6th US Cavalry, cavalry, Civil War, Colorado, DeRemer Water Wheel, Glenwood Springs, Shoshone power plant
I nearly titled this post “Down the Rabbit Hole.” It started as a brief, quick post about a private from the 6th Cavalry, but quickly assumed a life of its own. A story started in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it spends much of its time in my home of Colorado. A long weekend later, it is finally complete.
Jared Russell DeRemer was born on July 2, 1843 in Milesburg, Pennsylvania. He was the second child and eldest son of Isaac and Matilda DeRemer, both born in New Jersey. The family moved around Pennsylvania as Jared grew up, his father working as a carpenter. In 1850 they lived in Mauch Chunk, Carbon county, according to the census. In 1860 they lived in Dennison township, Luzerne County. Jared, age 17, was working as a machinist and living with his parents.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Jared joined the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry. It was a somewhat unusual regiment, in that it originally had 15 companies. Company N was raised in Luzerne county, and Jared enlisted on August 30, 1861. The regiment received its initial training at Oxford Park in Philadelphia, and was serving in the area of Harpers Ferry before the end of the year. It spent the majority of its time before the battle of Antietam serving in this region. The regiment suffered heavily at Antietam, with 266 casualties. On October 28, 1862, the 147th Pennsylvania Infantry was formed from five companies of the 28th Pennsylvania and three new companies. All assigned personnel from these companies were transferred to the new regiment, but DeRemer had departed days before.
On October 25, 1862, Jared transferred to Company B, 6th U.S. Cavalry at Knoxville, Maryland. His enlistment documents describe him as 19 years old and 5’ 10” tall, with blue eyes, light hair, and a light complexion.
Private DeRemer’s service with the 6th U.S. Cavalry was brief but eventful. Once he left the dismount camp and joined the regiment, his company served as General Sumner’s escort during the battle of Fredericksburg in December. After a long winter of picketing fords across the Rappahannock, he was part of Stoneman’s Raid in May 1863. The following month he fought at Brandy Station, and then several weeks of fighting and hard riding on the way to Gettysburg. Jared was one of the very fortunate few to not be killed, wounded or captured in the regiment’s fatal encounter at Fairfield, Pennsylvania on July 3rd. He continued to serve with the regiment during the pursuit back to Virginia and on Cavalry Corps headquarters escort duty for the remainder of the year, including a second fight at Brandy Station in August. The cumulative effects of this campaigning took their toll, however. DeRemer was discharged due to disability on December 18, 1863 at McClellan Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He applied for an invalid pension on February 13, 1864, and received his certificate.
Jared returned to his family, who had moved to Hampton, New Jersey. In 1869, he married Nancy Macrina Wass. She was born in April 1857, a native of Easton, Pennsylvania. After several years, Jared and his brother James Richard Deremer left the family in New Jersey and moved to Colorado to seek their fortunes.
The two were very successful, and moved most of the rest of the family to Pueblo, Colorado over the following years. James Richard was a very prominent civil engineer and real estate investor. He built Pueblo’s first opera house, which burned to the ground several years later, and the DeRemer Hotel. This building still stands, and is currently the home of Schwabe Real Estate at 230 South Union Avenue.
Jared, on the other hand, worked for the railroads on survey crews, and lived across the state. Jared and Nancy welcomed their son, named James Silas after his brother, in 1880. In 1885, Jared and Nancy lived in Chaffee County, according to the state census. In 1887, Jared was assigned to oversee the construction of the South Pacific Railroad Company railroad through Glenwood Canyon, and the family moved to Glenwood Springs.
Glenwood Springs was very good to the DeRemer family, and Jared decided to put down roots. In 1893, he built a house at 1008 Colorado Avenue in Glenwood Springs that is still in use today as an apartment building.
Jared not only was able to complete the difficult railroad survey through the canyon, he was the locator and mastermind behind the Shoshone hydroelectric plant in Glenwood Canyon. This power plant is still in operation today, with the oldest and biggest water right on the upper Colorado River. It provides fifteen megawatts of electricity and is a cornerstone of the management of the upper Colorado River. In Colorado, precedent of water rights is determined by age, not size. Even though small by today’s power plant output measurements, Shoshone has the right to its water flow. This ensures that it retains flow even with the water diverted from the Colorado basin to supply Denver and eastern Colorado.
The family resided here during the 1900 census. In 1904, his son married Josephine Agnes Heichner, born in Colorado of German parents.
In 1908, he patented the DeRemer Ball Bearing Water Wheel, a valve used in hydroelectric plants. He subsequently formed the DeRemer Water Wheel Company with his son and served as its manager and president until 1916.
His wife Nancy died on March 24, 1910 in Glenwood Springs, according to the local newspaper and the Colorado Springs Gazette. She was initially buried in Rosebud Cemetery in Glenwood Springs, then later moved to be with her husband. According to the 1910 census in June, Jared was a widower, with his son and daughter in law residing with him.
In 1916, his son accepted a position in Salida, Colorado working as an engineer for the Durango & Rio Grande Railroad. With nothing left to tie him to Glenwood Springs, Jared sold his house to a promising young lawyer and returned to the family homestead in New Jersey the following year.
Jared Russell DeRemer died in Hampton, New Jersey in 1918. He is buried next to his wife in Union Brick Cemetery, Blairstown, New Jersey.