Petition for Naturalization

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Petition forNaturalization, 1908 arrival
Petition forNaturalization, 1908 arrival

Click the "Learn More" video below to watch Dr. Diane Rodill talk about her father's story. 

My father, Dionisio (Denis) Rodill, was never famous and rarely spoke of his life. He was born in 1894 in Tondo, Manila, and experienced three wars as a child, even Tondo’s torching. At age 14, he ran away on the U.S. Army Transport Dix and arrived in Seattle December 15, 1908. We know little of his stay, but we do know he found work on a Hawaiian sugar plantation, an ANZAC troopship Gallipoli-bound, and an Alaskan cannery as a slimer. His 1916 Seaman’s Certificate told us he was a coal passer sailing to Liverpool from Brooklyn’s 62 Talman Street. His 1918 address was 500 West End Ave at 84th Street, Manhattan, working as a butler for silent film star Theda Bara. Then, he took similar jobs in Washington DC embassies. But the sea was his place. He returned to Seattle about 1926, shipping Weyerhaeuser lumber to the east coast. In his 50-year career, he amassed 95 voyages to 6 continents, and circumnavigated the globe. He served in both World Wars and the Korean War. He rose to officer level, Chief Steward, and earned an Honorable Discharge. In 1950, Denis became a U.S. citizen. He died in 1977 in Philadelphia before he gained Merchant Marine veteran status. Posthumously, he earned 4 medals and a Testimonial Letter. His family now has the peace of knowing that had he lived long enough, he could have been accorded one final honor—burial in a national cemetery. Photos from the Denis Rodill collection, pending historical biography, A Filipino Rascal. Contact 

Place(s): Philippines,Seattle
Year: 1908

– Diane Rodill, Ph.D.

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant