Letter To Family
Hello all. For those of you who don't remember me, I am Joe Deuel's youngest child, Cindy. My brother,
Richie and I have been doing genealogical research on the Deuels for about two years. We've discovered a
lot, but have become stuck. Per Keith's suggestion, I am writing this with the hope that one of you will
remember a family story that will give us a clue. Also, please forward this message to any Deuels who you
feel might want to help.
Below is a summary of the research done so far.
General Family History
- Nearly all Deuels are related. The descend from William Deville who came to Massachusetts from
Spaulding, Lincolnshire, England in 1640.
- It is known with some certainty that William Deville was the grandson of Richard Deville who was born in
France in 1540.
- Richie and I are working on obtaining a thesis written by Sir Oscar Deville in 1985, which explores the
family in the 13 & 1400s.
- Many of the (Deville, Devol, Deuel, Duell, etc.) lines are extremely well documented. Once we are able to
connect our line into one of those lines, we will know our family tree at least to 1540.
Dutchess County Deuels
- Origin of the Name - apparently the name Deuel was created by the great-grandson of the above-mentioned,
William Deville. His name was Benjamin Devol. He originally lived in Tiverton, RI, but later began his own
estate in Dutchess Co., NY (still called Deuel Hollow to this day). The story of the name is that Benjamin,
being a Quaker, was offended that people often misspelled and mispronounced his name as "Devil".
Supposedly, one day he stated that "from this day forward him and his would be referred to as Deuel". A few
of Benjamin's siblings and cousins adopted the name, as well as all of his children. (He probably chose the
name due to its biblical nature - Deuel was the leader of the tribe of Gad in the bible).
- Deuel Hollow- My brother and I traveled there about a year and a half ago. It is quite beautiful and one of
Benjamin's son's homes is still standing. I was lucky enough to go in it. Also in Deuel Hollow is a family
burying ground. It is very hard to find. Its back in the woods and it took Richie and me an entire day to find
it. Its a very creepy place, not only because its weird to look down at 20 gravestones with your own name
on them, but also many of the current residents of Deuel Hollow believe it to be haunted! I couldn't believe
these normal, rational people were telling me these crazy stories, but they really believe it. Additionally, there
was an author, Evelyn Eaton, who lived in the family home in Deuel Hollow for a few years in the 1940s. She
wrote a novel based on the Deuels while she lived there. Richie read her autobiography and in it she discusses
living there. She also believed the home/area to be haunted.
You should check out this website - hlol.com. The woman who created it, (Roberta) and I have
corresponded and shared research. She is the one who told me about the Evelyn Eaton novel and I told her
about the house and the burying ground (where she later went to visit). Anyway, she has a lot of interesting
stuff on her site. Also, if any of you are interested, I think that Heritage Books in Massachusetts has other
copies of the Evelyn Eaton book based on the family, which is entitled, "Give Me Your Golden Hand."
- John J. Deuel (Grandpa) was born March 18, 1883 in Passaic, NJ and died June 19, 1970. He was the child
of John J. Deuel and Margaret Miller. He had six siblings for whom I found birth records: Thomas, Annie
and four others who died in infancy. I found three other possible siblings for whom I have no birth records:
Richard, Cornelius & Hubert.
As most of you are probably now aware, grandpa had an entire family prior to beginning a relationship with
Grandma (Anna Constantine). Our cousin, Jackie (daughter of Laurence and Irene), originally discovered
this. Jackie told me that grandpa had originally been married to a woman named Anna with whom he had
three children, Mary, Margaret and Jno. We began searching for them, hoping that I would find atleast one of
them alive. Given that they were born in 1902, 1904 and 1905, we doubted it.
Having found no evidence that they were still alive, I began searching obituaries. I came upon one for a
Marguerite Deuel Wagnecz. While her name was Marguerite not Margaret, she was the right age to be
Margaret and she died in NJ. In the obit. it said that her daughter (named Marguerite as well), who lived in
Florida survived her. Before contacting Marguerite, I decided I should double-check the census records that
Jackie had found. I went to the National Archives that night and found the record that Jackie found. I also
checked ten years later in the records. Again, I found grandpa living with this family, but this time the
children's names were listed as: Mary, Marguerite and John. At that moment, I was sure that the Marguerite
in the obituary was my father's half-sister.
From the payphone at the National Archives, I searched for Marguerite's daughter in Florida. I found a
number that seemed right. I got a machine and left a message saying, "You are probably going to think I'm a
lunatic, but..." Anyway, before the end of the night Marguerite had called me back. She was not surprised to
hear from me at all, as her branch of the family had known about us all their lives. In fact, her mother
wanted to know us all very badly. She did not want to upset Grandma though, so for the most part she
stayed away. One day, however, Marguerite and Marguerite drove to Long Valley. They were going to try
and talk to Grandma and get permission to meet all of us. When they got there, though, a man (probably
Uncle Eugene) answered the door and said that grandma wasn't home.
They left and that was the only time that any of us know of when one of the children from that branch may
have met one of the children from our branch. Marguerite said her mother always lived with a little sadness
that she never got to know any of us. On a happy note though, Marguerite lives quite close to Aunt Jessie in
Florida. I put them in contact with one another and now from what I understand they see each other fairly
often. Aunt Jessie has now met other cousins from that branch as well!
Grandpa's oldest son John died by jumping out of a window in the 1920s. He suffered from a neurological
disorder. I will relate the full story of that event at another time.
Grandpa's oldest daughter, Mary, died in the 1980s of cancer. Unlike Marguerite, she had no desire to meet
any of us. She held great resentment towards grandpa and his other children.
One other thing that we know about grandpa, mostly from family stories, but also from a picture, is that he
was in the military. We've heard from other family members that he was a Sergeant in the Army. Does
anyone know if this is true? Does anyone know if he served during peace or war, and if war, which one?
Given the records we've found of Grandpa, it seems that he would've had to have served in the very late
1800s (sometime between 1886 - 1901). We have records that he was living in NJ at all other times in his
life. Given that he was born in 1883 - it would have to be the latter end of that period which would mean that
he served during the Spanish-American War (began 1898). Does anyone have info to support or negate that
- John J. Deuel (Great-Grandpa) was born in 1855 or 1856 in the US or Canada (I've found conflicting
records.) He was the son of Henry Deuel (born in the US) and a Canadian woman (name unknown). The
earliest record we found of him is in 1878. He appears in Passaic, NJ, where he is advertising that he is
opening a new cigar shop. Prior to 1878, we have found no Deuels living in Passaic or any nearby area.
Where did he come from?
In 1879, he marries Margaret Miller. They were married in Lodi, NJ where Margaret Miller was living. We
are very close to determining the exact church where they were married. Between 1878 and 1886, we find
numerous records of John J. Firstly, he advertised in the newspapers and city directories quite frequently. He
sold cigars, ran a billiard room and repaired violins and accordions. Up until 1885, we find him and Margaret
on the birth records of their children. Then in 1886 they disappear from all records. No one knows with
certainty what happened to John J. Deuel.
- Margaret Miller Deuel (Great-Grandma) was born btwn. 1857 and 1859, in the US or Amsterdam. Her
parents were Thomas and Adrianna Koert Miller. They were from Amsterdam. Margaret married John in
1879. At some point John dies or disappears. She remarries a man with the last name Gundike (marriage date
unknown). She died in a kitchen fire in Passaic in 1937. There is substantial evidence that she had a brother
- Henry Deuel (Great-Great-Grandpa). We know virtually nothing about him, except that he was born in the
US and that he was John's father.
There are three great genealogical mysteries that have us stuck right now. The first is which Henry Deuel
was John's father and where was John born. The second is what on earth happened to John J. Deuel. Lastly,
where were the Deuels during the years 1886 - 1901.
Who was John/Who was Henry theories
1. Just this week I found a John Duell, born in 1856 in NJ. I have never seen him before. While this may
seem exciting, I feel that it is not our John for the following reasons: I have seen his line before. They owned
substantial amounts of land in South Jersey. There is no evidence that this John left this land for any
substantial amount of time, especially long enough to establish another family in Passaic. This John marries a
woman (not our Margaret) in 1883 and has a child named Annie with her in 1884. Our John has a child
named Annie with Margaret in 1885. If this is the same John, he was a polygamist and pretty sick to name
both his daughters Annie!! But it is worth investigation. We will continue to look into it.
2. The only other John we have found that was born the appropriate year was a John Deuel born 1855 in
upstate NY. There is only evidence that a Benjamin and Lorinda Deuel raised him. This does not mean they
were his parents. Perhaps Henry and his wife died young and relatives raised John. The Mormons hold the
records of this John and we are in the process of obtaining them.
3. Richie and I have been investigating a man named Henry H. Deuel of Dutchess Co., NY. If he had
children, they weren't documented by anyone. He disappears from Dutchess Co. for about 25 years during
the time when John would've been born. Where he went, no one knows. He returns to Dutchess later in life.
I found on one census record, that he states he was never married.
4. I found a Henry Deuel in upstate Vermont who was charged with murder and doesn't appear among the
documented Deuels. He was the appropriate age to have had John, but thus far, I haven't been able to find
any other records of him.
5. There is a Henry Samuel Deuel in Saratoga, NY (born 1811) dies in Illinois in 1899. There is conflicting
information about him. He had somewhere between 2 and 4 wives and between 6 and 13 children. There is
no John listed, but perhaps he just got lost in the mess!
6. I found an E. H. Deuel living in Minnesota for 25 years. Eventually he returned to NY State. While in
Minnesota, he had 6 children, 2 of which were boys, one of which was born at the appropriate time to be
7. Henry Deuel, born Jan. 8, 1822. Died in California. (see my California theory below).
8. Henry Lawrence Devol, born Oct. 18, 1828 born Ohio, died Ohio, 1858. Remains a possibility.
9. Henry B. Duell, born 1833, born and died NY. Remains a possibility.
10. George Henry Davol, b. 1825, Mass., died 1882, Mass. Remains a possibility.
11. William Henry Deuel, b. 1819, Stanford, NY. Died 1899, NY.
One clue, that may help us figure out which Henry was John's father is where the Deuel's went form
1886-1901. In 1886 they disappear. In 1901 Grandpa reappears in Passaic. Perhaps they went back to
wherever it was that John J. had come from. In 1903 or 1904 two John Deuels appear in the Passaic City
Directory. It could be that grandpa was listed twice or that it is grandpa and great-grandpa individually. Other
odd Deuels begin to appear in Passaic as well: Richard, Cornelius and Hubert (at one point, they are living in
the same house as grandpa, which led me to believe that perhaps they are other brothers of grandpa, born
outside of NJ). Also in 1906, or 1907, a Jay C. Deuel appears and a little later a Chas. H. Deuel. Neither of
these Deuels ever live in the same household as grandpa.
This information led us to the following three theories:
1. Passaic was experiencing a massive growth spurt in the late 1800s. Perhaps the Deuels just became little
fish in a big pond and weren't as visible as before.
2. Per Aunt Jessie, John J. (Great-Grandpa) may have died from being shot and Margaret later remarried to a
man named Gundike. She definitely did marry this Gundike person, that is fact, but we don't know when. So,
conceivably, John J. could have been killed in 1886, then Margaret married Gundike and that?s why the
Deuels stop appearing, however the Gundike's don't appear in Passaic or the surrounding area till the early
3. You have to understand that we?ve not only searched NJ for our line, but other states as well, based on
family stories and such. One state that we?ve always ignored because I knew of no connection with us, was
California. I had checked census records and I did find Johns and Henrys, but nothing striking enough to do
a full-scale investigation. Then one day I was doing a search and I found some Deuels in the 1889 San
Francisco directory. The names listed were John Deuel, Jay C. Deuel & Elizabeth Deuel (widow) ? all living
in different residences. At first I thought nothing of it, but then I noticed the Jay C. Deuel and remembered
that later there is also a Jay C. Deuel listed in the Passaic Directory. I started researching among all the
documentation that I and others have and found no other Jay Deuel or Jay C. Deuel alive at the time that
these two (perhaps one) Jay Deuels were. Then I started doing some research on San Francisco and I found
in some of the old maritime records a Mr. & Mrs. H. L. Deuel (perhaps Henry) travelling to San Francisco in
1850 on one of the gold rush ships. Additionally, today I found a Henry Deuel born in NY in 1822 who died
in California. Then I found a Charles Hastings Deuel who was born in California (about 1875). A Charles H.
Deuel appears in Passaic in the early 1900s. Neither Charles Hastings Deuel nor the Jay C. Deuel appears in
the California Death Index, which means they may have died elsewhere.
So, here?s the third theory: The Mr. & Mrs. H. L. Deuel who traveled to San Francisco (by ship, via
Panama) were John J.?s (great-grandpa) parents. The Mr. H. L. Deuel could have been the Henry I
mentioned above and perhaps the widowed Elizabeth in the San Francisco directory could have been his
wife. According to the documentation I have about Jay C. Deuel he came to California shortly after H. L.
Deuel was a lawyer and then later a judge. Aunt Jessie remembers that grandpa told her he had an uncle or a
relative that was a lawyer and a judge. Anyway, according to my theory Henry dies at some point and for
whatever reason John J. (Great-Grandpa) goes to Passaic, where he meets Margaret, marries and has a
number of children. After a while, he wishes to return to San Francisco. He does return (probably about
1886) and whether he takes the children and his wife, who knows. Aunt Jessie remembers a story that
grandpa told her ? as a small boy he traveled way out west with his mother to visit relatives ? perhaps to visit
his father in San Francisco. Anyway, eventually Grandpa shows up in Passaic (whether he was raised in San
Francisco, I don?t know). Grandpa joins the military, participates in the Spanish American War and then
returns to Passaic. Then the San Francisco earthquake occurs and then fleeing the destruction all of these
other mysterious Deuels return to Passaic as well.
John J.?s Fate (Great-Grandpa)
- Overall, I have heard two basic theories about what happened to John J. Deuel.
1. That he died by being shot (where, when, why ? no one knows.)
2. Various stories about him abandoning his family.
The following family stories are just rumors, so please take them as such, but perhaps they will bring us a
clue. Please note, all the people below, whose genealogy I have been able to determine, do descend from
William Deville. However, since I don?t know our line, I don?t know how closely related they are to us.
1. Grandpa spent time out west.
2. Grandpa had a relative, probably an uncle who was a lawyer and a judge. I have found three candidates.
- Rudolphus Holland Deuel ? Lived in NY and VA. In addition to being a lawyer he was a Congressman from
NY and a Judge. His family is well-documented and I have found no connection, thus far, to our family.
- The afore-mentioned Jay C. Deuel, who was a lawyer and a judge in California.
- Joseph Merrit Deuel, he was a lawyer and a judge in NY. In the early 1900s he was involved in a
tremendous scandal. I found about 50 NY Times articles about him. His family is somewhat documented,
but as of now, I have not found a connection to us.
3. Grandpa had a close relative, who was in publishing. We have found only one candidate who fits the
story. He is
Richie?s discovery, Charles H. Duell. He was one of the founders of the publishing house, Duell, Sloan &
Richie and I think that we have determined his line, but have found no close association with our line.
Duell is long dead, however, his assistant, Ralph Woodward is still alive. I have been in contact with Mr.
Woodward and he is trying to find out more about Charles? family for me. Incidentally, there is a movie out
which revolves around the stories of Joe Gould, a bohemian homeless man and Joseph Mitchell, a writer. In
real life, these men had dealings with the company, Duell, Sloan and Pearce. According to a biography of
Joe Gould, they only had dealings with Pearce, Charles Duell?s business partner. In the movie, however,
they deal with Charles H. Duell! Steve Martin plays Charles in the movie! Richie went to see the movie this
weekend. He said it was great. Check your local theaters!
4. Grandpa had an uncle or great-uncle who helped to set up towns, had something to do with railroads and
county named for him. I have found three candidates.
- Jacob S. Deuel ? Deuel Co., SD is named for him. He was a member of the Dakota Territorial Council.
He helped set up towns out west. He is the brother of the Henry H. Deuel listed as one of the
possibilities for John J.?s father. He was born in NY, traveled for many years, returned to Dutchess
Co. and died there.
- Harry Porter Deuel ? Deuel Co. Nebraska is named for him. He was a prominent freemason (33rd
degree) and railroad man. He was born in Illinois and died in Nebraska. I have been unable to
determine his ancestry beyond his parents who were from Clarkson, NY.
- There was a town in Colorado, briefly named Deuel. I do not know for whom it was named.
- As you can tell, we?ve done quite a bit of research. I?ve checked all of the census records for the
applicable years throughout the entire US. I cam completely stuck! That?s where you all come in. I?d
appreciate if you?d review my requests and questions below and see if you can help with any of them.
1. If you remember any story about the Deuels, no matter how insignificant, please tell me (?grandpa liked
chocolate ice cream? would be helpful at this point!)
2. Does anyone know where Grandma and Grandpa got the names for their children? Were they named for a
relative? For instance, I think my father was named for Great Uncle Joe Constantine.
3. Does anyone remember any stories about Grandpa being in the military?
4. Does anyone remember any stories about Grandpa?s father?
5. Grandpa used to tell the kids stories about the west and railroads and Indians. Did any of you ever here
6. Do any of you have any old pictures of Grandpa or other older family members?
7. If anyone would like to help with the research. Richie and I would be extremely grateful. As you can
imagine, this is quite time consuming! Volunteers are needed!
Well, thank you for suffering through my rambling writing! I hope you found it interesting. Richie and I
intend to compile a book for the family once we have our line back to William. Believe it or not, I actually
gave you the brief version here! I look forward to hearing from you.
I would also like to say, that many of our distant cousins, random historical researchers and many strangers
deserve a big thanks for helping us get that far. Additionally, I would like to extend a special thanks to Aunt
Jessie, Uncle Laurence, Cousin Keith and Cousin Jackie for providing us with their memories and helping us
out with research.
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