Charles Louis Rempis
Louisa Berg
William Middleton
Charles Rempis
Elizabeth Middleton
Theodore A. Rempis


Family Links

1. Elva Lillian "Lillie" Thomson

Theodore A. Rempis 1

  • Born: 9 May 1861, Section 32, Smithfield Township, Dekalb County, Indiana
  • Marriage (1): Elva Lillian "Lillie" Thomson in 1887 in Dekalb County, Indiana, USA
  • Died: 4 Jul 1937, Waterloo, Dekalb County, Indiana, USA at age 76
  • Buried: Waterloo Cemetery, Waterloo, Dekalb County, Indiana, USA

  General Notes:

Biography of Theodore Rempis, pages 889/890/891/892/893.
History of DeKalb County, Indiana; B. F. Bowen & Company,
Inc., Indianapolis, 1914.

Among the farmers of DeKalb county, Indiana, who believe in
following twentieth-century methods is Theodore Rempis, of
the vicinity of Smithfield township. He comes of a splendid
family, one that has always been strong for right living
and industrial habits, for education and morality, and for
all that contributes to the welfare of the commonwealth.
Such people are welcomed in any community, for they are
empire builders and as such have pushed the frontier of
civilizations ever westward and onward, leaving the green,
wide-reaching wilderness and the far-stretching plains
populous with contented people and beautiful with green
fields; they have constituted that sterling horde which
caused the great Bishop Whipple to write the memorable
line, ?Westward the course of empire takes its way.?
Theodore Rempis was born on May 9, 1861, on section 32,
Smithfield township, DeKalb county, Indiana, the son of
Charles Lewis and Elizabeth (Middleton) Rempis. The father
was a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, born March 21, 1830,
and at an early day emigrated with his parents, Louis and
Louisa (Berg) Rempis, to America, locating first at
Massillon, Ohio. In 1853 they came to DeKalb county,
purchasing a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in
Smithfield township, where the father built a log house and
barn, clearing forty acres of the place, and through his
strenuous efforts lost his health. His death occurred in
December, 1859. His wife survived him several years. While
the family was residing at Massillon, Ohio, in 1851, the
subject?s father went to California in order to endeavor to
improve his financial situation among the gold mines. He
made the arduous trip by way of the isthmus of Panama,
reaching the gold fields on the Uba and Feather rivers,
where he spent three and a half years, working a part of
the time near Portland, Oregon. He helped to make the first
brick used in the city, He was successful on this trip and
with the money thus earned came back to DeKalb county in
1854 and purchased a farm. On May 15, 1856, he married
Elizabeth, the daughter of William Middleton, one of the
pioneer residents of Waterloo, who served in the Civil war
as a member of Company K, Forty-fourth Regiment Indiana
Volunteer Infantry. There were born three children: William
Henry, who lives in Los Angeles, California; Franklin
Lewis, who married Martha Frager on March 8, 1882, and died
on December 16, 1899, leaving one child, Ruth. His wife
died on October 7, 1883. The daughter, Ruth, eventually
married Charles Haines, a farmer in Grant township, this
county, having two children, Edward and Carl; Theodore A.,
was the third child born to these parents. In1856 Charles
Rempis became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church,
but in 1860 transferred his membership to the United
brethren, to which faith he remained a faithful adherent
during the rest of his life. He helped to prepare the
timbers and build the church of the United Brethren, the
first house erected for public worship in Waterloo and
which for a number of years was the only building for that
special purpose in that town. He retired from active farm
work in 1895 and thereafter made his home with his son, the
subject of this sketch, who now lives on the farm developed
by his father. Later Charles Rempis took up his residence
in Waterloo, and in 1907 went to live with his
granddaughter, Mrs. Ruth Haines, in Grant township, where
his death occurred on November 9, 1910. His brother, Henry
Rempis, born October 11, 1838, lived at Massillon, Ohio;
but in 1853 his family moved from that city to the old farm
in Smithfield township, DeKalb county, coming by wary of
the Ohio canal to Cleveland, across the lake to Toledo, and
by the Wabash canal to Fort Wayne, thence overland to
DeKalb county. Here his father bought one hundred and
twenty acres only forty of which was cleared. At that time
Henry Rempis was only fifteen years of age, and he took his
part in the arduous labor connected with the clearing and
improvement of this land, and because of the death of his
father and his older brother, William, and the marriage of
his brother, Charles, it became necessary for him to
practically shoulder the duties of maintaining the family
home. This prevented his enlistment in the Union cause in
the Civil war, as he earnestly wished to do. Being
compelled to remain at home, he bought the interest of the
heirs, took up the real work of the farm, and, being a
mechanical turn of mind, he was enabled to make many
permanent and substantial improvements on the place, and
by honest labor and strenuous efforts he achieved a
splendid success as an agriculturist. In the face of severe
reverses by fire and other losses, he accomplished many
valuable improvements by careful management and honest
methods on the farm, including building a commodious
farmhouse into which the family moved in 1875, later
erecting a large bank barn in place of the one destroyed by
fire. In this new home the mother died in 1877. In 1888 the
subject?s foster son, Charles Olcott, was drowned, and on
August 12, 1898, his daughter, Lena Amelia, met a like
fate. In March, 1906, Mr. Rempis resigned the active work
of the farm and moved to Waterloo, where he resided until
his death, which occurred on January 11, 1908. He never
identified himself with any church, but was a faithful
attendant and supporter of the United Brethren church, to
which the other members of the family belonged. He also
attended the Christian church at Cedar Lake, Smithfield
township. On November 5, 1871, he married Mr. Sophia French
Olcott, and to them were born three children, Laura Luella,
Lena Amelia and Mrs. Olive Matilda Willis. The subject of
this sketch received his education in the common schools in
Smithfield township, and worked on the home farm as soon as
old enough. After his marriage, in 1887, he came to the
home farm and lived there about one and a half years and
then moved to the J. E. Thomson farm, the girlhood home of
his wife, where he lived for six years. On account of his
father?s illness he then moved back to the home farm which
he rented, and in the year 1907 bought the farm from his
father, the place comprising one hundred and sixty acres.
This farm he improved in many respects, building a number
of substantial buildings, cleared up a good portion of the
farm, drained it, and other wise putting it in excellent
condition for successful agriculture, so that it is now one
of the leading and most productive of the township. He has
been very progressive in his farming methods, using up-to-
date ideas and slighting no opportunity to advance the
condition of the place. On October 19, 1887, Mr. Rempis
married Elva Lillie Thomson, the daughter of Joel E. and
Maria Jane (McBride) Thomson, and to them there were two
children, Clarence V. and Lester L. They also, on July
25,1902, adopted a girl, Thelma Mays, from the Indianapolis
Orphan Asylum. The eldest child, Clarence married Ruby
Parnell and now lives on the home place, following the
pursuit of agriculture. Joel E. Thomson was born at
Shalersville, Portage county, Ohio, on November 30, 1824,
spending his early days in that place. He came to DeKalb
county in the early days, settling on the well-known
Thomson farm, Smithfield township, which, by hard work on
the part of both himself and his wife, was developed into
one of the best farms of the county, it being characterized
by modern improvements in every respect. On November 30,
1845, he married Maria J. McBride, the daughter of Richard
and Samanthe (Smith) McBride. One December 25, 1899, he
fell and broke his leg, from which accident he was crippled
for the remainder of his life; but he bore his affliction
with patience and without complaint. His crippled
condition, together with poor health and declining years,
forced him to break up their home life and in 1902 he went
to live with his daughter, Elva Lillie, with whom he
afterward resides. He became a member of the Church of
Christ at Shalersville, Ohio, when nineteen years of age,
and through his efforts the Church of Christ at Cedar Lake,
Smithfield township, was organized, he and his wife being
charter members. Of this society he served efficiently as
elder until his death, which occurred near Waterloo, June
12, 1903. Politically, he was a staunch Republican, taking
a deep interest in local public affairs. He was the father
of seven children, one of whom died in infancy, the others
being: Cilicia A., deceased; Almira A., deceased; Francis
Edwin; Ida Alice; Charles Sterling and Elva Lillie. Of
these, Ida became the wife of Ameron P. Benjamin, a farmer,
now deceased, and she lives near Cedar Lake, Smithfield
township. She became the mother of nine children, one of
whom died in infancy, and the others being, Orlie, Clayton,
Marion, Jennie, Irma, Russell, Mary and Austin. Francis
Edwin, who is a farmer in Smithfield township, married
Laura A. Farrington, and they had six children, Carleton,
Guy, Frank, Jay, Anna and Benjamin. Charles, who lives at
Ashley, Indiana, married Elizabeth Parnell. Mrs. Rempis?
mother, Maria Jane Thomson, was born at Revenna, Portage
county, Ohio, July 26, 1824, and in company with her
husband made the long and tiresome journey to DeKalb county
in 1847, the trip being made by team to Cleveland, thence
by boat to Toledo, canal boat to Fort Wayne, and the team
to DeKalb county. Her father was a member of the Christian
church, was trustee of his township one term, and also
justice of the peace and road supervisor. He was a farmer,
but also had learned the trades of butcher, carpenter,
cabinetmaker, undertaker and shoemaker, following these
several trades at times together with his vocation of
farming. He assisted in building all of the early school
houses, barns and bridges, and had exceptional talents in
mechanical lines. He also made cheese for the market for
fifteen years, having thirty to forty cows on the farm for
this purpose. Fraternally, in early years he was a member
of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows. He was a
staunch member of the Christian church and performed a
great deal of charitable work which never reached public
attention, giving generously, also, to all worthy church
and public enterprise. Because of his upright life,
generous disposition and genial nature he was beloved by
the entire community and enjoyed universal esteem. Mrs.
Rempis? maternal grandfather, Richard McBride, was born
December 25, 1792, at Carlisle, Cumberland county,
Pennsylvania, and came to DeKalb county with his wife,
Samanthe (Smith) McBride, whom he married on May 15, 1823,
the location in this county being 1850. Here they bought a
farm of forty-eight acres, of which he cleared about forty
acres and put the same in good condition. In the war of
1812 he was a member of the Home Guards, and by the laws
of the state became a voter at the age of twenty years for
this service. In 1821 he moved to Revenna, Ohio, and to
Indiana in 1849. He was an active member of the Democratic
party until 1863, when the Democratic Legislature refused
to vote appropriations to feed and clothe the Indiana Union
soldiers, and thereafter he allied himself with the
Republican party. During the year 1863 he went to live with
his daughter, Maria J. Thomson, because of physical
disability, and remained in her home until his death which
occurred on January 3, 1879. His wife had died in December,
1876, and they are both buried at Cedar Lake, Smithfield
township. They were the parents of six children: Maria J.,
John, David, Lucy, Mary Emma and Sterling, of which number
Maria J. in the only survivor. Mrs. McBride was a faithful
and earnest member of the Christian church, and performed
much effectual work for that organization in early days in
this locality. David McBride, son of Richard McBride, was a
member of Company I, Fifty-fourth Regiment Indiana
Volunteer Infantry. He did in the service and was buried
at Mound City. His brother-in-law went to Mound City, had
the grave opened and brought him back and buried him at
Cedar Lake, Indiana.

Submitted by:

Arlene Goodwin

Auburn, Indiana

Theodore married Elva Lillian "Lillie" Thomson, daughter of Joel Edwin Thomson and Maria Jane McBride, in 1887 in Dekalb County, Indiana, USA. (Elva Lillian "Lillie" Thomson was born on 2 Oct 1864 in Indiana, USA,2 died on 7 Sep 1937 in Waterloo, Dekalb County, Indiana, USA 2 and was buried in Waterloo Cemetery, Waterloo, Dekalb County, Indiana, USA 2.)


1 Kes Truelove - Valparaiso, Indiana.

2 Find A Grave, Find A Grave ( : accessed 28 Mar 2018).

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