Blogging Prompts, Demler, Fairbury, Hoffmann Line, Slagel, Surname Saturday

Surname Saturday – the Demlers of Baden and Fairbury

Our Demler family came to Fairbury, Illinois, from Baden, Germany in 1864. provides two possible meanings for this surname:

German: from an old personal name, Damo, a short form of a compound name formed with Old High German tac ‘day’.Perhaps an altered spelling of German Demmler, a southern nickname for a glutton, from an agent derivative of Middle High German demmen ‘to indulge oneself’, or a northern nickname from Middle Low German damelaer, demeler ‘prankster’, ‘flirt’. 

Why do I suddenly feel like visiting a buffet? Anyway…our branch begins with Johan Demler, born between 1815-1816 in Baden. His parentage is unknown; he married Catherine Marie Reser who was born in Baden between 1823 and 1824. Johan and Catherine had three children, all born in Baden: Wilhelm K., born November 15, 1847; August Frederick, born about 1849; and Mary (my great-great-grandmother), born January 17, 1855.

The family arrived on December 3, 1864, in New York City on the J.A. Stamler after a 34-day ocean voyage. Records from the Castle Garden Immigration Center list the following family members: Johan, age 48; Maria, age 40; Wilhelm, age 18; August, age 16; and Marie, age 11.

Around 1867 the family moved to Indian Grove Township in Livingston County, Illinois, and in November 1873 moved into Fairbury itself. In 1880 Johan (enumerated as “John”) appears in the home of his son Wilhelm (“William”) in Belle Prairie Township. Johan is listed as married, but Catherine’s whereabouts are unknown. He died about 1890, supposedly as the result of a horse accident, and was buried in the South Apostolic Christian Cemetery, though again I am not yet sure of the exact location.

Wilhelm married Anna Keller (born November 17, 1845 in Zurich, Switzerland) in Indian Grove township in 1878, and they had seven children: Emma Ida, William Henry, Louise Ann, Samuel Albert, Benjamin E., Ernest J., and Anna. August Frederick married Caroline Fankhouser (born February 26, 1860 in Ohio), and they had thirteen children: Emma Ida, Charles, George, Lena Helen, John, William, Henry E., Mary Wina, Tadry, Katie, August, Cora, and Josephine. From our own branch, Mary/Marie married Samuel Slagel (born November 30, 1849), and they had four children: Samuel, Daniel, Emma Alice (my great-grandmother), and Joseph J.

Now, about that buffet…

8 thoughts on “Surname Saturday – the Demlers of Baden and Fairbury”

  1. My parents and I will be arriving on July 11 and will be there the following week. We don’t have any definite plans so our schedule should be fairly flexible!

  2. do u have a date when u will b in fairbury? don a cousin bruce herndon would like 2 be here thanx

  3. sam was my great uncle (grandmas brother louise hallock. i have the obit in the fairbury blade 4 1941. mary slagel was my great great aunt. don fairbury, il 61739 thanx

  4. hello, my name is steve demler, born in 1951. samuel albert is my grandfather. i am trying to find his obituary. can you help me with that.

    1. The transcribed text of his obituary is below (taken from a clipping) – I’ll look through my records to see if I can find it and scan it for you too:

      S.A. Demler, Fire Chief Thirty Years, Died Early Monday


      S.A. Demler, a lifelong resident of Fairbury, passed away at the Fairbury hospital on Monday morning at 1:15 o’clock. Mr. Demler had been in failing health for several months past and on February 25 submitted to an operation. While he had been able to be up and around he suffered a relapse on Sunday and was taken to the hospital, where his death occurred.
      Although of a quiet and retiring disposition, Mr. Demler was one of Fairbury’s well liked and highly esteemed citizens and took a keen interest in the affairs of the community.
      For 44 years he had been a member of the Fairbury fire department and 30 of those years he had been fire chief, a position he held at the time of his death. The fact that he was appointed to that position by each succeeding city administration tells of the efficient manner in which he looked after the affairs of the department and his wise judgment in fighting fires.
      Forty-three years of his life had been spent at the lumber yard, of which he was manager at the time of his passing. As a young man he went to work for the late Jesse Stevens when he owned the lumber yard. His ability and integrity won for him the confidence of his employers and for the past 27 years he had been manger of that lumber yard, which in recent years has been owned by the Alexander Lumber company.
      Not only did Mr. Demler fill the position of manger most capably but he had the ability to impart to those working under him…[portion folded over & unreadable] in which the affairs of the business should be conducted. As a result five young men who worked under him went out from here as managers of lumber yards in other cities and four of them still hold those positions. Two are his sons–S.A., Jr., of Farmington, and Victor, of Leroy. The other two are Will Mammen, of Sullivan, and Carl Herndon, of Woodhull. The third son, Dewey, has been employed under his father since graduating from the Fairbury township high school with the class of ’40, and has been in charge of the business… [cut off]

      …Samuel Albert Demler, son of William H. and Anna (Keller) Demler, was born in Fairbury March 10, 1881. He attended the Fairbury schools and at the age of 17 went to work at the lumber yard where he had been employed for all these years.
      At Peoria on July 8, 1906, he was united in marriage ot Miss Mary Mammen. She survives together with three sons and two daughters–Mrs. Carl Herndon, of Macomb; S. A., Jr. of Farmington; Victor, of Leroy, and Dewey Aaron, at home. Also surviving are four grandchildren, Bruce, Mary Jo and Lloyd Herndon, of Woodhull, and Richard Oris Fortna, of Macomb, and a sister, Mrs. W. H. Hallock, of this city, and two brothers, Ben E., of Los Angele, Calif., and Ernest J., of Terra Bella, Calif. His parents and one brother, William, and a sister, Mrs. A. G. Wahl, preceded him in death.
      He was a member of the Modern Woodmen of America.
      Funeral services were held at the Presbyterian church on Wednesday afternoon at two o’clock, Dr. C. S. Davies officiating. Mrs. G. A. Heckman sang one number, with John Rockenbach at the organ. Interment was in Graceland cemetery. Pallbearers were Clair Westervelt, W. B. Fugate, P. J. Keck, E.L Payne, J. A. Patterson, Bert Monroe. The honorary pallbearers, members of the fire department, were Roscoe Combes, Henry Rusterholz, Edward Wince, George Walker, Sr., Carl Vance and Henry Paternoster. The girls in charge of the flowers were Helen McMahon, Marjorie Schnetzler, Mary Fuller, Louise Hirstein, Charline Beckley and Carnell Strode.
      The church filled to capacity and the pulpit platform banked with flowers told of the respect in which Mr. Demler was held in this community.
      Besides the immediate members of the family the following from away were present at the funeral services: John Alexander, Lee Zeller, Harry Hazenbrink, of Aurora; Mrs. Edward Keller, Roland Keller, Mrs. William Keller, John Keller, Mrs. Kirt Tewell, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Tewell, Mrs. Minnie Crowl, of Peoria; Mr. and Mrs. Will Mammen, of Sullivan; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Mammen, Hazel Mammen, John James Mammen, of Edwards Station; Mr. and Mrs. Albert Keller, Mr. and Mrs. Claude Amacher, of Normal; W. E. Martin, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Martin, Mrs. Elsie Miller, of Chatsworth; Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Munson, of Pontiac; R. J. Miller, of Bloomington; F. E. Jones, Mr. and Mrs. T. F. Ralston, of Leroy; Mr. and Mrs. Leon Rouse, Newton Black, Carl Glardon, Farmer City; J. M. Girdwell, of Mansfield; Mr. and Mrs. H C. Weisel, Mr. and Mrs. U. C. Burns, of Galesburg; Mr. and Mrs. Joe Ricconi, Mr. and Mrs. Hugo Ricconi, of Farmington.

      Card of Thanks [cut off]

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