Calvin W. Demarest (June 1886 - June 12, 1925) of Chicago, was a national amateur and professional carom billiards champion from Chicago in the early 20th century known for an open, crowd-pleasing style of play. He later gained notoriety for stabbing his wife and injuring his mother during a suicidal psychotic episode. Demarest won major amateur championships in 1907 and 1908.
Demarest was born in June 1886 in Illinois. His mother was Ida B. Demarest (1862-?) of Ohio He studied music as a child, his father an organist in Chicago, and his mother a singer. At an early age he developed an interest in pool and balkline billiards.
On March 9, 1907, he set a new record 14.2 balkline billiards average of 27 3–11 during the national amateur championship tournament in New York City beating the record set by Justus Ferdinand Poggenburg III.
On March 14, 1908, he broke the world's amateur record for the high in the opening game of the national amateur 14.2 balkline billiards tournament with an impressive high of 168. He was competing against Clarence Jackson of Chicago. Starting in 1909, he competed in professional as well as amateur tournaments, winning at least three professional championships. In 1910, he defeated the renowned French champion Rerolle for the international amateur championship.
By the mid-1910s, Demarest's mental state began to deteriorate. Among other things, he would experience hallucinations regarding his wife, often that she was robbing him. On June 16, 1915, Demarest stabbed his wife in the throat several times with a pocket knife, wounding her severely, and then attempted to slit his own throat. His mother attempted to restrain him and was cut on the hand.
He was deemed unfit to stand trial and was remanded to the Elgin Asylum for the insane. He was reported to have died there eight months later, on February 22, 1916, but the following day's New York Times ran an item titled "Calvin Demarest Not Dead", in which the paper wrote "Dr. Hawley, Deputy Superintendent at the asylum, is at a loss to explain how the report of Demarest's death occurred." Demarest would die on June 12, 1925 at the Elgin Asylum in Elgin, Illinois.
- "Calvin Demarest Defeated in Hotel Astor Ball Room by 500 Points to 440". New York Times. April 12, 1912. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
Willie Hoppe, the 18.2 balkline billiard champion, successfully defended his title by defeating Calvin W. Demarest of Chicago last night 500 to 440 before an enthusiastic assemblage in the ballroom of the Hotel Astor.
- "Billiardist Assails Wife; Calvin Demarest Also Cuts His Mother, Then Slashes Himself". New York Times. June 17, 1915. Retrieved April 29, 2008.
Calvin Demarest, former national amateur billiard champion, attacked his wife with a pocket knife today and then slashed his own throat. His mother, who attempted to restrain him, was cut on the hand. Husband and wife were taken to a hospital.
- Calvin W. Demarest in the 1910 US census in Chicago, Illinois. His mother was a widow by 1910 and he had a brother, Dean L. Demarest (1889-?). Their father was born in New York.
- "Demarest Arouses the Billiard Fans; Young Chicago Expert Striving to Become Champion". New York Times. January 10, 1909. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
Interest in billiards among local enthusiasts received an impetus last week by the initial appearance here, in the role of a professional, of Calvin Demarest, the young Chicagoan who for a year or more held the amateur championship of the world.
- "Billiard Record is Broken Twice; Amateur Figures Are Surpassed First by Poggenburg and Then by Demarest". New York Times. March 9, 1907. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
Records for amateur 14.2 balk-line billiards were created under the masterful cue-work of Calvin Demarest and J. Ferdinand Poggenburg yesterday in the continuation of the National championship tournament. The genius of the young Westerner's billiards was demonstrated in no uncertain way, and he held a big crowd of spectators thoroughly interested in the concert hall of the Liederkranz Club, Fifty-eighth Street, near Park Avenue.
- "Demarest Breaks Record; Chicago Billiardist Makes Run of 168 and Defeats Jackson". New York Times. March 15, 1908. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
Calvin Demarest of Chicago to-night broke the world's amateur record for the high run in the opening game of the National amateur 14.2 billiard tournament at the Chicago Athletic Club, making 168 in his seventeenth inning. Demarest won the game, defeating Clarence Jackson of Chicago by the score of 400 to 165. Demarest's average was 21 1-19, and Jackson's 9 3-18.
- "Western Player is the Favorite; Demarest's High-class Billiards Gives Him the Lead in Tournament". New York Times. March 11, 1907. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
Among all the followers of billiards yesterday there was not one who was not ready to concede the amateur championship title to the young player from the West, Calvin Demarest. That this youth had displayed the most perfect 14.2 balk line billiards ever played in an amateur tournament was the verdict of all.
- "Calvin Demarest Dead; Noted Billiard Player Expires in Illinois Insane Asylum". New York Times. February 23, 1916. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
Calvin S. [sic] Demarest, former amateur Champion billiard player and later professional, died at the Elgin Asylum for tha insane last night, it was learned ...
- "Terse News of Sports in Town and Out". New York Times. February 24, 1916. Retrieved 2008-11-21.
- Calvin W. Demarest. Birth: June 1886 in Illinois. Death:June 12, 1925 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States, from ancestry.com