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John Deere
Birth: Feb. 7, 1804
Rutland
Rutland County
Vermont, USA
Death: May 17, 1886
Moline
Rock Island County
Illinois, USA

19th Century American inventor and industrialist, best known for founding the yard, farm and earthmoving equipment company that bears his name. John Deere was born in Rutland, Vermont, on February 7, 1804, the third son of William Rinold Deere, a merchant tailor. In 1808, William sailed for England, in hopes of claiming an inheritance, but he was never heard from again, and is presumed lost at sea. Raised by his widowed mother on a meager income, John's education was limited to the primary schools of Vermont. He apprenticed himself to a blacksmith, and entered the trade in 1825. On January 28, 1827, he married Demarius Lamb. By 1836 the couple had four children, Demarius was pregnant with the fifth, and John was faced with bankruptcy. Deere sold his blacksmith shop to his father-in-law, left the proceeds of the sale with Demarius, and headed for Illinois frontier. He continued on to the newly settled village of Grand Detour, Illinois, on the edge of the frontier. There were no blacksmiths for forty miles, so Deere had work at once. On the Illinois frontier, the sticky, heavy prairie soil was proving difficult to work. Cast iron plows which worked fine in the light, sandy soils of the Northeast were ineffective. Plowing to break up the tough prairie sod was slow, hard work requiring the constant use of paddles to scrape the sticky soil off. Farmers came to Deere hoping that he could help them. John Deere was convinced that a steel plow that was highly polished and had a properly shaped moldboard could scour itself as it cut furrows. The first steel plow, made from a broken steel saw blade, was originated by John Lane of Joliet Illinois in 1833. In 1837, Deere added further improvements to Lane’s idea when he fashioned his first moldboard plow, also made from broken steel saw blade. It was an immediate success. Deere's first plows used the saw blade steel for the share and smoothly ground wrought iron for the moldboard. Deere's first plow, finished in 1837, worked better than any previous plow. In 1838 he built two more plows, one of which was sold to Joseph Brieton, who farmed just south of Grand Detour. That very implement was later discovered and purchased by Charles Deere and is on display at the Smithsonian Institution. By 1841, Deere was producing 100 of his plows annually. In 1843, he entered a partnership with Leonard Andrus to produce more plows to meet increasing demand. By 1848, Deere dissolved his partnership with Andrus and moved the business to Moline, which offered advantages of water power, coal and rail transportation. In 1850, approximately 1600 plows were made, and the John Deere Company was soon producing other tools to complement its steel plow. In 1858, Deere transferred leadership of the company to his son, Charles, who served as its vice president. John Deere retained the title of president of the company, but now turned his attention to civic and political activities. John Deere was active in public life throughout his career in Moline. Among other roles, he was the second president of the National Bank of Moline, served as a director of the Moline Free Public Library, was an active member of the First Congregational Church and served as the city's mayor for two years. John Deere died on May 17, 1886, at his home in Moline. Today Deere and Co. is a leading maker of yard, farm and earthmoving equipment, with a market capitalization of nearly $17 billion on the New York Stock Exchange. (bio by: Edward Parsons) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Sarah Deere (____ - 1826)
 
 Spouses:
  Demarius Lamb Deere (____ - 1865)*
  Lucena Lamb Deere (1811 - 1888)*
 
 Children:
  Frances Alma Deere (____ - 1851)*
  H. Alvin Deere (____ - 1844)*
  F. Albert Deere (____ - 1848)*
  Jeannette Deere Chapman (1830 - 1916)*
  Ellen Sarah Deere Webber (1832 - 1898)*
  Charles Henry Deere (1837 - 1907)*
  Emma Deere Velie (1840 - 1911)*
  Alice Deere Cady (1844 - 1900)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Riverside Cemetery
Moline
Rock Island County
Illinois, USA
Plot: On Prospect at Concourse, North East corner of Cemetery overlooking the Mississippi River
GPS (lat/lon): 41.50755, -90.49193
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: May 30, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 9576
John Deere
Added by: Ruggero
 
John Deere
Added by: David C. Gill
 
John Deere
Added by: David C. Gill
 
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You picked a beautiful place to be buried. I have sat many times at your plot, and imaged what the Mississippi looked like in your time. May you rest in peace.
- Angie Palmer
 Added: Aug. 7, 2014

- A Marine's Daughter
 Added: May. 22, 2014

-Anonymous
 Added: May. 21, 2014
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