02 (M): Chalon S. DeMouth
Born: about 1826 in NJ (20)
Cause of Death: Falling tree
Buried: Charlestown Union Cemetery, Calumet Co., WI
February 22, 2006
Tonight I want to tell you about the first Demouth who migrated to Wisconsin.
(1794 - 1861)
Most of what we know about John has come down through his granddaughter, May Sommers. It is written as what I call The Demouth History. Aunt Musa had a copy of it which she misplaced in her Bible. She hunted and hunted for it and felt terrible that she had lost it. When she died my dad and brother went to Seattle to clear out her apartment. They called me and asked what I wanted. I said, "No, I don't want anything." And then as an afterthought I said, "I would like to have her old Bible." When I opened the package out fell the May Sommers' Demouth history going back to Jacob (b. 1763). Here's what May had to say about John Demouth.
"It was in the great mansion Jacob and his wife's children were born nine of them who were: Frederick, Adam, James, John, Thomas, Jacob, Mary, Betsy, and Charlotte. . . . At the age of twenty-four (John) became acquainted with Mariah Levi. She had come from Connecticut to New Jersey to keep house for her brother. At the age of twenty-three she and John Demouth were married (my grandparents). The wedding was in the year 1818. The first two years of their married life were spent in Connecticut, after which they returned to New Jersey. John was a farmer. To this union six children were born: Samuel, Chalon, James, Jacob, Frances and Semantha, my mother the youngest of the family. John and Mariah raised their family in New Jersey then migrated to Wisconsin in 1848. Semantha was twelve years old when her parents moved to Wisconsin. It was in Wisconsin John Demouth was killed by a tree falling on him that he had just chopped down. "
Isn't it interesting that they came to Wisconsin in the year we gained statehood.
In 1848 Calumet County was a dense wilderness. At that time railroads and steamboats were hardly heard of and roads through the wilderness were nothing better that Indian trails. The first non-Indian person arrived in the county in 1845, only three years before our John and his family. The following description of Calumet County as first experienced by white settlers comes from the Wisconsin State Historical Society Website (http://www.wisconsinhistory.org). It is quoted from "Chilton's History a Frontier Epic" by Col. Jerome Anthony Watrous as published in the Milwaukee Sentinel on 11 April 1910.
"(Calumet County) was miles and miles of beautiful woodland, hundreds of thousands of stately maples, enough of them cut down and burned in log heaps to bring millions of dollars if they were there to market today: oak, birch, beech, baswood, elm, cedar, hemlock, some pine - not much - and ironwood. . . . The greatest concert company ever organized could not provide music that could compare . . . (with) daily concerts the birds of those old forests gave us without price or praise.
"In those days the county was one great deer park. There were tens of thousands of them. No one wanted for fresh meat or dried venison. . . They came to cabin doors at night as did bears, panthers, wildcats, and other game. Between the clearings of Hayton and Gravesville, (That's precisely where John's homestead was.) two miles apart, I have seen droves of deer in which there were hundreds. . . . There is one thing of those days I would not ask to be repeated, and that is the unearthly howling of wolves. Then there were the dancing waters of rivers and brooks so shaded that only now and then a bit of sunshine touched them."
Here are excerpts from another article from the same site. This one's from The Chilton Times 8 Feb 1930, an article entitled, "A Pioneer Settler." It was written about a woman whose family pioneered in the same county as John and Mariah and their kids. Her family came 16 years later than our John's did, but I'm sure their experiences were very similar.
"They bought an 80 acre tract upon which their humble, one room, log cabin was erected, the bare ground serving as a floor, the cracks in the logs, plastered with clay and leaves, the roof was covered with shakes, a sort of shingle split from a straight grained, 4 foot log and laid on like our shingles. The first soil of the pioneers was broken with grub hoes, corn, peas, and a few potatoes constituting the first crop. The corn was ground in a hand mill, the peas were roasted, ground, and used as a coffee, and it had a bitter taste. The cornmeal was made into mush. After more land was cleared a bit of wheat was seeded, the first large crop they had consisting of six bushels of wheat which required two days for threshing. . . .The six bushels of wheat were taken to a grist mill and exchanged for a barrel of flour. . . .(The) father walked to (the closest grist mill in) Green Bay over the winding Indian trail and carried back a sack of flour on his shoulders. . . .Several Indian tribes had their camps along the Lake and the River. They were very friendly to the old settlers and their families, usually came in groups of 5 or 6 and asked for pork and flour. In exchange they would bring the settlers venison and game and sometimes tanned hides and buckskins. . . . (She) picked berries (and sold them in the closest town) for 6 cents a quart. She also carried butter and eggs to (closest town) the price received being 6 cents per pound for the butter and 8 cents per doz. for the eggs and in those days butter and eggs were considered a luxury. . . . Pigs and cows roamed the woods as there were no fences and often when cows failed to come home they were obliged to search for them finding them after hours, many miles from home. . . .
"Snakes were very numerous as were squirrels and other animals, the squirrels became a regular pest. They would go into the wheat fields and eat off the heads of the wheat. Deer also molested them by feeding upon the grain and the vegetables. One of the children's chores was to shoo away the deer when they came into the grain fields. After more clearing was done, rail fences were built and sheep kept chiefly for the wool to supply their needs for woolen cloths and mittens, caps, shawls, and stockings. Flax seed was planted for the family linens and homespuns. "
In 1850, after John and his family had been there for two years, there were still only 381 families in the whole of Calumet County.
All of John and Mariah's children came out to Wisconsin. After John died from the falling tree in 1861, Mariah and her children continued to farm in Calumet County. Here's what we know about the rest of the family:
Samuel, the eldest, was born in 1820 in Connecticut before John and Mariah returned to New Jersey. Samuel wasn't around for the 1850 census, but in 1860 he was living with his parents and siblings in Charlestown, Calumet County. He was a shoemaker. By the time of the 1870 Census, it looks like he had married and lost his wife because two young girls, Anna A., and Almanza are living with him as well as his mother, Mariah. His daughter Almanza married her cousin, Albert Barber, son of John Demouth's sister Frances.
Chalon was born about 1826 in New Jersey. He was listed with his parents family in Calumet County, Wisconsin on the 1850 census as "Chilion." I have found no trace of him after that.
James was born about 1830 in New Jersey. He married a girl named Elsey Jane. She appears on the 1860 census living with the John Demouth family, as does their first child, Jenny L. Their other children were Helena, Sherman, Mary, and Nathan. James served in the Union Army in the Civil War, with the 16th Wisconsin Infantry and also with the 42nd. It is interesting that he named his boy born in 1864 Sherman. His brother, Jacob spent time with Sherman's army down in Georgia. Perhaps James did also.
Frances Elizabeth was born in New Jersey on August 31, 1830. She didn't show up with her parents on the 1850 Census but made up for it in 1860. That year she was on the census with her birth family with the occupation seamstress, and also with her husband, Joseph L. Barber, who also had moved to Calumet County, Wisconsin from New Jersey. Frances and Joseph had seven children. They were Hannah, Semantha, Theodore, Albert A., Joseph L., Frank W., and Lillian. In addition Samuel's daughter Almanza came to live with them sometime between 1870 and 1880. Two of their children married Demouth cousins. Albert married Almanza Demouth, and Lillie married John C. Demouth, son of Frances's brother Jacob. After 1880 Frances and Joseph moved to Clark County, Wisconsin. They are both buried there in the Christie Cemetery.
Jacob was our ancestor. We'll hear more of him later.
Semantha was born 23 December 1836 in New Jersey. She was in Calumet County with her parents in 1850. In November of 1852 she married Bradley Webster. Together they had eight children as follows: Freeman, Ann, May, Bertha, Weltha, Almeron, Frances, and Charles. Semantha is the person whose tales inspired her daughter May to write down the family history and we are very glad of that.
Besides these six children several other interesting Demouths appear on the 1860 Census living with John and Mariah. There is Martha Demouth, age 24, a service worker. Then there is Jonas Demouth, age 33, a farmer born in Connecticut. And finally, Maria Demouth, born in Wisconsin, age 10. It's possible Martha could be Samuel's wife. I don't have a clue about Jonas and Maria.
Our ancestor John Demouth raised his family in the comfortable surroundings of his ancestral home. When the yougest was twelve he transplanted them all to Wisconsin in the same year as statehood was granted. He was a pioneer in Calumet County when it was still covered by virgin forest. With the help of four strong young sons he cleared the land and built a farm. He provided two sons for the Union Army in the Civil War but he did not live to see that, dying tragically as a tree being cut fell on him. Perhaps the forest was having its revenge. We are very proud of our Wisconsin Pioneer ancestor, John Demouth.
Here's how we are related to John Demouth. John Demouth married Mariah Levi and they had a son Jacob Demouth. Jacob married Cordelia Martindale and they had a son Samuel Demouth. Samuel married Elzora Pierce and they had a daughter Thelma DeMouth. Thelma married Forrest Zimmerman and they had Dianne Zimmerman. Dianne married Paul Stevens and they had Dawne Stevens. Dawne married Jason Pamplin and they had . . .Sarah, Hannah, Timmy, and Becky. So Hooray for John Demouth!
John appears to be among one of several related families that moved from Morris Co, NJ to Calumet Co., WI in the 1860's. Many of these families later moved on to Clark Co.
"Mariah learned to write on birchbark, by the light of the fireplace. She learned to spin wool on a tall spinning wheel. Being very young and small, her father had to make her a bench on which she would walk back and forth as she spun." May Sommers "Demouth Family History"
In 1818 Mariah is reported to have gone from Connecticut to New Jersey to keep house for her brother. That is where she met her husband, John DeMouth, and in that year, married him. They spent the first two years of their married life in Connecticut and then returned to New Jersey where they lived until their move to Wisconsin in 1848.
Three Levi siblings married three DeMouth siblings.
Mariah Levi - John DeMouth
Betsy Levi - Thomas DeMouth
Oliver Levi - Mary DeMouth
Photograph of Mariah Levi taken in Neillsville, WI - personal files of DZStevens.
1870 Census lists occupation as "Keeping House" and indicates she is living with her son Samuel.
(02) Chalon S. DeMouth:
On 1850 Census name is spelled "Chilion" and middle initial "S"
Mother's obituary spells it Chaleon
John age 65
Maria age 64
Saml 40 shoemaker b. Conn.
James 30 farm laborer NJ
Frances 29 seamstress NJ
Jacob 26 farm NJ
Martha 24 service NJ
Jonas 33 farmer Conn
Jane 18 NY
Jenny 5/12 WI
Maria 10 WI
1830 Census lists John as having 2 male children under 5 yrs (Chalon ?) and
one male between 5 & 10 Probably Samuel.
1 male 30 - 40
1 female 30 - 40
1 male under 5 years ?
2 males 5 - 10 (jacob and James)
1 " 10 - 15 (Chalon)
1 " 40 - 50
1 female under 5 (Semantha)
1 " 5 - 10 (Frances)
1 " 40 - 50
1850 census John appears on Wisc. census as John Demoth with wife Maria and 4 children Chilion, James, Jacob, and Samantha
MAN KILLED BY A TREE FALLING ON HIM – On Thursday last John Demouth, an old and respectable resident of Charlestown, met with an accident which resulted fatally on Saturday. He was chopping down a tree about a quarter of a mile from the house and when it commenced to fall he stepped back as he supposed a safe distance, but it turned out otherwise. The tree in falling struck a stump causing the butt to fly around and strike Mr. Demouth knocking him down, breaking one of his legs and otherwise injuring him. His cries soon brought assistance and after great exertion he was extradited. Dr. LaCount was immediately summoned who set his leg and did all in this power to relieve him but in vain. Mr. D. was a very old man and near sighted and could not possibly see what course the tree would take when falling. He was buried on Sunday.
Chilton Times – May 1861
Demouth, John 021 Charlestown
Wisconsin, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1820-1890 about John Demoth Name: John Demoth
County: Calumet County
Township: 36th District
Database: WI 1855 State Census Index
DIED – At the residence of her son-in-law, Jos. L. Barber, Esq., Charlestown, Wis., Dec. 2nd, 1877, Mrs. Maria Demouth, aged 80 years, 9 months and 4 days.
Mrs. Demouth was born at Sharon, Conn., on the 28th day of February, 1797, and in early life moved with her parents to Morris Co., New Jersey, where she afterwards married John Demouth, the father of Samuel, Chaleon, James, Jacob, Mrs. Barber and Mrs. Bradley Webster, all formerly, well, and favorably known in this community. She came with her family to Wisconsin and settled at Elkhart Lake, in Sheboygan Co., in 1848 and early in 1850 removed to Hayton, this county, where she has since resided.
Mrs. Demouth was a woman of many noble and generous qualities, strong in her likes and dislikes, yet charitable withal, firm in her convictions of right and steady in the pursuit of well doing. No person ever left her door in want if it was in her power to relive them and many's the time has she shared her last loaf with a hungry way worn traveler. Mrs. Demouth commanded the respect and admiration and regard of all the early settlers in Charlestown with most of whom she was personally acquainted and in her death the few remaining pioneers lose another link in the chain that formerly bound then together as one harmonious whole.
"The year rolls round, and steals away
The breath that first it gave;
Whate'er we do, where'er we be,
We're trav'ling to the grave."
[article originally printed in Chilton Times]
[sent by M Celius]
1870 United States Federal Census about Samuel Demouth Name: Samuel Demouth
Birth Year: abt 1821
Age in 1870: 49
Home in 1870: Charlestown, Calumet, Wisconsin
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members: Name Age
Samuel Demouth 49
Anna A Demouth 8
Almauza Demouth 4
Maria Demouth 73
1870 United States Federal Census about James Demouth Name: James Demouth
Birth Year: abt 1838
Age in 1870: 32
Birthplace: New Jersey
Home in 1870: Charlestown, Calumet, Wisconsin
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members: Name Age
James Demouth 32
Elsey J Demouth 28
Jennie L Demouth 10
Helena Demouth 8
Sherman Demouth 6
Mary Demouth 3
Demouth, James Gravesville 16th Infantry Company D
[Frances appears to be listed twice on 1860 Census.]
Birth: Aug. 30, 1831
New Jersey, USA
Death: Nov. 29, 1901
Died, at her home in Christie, Clark County, Wis., Mrs. J. L. Barber, Nov. 29, 1901.
She was born in Booton, N.J., Aug. 30, 1831. She was married to J. L. Barber in 1846, and their first housekeeping was at Horsehead, N.Y. In 1851 they moved to Hayton, Calumet Co., Wis., where they purchased 80 acres of wild land and remained there until 1884, when they moved to Christie, Clark Co., Wis., and have resided there up to the time of her death. On Nov. 15th she was about the stove doing some work and in a moment's time she discovered herself afire, and before the flames could be put out, her right hand, arm and shoulder extending to the knees, were burned so badly as to leave the flesh bare. She was beyond medical aid, and remained a great sufferer until the Great Physician called her home.
She leaves a husband, four sons, three daughters, two brothers, one sister, grandchildren and many friends to mourn her loss.
The funeral was held at Christie, Sunday, Dec. 1st, Rev. Kloster officiating. The remains were laid to rest in Weston Cemetery.
[Copies of the Civil War Letters - files of DZStevens. Originals were in the possession of Erma Schaper of Butternut, WI in 1983 when I made the copies. She kept them in a bank vault in Park Falls.]
1880 Federal Census--Weston, Clark, WI
Jacob Demouth age 45, b. NJ, Farmer, Father b. NJ
Wife: Cordealia age 36, b. VT, Parents b. VT
Son: Don A. 17, b. WI
Dau: Eva 16, b. WI
Son: John 12, b. WI, Student
Son: Samuel 6, b. WI, Student
Dau: Sharlet 3, b. WI
Dau: Lucindah 1, b. WI
[Jacob is listed twice on 1860 census]
Demouth, Jacob - 5 males; 2 females
Jacob Demouth went to Chicago to attend the Reunion.
Frank Barber is attending the high school at Neillsville.
C. P. LaFluer, Charles Kayhart, and Jacob Demouth, are the jurymen from this section in attendance at the September term of Court which is in session at Neillsville.
NAME DEMOUTH, JACOB ENLISTED 6/8/1865 7/18/1865 FROM COMPANY E, 21ST WISCONSIN INFANTRY; MUSTERED OUT OF SERVICE JULY 18, 1865.
FOND DU LAC 3RD WIS. INFANTRY, CO. E DEMOUTH, JACOB ENLISTED 2/26/1864 6/8/1865 TRANSFERRED TO 3RD WISCONSIN INFANTRY, JUNE 8, 1865.
NEW HOLSTEIN 21ST WIS. INFANTRY, CO. E - See more at: http://museum.dva.state.wi.us/CivilWar/Soldiers.aspx#sthash.SUUJtVLU.dpuf
[Gravestone, of which I have a rubbing says he was born in 1834.]
Revised: February 19, 2018