DEEMER Genealogy
DEEMER Genealogy

 Last Updated:
2013  
 
Henry Deemer, 2017
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  DEEMERs in Pennsylvania

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Western PA
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Northumberland Co.
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(The following information about the early Deemers has been compiled from several sources.)


The Deemer name is derived from the German name, Diemer. Anglicizing names was a common practice when settlers arrived in English colonies. The immigrants would tell their name to an official who would record the name using an English spelling. This also occurred on early census records and on ship lists. Hence the German Diemer would have become the English form, Deemer.


Most early records are handwritten. Unfortunately it is often difficult to distinguish between Deemer, Diemer, Deamer, Deaner, Diener, and other variations. Many early records that appear to be recorded as Diener, or other variants, are in reality Deemer.


According to Davis, Diemer means one who comes from Diehman, Germany.


Histories of Bucks County, Pennsylvania state that the early Diemers were followers of the Swiss reformist, Zwingli. They came to America from Bavaria. The earliest arrivals came "more than 100 years previous to the 2nd war with Great Britain" (Davis, p. 470), ie., the War of 1812. 1707 seems to be an accepted year for their first arrival. They came to Philadelphia and moved to Germantown. Germantown was the stepping-off point for many of the early German settlers. New settlers arrived and stayed there for a time before locating land on the frontiers.


The first Diemers were among the earliest German settlers, and were engaged in clearing land for other immigrants. They appear to have established themselves in the lumber business. Their timber was used for building, for conversion to charcoal used in the many iron furnaces in Colonial southeastern Pennsylvania, and for sale as fuel in the Philadelphia area. This lumbering tradition was carried down through at least one branch of the family who had major lumbering interests in north-central Pennsylvania. Deemer, Mississippi was also established as a lumbering town by a member of this family.


By 1738 the Diemer name appeared in several parts of Pennsylvania. Among them were John Deemer, a surgeon in Montgomery County (northeast of Philadelphia), Michael Diemer in Limerick Township, Bucks County, along the Delaware River just south of Easton, and George Diemer in Chester County. Others appeared in Northampton County between Easton and Stroudsburg, and in the Susquehanna and Juniata valleys.


Nearly all were members of the Reformed Church (now a part of the United Church of Christ), although one group in Williams Township, Bucks County, became Methodists under the preaching of Francis Asbury. The other Deemers cut off all ties with this group.


Originally they were Federalists, then Jeffersonian Republicans, and later Democrats.


One line of Deemers descends from Johannes, who arrived in Philadelphia from Germany on October 25, 1738 aboard the Davy. He eventually settled on a large tract of land in Nockamixon Township just below the Durham Township line in northern Bucks County. In Europe he had been a Roman Catholic. He married a Protestant girl and emigrated to escape the wrath of the families and the Church. Tradition holds that he was the Captain Johannes Deemer who participated in the expedition against Quebec in 1746-47.


The genealogy of this branch of the family is well documented. Their history is closely linked to the history of northern Bucks County, as they were among the founding fathers of this region. They were farmers, lumberman, and as late as 1905, employees of the iron furnaces at Durham.


Perhaps the most notable descendent of Johannes was Elias Deemer (1838-1918). Elias was a merchant and Civil War veteran. After the war he settled in the Williamsport area where he became one of the leading lumber manufacturers in the region. His lumber operations entered nine counties in north central Pennsylvania, and extended to North Carolina and Mississippi where he found the town of Deemer. He was also a newspaper publisher, banker, and politician. He served as Representative in the 57th, 58th, and 59th Congresses. He was a McKinley Republican. His children included a lawyer, and the wife of a Pennsylvania Superintendent of Public Schools.


Another line of the family descends from John Deemer who arrived from Germany sometime before the Revolution. He also fought in the Revolution. His grandson (Harold Davenport Deemer, 1873-1946) founded Deemer & Co., a stationary firm with stores in Wilkes Barre, Hazleton, and Scranton.


Another prominent Deemer was Horace Emerson Deemer (1858-1917). Horace was born in Bourbon, Indiana, the son of a lumber dealer (suggesting ties with the Bucks County Deemers). He was an Iowa jurist.


The Deemer (Diemer) name appears in various places in eastern Pennsylvania throughout the 18th,19th, and 20th centuries. Two areas seem to serve as centers of concentration of the name -- an area along the Delaware River just south of Easton in northern Bucks and Northampton Counties, and Lebanon County. Another area of concentration is in western Pennsylvania, especially in Westmoreland County. At least one of the Westmoreland Deemers originated in Bucks County. It is likely that there are other links between the families of these three areas.


At least one Diemer family arrived in America from Heidelberg, Germany in the late 19th century. Edward Diemer emigrated to Baltimore to avoid service in Bismark's army. He settled in Philadelphia. His grandson, Walter E. Diemer (1905 - 1997) lived in Lancaster. Walter invented Double Bubble,the world's first commercial bubble gum.


 


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Genealogical and Personal History of Bucks Co., Pa., William W.H. Davis, 1975.

History of Col. Joseph Brewers, 1723-1816, Hunterdon Co., N.J., Harold Alfred Sonn, 1948

Interview with Mrs. Susan Risher, Philadelphia, Miss., 1981.

National Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1927.

Interview with Walter E. Diemer, 1995.

Lancaster New Era, 19 Sep 1996.