We are given this information about Elias Strorm, David's grandfather, in Chapter 2 of this great dystopian novel. David gives us some background information describing how his family came to be in Waknuk. He tells us that Elias Strorm originally came from the East, somewhere near the sea. He left his home because, as he said, he was fleeing their "ungodly ways," and so he set off to search for a simpler, less sophisticated location to build his life. David does mention though that he had heard that he was no longer tolerated by his home town because of his fundamental views. Anyway, he moved to Waknuk and there made his life. Note how David describes him:
He was a husky man, a dominating man, and a man fierce for rectitude. He had eyes that could flash with evangelical fire beneath bushy brows. Respect for God was frequently on his lips, and fear of the devil constantly in his heart, and it seems to have been hard to say which inspired him the more.
It is important to identify the influence this patriarchal figure would have had on David's father, and we can understand a lot more about why Joseph is the way he is through this description.