Biography - Amedee Domas

AMEDEE DOMAS. A native of France, our subject now resides on section 4, of Rural Township, Shelby County. His residence in the county dates from 1861. He was born in Burgundy, France, March 24, 1815. He has one brother and one sister, each of whom has been to the United States to pay their brother a visit. Doubtless they find the Americans too busy to attract them here permanently for surely the country itself is not more "triste" than their own laughing France. The story of our subject is one of effort, perseverance and ambition. Restricted in early advantages he was determined to receive an education, and attended such schools as the portion of the country in which he lived afforded, frequently walking from four to six miles in order to recite the lessons that he had prepared to a master. But success attended his efforts, and he finally became cashier in a bank in France.

In 1837, Mr. Domas set sail for the United States and after fifty-seven days spent on the ocean and gulf, he landed at New Orleans, glad to find there many countrymen who could speak his native tongue. When he reached the United States he had nothing but a ten-cent piece and was compelled to sleep two nights among bales of cotton. There he was engaged in clerking in a store which position he continued to occupy for a year; but as the city air did not agree with him, he removed to the country and taught school; that is, he gave instruction in French, for two years. He was then engaged in Carey's Academy, near Cincinnati, where he taught French. Among his students were two grandsons of William Henry Harrison. While thus engaged, our subject was pursuing the study of the English language, and during his two years stay here, he acquired a fluent use of his adopted tongue.

Mr. Domas then returned to Louisiana, and was engaged in teaching both the French and English languages, for a few years. He then dropped the business of a pedagogue, and engaged in commercial life, dealing in general merchandise. He was also a speculative dealer in real estate, etc. In 1861 he came to Illinois, and purchased his present farm, or rather, bought it on contract. The land was but little improved and had no buildings. He now has fair improvements and is the owner of two hundred sixteen acres of land. He followed general stock raising for some years, but now gives his attention wholly to the raising of sheep.

Our subject was married in 1848 in Assumption Parish, Louisiana, to Virginia Haydel. The lady was a native of the State in which she was married, as were also her parents. The Haydel family being one of the oldest and wealthiest families of that State. Before the late war Mrs. Domas' grandmother was reputed to be worth more than a million dollars, but like so many other Southerners, the fall of the Confederacy was the death blow to her financial position.

Our subject and his amiable wife have been the parents of eleven children, only five of whom are still surviving. Four of their children were victims of that dread disease, diphtheria, and were taken away in one month. The living children are, Emily, Damas, Alda, Dumas D. and Delmas. Emily is the wife of Ernest Cancini. Damas resides in New Mexico, where he is a prominent man. Alda is the wife of Eugene Durand. Politically our subject is a Democrat. While in Louisiana he was Postmaster and held the positions of Notary and Justice of the Peace for over twenty years. Mr. Domas was reared a Catholic and still adheres to that faith. While in Louisiana he was very successful in business, but when the Civil War broke out, he lost a sum amounting to $50,000. He has now, however, to a great degree, retrieved these losses and to-day is in a good financial position.

Extracted 26 May 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 537-538.

Templates in Time