John Deemer, born about 1812. His wife was Catherine, born about 1812. A record of their marriage on 20 January 1842 appears in the records of Christ Church (Lutheran and Reformed) in Stouchsberg, Berks County, PA. John later described the marriage as occurring at he Lutheran Church at Amspacker Mill, Berks Co. Catherine was the widow of Samuel Boyer. There are records of three children from this marriage:
Samuel,the father, evidently died between 1840 - 1842. In later records, the name of Henry Boyer appears frequently.
No records have been found concerning either Catherine's or John's ancestry. In one document he is referred to as John Deemer, Jr. But there is no additional evidence to support the accuracy of the "jr." suffix.
The family appears in the 1850 census as residents (but not landowners) in Bethel Township, Lebanon County, PA. John is described by the census as a 38 year old laborer. Except for the census, no other records are clearly associated with this family. The 1850 census also lists another couple, John and Catherine Diener, in northern Lebanon County. Several other Lebanon County records of the period refer to John and Catherine Deemer (or Diener). But it is difficult to distinguish between the two names given that most records are handwritten. The names Deemer, Diener, Diemer, Deamer, et. al.) are often indistinguishable. There are other contemporary Deemer families in the southern Lebanon amd northern Lancaster County area especially around Brickerville and Shaefferstown, in the Tulpehocken region of Berks Co., and in Lancaster City. Other Deemers are found in Bucks County, and in western Pennsylvania. There is some evidence of a migration of Deemers from Bucks county to western Pennsylvania that might have passed through the Lebanon county area. John could easily be descended from any of these families. Catherine's maiden name is unknown.
Records show that John and Catherine had the following children:
In 1850 the family resided in Bethel Twp., Lebanon Co. In 1860 and 1870, they appear in census records for East Hanover Twp., West Hanover P.O. (today's Shellsville), Dauphin Co. In 1880 they were in Doutyville, E. Cameron Twp., Northumberland Co. In 1880 Catherine reported in a sworn affidavit that they family lived near Linglestown in 1864, then moved to Tremont, Schuylkill Co. where they lived for about three years before moving to Doutyville.
Census records reveal John as a laborer, day laborer, and farm laborer. In documents from the 1880s, (see links, below) Catherine described her husband as "unfitted by reason of his age to do but if anything for the support of his family," and "by his age and infirmities could not earn a living." In 1883, Henry Boyer wrote in a sworn affidavit, "I knew John Deemer, Jr. since the year 1864 and am well acquainted with him. He has not been able to do day work. From that time till now all he could get was 50¢ per day, and that was only half of the time. He generally worked for farmers. He is not able to work one half of his time on account of his leg, he having a running sore, which prevents him from working at any thing." From these, and other documents, it appears that the family left Dauphin Co. and migrated over the mountains to the coal mining regions near Shamokin. Afer the moved north it appears they were essentially destitute, relying on township welfare programs, and occasional odd jobs. It appears that two of their children, Catherine and Henry, remained with them. Aaron apparently joined them later.
Catherine died 25 January 1885 at Shamokin in Northumberland Co. Aaron was a resident of Shamokin at the time. In October 1885 John reported his residence to be at Globe Mills, Snyder Co., PA. Henry Boyer lived nearby at Oriental in Juniata Co. Records of his death and burial have not been found.