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55 YEARS ON THE Concert Platform THE DE MOSS ENTERTAINERS Figure 1872 1928 Figure Americas World Famous Concert Family By GEORGE G. DeMOSS Address Box 58, Station N, New York City, N. Y. A couple decades after the brave missionaries, Lee, Whitman, Spaulding and others had established and successfully carried on the great missionary work of the Pacific northwest, the work was brought to a standstill by the massacre of Marcus Whitman and the subsequent Indian Wars. This brought ruin and chaos to the missionary work, especially that east of the Cascade Mountains. Peace having been restored, the various churches resumed their missionary activities. James M. DeMoss in 1862, the Old Pioneer Musician and Missionary. Rev. James M. DeMoss, an ordained minister and Gospel singer of the United Brethren Church, and his musical wife, Elizabeth Bone-brake DeMoss, were among those who volunteered to fill up the ranks in the missionary fields of the far west. With three yoke of cattle and the usual covered wagon, they turned their faces toward the land of the setting sun. Crossing a wilderness of mighty plains and rugged mountains, through alkaline dust and sagebrush desert, they were glad when a days drive was accomplished and they were ten or fifteen miles nearer their goal. In 1862 there was a great stream of emigration to the far west. People located on claims from the Umatilla Landing, on the Columbia River, to the Boise River. Trading posts were established, as by magic, in the valleys and along the rivers and their tributaries. Ben Hailey had established a stage line, and James DeMoss helped get the Post Offices at Weiser, North Powder, and at Cove. Our singing preacher was in demand from Fort Boise to Walla Walla; he would preach, hold singing schools, and officiate at funerals and marriages. Being a civil engineer, he helped locate and build bridges across the Powder Rivers and the Grande Round Rivers, in fact, he was interested in every good thing that would build up the Oregon country. He located the first saw-mill Ezra Meeker and James M. DeMoss in eastern Oregon, in Grande Round valley. He worked all day in the mill and would conduct revival meetings or singing schools week nights besides maintaining two regular church services on Sunday. He was blessed with a little family of five, Henry, George, Lizzie, Minnie and May. Brave, zealous, energetic people were those early pioneer missionaries. Volumes could be written of their bravery in converting a wilderness into a civilized country. It was in the spring of 1872, when the balmy chinook was blowing gently and all nature rejoicing, that father came in singing. As he entered our domicile he turned to Mother and said, Rev. H. K. Hines wants us to give concerts with our musical family and he has an organ for us. After some consultation it was decided to undertake this new work and we were soon busy arranging a program which consisted of Madrigals, vocal duettes by Father and Mother, a solo by each of the children and a lecture on the science of music. It was midsummer before the program was arranged to suit. Father said Now we are about to start on our first tour. I have the spring wagon all fixed up, a good team, a camping outfit, a rack behind for the organ and seats for all. Ascending the Blue Mountains enroute to Grande Round Valley, where our first pay concert was to be given, we camped in the beautiful Summit Meadow. We placed our little organ under a big evergreen tree and Father said, This fine evening we will build a bonfire and will go through the entire program just as we shall in our regular concert. There was a large Indian camp across the meadow and when we started the music the Indians came sauntering over with blankets wrapped about them and squatted in a circle around us. Thus our first public rehearsal was given to the wild men of the mountains. The grunt of the Indians as we finished the program pleased Father greatly, and he said If we can please the preachers at Walla Walla, and with the same program please the wild men of the mountains, we surely ought to please the multitudes of the world. Grande Round Valley was never more beautiful. The ripening crops of the settlers around the foothills contrasted with the grazing country of the sandridge in the center of the valley and the evergreen mountains that encircled made the panorama complete. It was the afternoon of August 10th, A. D. 1872 that we rounded Hendershot's Point. Old Mt. Fannie stood out in bold relief and the soft west wind was blowing gently, Well do I remember the first Fourth of July Celebration in Union County said Father, the time we hoisted the first flag our good women had made. While it was waving, the settlers joined me in singing the Star Spangled Banner. Those were lively times during the Reconstruction Period. It seemed destined that our first paid entertainment should be at the beautiful Forest Cove where Father built the first saw-mill in Union County. We are going to have a big crowd, said Dunham Wright as he shook Father's hand. and what say you that Hendershot and I keep the door. The school-house was clean and with a dozen candles placed on blocks of wood we had splendid lights, and all had a good time. We were booked at all the settlements and towns in the valley and over at the Boise mines. The miners were especially fond of Mother's singing and they would toss money on the platform when she was singing her beautiful solos. From Fort Boise we launched out into the great Shoshone desert. In that arid country only one gray sagebrush plain meets the vision, until the horizon merges into the blue desert sky. For days we drove along without meeting any save the rumbling old stage with its tired looking occupants. May, Father, Mother, Minnie, Lizzie, George and Henry, Sixth Annual Tour. After crossing the dreamy old Snake River and had passed through the same undulating sage-brush waste and over a divide, we came to the head of Raft River and camped in a little mountain meadow with a willow bordered streamlet coursing through it. Twilight deepened and the Autumn moon cast into the stream its wierd reflections. Father stepped out on a knoll, pointing he said, Do you see those fires? Those are Indian signal fires, we are to be attacked in the early morning. Everything was soon placed in the wagon and the team hitched up and we started, Now Henry, This picture taken in Salt Lake City in 1882. you stay and build a big fire until we are out of hearing, then follow as fast as you can and we will make a drive for our lives. Little Henry did as he was told and we drove hastily down Raft River and arrived at City Rocks at daybreak. There we met the U. S. Cavalry who told us the Indians were on the war path, had massacred hostlers, driven off stage stock and that there was a general outbreak. At Ogden we sold our team, wagon and organ, purchased railway tickets and got aboard the primitive Union Pacific train. There were no airbrakes in those days, a breakeman was stationed out on a cold platform at the end of each coach and for lights on the train we had candles in brass candlesticks which were attached to the sides of the coaches. We closed our first annual tour at DesMoines, Iowa. The next decade we toured the middle west, mostly by team and stage as the railroads were still a new project. Cattle raising was a great industry on the plains from the Rio Grande to the Canadian border. At the roundup season when they were gathering the thousands of cattle at branding time it surely was a great sight. We would have audiences of cow-boys in full regalia who would ride into town to our concerts, shooting their guns and yelling as they came. Our cheerful program of sacred, classical and patriotic music was well received and at times they would encore with their revolvers, by shooting out of the open windows or by hammering on the floor with their guns. We spent several seasons back in the Rocky Mountains, from Mexico to the Northwest territories. A mining boom Amongst the Poplars in DeMoss Springs Park had started and people were rushing to Denver, Leadville, Cripple Creek, Butte and other new camps. We never played for a dance or drank their liquors but we had the very best of order and the old miners, trappers and prospectors would come many miles to hear our concerts. On account of the ill health of Mother we remained in the far west until 1888. While touring in northern California in September 1886 our family were stricken with the typhoid malaria fever and at the hamlet of Henley, (now Hornbrook) our little sister May was taken from us and we buried her 'Neath the evergreens there. Mother, who was not very strong at best, was failing very fast. It was at Roseburg, Oregon, the morning of December 28th, as the glorious sun rose over the mountains, reflecting its bright rays on the sparkling diamond drops of dew on the trees, that we were called to her bedside. Henry stepped forward and clasped her hand, she exhorted and closed by saying And never forget to pray. George knelt by the bed and she placed her hand on his head, Be a good man and never forget to pray. Lizzie and Minnie took their turns at the bedside, Trust in Jesus and never forget to pray, I know that my redeemer liveth. Then she requested us to sing for her. Father stood on one side of the bed, the doctor on the other and we four children at the foot. Mother called for the different selections which we sang, during the singing her face was brilliant with a triumphant smile. At the close of the last stanza of The Sweet Bye and Bye she closed her eyes and Mother was gone. It was the year 1889 we toured down the Mississippi valley to New Orleans and through the southland of America. The land of the Cotton and the Cane, the Magnolias, the palmetto and where the alligator basks in the sunlight and the darkey sleeps with upturned face to the mid-day sun. After a successful tour northward through the Carolinas and Virginia, we remained the winter of 1889 and '90 in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Baltimore greeted us with splendid crowds, we then worked north playing with great success in Philadelphia, New York and Boston and the intermediate cities until the spring of 1893 when we toured westward to Chicago where we arranged to spend our summer vacation at the Columbian Exposition. When we entered the grounds many recognized us and it was only a few days until it was known that The DeMoss Lyric Bards. The Famous Song Writers and Singers of the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893. the DeMoss Lyric Bards of Oregon were attending the fair. We received a cordial invitation from Director General George R. Davis asking if we would come to the administration building and sing for him, Mr. Wright, and Mr. J. Guy Lewis, commissioners from Oregon. Dr. Blalocks of Washington and Mr. Wells of Idaho accompanied us. At the close of our recital, Mr. Davis thanked us for the pleasure we had given him and asked that we write songs for the special occasions of the Exposition, he also engaged us to give daily concerts in the Horticultural palace. We wrote songs for each of the states of the U. S. A. which were used at the different state day celebrations during the fair. We entertained Governors, Presidents and Royalties, and had a wonderful time during the entire exposition. The DeMoss Quartette, When They Toured Europe in 1895. When we were touring Ohio the next season, 1894, and were filling engagements in Columbus, Ohio, Governor McKinley arranged a reception for us in the State House at which time we gave a recital in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. In each case we stood in front of the speaker's desk and were introduced to each of the Senators and Representatives. At the close of the reception in bidding us adieu Mr. McKinley said We appreciate the great work you have done at the Columbian Exposition for Ohio and also for our Great United States. In the year 1895 we (the DeMoss Quartette, consisting of Henry, George, Lizzie and Minnie) crossed over to Great The Sherman Highway at DeMoss Springs Ranch in Oregon. Britain and each took a special course of music with Mr. Howell, Mr. Arnold, Mr. Battison Haynes, Mr. Oswald and Mr. Solomon, all of the Royal Academy of Music. We gave entertainments with great success in England and Wales and also visited Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland, returning to America in 1896 where we spent our vacation at our Oregon Ranch. The following fall when we were touring California our sister, Minnie was poisoned with poison oak and in a few days she was taken from us. Then we crossed o'er the mountains, the Siskiyou mountains so lonely to me. In the year 1897, we reorganized the quartette and secured Miss Mamie Aurelia Davis to sing contralto. In 1899 George became so charmed with the Contralto that he proposed to have her change her name, and they were married at Omaha, Nebraska, while the Company were filling engagements at the Omaha Exposition. 34th Annual Tour. George DeMoss, Lizzie DeMoss Davis, Aurelia DeMoss, Waldo Davis, Talmage Davis and Herschel Davis. Father, the old pioneer missionary and musician, James M. DeMoss, passed over to his reward in 1912. His last words were Go on with the good work, making people happy. Lizzie DeMoss Davis, with her husband, P. Waldo Davis, and her family retired in 1910, and is now living in Portland, Oregon. Elbert T. DeMoss was married to Miss Mae Belle Oliver of Scranton, Pennsylvania, December 2, 1926, just before the DeMoss Ensemble sailed for England. Elbert T. DeMoss, at the age of 2 years, when he began his concert career. AMERICA'S WORLD FAMOUS CONCERT FAMILY have traveled by the overland stage, by train, by ocean steamer and automobile. Every year for fifty-five years, to 1927, these famous entertainers were known to the public from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and from the Lakes to the Gulf. Scarcely a city, shore or mountain pass of this great nation but has resounded to the strains of the voices and instruments of the DeMoss Family Concert Entertainers of Oregon, as they sang in praise of God and country. In every city, in every State of America, in every Province of Canada and in many of the countries of Europe, they have entertained multitudes, until their name has become a household word in many lands. The past season, 1926, they toured from New York to Portland Oregon and back and across the Atlantic to Great Britain. Mae Belle, Elbert, George, Aurelia, Homer and Florence. THE PERSONNEL FOR THE SEASON OF 1927 GEORGE GRANT DeMOSS, one of the charter members of the DeMoss Entertainers, was born in the beautiful Forest Cove in Grand Rounde Valley, not far from LaGrande, Oregon, and when he was but five years of age he commenced his career. It is phenomenal to note that he has taken an active part in each of the DeMoss Concerts since 1872. He is director of the program, a composer, and a versatile entertainer. George G. DeMoss, Playing two Cornets at once, Alto on one and Soprano on the other. MRS. MAMIE AURELIA DeMOSS, a descendant of the prominent and famous Davis family of the south, has been with the organization for more than a quarter of a century. She is charming, and is the possessor of a great musical talent. Elbert and Homer DeMoss in 1908. ELBERT TALMAGE DeMOSS, was born at Petoskey, Michigan, while we were spending our summer vacation. At the age of two years he sang in the concerts, and at five years began playing violin. He is a skilled violinist and demonstrates his versatility as a capable entertainer. His first teacher was Louis Persinger of San Francisco. He is also a pupil of Eichenlaub and Leplat of Portland, Geiger of Philadelphia, and Alexander Blaugh and Larison of New York City. HOMER BONEBRAKE DeMOSS, was born at DeMoss Springs, Oregon. He has been with the organization since a child. He commenced playing flute at the age of eight years. He thrills his audiences with his marvelous tones and excellent technique. He is a pupil of Millard of Portland, Oregon, and George Barrere of New York City. MAY BELLE DeMOSS, a pupil of Hermoine Montanye, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a native of Pennsylvania, is an accomplished and promising young artist. FLORENCE SMITH, M. B., a graduate of the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, Ill., finished her theoretical work with Olaf Anderson and piano work with Henoit I. Levy of Chicago. She is a native of Indiana, U. S. A. Is a skilled accompanist and has the charming ability of executing the most difficult technique. HENRY S. DEMOSS. One of the charter members, the advance manager, poet and composer, spends much of his time writing and composing at the DeMoss Springs Ranch in Oregon, U. S. A. Henry S. DeMoss, Advance Manager SWEET OREGON 'Twas a cold foggy morning many years ago in one of the large cities of America that Mother heard music in the hotel parlor. Quietly entering the parlor she found Henry seated at the piano, his fingers rambling o'er the keyboard. Henry, what is that beautiful piece you are playing? He said, Mother, I'm homesick, and he commenced singing the song he had just composed, Sweet Oregon. I'm thinking now of a beautiful land, Oregon, Oregon. With rivers and valleys and mountains grand, Oregon, sweet Oregon. From the mountains' high peaks all covered with snow, A swift, limpid streamlet doth flow By the home of my youth, which I ever adore, Oh! Oregon, my home. I think of thy forests and prairies wide, Oregon, Oregon. The mines, the fish and the ocean tide, Oregon, sweet Oregon. Where the mighty Columbia rolls down to the sea, And the pines gently echo the breeze, Like a beautiful dream to my memory comes, Oh! Oregon, my home. I long to dwell in my mountain home, Oregon, Oregon. Away from thy vales I would n'er wish to roam, Oregon, sweet Oregon. I sigh for thy bountiful harvests again, Thy fruit and thy calm, gentle rain, May thy pure, balmy air e'er waft freedom's blest song, Oh! Oregon, my home. Sheet music of the song, Sweet Oregon, is 25 cents per copy; the piano word roll is $1.00 per roll. Phonograph records of a Violin solo played by Elbert DeMoss, and a Flute solo played by Homer DeMoss, are 75 cents per record. Other compositions of the DeMoss Lyric Bards can be purchased at the close of the concert, or by addressing, DeMoss Concert Entertainers, Box 58, Station N, New York City, N. Y.
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||
|Personal Name Subject||
DeMoss, George G.
DeMoss, Mae Belle
|Corporate Name Subject||DeMoss Entertainers|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
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|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||17|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|