For the past decade, I have been researching the life and times of poet and educator, William E. Dimorier (1871-1951). I purchased his handwritten daybook of poetry at a printing house auction in 2003. Dimorier was born and died in Afton, NY, and he spent more than 30 years as an educator in the Erie, PA, school district, where he served as assistant principal of Academy High School.
At Academy, Dimorier raised funds for the school’s stadium, advised the debate team, officiated at sporting events, and served as the business manager for the Academy Singers, in addition to several other valuable contributions to the district. During his time in Erie, he self-published two books of poetry, and some of his poetry made it into choral compositions.
My dead-poet project is approaching a point where I can finally start compiling my findings and republish his poems, along with a biography. Before I can call the project complete, though, I need to fill in a few details and solve a mystery.
Question: Why did Dimorier not graduate from high school until the age of 26 and Colgate University at 32? What was he doing in Afton, NY, his birthplace, from 1871 until he received his high school diploma?
One possibility is related to the fact that Dimorier was born into a farming family, and in addition to his Afton, NY, birthplace, he also resided in nearby Sanford and Colesville, according to census records. Some sources have offered that many farm boys only went to school until eighth grade at the time, so they could help in the fields. Perhaps that’s the case with Dimorier.
According to some sources, he held Baptist pastorates in Brisben and McDonough, NY, plus did some schoolhouse teaching at Russell Hill School, Melody Hill, The Baker District, and Vallonia Springs. Perhaps, when he was in his twenties, he decided to earn some credentials and went back to school.
Traditional research, especially the assistance of Charles Decker, Afton Town Historian, has provide a sea of data, and now I’m hoping that taking the project to social media will turn up artifacts from people who knew of him.
This is just the first of, I hope, many blog posts on Dimorier. The more you read, the more I believe you’ll understand why this interesting man deserves recognition for his contributions to education and the literary world.
Anyone with relatives in Afton, NY, and Erie, PA, who may have heard of Dimorier can contact me by commenting on this post or using the comment feature at the top of this page.