One of the pioneer families of present day Indian Hill was the DeMar clan, and their youngest offspring, Zachary Taylor DeMar, made a positive mark on all who encountered him.
Arriving in Cincinnati in 1828 from Maryland, the extended DeMar family moved to the hill in 1833, where relatives built homes on Walton Creek Rd., DeMar Rd., and the corner of Miami and Graves Rd. James and Jane DeMar constructed a log cabin – basically two rooms and a loft – and as their family grew, the cabin was enlarged. Ten children were born to the DeMars, the last one, Z.T. DeMar in 1848, perhaps named in honor of Zachary Taylor (Mexican War victor, and later U.S. President). During the Civil War a kitchen wing was added to the homestead and in the 1880’s 15 acres of additional farmland were purchased for $33 per acre.
Three of Zachary’s brothers (James, Isaac, and John) served in the Union Army during the Civil War, after enlisting and training at Camp Dennison, leaving Zachary (age 12) at home. Two of the young men did not survive, and John’s grave at Armstrong Chapel Cemetery is designated as that of a Civil War veteran.
Zack DeMar chose education as his career, teaching the neighborhood youth at the one room Franklin School. As schoolmaster, he taught all subjects to children of all ages and abilities. Later he was the master at Jefferson School, and subsequently Principal of the Madeira Schools for 37 years.
DeMar was one of 13 men who founded the Indian Hill Horse Rangers in 1903 to “discourage horse thieves, chicken thieves, and other pilferers of farm and home property.” The volunteer force patrolled 40 square miles of the hill, on foot or on their mounts. As a member of the original force said, “In the old days, when we wanted to get a man, we had to go after him on horseback or in a rig – but we always got him.” In 1910 a new Rangers’ charter with broader powers was written, changing the name to the Indian Hill Rangers. More than a “neighborhood watch” group, the Rangers were the law in the early 20th century, aided occasionally by a deputy sheriff. As first President of the Rangers, Zachary DeMar stood for crime prevention and community safety.
Z.T. “Zack” DeMar, a big man of powerful build, erect posture, and much vigor, was President of the Rangers until 1939, when he became an Honorary Life Member. Still a crack marksman in his eighties, DeMar was known for unerring aim and was “one of the most feared of the Rangers.” While on patrol, the original 13 Rangers had constable powers (the power to make arrests). Known as sharpshooters, they practiced at the old pistol range in Redbird Hollow, holding contests among themselves.