Saturday, August 4, 2012

Rochester On The Road: Deats Gravesite

Deats monument in Church Hill Cemetery, PA
This new occasional series, Rochester On The Road, will look at connections to the history of the Rochester area that may be found in other cities and states across the country.  Today's inaugural post in the series is a visit to the gravesite of Harriet "Hattie" Sprague and her husband, Dr. William Deats.

William and Hattie Deats are buried in Church Hill Cemetery in Martin's Creek, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.  Dr. Deats was born in Northampton County in 1847 and earned degrees from nearby Lafayette College and Jefferson Medical College before coming to Rochester in 1878 to establish a medical practice. While in Rochester, he married Harriet "Hattie" Sprague, the daughter of Rollin Sprague, who built the Home Bakery building.  Dr. Deats then built the beautiful Eastlake Victorian house at 302 W. University as the couple's marital home.  Only a few years later, Dr. Deats decided to move back to his native Pennsylvania, where he practiced medicine for the remainder of his life.  Hattie Deats died of typhoid fever in 1889, not long after the Deats family returned to Northampton County.  Dr. Deats himself died of kidney disease in 1891, leaving the couple's only daughter, Grace, an orphan.  Grace Deats then returned to Michigan to live with family members.

Church Hill Cemetery in Northampton County has other associations to Rochester history as well.  A number of families from the Northampton area migrated to Rochester in the mid-19th century, so other Rochester surnames are represented in the cemetery, including the Butz/Butts, Fangboner and Ross families.

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