Dorchester Illustration no. 2313 John Joseph Cheever
J.J. Cheever – 1924.0001.021
At the Dorchester Historical Society, we are in the process of a year-long project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I. Using a collection of photographs we have of WWI Dorchester residents, we will be featuring servicemen in a number of short biographies throughout the year. At the culmination of the project, we hope to produce an online exhibit which highlights these men and their service to our country.
Our next biography features: J.J. Cheever
The index card for Cheever reads: Lieut., 15 Fairmount St, Officers Unit No 1 Camp J. E. Johnston, Jacksonville, Florida.
John Joseph “J.J.” Cheever was born in South Boston in 1886 to parents John and Mary Cheever, both Irish immigrants. He married Elizabeth Earle in June of 1912 and had their first child, Dorothy, the following year. When we see John registering for the draft in 1917, he is already 30 years old and married with a wife and two young children, Dorothy (4) and John (2).
After the war, in the 1920 United States Census, John is listed as renting a house on Fairmount Street in Dorchester’s Codman Hill neighborhood and living with his wife Elizabeth and their three young children: Dorothy (7), John Jr.(5), and Elizabeth (6 months). His occupation is listed as owning his own business.
In 1930, John is still living in the same neighborhood, but now renting a house on Washington Street. The United States Census now lists his occupation as a furniture salesman and indicates that he is a veteran of World War I.
From the census records and business directory records, it looks as though the family moved around quite a bit but always stayed in the same Codman Hill neighborhood of Dorchester. The 1943 business directory lists the Cheever family living on Armandine Street and their adult children living with them with Dorothy and John Jr. having occupations listed – Dorothy as a stenographer and John Jr. as a guard.
John Jr. would go on to serve in the United States Army as well but would be killed in action while serving with the 36th Armored Infantry in Germany during World War II. Tragically, John’s wife, Elizabeth, died only a week later.
John died on November 26, 1951 at the age of 65. His obituary refers to him as a “well known political figure” and a veteran of World War I, serving in the Transportation Corps. Before his death, he was working in the Boston Public Works Department.
Do you know more about J.J. Cheever? We would love to hear from you! All material has been researched by volunteers at the Dorchester Historical Society, so please let us know if we got something wrong or you think a piece of the story is missing! Contact us through the contact box at the lower left of our home page www.dorchesterhistoricalsociety.org
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2012.
Ancestry.com. Massachusetts Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2013.
Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Death Index, 1901-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2013.
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011.
“John J. Cheever” obituary, Boston Globe, 28 Nov 1951.
“Pfc John J. Cheever Jr.” obituary, Boston Globe, 21 Mar 1949.
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