The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan



Elam E. Branch, History of Ionia County, Michigan, B. F. Bowen & Co. (1916), pp. 150-152

JOHN A. DEGARMOJohn A. DeGarmo, one of the best-known and most substantial farmers of Ionia county, proprietor of a fine farm of two hundred and eighty acres in the northwest part of Lyons township, is a native son of Michigan, born on a farm at the edge of the town of Highland, in Oakland county, this state, November 12, 1868, son of Archibald Denniston and Emily Cornelia (Olmsted) DeGarmo, both natives of Michigan, the former having been born at Ypsilanti, in Washtenaw county, and the latter in North Plains township, this county, both of whom are still living on the home farm at the edge of Highland, above mentioned, where Mr. DeGarmo makes a specialty of the breeding of registered Shorthorn cattle.

Archibald D. DeGarmo was born on July 12, 1845, son and only child of Henry E. and Martha Virginia (Denniston) DeGarmo, the former of whom was born near the town of Poughkeepsie, New York, August 29, 1809, son of John D. and Sarah (Culver) DeGarmo; and the latter in Orange county, same state, January 29, 1812, daughter of Archibald Denniston and wife, the latter of whom was a Craft, and both of whom were born at Monticello, New York.  Henry E. DeGarmo came to Ionia county from Ypsilanti in May, 1858, and settled at Lyons, where he engaged in the mercantile business, under the firm name of DeGarmo, Webber & Company, in the old town hall building, still standing on the south side of Main street, his partner having been the late George W. Webber and the "company," Dorin M. Fox.  In May, 1861, he moved to Oakland county and settled on a farm on the outskirts of Highland, where both he and his wife spent the remainder of their lives, his death occurring on March 1, 1873, and hers on August 24, 1893.  Henry DeGarmo for many years was prominently identified with the cattle industry in this state.  He brought high-grade Shorthorns into Michigan in 1840 and registered Shorthorns into the state in 1851, 1856 and 1859 and did much toward promoting the breeding of pure-bred stock, establishing a fine business in that line which his son, A. D. DeGarmo, has maintained and developed.  The latter brought registered Shorthorns to Michigan in 1891, 1897 and 1901 and has been closely identified with the breeding of this stock all the active years of his life.  A. D. DeGarmo has lived at his present domicile since April, 1867, and has done well in the cattle business.  He is a Republican, with inclinations toward Socialism.   The only public office to which he ever was elected was that of township clerk, on the Republican ticket, in 1872.  Tiring of the office, he [Begin Page 151] turned the same over to a Democratic neighbor, which act served effectually to "cut off his political head."  For several years, beginning in 1873, he was secretary of the local Grange and took a prominent part in the affairs of that organization.  His paternal grandparents were members of the Hicksite branch of the Quaker church and his maternal grandparents were members of the Episcopal church, but his parents were materialists and he and his wife are of that latter persuasion.

It was on October 4, 1865, at North Plains, this county, that Archibald D. DeGarmo was united in marriage to Emily Cornelia Olmsted, who was born in that place, March 6, 1843, daughter of Jay and Austrus (Case) Olmsted, prominent residents of that section of Ionia county, the former of whom, born on May 21, 1807, died on April 21, 1864, and the latter, born on February 15, 1815, died in September. 1876.  Jay Olmsted and wife were the parents of four children, of whom Mrs. DeGarmo was the second in order of birth, the others being Jay, Jr., Mary Adelaide and Louis Ney.  To A. D. DeGarmo and wife eight children have been born, as follow: Henry Jay, born on October 8, 1866, who married Effie Lockwood and has a son, Raymond, and a daughter, Cornelia, the former of whom married Mila Munger and has a son; John A., the subject of this sketch; Anna Mary, born on January 8, 1871, unmarried; Sarah, December 11, 1873, who married George H. McGillivray and has a son and a daughter; Dale, September 22, 1877, who married H. P. Eddy and has a son, Gerald; Elias Samuel, October 30, 1880, who married Helen Weaver and has two children, June and Nelson J.; Clara, April 29, 1883, who married D. H. Crawford and has a daughter, Wilma, and Irene, May 21, 1885, who married Henry Heptner.

John A. DeGarmo was reared on the paternal farm in the near vicinity of Highland, this state, receiving his education in the schools of that place, and remained at home until after his marriage in the spring of 1892, when he and his wife came to Ionia county and established their home on the fine farm of two hundred and eighty acres in the northwest part of Lyons township, where they have lived ever since and where they are very pleasantly and comfortably situated.  In the spring of 1911 Mr. DeGarmo was elected supervisor of Lyons township, but his private business affairs at that time required his undivided attention and he gave up the office.  His farm is well improved and profitably cultivated and he has long been looked upon as one of the most progressive farmers of that section of the county.

On March 9, 1892, John A. DeGarmo was united in marriage to Ella J. Taylor, who was born at Highland, Michigan, daughter of James and [Begin Page 152] Eliza (Beaumont) Taylor, both natives of Oakland county, the former born at Milford and the latter at Highland, daughter of Francis and Marie Beaumont, the former born in Lincolnshire, England, and the latter in the state of New York.  James Taylor is an honored veteran of the Civil War, having served for three years as a member of Company E, Third Michigan Cavalry, during which service he received a severe wound in one of his legs, which made him a permanent cripple.  Upon the conclusion of his military service he returned to his home county and has followed farming there ever since. Mr. DeGarmo is a Mason and both he and his wife are members of the Order of the Eastern Star and of the Order of Gleaners.  Mr. DeGarmo is also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and in the affairs of all these organizations takes a warm interest.


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