William Peter Dehen emigrated from his native Germany to the United States in 1903. He brought with him an incredibly strong work ethic, a healthy respect for tradition, and a fearless, pioneering spirit. He was equal parts proud of his heritage and thankful to his adopted country that presented him with a whole new world of opportunities.
In America, William and his brother Matthias had a reputation for being driven young entrepreneurs unafraid to take some risks, William worked at Golden State Knitting in San Francisco, and on the side worked with his brother, running liquor from Canada to the United States. While the side job was profitable, it soon landed the Dehen brothers on the worng side of the law, and each received a short jail sentence. William got out first and graciously offfered to take care of his brother's girlfriend, Celia, who unsurprisingly fell for William's famous charm. Soon they were planning a wedding.
William moved his new bride north, to focus on opportunities of a more legal nature. After spending some time both in Port Angeles and Seattle, they eventually settled in Portland, Oregon. William found work as the night knitting manager at Jantzen Knitting Mills, and the family settled down in Portland's Goose Hollow neighborhood.