DeVan Family History and Genealogy

Erastus A. DeVan


From COMPENDIUM OF BIOGRAPHY, Date unknown:

"ERASTUS A. DEVAN, whose portrait appears on another page of this book, is a popular citizen of Bryant, Hamlin county, and the postmaster at that place. He was born in Windsor township, Ashtabula county, Ohio, July 29, 1829, and is a son of William R. Devan, who was born in New York state, and died near Cleveland, Ohio, about the year 1855. The father was a farmer by occupation, and was a soldier in the war of 1812. He married, in Ohio, Miss Hannah Fenton, a native of the Empire state. She died at Sparta, Wisconsin, in 1884, leaving a family of seven children, three sons and four daughters, of whom our subject is the first born.

Mr. Devan left home at the early age of eight years and began to work on a farm, attending school during the winters. At the age of fourteen years he began sailing on the Great Lakes, between Buffalo and Chicago, and was thus engaged seven years after which he took up the trade of wagon making in Eaglesville, Ohio, continuing in business there until 1853. He then plied his trade in Hastings, Minnesota, until the fall of 1859, and in Mauston, Wisconsin, until the breaking out of the Civil War. He enlisted in Company F, Sixteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, at Madison, Wisconsin, in October, 1861, and was in camp at Madison until March, 1862. March 10, of that year he left for Pittsburg Landing and participated in that battle April 6, and was seriously wounded during the engagement. He was taken to the hospital at Savannah, Tennessee. Late in June of that year he was transferred to the hospital at Cincinnatti, and, after remaining there about fifteen days, he, together with many others, was sent home on a furlough for thirty days, but at the expiration of thirty days, Mr. Devan had not sufficiently recovered from his wound to again enter service and was discharged on the account of disability. He also found it impossible to engage in any line of business until the fall of 1863, when he accepted a position as grain buyer for Windsor & Dockstoder at Mauston, and continued with them one year. He then re-enlisted in Company C, Forty-seventh Infantry Volunteers, and was commissioned orderly sergeant and was in camp at Camp Randall until March, 1865, and was then transferred to Tullahoma, Tennessee, where the regiment was stationed until September 1865, and was mustered out at Nashville, Tennessee. Mr Devan then returned to his home in Wisconsin and was there engaged in buying grain until 1880, the date of his settlement in De Smet, Kingsbury county, South Dakota, when he took claim four miles northeast of the city, which he proved up and then opened a restaurant in the city of DeSmet. In 1889 he moved to Bryant, South Dakota, and opened the Commercial hotel for six and a half years. After discontinuing this work, he operated a fruit business for one year, or until July 1, 1897, when he was appointed postmaster at Bryant.

Mr. Devan has been twice married. His first wife was Julia Hoyt, to whom he was united in the bonds of wedlock in Ashtabula county, Ohio, in 1850. She was born September 5, 1830. To this union were born two children: Irene, born in Ohio, September 8, 1851, now living at home; and Frank E., born in Mauston, Wisconsin, now living in Mound City, South Dakota, where he is engaged in the mercantile business. Mrs. Devan died in December, 1869, in Mauston, Wisconsin, and our subject was subsequently married, in Wisconsin, to Miss Lucinda Butterfield, a native of Jefferson county, New York, where she was born November 27, 1844, and this union has been blessed by the advent of one child, Charles, born in Mauston, Wisconsin, and died in May, 1876. Mr. Devan is a member of the Masonic order, the Eastern Star, the A. O. U. W., the G. A. R., and the Veterans' Union of Bryant. Politically he is a Republican."

Article contributed by Roger Frain.

Webmaster's note: This article is reproduced as originally written. There seems to be many variations in the spelling of the DeVan name. Some spelled it "DeVan"; others spelled it "Devan".




     Erastus DeVan            Julia Ann (Hoyt) DeVan



Julia Ann (Hoyt) DeVan and Irene ca 1855

Lucinda and Erastus in front of their Hotel in Bryant, SD.
Photos contributed by Donna (DeVan) Duncan.

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