1 Mar 2005
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally published 1885
Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL
Reproduced on CD purchased from OLD GLORY ACCENTS
Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society
John F. Demmon, located on section 4, Clyde Township, is one of the heaviest land-holders in the county of Whiteside. He was born April 15, 1828, in Windsor Co., Vt. Roswell Demmon, his father, was a farmer, and was born in Hartford, Vt. His lineage was all traceable in America, through descending generations from English ancestors, who came from the mother country at an early period of Colonial history. The same facts pertain to the record of the mother of Mr. Demmon, who was born Amelia Farnsworth, in Woodstock, Vt. His parents died in Hartford, respectively in 1855 abd 1840, They haad five childredn.
Mr. Demmon was 16 years of age when his mother died, but he remained with his father, attending the schools of Hartford until 1850. At the age of 22 years, he made the beginning in his single-handed contest with life. Coming to Belvidere, Ill., he entered the employment of Frink, Walker & Co., who controlled the mail routes in the northwestern part of the State. He acted as their agent 11 years, operating successfully at Belvidere, Cherry Valley, Rockford, Freeport, and Warten, and later at Galena. The completion of lines of railroad over his accustomed routes put an end to his connection therewith, and he went to Madison, Wis., where he was connected with another branch of stage-route business, acting as collector, a position which necessitated his personal examination of the accounts at all stations. He had some unique and peculiar experiences, one of which was his visit in December, 1855, to Sunrise City, an extreme northern post, where the cold was so intense as to freeze the mercury. In 1853 he had entered a claim of land in Clyde Township, of which he took possession in 1861. It comprised 800 acres of land and was entirely guiltless of acquaintance with the implements of the agriculturist. The history of Mr. Demmon's connection with the development of the farming resources of the township and county of which he is a resident, is, practically, the oft-told tale of the pioneer of the prairies. The degree of his success is commensurate with his plans and purposes, and the quality of his efforts. He owns 840 acres in Clyde Township, and 240 acres connected therewith in an adjacent part of Carroll County. He is also the owner of 320 acres in the northern part of the same county, - in all 1,400 acres of farming land of valuable character. On his home estate are fine buildiings suited to the business of the place, and a large residence. He markets annually 200 cattle, and makes specialties of raising Cotswold sheep and Shor-Horns. He is also raising thoroughbred Hambletonian colts.
His marriage to Eliza A. Van Patten took place Dec. 20, 1864, at Chicago, and they have been the parents of five children, one of whoom is no longer living. Charles R., John B., Rose and Stephen are the names of those who survive, and the family are resident at Mr. Carroll to obtain the benefit of the educational instituation at that place.
Mr. Demmon is a Republican of active and decided type. He has little affinity for the honors of official life, but has officiated through one term as Justice of the Peace.