Friday, April 26, 2013

John Deats (Dietz) (1759 - 1836)

Talk about being proud of an ancestor's valor, John Deats is that man!  Our great, great, great, great, great grandfather, John Deats (also known as John Dietz) gave considerable service to the War for Independence.   His pension application was filed in court in Easton, Pennsylvania  on September 14, 1832 while he was a resident of Lower Mount Bethel, Northampton County.  

The following information was obtained from John's Revolutionary War pension declaration.  John was a 17 year old  resident of Somerset County, New Jersey when he entered the service in the spring of 1776, under Captain William Verbryck, whose company belonged to a regiment of militia then commended by Colonel Mark Thompson.  They marched from  Somerset to Elizabeth Town where they remained one month and were then dismissed.  Shortly afterward John was once more drafted.  This time under the company of Captain Joseph Kershaw  marching from Somerset.  He remained in this company for one month. 

In the summer of 1777, they again drafted and marched him in a militia company  under the command of Captain Peter Vroom  to Amboy where they employed him in erecting a breastwork.  After one month another class of the militia  was brought in and  John was able to return home.   But again in the summer of 1777  he was called and marched under the command of Captain Peter Vroom back to Amboy where this time  he was employed as a guard for one month service. 

"Germantown Battle," engraving, circa 1830 *

John states that he was  called  out from time to time under various officers. While under the command of Captain Brokaw and  Colonel Peter Vroom he marched into Pennsylvania. There he participated  in the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777 where Captain Brokaw was killed. After the Battle of Germantown his company was dismissed and he returned home to New Jersey. 

He may have been married by this time.  John married Elizabeth Smith who was said to have been born in New Jersey.  Their first child, a son named William, may have been  born in 1777.  

Later he re-entered the service and took part in Sullivan's Expedition against the Indians. He served from May, 1779 until that following fall, a period of about five months, under Captain Paul Shipman of Greenwich, New Jersey.  He had  crossed the Delaware River at Easton  where he drew some clothes: one pair of overall pantaloons, one pair of shoes, and one shirt.  He then marched to  Wilkes-Barre where he first met General Sullivan, as well as Generals Hand, Poor, and Maxwell.  General Clinton subsequently joined  them at Tioga Point. He marched into the State of New York  and crossed the outlet of Seneca Lake. He was  finally left at a place then known by the name of Catherine's Town (near present-day Watkins Glen) with some baggage.  In the fall of that year he began his  return march and crossed the Delaware again at Easton where he was dismissed  in Greenwich, at his field   officer, Colonel Bond's house.  

That fall John moved to Pennsylvania and took up residence in Lower Mount Bethel, Northampton County.  This document provides us with the names of John and Elizabeth's family.  Their order of birth is not know.    Easton, Pennsylvania Orphans Court,  Min. Book 12, page 511, Nov. 25, 1836.  "Peter Deatz , eldest son and heir at law of John Deatz, late of Lower Mt. Bethel, petitioned  for the settlement of his father's estate.  Peter  states that his father died on or about Oct. 11, 1836, leaving no widow but having seven children:   Peter, Henry, Joseph, MargaretWilliam, Elizabeth, Polly."

John and Elizabeth are buried in the Scotch Irish Cemetery in Lower Mount Bethel, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, also known as the old Presbyterian Cemetery.    The stones are inscribed:

John DeatsApril 6, 1756Oct. 12,  1836      
Elizabeth Deatsdied  May 17 , 1836age  74 years 10 months

The marker at his grave indicates  that he continued to be prepared to serve as a minute man in the Pennsylvania militia after moving to Pennsylvania.  He is listed in the Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Volume 8.  He served as a private in the 2nd Battalion,1st class of the Northampton County militia in 1782.  And again as a corporal in the 6th Battalion, Northampton County militia, July 30 1784 under Captain Lewis Stecher.

His son Peter Deats married Christina Plotts.  They had a son name Philip who married Caroline Ross and had a son named Joseph R. Deats.   Joseph married Amanda Shull on January 17, 1874 at the Richmond Methodist Church in Lower Mount Bethel, Northampton County.   Their daughter Lillie May married George Good.  George and Lillie were the grandparents of Dorothy Good Smith.  Now you know the rest of the story.
  *Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, HSP Print Collection 

                                                       This page  © 2013,  Cynthia H. Smith
                                                          Email  to


  1. Hello my name is John Deats. I was wondering if I'm anyway related to John Deats. I did my own little ancestry thing and I got from me to my dad Donald to my grandad Phillip to my great grandad Zern to George, Jesse, Peter then John. Does that sound right and Can I get some help? I'm stuck at John and I wanna get further but I cant. Any tips? Thanks John Deats.

  2. Hi John,
    Looks like you have found a connection to your ancestor. I do not have a complete list of the children of Peter Deats and Christina Plotts to confirm that Jesse was their son. One resource that I used was a booklet written by Edwin R. Deats, The Deats Families. I found a copy online. Hope this helps. The book will help you with further documentation of this John (1759 - 1836).

  3. I've been going by the census records. It shows all of the family members under the roof at the time it was taken. And thank you for your help. Your blog is very inspiring.

  4. Thank you. Good luck in your research. Try this link to find the Deats book.