John T Deemar


JOHN T. DEEMAR, M.D., for thirty-five years a physician of Armstrong county, and one who has attained eminence in his profession, was born in the county April 13, 1854, son of Isaac and Margaret Deemar. He belongs to old Westmoreland county stock distinguished for patriotism and high Christian principles.

The Doctor is descended from French Huguenots who fled from their early home in France after the Edict of Nantes, taking refuge in Alsace-Lorraine (now part of Germany), and John Deemar, great-grandfather of Dr. Deemar, was of Alsatian extraction. He first settled in Philadelphia, and later lived in Westmoreland county, Pa. He was a soldier in the French and Indian war, 1755-1763, going on the expedition to Quebec, Canada, subsequently served as a soldier in the Revolution.

Philip Deemar, son of John, above, was a farmer and stock raiser in Armstrong county, especially well known in the latter connection, for he was one of the pioneers to engage in the raising of fine stock here. He introduced a fine grade of horses and cattle into the county. His wife, whose maiden name was Miller, was a daughter of a Revolutionary soldier who served from Westmoreland county. Three of Philip Deemar's sons were soldiers during the Civil war, among them being James K. Deemar, a sharpshooter, who was badly wounded in the battle of Cedar Creek in 1864.

Isaac Deemar, son of Philip, was born in Indiana county, and when a small child removed with his parents to Kiskiminetas township, Armstrong county, where he followed farming all his days, dying here in 1901, aged seventy-five years.

John T. Deemar was the only child of his parents, and his mother dying when he was but seven months old he was reared in the family of his father's uncle, Alexander Y. Black, a Scotchman, a strict Covenanter, and a man of excellent judgment and sterling moral character. He belonged to an old Pennsylvania family of fine standing. To his example and influence Dr. Deemar feels indebted for the development of his best qualities. He attended public school and Elderton Academy, subsequently reading medicine with Dr. John M. St. Clair, now of Indiana, PA., under whose guidance he learned the compounding of medicines, visited patients, and became familiar with the physician's routine. He attended lectures at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, from which institution he was graduated in 1879, after preparation under such noted instructors as Samuel D. Gross, J. M. Da Costa, Joseph Pancoast, James A. Meigs, J. B. Biddle, Elerslie, Wallace, R.E. Rogers, etc. He began his professional career associated with Dr. Thomas C. Lawson, now of Brookville, Pa., but within a short time settled in Manor township, Armstrong county, where he has since resided. For thirty-five years he has been in active practice, and there are few physicians who have practiced longer in Armstrong county. Few doctors in this region are better or more favorably known than he is, and he has a wide circle of warm personal friends among his patients. He is a member of the Armstrong county and Pennsylvania State Medical Societies, and of the American Medical Association, and was a delegate to the fiftieth annual meeting of the American Medical Association in Philadelphia in 1897. Dr. Deemar has often served as a delegate to the State Medical Society meetings, and has been president of the Armstrong County Medical Society-honors which best show his reputation among members of the profession. In politics he is a Republican, and has always taken an active interest in behalf of his party, serving several times as delegate to the National presidential convention at Chicago, in 1908, he and Hon. Edward Carmalt representing the Thirty-seventy Congressional district of Pennsylvania. Fraternally he belongs to Blue Lodge No. 244, R. & A. M., and Orient Chapter, No. 247, R. A. M. , both of Kittanning, and Pittsburgh Commandery, No. 1, K. T. Dr. Deemar was one of the fact witnesses in the celebrated Thaw trial which took place in New York City in 1907.

In 1874 Dr. Deemar was married to Julia A. Moore, daughter of James and Martha (Sloan) Moore, of Whitesburg, Armstrong Co., Pa., and a descendant of old Scotch-Irish pioneer and Revolutionary stock of Westmoreland county. They have had four children: Janet J., wife of John R. Long; Robert Sloan; Dr. Roscoe P., who read two years at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, and later entered Maryland Medical College, from which institution he graduated in 1905 (he began practice in 1907); and Dr. William R. a graduate of the Atlanta School of Medicine and the Medical College of Philadelphia, now in active practice at Tarentum, Pennsylvania.

Dr. John T. Deemar is a consistent member of the Methodist Church, in which he reared his children, and he has served on the official board for a number of years.


Among the prominent pioneer families of Westmoreland, York and other Pennsylvania counties with which the Deemars intermarried were the Rohers, of Armstrong county, connected by marriage with the Deemars in the early days of this section. They are descended from Frederick Rohrer, at one time keeper of a celebrated inn at Hagerstown, Md. He was a Hugunot, a native of France, born July 28, 1742, and came to America during the war between France and Great Britain (1754-1763). In 1766 he married Catherine Deemar, in York county, PA., and shortly afterward moved to Hagerstown, Md. In that year he first visited the "western country," as it was then called, going as far as Pittsburgh, composed at that time of a few Indian huts. With him he brought a number of cattle which he exchanged to Gen. Arthur St. Clair for a tract of land in the Ligonier valley. However, his family remained at Hagerstown. In 1767 he carried the first wheat over the mountains ever brought into the "western country," planting it with other grain on his farm in the valley, and making other preparations for his family, which he removed hither in the fall. He took out a warrant for all that valuable tract of land on the Conemaugh river where it was found profitable to make salt, and was the discoverer of the valuable saline springs. He boiled the first salt made there in an earthen pot, and traded it to the Indians, who were then practically the only inhabitants of Westmoreland county. In 1771 he returned to Hagerstown with his family, finding life among the Indians intolerable, but they came back in 1793, settling at Greensburg, where Mr. Rohrer continued to reside until his death, in 1834. Mr. Rohrer was a prominent man in this region in his day. Some years after he returned to Westmoreland county he was appointed a justice of the peace by Governor McKean, filling the office continuously until a short time before his decease. He was laid to rest in the German burying ground, on the Tuesday following his death, and an unusually large number of citizens attended the funeral. Mr. Rohrer had nine children, forty-two grandchildren, and seventeen great-grandchildren.

Source: Pages 576-577, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed January 1999 by Connie Mateer for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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