DeVan Family History and Genealogy

Ralph P. DeVan


"Ralph P. Devan, was the son of William Rowley DeVan, brother of Erastus A. DeVan, nephew of Erastus Nathanial DeVan, and cousin of Edwin DeVan and Ransom D. Billings.

Ralph P, Erastus A., Edwin, and Ransom all served in the Civil War.

Ralph P. was wounded in the Battle of Cedar Mountain, more commonly referred to as Slaughter Mountain, ironically named after the owner of the property. The battle resulted in more than 2900 Union casualties. Ralph P. was one of the lucky ones. He lost part of his leg but survived the battle.

This letter was written by Ralph P. Devan to his sister Temperance Devan who was living in Cleveland, Ohio. Ralph wrote the letter two weeks after the battle, while he was recovering in the Wolfe Street General Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. A transcript of the letter follows.





Notice that Ralph P. signed his name (Devan) with a lower case 'v'.


The Wolfe Street Hospital was a residence used as a temporary hospital.




Letter and photo courtesy of Ms Mary Jean Houde, Great-granddaughter of Ralph P. Devan.







The following articles about the R. P. DeVan family are from various newspapers and books about South Dakota history.

All of these articles and images were contributed by Donna (DeVan) Duncan

		From Bruce, South Dakota History Book
		published in 1983:

		This particular article is talking about a
		new school house for Oakwood:

		The Downing Brothers donated the land... 
		...tax levied at five mills was placed on 
		all property for school purposes. A school 
		house 20 feet square inside and 10 feet high 
		was agreed upon.... ...The next term was to 
		begin Dec. 18, 1878 and end march 21, 1879. 
		Mrs. E.W. Smith was hired as teacher at $20 
		per month. Students that term were Walter and 
		Harry Beardsley, Charlie Pay, Abbie and George 
		Ross, Willie Brown, Anderbert De Van, Vinnie 
		Archer, Arthur Kramer and Milo Miller.
Click the thumbnails to see the Oakwood schoolhouse where Ralph P. DeVan's children attended school.


The article then changes subjects:
		...The DeVan family lived where the McMahans did. 
		They were later stricken with a serious attack 
		of typhoid fever, from which three of their 
		children died. Since there was no cemetary, the 
		children were buried in a corner of the farm....
Click the thumbnail to see the corner of the farm where two of the children are buried.


		Brookings County Press, Jan 11, 1883:

		Oakwood News - January 2, 1883

		Mr. and Mrs. R.P. DeVan will celebrate their 
		twentieth anniversary of their married life in 
		a China Wedding on the eve of 13 day of 
		January 1883. Friends will be invited and a 
		good time is expected.


		Brookings County Press, December 1, 1892:

		R.P. DeVan of Oakwood was in the city the 1st 
		of the week and informed the Press reporter 
		that he had just completed a large barn on his 
		farm. We observed the foundation of Mr. DeVan's 
		barn last summer and if the upper part is as 
		good, he certainly has a very commodious and 
		substantial structure.
Click the thumbnails to see Ralph P. DeVan's farm and the barn that still stands today.


		From the book 
		Pioneering in the Upper Sioux Valley
		by Donald D. Parker

		In January 1877 the commissioners met and 
		adjourned to meet in James Natesta's store 
		in Medary. In April they met in C.H. Stearns' 
		home. On Feb. 27, they paid R.P. Devan $1 for 
		making a ballot box for precinct #4. On April 
		17-18 Iver A. Foswick was appointed county 
		superintendent of schools.


		Brookings County Press, Feb 4, 1886:

			    Card of Thanks
		We the undersigned wish to return thanks 
		to the kind friends of Bruce and vicinity 
		for their needful assistance and help 
		through the sickness and death of our 
		little girl. Their kindness will ever be 
		remembered by us. 
				Mr. and Mrs. R. P. Devan


		Brookings Register, Jan 16, 1895:

		H. E. Gudehues writes from Yankton that 
		Mrs. R. P. Devan, a former resident of 
		this city, and who was an inmate of the 
		insane asylum, was found frozen to death 
		about a mile from the city last Saturday 
		night. The unfortunate lady had been 
		growing stronger in mind and was given a 
		good many priviliges and had a room with 
		other curable inmates. During the night 
		she broke through a window and escaped. 
		The thermometer registered 20 degrees 
		below zero that night and when found she 
		was clothed only in her night dress, a 
		thin shawl and a pair of shoes. She had 
		traveled about two miles from the asylum.


		Brookings County Press, July 11, 1895:

		The first birth was in July 1876, May 
		Beardsley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry 
		Beardsley. The first death was also in 1876, 
		Albert E. De Van, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. P. 
		De Van. The first marriage in the town was 
		in 1876, Gus Johnson and a Miss Johnson, the 
		ceremony was performed by Rev. Walter Ross.


		Brookings County Press, July 11, 1895:

		The Press is gratified to be able to 
		state that R. P. De Van, who has been 
		dangerously ill in this city for several
		weeks, is again able to be out among his
		friends. He visited with several of his
		friends around town Monday, and Tuesday
		went out to his home in Oakwood. We hope
		that his recovery may prove permanent.

Click the back button to return