Biography of John E. Dempster
Poweshiek County, IA Biographies





John E. Dempster, who owns a farm of three hundred and twenty acres of good land in Chester township, Poweshiek county, and is now living retired, has made his home in Iowa for fifty two years and is well acquainted with the resources of the state and the history of its development since the Civil War.

He is a native of Morgan county, Ohio, born January 3, 1837, and is a son of Thomas and Phebe (Lane) Dempster, the former born on the eastern shore of Maryland and the latter in Dutchess county, New York. The ancestors upon both sides of the house fought in the Revolutionary war, the Crafts, who belonged to the maternal branch, being driven from the ground where the battle of White Plains, New York, was fought. The paternal grandfather moved with his family in the early part of the nineteenth century to Morgan county, and there passed the remainder of his days. Thomas Dempster came to Iowa with his family early in the '6os and settled in Scott county, near Davenport, on a farm of one hundred and twenty acres. He was successful in his business and acquired two hundred and eighty acres. He died in this state and is buried at Vail in Crawford county.

John E. Dempster, of this review, was the second in a family of seven sons. He attended the district schools and worked on his father's farm, coining to Scott county, Iowa, March 5, 1859, his eldest brother having preceded him to this state. He applied himself industriously to agriculture and stock raising and became one of the well known and popular citizens of Scott county. He was commissioned captain of the militia September 17, 1864, and served in that office until the close of the war. He taught school several terms in his early manhood and also purchased an interest in a threshing outfit, with which he was connected for several years. In June, 1868, he bought a farm of one hundred and twenty acres and as the years advanced his prosperity increased until he became the owner of two hundred and eighty acres of good land in Scott county. Since 1900 he has lived in Poweshiek county, where he owns three hundred and twenty acres, which are cultivated by his sons, as he retired from active work several years ago.

In 1868 Mr. Dempster was married to Miss Esther E. Burch, a daughter of Ira and Catherine (Deyo) Burch, and to this union three children were born, two daughters and one son: Emma E., who married E. W. Fisher, a farmer of Chester township, and has three daughters, Esther E., Ruth M. and Dorothy E.; Mary J., the wife of W. W. Sherman, of Ottertail county, Minnesota, and the mother of three children, Harold W., Edith M. and Bernice; and John J., now living upon his own farm, who is married and has two sons, J. Gaylord and Keith G. The mother of these children died December 24, 1873, and Mr. Dempster was again married in 1875, his second union being with Miss Josephine Fitzsimmons, a daughter of Felix Fitzsimmons, a contractor of New York state. Three children were born of this union, two sons and one daughter: Alden H., who married Oral J. Neely and has two children, Gertrude J. and Mildred L.; Edna A., who lives at home; and Roscoe, also living at home.

In politics Mr. Dempster gives his allegiance to the republican party and for many years was one of the active workers for its success. He served as secretary of the independent school district of Linn Grove from 1868 to 1899, a record which probably has never been surpassed in Iowa. He also filled the office of township clerk for three terms. In 1897 he was elected a member of the state legislature from Scott county, filling the position with an ability that reflected upon him the highest credit. He also served in charge of the United States census of 1890 for Scott county. He displayed an interest and efficiency in all his official duties which met the hearty approval of the people, his constant aim being to promote the public good. Successful as a business man and farmer he now enjoys a rest, which he richly earned, and also possesses the confidence and esteem of all who know him.

From:
History of Poweshiek County, Iowa
A Record of settlement, organization
progress and achievement
By: Prof. L. F. Parker
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1911


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