School, where he was either the first or second in his class. On account of his marks and the recommendations that he got from faculty, he was asked to come to Washington and be the law clerk to Justice Brandeis of the Supreme Court where he was introduced to Edward B. Burling. He joined Mr. Burling’s new law practice in Washington and spent the rest of his life active with that firm.

In Middletown, Dean met Alice Caroline Stanley, a friend of his sister’s. Alice attended Wellesley (where her classmates included Madam Chiang Kai-Shek). Dean and Alice married in 1917 and had three children including David.

During the Depression, Dean Gooderham’s law firm was doing really well, and Dean built a huge addition to their home in Georgetown. Dean thought Hoover was doing everything wrong and making the depression worse with his determination to hold on to a balanced budget. So, Dean became a strong Democrat and Roosevelt supporter.

Excerpted from an interview with Dean Gooderham Acheson’s son, David in May 2008 by Charles Stuart Kennedy at The Association for Diplomatic Studies, Library of Congress.

1965 Dean Gooderham Acheson RSVPs to the family reunion

Describing how Dean Gooderham Acheson is connected to our family, his early years and his response to our 1965 reunion.

Linked toDean Gooderham Acheson

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