Joseph Grove Deming was not only one of the sterling pioneers of the Pacific Coast but was also, and in the most significant sense, the architect of his own fortunes. He became a successful and influential figure in industrial and commercial circles in California, he having become identified with the flour-milling business at Yreka, this state, in the pioneer days, and having there remained until 1865, when he moved to San Francisco and became the founder of the important industry long conducted under the title of the Deming-Palmer Milling Company. He was a resourceful figure in the development and upbuilding of the substantial business of this concern, with which he continued his active connection until 1901, when the milling plant and the business were sold to the Sperry Flour Company. Thereafter Mr. Deming lived retired until his death, which occurred, at his attractive home in San Francisco on the 25th of February 1909. He was one of the veteran business men and most substantial and honored citizens of San Francisco, and in all of the relations of life honored citizens of San Francisco, and in all of the relations of life stood “four square to every wind that blows,” so that he ever held the confidence and high regard of all who knew him. 

On the 11th of April, 1872, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Deming and Miss Mary Dwyer, daughter of Martin and Alice (Cox) Dwyer, who were born in Ireland and who were residents of California for many years prior to their deaths. Mr. And Mrs. Deming became the parents of five children, of whom three, with the widowed mother, survive the honored father and reside in San Francisco, Alice being the widow of Dr. T. A. Rottanze: Eleanor, a Religious of the Sacred Heart; and Ernest being here identified with the milling business. Horace and Joseph G., Jr., are deceased. 

In adverting to earlier phases in the life history of the honored subject of this memoir, it is to be recorded that Mr. Deming claimed the old Hoosier State as the place of his nativity, his birth having occurred at Madison, Indiana, on the 30th of June, 1829. He was a son of Horace and Emeline (Orr) Deming. The family moved from Indiana to Iowa when Joseph G. was a boy, and the father became a pioneer in the latter state, his death having occurred in 1882, when he was well advanced in years, and the mother having passed away in 1835, when her son, Joseph G., was a lad of about six years.  He to whom this memoir is dedicated gained the major part of his early education in the schools of Muscatine, Iowa, and he was twenty-three years of age when he came to the Pacific Coast, in 1852. After remaining a short time at Portland, Oregon, he came to California and engaged in the milling business at Yreka, as noted in a preceding paragraph. He found in California opportunity for the gaining of substantial success through his own ability and efforts, and his loyalty to the state was ever of the most appreciative type.


Louise E. Shoemaker Transcriber February 15th, 2004

Source: "The San Francisco Bay Region" by Bailey Millard Vol. 3 page 74-77. Published by The American Historical Society, Inc. 1924.

© 2004 Louise Shoemaker


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