The name "Deweese" was originally "de Wees" meaning "the orphans". It is of Holland Dutch origin and is said to have came into use as a surname about the eleventh century.

Adrian Dewees of Amsterdam, Holland who died in the thirteenth century, is said to have descended from the ancient lords of Kessel in Guilderland. His oldest son, Garrard (Garrett) settled in England during the reign of Henry Vlll, and there established the English "D'Ewes" family, which is the surname of the Earl of Warwick, whose coat of arms was visited in 1709.

The earliest settlers of the name in America were Garrett Hendricks DeWees, his wife, Zytian, and their children; Wilhelmina, William, Cornelius and Lewis, who came about 1688 and settled first at New Amsterdam, removing the following year to Germantown, Pennsylvania, where on March 1st 1690, "Gerrie Hendricks DeWees purchased of Herman Ep den Graff, attorney of Dirck Sipman of Crefeld in Germany, a certain lot of land ..." in the inhabited part of Germantown.

1. Wilhelmina married Nicholas Rittenhouse, a descendant of the royal house of Austria, and builder of the first paper mill in America. Their grandson, David Rittenhouse, was a personal friend of General George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. He was appointed by President Washington to be the first director of the united States Mint. He coined the first United States money.

2. William married Anna Christina Meels (Mills). He learned the trade of paper making as apprentice at the Rittenhouse Mill and in 1710 built the second paper mill in America. Many of his descendants served in the Revolutionary War, among whom was Colonel William Dewees, owner of large flour mills at Valley Forge, his Mansion House was used by Washington's Armey.

(3) Cornelius married Margaret Koster. Their son, Cornelius Jr., married Margaret Richards of the socially prominent Philadelphia family. Many of the descendants were owners of large iron furnaces. One of the many interesting connections of the family was the marriage of Mary Richards (sister of Margaret) to John Ball, a near relative of General George Washington.

(4) Lewis, youngest son of Garret Hendricks Dewees, was a weaver by trade. He followed that occupation for some years in Philadelphia. About 1727 he removed his family to Kent County, Delaware, and purchased 300 acres on the North side of Fishing Creek, where he lived until his death in the spring of 1743.