Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: January 1998 Volume 36 Number 1, Pages 27–28

In Memoriam: Eleanor Wilson Dunwoody

Mary Ives

Page 27

The Tredyffrin Easttown History Club lost a lovely and loyal member when Eleanor Wilson Dunwoody died on November 1, 1997, at the age of 103.

Mrs. Dunwoody was born on her family's farm in a house that served as headquarters for General the Marquis de Lafayette during the American Revolutionary War. The property is now part of Valley Forge National Historical Park.

After graduating from Tredyffrin-Easttown High School, she taught for a year at the old Salem School on Yellow Springs Road. Then, completing a two-year course at Temple University and earning a teaching certificate, she taught for several years at the one-room Walker School off Mill Road near Valley Forge where she and her brothers and sisters had attended school. She had about 40 students and earned about $40 a month. The first-through-eighth grade school closed in 1923 when the roof blew off during a violent storm.

Following that disaster Mrs. Dunwoody taught at the Paoli School for a year, then married Joseph Penrose Dunwoody and became a homemaker, settling on Wistar Road in Paoli where she lived for the rest of her life. Her husband died in 1971. She is survived by two daughters, Eleanor Dunwoody Chworowsky and Barbara Dunwoody Thomsson, three grand­children and two great grandchildren.

Mrs. Dunwoody was a sixth generation descendant of John Wilson who came here from Wales in the mid-1700s and settled in the Great Valley. In addition to the History Club, she belonged to the Diamond Rock School House Preservation Association. She was a lifetime member of the Great Valley Presbyterian Church, and is buried in the church cemetery.

Page 28

At the service held for her in the church on November 7, her grandson Eric Thomsson spoke of her long life, "Life can be defined in relation to events that occur during our lifetime on this earth, and our grandmother was there for quite a few. Grover Cleveland was President the year she was born. He was our 24th President. Mr. Clinton is our 42nd.

"She was fond of reminding us she went to school in a one-room school house by horse and buggy. She did her homework by hand using a kero­sene lamp.

"Grandma was here when Henry Ford began mass production of cars. She was here when electricity was put in homes. She was here when the Wright brothers flew the first airplane, and she was here when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

"She was here through two wars to end all wars, and then she was here for a few more. She was here when they put up the Iron Curtain, and she was still here when they took it down.

"She was here when people were still learning about the atom and she was here when people began splitting the atom.

"Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer vacations, our grand­mother was always there. Now we will go on with the memories ...."


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