Samuel Parker Eton Deems

b. 29 March 1854, d. 11 December 1935

Father*Mark Flemming Deems b. 2 Feb 1815, d. 7 Sep 1880
Mother*Margaret Baker b. 1 Sep 1817, d. 26 May 1864
Samuel Parker Eton Deems|b. 29 Mar 1854\nd. 11 Dec 1935|p1736.htm|Mark Flemming Deems|b. 2 Feb 1815\nd. 7 Sep 1880|p174.htm|Margaret Baker|b. 1 Sep 1817\nd. 26 May 1864|p1727.htm|George C. Deems|b. 1774\nd. 27 Aug 1852|p127.htm|Elizabeth Fisher|b. 1782\nd. 15 Apr 1840|p128.htm|||||||

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Johannes Diehm USA

Occupation*Samuel Parker Eton Deems occupation at Trail Blazer, Miner, Rancher, Farmer. 

Sam Deems was one of those western pioneers that was so busy making history, he had little time to record the action, so the world knows very little about this man whose life was rich in pioneermanship. He lived in Jefferson County near Steel City from 1910 until his death in 1935. Sam Deems was born in West Pike Township, Washington County, PA in 1854. His family were farmers, early friends and relatives said Sam was born for the west. As a youth, he spent long hours roaming through the hilly forest that surrounded their large log cabin. He was a good shot with both a rifle and a revolver. His favorite target was falling leaves. In 1873 at the age of 19, Deems headed for the west. Records show that he stopped for a short time in Chillicothe, MO where he worked on a ranch. The next 20 years were spent on the cutting edge of the new west. All that is known about these years are the occasional tales, stories and experiences related to friends and relatives. He mined for gold in Colorado before the big rush at Cripple Creek in 1891. He knew Calamity Jane in Utah, but didn't boast about it. He wondered why she was made a western hero. He met Buffalo Bill ( William F. Cody) and knew him as a showman, but had little to say about his contributions to the building of the west. He rode the Chisholm Trail west and the Oregon Trail north. From the stories told, it appears that Sam Deems greatest love was blazing new trails through the mountains and across the deserts and prairies. One such trail led from Oregon to Nebraska. Another from Utah through Colorado to North Platte, Nebraska. Over these trails, he drove thousands of sheep. Stories he told in later life, generally pertained to the little happenings along the way. To illustrate: to get sheep across the river, they would put a sack over the eyes of a few lead sheep, throw them in the river, head them toward the opposite bank, then pull the sack from their eyes. Seeing the land ahead, the sheep made a fast trip across the river. He never worried about rattle snakes, bears or bugs, because he said, "I always a little lariat rope circleing my bed rool." His biggest problem during those many years on the trail was not money or Indians, or food or wild animals or weather, it was finding suitable water. He always insisted that water was the limiting factor in the development of the great southwest. Sam Deems never pictures himself as a Wild Western Cowboy or one daring in work and living. He felt it was his generations's privilge to open the west. And without doubt, he secretly hoped he helped tame and prepare the west for following generations. In the 1880's, the barbed wire fence, the sod breaking plow and the railroads started to slow and almost halt the driving animals over land. These historic trails started to fade. Many of the men that rode good horses and had gold nuggets in their pockets, slowed down and became homesteaders. Sam Deems was in that group. He selected his land near Lodgepole Creek, Nebraska. from then on sam Deems was a rancher, a farmer and a family man. Some of the characteristics of this real western pioneer tends to bring into focus, the true picture of the unpublicized builders of the west. When changes became eminent, Deems married and established a home. His daring spirit and his tireless efforts turned to making a new community a center for family living. He worked for better rural schools by insisting that only well qualified teachers be hired. He worked to establish high schools in every town. When his first daughter was born, he quit cussing. Neighbors say that the worst word they ever heard Deems say was "Oh Shonney". When his son was born he gave up smoking. When he traded farms his only contract was a hand shake. Hired men said, Mr. Deems worked them hard, but was always fair and concerned with their future. Deems sent each of his three children to college.
Howard Deems in submitting this story about his father wrote, "During this Bicentennial, I am anxious to see stories about the real people that made the west, not a re-telling of events that may or may not have been true and important. 
Burial*He was buried at Fairbury Cemetery. 
Birth*He was born on 29 March 1854 at West Pike Run Twp, Washington Co, Pennsylvania. 
Marriage*He married Clara M Brown on 28 March 1895 at Pleasant Dale, Nebraska. 
Death*Samuel Parker Eton Deems died on 11 December 1935 at Steele City, Nebraska, at age 81. 


Clara M Brown b. unknown, d. unknown

Last Edited31 Jan 2009