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William DeVogue claims to be Bob Dylan's first son

This woman claims she gave birth to Bob Dylan's first son.
This woman claims she gave birth to Bob Dylan's first son.

See Also:
Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: The complete list
Bob Dylan to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Bob Dylan's 71st birthday brings celebrations all over Minnesota

For decades it's been assumed that Bob Dylan's first serious romance began with Suze Rotolo in 1961. Dylan met Rotolo in Greenwich Village, New York, when she was just 17 and he was 19, and the two wound up as a couple throughout the majority of the early '60s. However, William DeVogue, a 48-year-old resident of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, is saying he knows of one more romance Dylan had during the early '60s, apart from that with Rotolo and the on-again-off-again fling he had with Joan Baez.

In fact, this man claims that his biological mother, Anita "Tina" Grace DeVogue, for whom he searched for years before finding, gave birth to Dylan's first son -- DeVogue himself. In a conversation with Gimme Noise, William DeVogue pieces together his connection to one of the most famous native Minnesotans.

During the early '60s, Tina was living in Greenwich Village, trying to make it as a folk singer. There, as DeVogue's lore has it, she wound up befriending Dylan and was eventually impregnated by him in the summer of 1963. (DeVogue was born on May 12, 1964.)

Tina, facing a life-consuming drug addiction and without sufficient finances, gave up DeVogue for adoption when he was 10 months old; he was adopted shortly after turning three. Realizing he had been too young to remember anything about his real mother, DeVogue would spend much of his adult life searching for clues as to his biological parents' identities.

In 1992, DeVogue was directed to a man named Eugene Michael Procyszyn, a close friend of Tina's during those days in the Village, who said he knew the identity of DeVogue's mother but no longer knew her whereabouts. It was a start, definitely, but not exactly a big help.

This is William DeVogue.
This is William DeVogue.

DeVogue's search remained relatively futile until, in 2009, he took to Facebook, creating several accounts under both his birth name and his adopted title. Soon, a man in Pennsylvania disclosed, via Facebook messaging, that he had known a Tina DeVogue in Greenwich Village during the '60s. "Look in Boston," the man suggested to DeVogue.

Long story short, DeVogue found his mother in a three-family home in Boston's Jamaica Plain district. After several visits to her home, Tina stated that her son's father was not Procyszyn, as she had once thought, but rather, she was pretty sure, Dylan. Wanting to know not one but both of his parents, DeVogue then endeavored to determine whether it could be true, that his father could really be one of the most, if not the most, pioneering artists of the 20th century.

"Before I found my mother, I was indifferent to his music," DeVogue says. "I loved a few of his songs like 'Blowin' in the Wind' and 'The Times They are a Changin'." More so for 'Blowin' in the Wind, because I could connect those lyrics to the frustrations of not being able to find my mother and hoping my answers would be caught blowin' in the wind. It wasn't until after I found my mother and learned greater detail of her life in the Village that I really studied the '60s/Dylan scene. It was then that I had a greater appreciation for his words and (I am gonna do what I want with my music) attitude. It was also then that I discovered that things were not making sense in other areas."

DeVogue claims that both Dylan and his manager, Jeff Rosen, know of his case. In 2010, DeVogue spoke with Rosen over the phone and has emailed him several times since. Dylan, while not exactly denying any of DeVogue's claims, has said that he has "no recollection" of fathering any child of Tina's. Eventually, DeVogue asked for a "non-legal paternity test," but Dylan refused.

 

"I then told Jeff Rosen that I would have to resort to 'plan B,'" he says. "He was very inquisitive to what plan B was, and my answer was that since I didn't have the money to legally seek a paternity test that I would have to bring it out creatively."

And so here we are. DeVogue argues that he should have been sued a long time ago. "But to this day I have received no calls from any lawyer or anything telling me to watch my step," he says. "Why? It's because he knows something and his counsel knows something and that if this ends up in court everything will come out."

Trusting his mother and factoring in information about the time-frame of conception, etc., he is "as sure as I can be without a DNA test" that Dylan is his father. He adds, "I have been trying to find any reason to say he's not. But with everything that I have, including all of the information my mother gave me, it all points to [Dylan]."

Determined to resolve the identity of his father, DeVogue, a father of two, says he has had it with being more or less ignored by Dylan and his camp. After leaving his banking job, DeVogue is now working full-time on both a book (Not Forgetting Tina) and a short film about his story. The ultimate goal of the projects? "I respect Bob and want no money from him, just the truth. And I will get it!"

See Also:
Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: The complete list
Bob Dylan to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Bob Dylan's 71st birthday brings celebrations all over Minnesota


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