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Charles Wallings DeVier

9/4/1896 - 10/7/1968

Woodbine Cemetery, Harrisonburg, VA
section 13, row 6

The "bike" in 1914 - he sent my dad this picture with a note telling him to keep the picture - and that he was thinking about riding again because it was cheaper.

Taken in Washington D.C  - again granddaddy is the little boy holding on to the two older men in front

The Harrisonburg Municipal Band in 1908 - granddaddy is the boy 5th from the right, seated- he holds his cornet. I believe at the time they were still called The Daily News Band.

The band again. Granddaddy is the second front the left - front row - dark glasses. His brother Amiss is 5th from the left. Taken at the Firemen's Convention 1923.

The Warner Bros. Theatre Orchestra - granddaddy is far left, top row, dark glasses

The Harley Davidson Store in downtown Harrisonburg

Another bike - this one with a passenger seat - somehow I simply can not picture my grandmother on the back of one of these


Born September 4, 1896, in Harrisonburg; student in Harrisonburg schools - graduate of high school in 1915; student in Northern Illinois College of Opthalmology - graduated in June, 1919; passed Virginia State Board of Examiners in optometry and began practice in Harrisonburg, 1920; on executive committee of the State Association of Optometrists since 1930; chairman of executive committee, 1938; vice-president, 1939; president, 1940-1941; Kiwanian, Mason, Methodist; active in organizing and the directing the Harrisonburg Municipal Band.

In professional service, as a talented musician, and as member of fraternal organizations, Dr. DeVier has been an active and influential participant in helpful community enterprises for a number of years. In this respect he and his brothers have worthily maintained the traditions passed on to them by their father, the late DeWitt Clinton DeVier, who was a member of the city council and a generous worker in various welfare agencies of the city and county. He is the eldest son of D. Clinton DeVier and his wife, who, before he marriage, was Miss Ida Florence Bell, both natives of Rockingham County.

Having gone through the elementary schools of the city, Dr. DeVier entered the high school from which he graduated  in 1915. To fit himself for work in his chosen profession, he then matriculated in the Northern Illinois College of Opthalmology and graduated from that institution in 1919. After passing the examinations required by the Virginia State Board of Examiners, he began the practice of optometry in Harrisonburg in the year 1920 and has since been successfully engaged in his profession. He has received notable recognition in the State Association of Optometrists over a period of more than twelve years. he became a member of the organization in 1925. In 1930 he was elected a member of the executive committee and was chairman of the committee in 1938. The next year he served as vice-president, and in 1940 he held the office of president. In 1941 he was re-elected to the executive committee and still continues in that capacity. He maintains offices in The National bank Building of Harrisonburg, Rooms 207-209. 

Dr. DeVier is a member of the Methodist Church, the Masonic Blue Lodge and Royal Arch Chapter, and the Kiwanis Club - has been a Kiwanian for the past 21 years. In politics he is a Democrat. He is a dog fancier and devotes much time to hunting and fishing. His most notable contribution to community life and service has been made through local musical organizations. For 20 years he has been active in promoting and directing the municipal band, which, under his leadership, has won merited recognition and approval. A skilled musician himself, he has been able to inspire others with ambition and earnest effort to excellence.

On February 18, 1922, Dr. DeVier married Miss Helen Margaret Miller, who was born in Baltimore, MD, on September 15, 1898, the daughter of Christopher and Ella DuVall Miller. Dr. and Mrs. DeVier are the parents of three sons; Charles Wallings, Jr., born June 30, 1924; Clint M., born April 12, 1926; and Christopher D., born July 2, 1936. Charles, Jr., is a student in the University of Virginia, having been in attendance there since June, 1942. In October of the same year he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He entered the University as a pre-med student and will continue his course unless called into active service.

Taken from - Men of Mark and Representative Citizens of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Virginia
Editor-In-Chief - John W. Wayland, The McClure Company, Inc. Staunton, VA 1943, pgs. 110-111

I don't remember Granddaddy, as I called him, all that much. He died when I was just 3. He was an avid photographer and even studied it a bit; took photographs of everything including the new James Madison University - a teachers college at the time. He kept motorcycles as well - I have picture of him on his Indian circa 1914. He registered for the draft during WWI, but was rejected due to his very poor eyesight. He began music lessons at the age of five and learned to play the piano and the trumpet and was admitted in the Harrisonburg Municipal Band when he was just a child. By the age of 12 he was playing solo trumpet. After he graduated from high school, he played with the orchestra in the Warner Brothers Theater which played for traveling shows and the silent motion pictures. He went on to become the conductor of the Municipal Band.

He and my grandmother were married in the parlor of her family's home at 505 Franklin Terrace (now 41st Street) in Baltimore and they separated in 1950 and were divorced in 1952. He remarried his long time secretary, Nancy Wolfe, with whom he had been conducting an affair for years.  My grandmother subsequently returned to Baltimore with my father who was 14 years old at the time. He died while in Richmond, VA of a massive heart attack. He had moved from the family home at 637 South Mason Street in Harrisonburg to Cape May and kept a home there.

Per my father, granddaddy kept bird dogs and loved to hunt and fish. The family used to camp on the Shenandoah frequently. For a time, he was the only optometrist in the area and people came from as far away as Washington D.C. and Richmond for eye examinations and glasses. The equipment he used to grind glasses was in the basement of the family home. His own glasses were very thick and he wore dark glasses in the bright sunlight. In 1930, just after the Depression, the family was wealthy enough to employ a servant, 17 year old Virginia Simmons.

    1.                             2.                           3.                            4.                            5.

1 - baby picture
2 - taken probably about 1927-1928 - the child on left is Charles, Jr. and the child on right is Clinton M.
3 - With my grandmother Helen Margaret Miller
4 - With one of his brothers - either Amiss or Sheffy
5 - school picture

    6 .                                7.                           8.                            9.                          10.

6 - Another petrol pony - he's the one with his foot on the bike
7 - racing trains
8 - hunting with the two oldest boys
9 - l to r - Chris, Clint, Charles, Jr. and Charles Sr. - granddaddy signed the picture "The Four Meanest Bastards in Captivity. Sincerely Yours, The Meanest One"

10. 637 South Mason Street in 2009


Site Content Dubhodhar 1/22/2009