Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


CAPT. ALBERT DEMUTH. The record of the life of such a man as the late Capt. Albert Demuth, is worthy of perpetuation on the pages of history, for various reasons. He was one of the brave defenders of the National Union during its most trying period, the military record of our subject being such as should inspire just pride in his family, descendants and friends. He was one of the well known pioneer citizens of Springfield, having cast his lot here when the place was little more than a straggling village on the frontier, fifty-five- years ago, and he took a delight in the development of the same into the metropolis of the Southwest. He was widely known to the publishing world, having been connected with various printing establishments during his active life, and was a master of the "art preservative" in his day and generation. He was popular among his co-workers, being an industrious, genial and kind-hearted man.

Captain Demuth was born in York, Pennsylvania, October 2, 1833, and there he grew to manhood and received his education. In 1858 he went with his father, John Demuth, to Iowa, and after a year's residence in that state he came to Springfield, Missouri, with the rest of the family and for many years lived in a residence immediately west of the present location of the Masonic Temple on East Walnut street. At an early age Captain Demuth learned the printing business and worked for some time on Harper's Weekly in New York City. He also was employed in Philadelphia printing offices. After coming to Springfield he worked on the Missouri Patriot and several other papers.

When the Civil war came on, Albert Demuth did not hesitate to cast his fortunes with the Federal government and he enlisted from Greene county on December 169, 1861, in Colonel Phelps' regiment, to serve six months and, was mustered into the service of the United States at Rolla,. Missouri, as a private and was appointed first orderly sergeant under Capt. George B. McElhannan of Company H, John S. Phelps commanding this volunteer regiment, which regiment was chiefly engaged in protecting the lives and property of citizens of that part of the state and the surrounding country against attacks by guerrillas. Later the regiment was sent into Arkansas and participated in a number of engagements such as Bentonville, Leetown and the important battle of Pea Ridge. On March 7, 1862, at Pea Ridge, Mr. Demuth was seriously wounded in the right knee, which a musket ball entered, causing permanent injury. He was sent to a hospital at Cassville, Missouri, where he remained a few days, and, being thus disabled for effective service, with his regiment, he was honorably discharged, May 12, 1862, at Springfield, the entire regiment being mustered out at that time, the term of enlistment expiring. His wound healing rapidly, Mr. Demuth re-enlisted on June 19, 1862, to serve three years or during the war, and was mustered into service at Springfield in Company C, Eighth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, under Capt. George L. Childress and Col. W. F. Geiger, and our subject was soon promoted from private to first lieutenant of his company on August 6th, following, and for meritorious conduct and faithful service he was promoted to the rank of captain on July 3, 1863. This was one of the most active and efficient regiments of cavalry ever sent out by Missouri and was one of the best in the western army. It performed uncomplainingly dangerous and arduous service wherever assigned. It was attached to the Second Brigade, Cavalry Division, Seventh Corps, Army of the Frontier, and participated in the following engagements: Lamar, Prairie Grove, Miller's Lane, Van Buren Creek, Chalk Bluff, Brownsville, Bayou Metoe, Bayou LaFurche, Little Rock, Little Red River, Augusta, Pumpkin Bend, Clarendo, Long Prairie and a number of skirmishes in Missouri and Arkansas. In February, 1865, the command was dismounted and. moved to Little Rock where it performed outpost and picket duty until May 1st, of that year, when the regiment was again mounted and ordered to Camden to receive the surrender of Kirby Smith's command, and afterwards the regiment did scout duty. Captain Demuth was honorably discharged at Little Rock, June 30, 1865.

After his career in the army, Captain Demuth returned to Springfield and resumed his trade. On April 23, 1867, he married Nanna M. Foss, who was born near Boston, Massachusetts, September 15, 1848, and is a daughter of Walter and Hannah (Bodge) Foss, natives of the state of Maine, and to that state they returned when Mrs. Demuth was a small child, but subsequently the family removed to Ohio where Mrs. Demuth received her education. Her mother died in Ohio. Finally she accompanied her sister, Mrs. W. C. Peck, to Springfield, Missouri. In his earlier life Mr. Foss was engaged in the manufacture of pianos in Boston, Massachusetts.

The union of Captain Demuth and wife was without issue. In politics the captain was a Republican. He served in various county offices as deputy and was familiar with the early records. He was elected county clerk in 1866 and served for twelve years in that capacity, his long retention being sufficient evidence of his ability and the confidence reposed in him by his constituents. He was deputy county clerk under Mr. Patton, later under Mr. Cloud until a month before his death. He was an active member of Capt. John Matthews Post, No. 69, Grand Army of the Republic, of which he was at one time commander, later quartermaster. He took the school enumeration of the Springfield district twice and resigned as registrar In the Second ward only a few days prior to his death.

Mrs. Demuth, who proved to be a most faithful helpmeet, owns a cozy home on South Grant street. She is a member of Grace Methodist Episcopal church, and is president of the Ladies—Circle of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The death of Captain Demuth occurred, November 17, 4911, at the age of seventy-eight years. His funeral was a large one, many of the older citizens of Springfield, who had known him well, attended After Rev. S. B. Campbell, pastor of Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, delivered the funeral sermon, W. C. Calland, commander of the local post of the Grank Army of the Republic, eulogized our subject as a soldier and citizen. The casket was covered with a large United States flag and many beautiful floral tributes. The pallbearers were W. C. Calland, A. R. McDonald, H. E. Patton, J. T. Walker, John B. Waddill and W. E. Smith. Interment was made in Maple Park cemetery, and the large flag, covered with flowers, was left on the grave.

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