History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index


ELIAS DEEMER. For almost two centuries the DEEMER family has been represented in Pennsylvania.  There were at one time extensive historical records concerning this family, but unfortunately many of these were destroyed, although authentic record is obtainable to some degree concerning the early settlers of the representatives of the name in the new word.

      The immigrant ancestors of the American branch of the DIEMER (as was the original form of the name) family came from Rhenish, Bavaria.  They were protestants in religion, being adherents of the doctrines of Zwingli, the great Swiss reformer.  They came to America very early in the eighteenth century, presumably with that great influx of their countrymen who came about 1707.  As the family tradition has it, they came to Pennsylvania “more than one hundred years previous to the second war with Great Britain.”  This would fix the date of their coming at not later than 1711, but the earlier date of 1707 is generally accepted as the true one.  They first settled near Germantown, and engaged in clearing off land for other families, getting out timber for building purposes, burning charcoal, and cutting up wood for fuel, which they marketed in Philadelphia.  From the vicinity of Germantown they removed to Providence township. Philadelphia (now Montgomery) county.

      John DEEMER was a landowner in Lower Providence township in 1734, but the family was settled there before that time.  In 1727 a German Reform church (said by some to be the first regularly organized church of that denomination in the United States, but which Mr. LAMBERT doubts), was organized at Skippack by the Rev. George Michael WEISS.  Among the original officers of this church was Jacob DIEMER, and it is believed that he or his ancestors were among the first German Reformers in America.

      About 1740 a part of the DEEMER family (as the name now appears) removed from their Montgomery county home and settled in Durham, Bucks county.  Here they followed farming, charcoal burning, and working in the iron furnaces.  Some years after settling in Durham, a part of the family located in Nockamixon, and the greater number of their descendants of the present day live in these two townships, with a number in Williams township, Northampton county.  Joseph DEEMER, a native of Durham, when a young man located in Hunterdon county, New Jersey, and worked at “the forge,” presumably Exeter Forge.  When the Revolutionary war broke out he enlisted in the First New Jersey Regiment and served throughout the entire struggle, belonging during that time to four of five different organizations.  All trace of him is lost soon after the restoration of peace.  Pertinent to this narrative is the fact that after a lapse of eight years another DEEMER, Edward by name, also a native of Durham, enlisted in the New Jersey regiment (the Thirty-first) and served in the civil war.

      Dr. Henry M. MUHLENBERG, the father of the Lutheran church in America, frequently made mention in his diary of a Rev. DIEMER, who preached at various places during the Revolutionary war, and with some he seems to have been on intimate terms.  It is to be inferred from the diary that Mr. DIEMER was a Lutheran.  The DEEMERS (DIEMERS) were all originally, and nearly all continued so, members of the Reform church, and if this DIEMER was a member of this branch (and of this there is no assurance), he departed from the faith of his kinsmen.  This however, would not be a radical change, for the gulf between the two denominations is not broad.  There were other changes, too, for at a later day there were some members of the family living in Williams township who became Methodists under the preaching of Bishop ASBURY and other pioneer ministers of that denomination.  After some of the family had embraced Methodism, those of the family who adhered to the ancestral faith cut off all further intercourse with them, and for more than a generation the two branches acted the part of utter strangers to each other.

      Some time after the removal of a portion of the DEEMER family from Montgomery county to Durham, some of those who remained in Providence removed to the Susquehanna river and at a later time to the Juniata, where further knowledge of them ceases.  As has been stated, the DEEMER family furnished at least one soldier to the Revolutionary war, one to the Mexican war, and quite a number to the Union during the Civil war.  Originally Federalists in politics, they, in common with the great mass of the settlers of German extraction in the upper end of the county, rebelled against the Federalist system of taxation and became “Jeffersonian Republicans,” and afterwards Democrats, which, with few exception they are to the present time.  The DEEMERS were always noted for industry and integrity.  From the meddle of the eighteenth century to the present time there has scarcely been a period of ten years when one or more DEEMERS were not employed in the iron furnaces at Durham.  In early years they did considerable freighting over the mountains and down the river, but to a large extent abandoned this occupation when the canal had been completed.  While that waterway, was in course of construction they aided the work, several of the DEEMERS serving under the afterward celebrated George LAW, who built the Durham lock and acqueduct,(sic) and also the lock and acqueduct (sic) at the Narrows. 

      Michael DEEMER, a direct ancestor of Elias DEEMER, but whose ancestry is not obtainable, was born in America.  December 20, 1776, and died March 8, 1850.  He became an extensive landowner and prominent citizen of Bucks county, making his home in Kintnerville, Nockamixon township, exercising considerable influence in shaping the early policy of the county and in promoting its material upbuilding.   Dorothea, his wife, was born October 15, 1779, and died October 29, 1843.

      John DEEMER (2) son of Michael DEEMER, resided in Durham township, Bucks county, where he, too, followed the occupation of farming.  He had five children, two sons and three daughters.  Edward DEEMER, eldest son of John DEEMER, was born in the year 1834 on the family homestead in Durham township, and died December 12, 1896.  He was reared to the occupation of the farm, and at the time of the Civil war responded to the country’s call for troops, enlisting in the Thirty-first New Jersey Regiment, with which he remained until the close of hostilities. 

      Elias DEEMER (3) a son of John DEEMER, acquired his early education in the public schools and under private instruction.  When fifteen years of age he entered upon his business career as a salesman in the store in order to acquire knowledge of and acquaint himself with mercantile methods, and at the age of twenty he had entire charge of commercial enterprises.  In the spring of 1859 he became bookkeeper, collector and salesman for W. N. TREICHLER, of Kintnerville, who was an extensive manufacturer and dealer in lumber.  In the fall of 1860 he went to Philadelphia, where he entered a wholesale notion house, and in 1861, following the inauguration of the Civil war, joined the Union army, enlisting in the month of August, as a member of Company E, One Hundred and Fourth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, under the command of Captain George T. HARVEY and of Colonel W. H. H. DAVIS, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania.  However in the month of May, 1862, he was discharged because of physical disability.  The following spring he removed to Milford, New Jersey, where he engaged in business until the spring of 1868, when he located in Williamsport, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, where he has since made his home.  Here he turned his attention to the lumber industry.  He has been interested in a number of different lumber enterprises, largely in connection with the lumber trade.  He is the senior member of the firm of Elias DEEMER & company, his partner being John H. HUNT; was treasurer and manager of the partnership of Strong, Deemer & Company, Limited; was president of the Williamsport Lumber Company, of the Williamsport Land and Lumber Company, and of the Williamsport and Chesapeake
Company, and of numerous improvement companies; and was treasurer and half owner of the Williamsport Wood Company.  All of the latter named companies have, however, closed out their business.  Elias DEEMER is now and has been since 1893 president of the Williamsport National Bank, and is a stockholder and director in the J. K. Risher Furniture Company, and in the Lycoming Calcining Company, and his business enterprise and sound judgment have been important factors in the successful control of a number of important commercial and industrial concerns, which have contributed to the prosperity of the city of Williamsport as well as to the success of individual stockholders.  Mr. DEEMER has taken an active and helpful interest in public affairs.  He had never aspired to office yet his fitness for leadership led to his selection to the city council in the spring of 1888, and his capability in the discharge of his duties caused his re-election in 1889.  He was elected a member of the Fifty-seventh Congress in the fall of 1900, was again elected a member of the Fifty-eighth Congress in the fall of 1902, and once more was re-nominated for the third time-an unprecedented occurrence in the congressional district he represents-and was re-elected in the fall of 1904, a member of the Fifty-ninth Congress, receiving 19,807 votes to 11,959 votes for his Democratic opponent, thus securing the largest majority over a Democratic opponent that was ever given a Republican candidate in the district.  St that he has, since March 4, 1901, represented his district in the legislative councils of the nation.

      Elias DEEMER was married to Henrietta HUNT, in November 1865, and they have four children: William Russell, Mary Lillian, Laura Hunt and Lulu May.  William Russell DEEMER, who is practicing law in Williamsport, married Sara January GRUNDY, of Kentucky, and have one son, William Russell, Jr., and one daughter, Mary Elizabeth.

Text taken from page 470-472 of:

Davis, William W. H., A.M., History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III

Transcribed November 2003 by Joan Lollis as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html

Published April 2004 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/

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