The DeShazo Family History
And their Route to Texas
In past centuries, within the French speaking areas of Europe, there lived families who’s surname was de Chazeaux. These people originally lived in houses on pilings located over water. The Chazeaux name can be deciphered as house on water, or water house as we’d more likely say in English.
When the migration of Europeans into the New World began, some of these de Chazeaux families also moved to the United States where they settled and married and became a part of this nation. These de Chazeauxs’ married into many families, including ours and their descendents are now scattered over much of the United States.
Over time, the de Chazeaux’s prospered and spread to several of the states. By the time of the 1860 census, families with names spelled DeShazo and de Shazo were living in eight or ten states but more predominantly in the southern states of Virginia, Alabama and Mississippi, with Virginia having the most. Since Virginia is a coastal state with a good port, it may indicate this is where the original de Chazeauxs first entered the country. In fact, I found through later discoveries this was true and discovered that the our original DeShazo line entered the United States through the port of Yorktown, Virginia in 1816. From there, their descendents have spread to many areas but staying mostly in the southern states and now having spread all the way to California.
Surname spelling was evolving during this period and at some point de Chazeaux became de Shazo, then later, DeShazo and other variants. Ancestors of our family were among those who anglicized the spelling of their name to DeShazo and it remains that way to this day. Dad always pronounced the name with a long “a” so that it sounds like the “a” in hay. At a later time, I located some of our DeShazo descendents in Tennessee. In that area, the “a” is pronounced as in “paw”.
Credit for the following is given to Major General Thomas E. DeShazo, U.S. Army, Retired, Alexandria, Virginia, March 17, 1964, now deceased:
The lineage of our early DeShazo ancestors in this country can be traced back to three forebears that are our direct ancestors. (Names typed in bold indicate that person is a direct forebear of my DeShazo family line. When a descendent has the same name as an ancestor, a suffix of I or II is applied to differentiate between the two. It does not imply that when the person was alive, they used such a suffix. Comment by wh)
Jean de Chazeaux (the oldest ancestor we can be certain of)
Richard de Chazeaux… (His son)
Peter de Shazo born. ca 1730 – died 1792-1793…(Richard’s son)
Peter was a resident of King & Queen County, Virginia. He married twice. First to Rebecca Pendleton (?) and second to Dianna Bohannan (?) These marriages produced eight children, all born in King & Queen County. The children’s names were:
· Louis I, born ca 1755, died 1818 in Eatonton, Ga.; married Nancy King, born ca 1785.
· Robert, born ca 1758, died (?); married Mary Sawyer of Edgefield, SC.
· Richard, born ca 1760, died (?), martial status not known;
· Martha “Patsy”, born ca 1765, died 1849 in Hardeman Co. TN., married Capt. Whitaker Campbell , ca 1790 of King & Queen Co, VA, born 1724, died 1814 in King & Queen Co. VA.
· Larkin Sr., born ca 1766, died in1824. Nothing else known.
· John Marion., born 1766-1770, died Nov. 5, 1834, married Catherine Nunn, June 4, 1802;
· Sarah, nothing else known
· Lucy, died 1823 King & Queen Co. VA.
The eldest of these, Louis I, and his wife Nancy produced seven children. They were:
· Dr. William King, born 1796, Edgefield, S.C., married three times to Miss King, Miss Overton and Miss Howard.
· Nancy, born 1798, Edgefield, S.C., married twice to William Morris and William King.
· Wilkin, born 1800 Edgefield, S.C., married Mary rivers
· Larkin, born 1801 Edgefield, S.C., married Lecy Lewis.
· Louis II, born 1802, Edgefield, S.C., married Mary Littlejohn
· Mary C., born 1806, nothing else known.
· Louis, born 1808, Eatonton, GA. Married Mary Mahan.
When Louis I died in 1818, his children were mostly grown or growing up. The lure of new and productive land in the new states of Alabama and Mississippi to the west was running strong. After Andrew Jackson had defeated the Creek Indians at the battles of Talladega and Horseshoe Bend and imposed the treaty of 1814, all the lands in Alabama west of the Coosa River were opened to settlement by the white people.
Sometime about 1821, all the sons except the oldest, Dr. William King DeShazo, who had taken over the management of his father’s estate at Eatonton, migrated to the new land of Alabama. They settled in the Indian capital of the Creeks at Mardisville, adjacent to Talladega, where they were welcome to occupy and use the land, but where they could not obtain title or deeds of ownership.
After a few years, they joined the throng and moved south and west across the Coosa River to the vicinity of Montevallo (Wilsons Hill) where a land office had been established and where they homesteaded land along Mahans Creek near Brierfield and Wilton.
It was during these years that the oldest brother, Dr. William King DeShazo, gradually bought from his brothers in Alabama, their interest in their Father’s estate at Eatonton; the last deeds made by Larkin, Wilkin and Peter are dated from Brierfield in 1828.
By 1830, Dr. DeShazo had sold out in Georgia and joined his brothers in Alabama. It was during these years that Wilkin married Mary Rivers of Eatonton and brought her to Alabama. Larkin married Lecy Lewis from Tennessee. Louis married Mary Littlejohn of Talladega and Peter married Mary Mahan of Brierfield. Their sister, Nancy Luraney, remained in Georgia where she first married William Morris. After the death of Mr. Morris, she married William king.
Brierfield was on the northern fringe of the large cotton producing plantations of the Black Belt of Alabama. Except for Peter, the brothers did not seem to engage in slave ownership and cotton production.
Larkin, Wilkin and Louis II are listed as craftsmen, carpenters, cabinetmakers and millwrights (millwright: a person who constructs a mill. Comment by wh), as was their father. They jointly owned and operated a grist mill and carpentry shop on Mahans Creek.
As this generation grew up and raised families, we again see the pattern of migration and settlement on new lands. Sometime after 1850, Wilkin and Larkin moved to Mississippi and settled around Kosciusko and Choctaw counties in the north central part of the state. Here they became professional contractors of cotton gins, building gins in Alabama and Mississippi. Some of their descendants are there today and others, over the years, moved to Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Memphis and points west. It is interesting to note they came together again with their distant cousins from southwest Virginia who had settled in Williamson County, Tennessee.
Louis II, and Peter, remained around Brierfield and raised their families. At one time, Louis II and some of his sons visited Larkin and Wilkin in Mississippi with the view of settling there but decided against it and returned to Alabama.
Following is an anecdote concerning one of the sons of Louis II :
The oldest son of Louis II and Mary, John Marion DeShazo, was educated as a surveyor. In 1852, he was employed on a government survey in the Tennessee River Valley of North Alabama. On his travel from Brierfield to the work, he stopped the first night with his party at the home of Gaines Lee at Bridgeton near the Bold Springs Church in Cahaba Valley. Now Gaines Lee had a very pretty daughter named Elizabeth who was of marriageable age. It seems that the next morning when the party was about to depart, John was taken with a “seizure” and was completely unable to travel for a number of days.
Some months later, as the party was returning from the survey work, they again stopped at the home of Gaines Lee and, as they were about to depart, young Marion was again struck down by this mysterious malady. However, after some days of recuperation, and when Elizabeth had promised to marry him, he recovered, after which he applied for and was accepted as the local school teacher.
After he had been teaching school for a couple of years, he persuaded his parents (Louis II and Mary) to sell their holdings at Brierfield and to purchase the grist and flour mill at Bridgeton. Thus, the family made its last and lasting move. Not only did Louis and his other sons come to the community, but Peter and his family, together with Dr. William King DeShazo and his family, sold out and joined their brothers around Bold Springs.
The two brothers Larkin and Wilkin settled with their families in adjacent counties in Mississippi. Larkin moved to Choctaw County (which later became Webster County) and Wilkin settled in Kosciusko County, which is immediately to the south of Choctaw.
General Thomas DeShazo has reported the spelling of Lecy’s first name is in doubt, as records show it has been spelled in various ways such as Lucy, Leece and Lecy. Since one census enumerator spelled it as “Lucy”, that may be the way it sounded and agrees with current spelling and pronunciation.
Larkin and Lecy were our Great-great Grandparents. They had seven children who’s births were spread over a span of 19 years. Their names, in order of birth, were:
Mary Dacus 1834-1915
John Walker 1835-1918
Erastus Wiley 1842-1884
Larkin Columbus 1845-1928
Marcus Evander* 4/26/1847 to 10/20/1932
Samuel Lewis* 1853-1909
Sarah Elizabeth* 1853-1946
*Marcus became our Great-grandfather. Samuel and Sarah were twins.
Larkin and Lucy’s family had its origins in Alabama where records show Mary, John and Erastus were born. Sometime in the early 1840s, after the birth of Erastus, Larkin and Lucy moved their family to Mississippi, and there, the remaining children were born. The last two, Samuel and Sarah, were twins. The birth dates given above for the seven children are not always in full agreement with U.S. Census records. The census records I have downloaded sometimes are a year or two off from other records. For example, the census of 1870 shows Marcus to be born in 1849 but the tombstone of Marcus gives his year of birth as 1847. Errors like this have been seen elsewhere so do not be surprised if in doing your own research you find inconsistencies or something different from what I’ve written.
The middle name given to Mary (Dacus) is a somewhat peculiar choice as this is often used as a masculine name and it is also a surname. Perhaps Dacus was the name of a relative on the Mother’s side or perhaps it was a close friend or relative as yet unknown.
In the U.S. Census records of 1860, it can be found that John Walker is now 23 years old and has married. His wife is Mary F. E. (Phelps) and she is 24. They have two young daughters, Nancy, age four and Mary, age two. John is a mechanic by profession and Mary is a housewife. Their home is in the portion of Choctaw County, which in the future will be part of the new county of Webster. Webster County was formed in the early 1870’s and took in much of Choctaw County plus some of the surrounding counties and is named after the statesman, Daniel Webster. The John Walker DeShazo family lives near the town of Greensboro, which was the county seat at the time but is not shown on modern maps. Their neighbors are all farmers which would indicate the family does not live in town even though John is a mechanic by profession. The prior generation of DeShazo’s were, as has been noted, millwrights. It is likely John learned this trade and the mechanical work he performed would have been on cotton gins and grist mills.
Next door to John and Elizabeth’s home, lives the Cooper family. This family is headed by Joseph and Elizabeth Cooper. They have seven children and the next to youngest is a daughter named Martha Jane Florence Cooper. She is age five. Great-grandfather Marcus, brother of John, must have met this family and come to know them through visits to his brother’s home. Or, perhaps he lived close by and maybe even the Cooper and DeShazo families went to the same church. This little girl is important to our family history because, in 1870, when she was still only 15, she and Marcus married and those two became Great-grandparents to our family and the forebear’s of many others.
Also living on another farm next door to John and Elizabeth Walker, are the Thomas Jefferson Lamb family. We find from this 1860 census that Mary Dacus (DeShazo) is now the wife of Thomas Jefferson Lamb and they have two children. The children’s names are Luther, age 4 and Lucy, age 1. Thomas makes his living as a farmer. He and Mary are both 26 years of age and census records show they use the Post Office at Greensboro. It is nice to know the families were close and stayed together. In those days, families were a great support to each other.
Census records of 1860 do not enumerate the rest of the DeShazo family. These records have large gaps and errors in spelling and ages so the fact that the balance of our family does not show up in 1860 is not too much of a surprise. Also, there is a good possibility I have overlooked them.
At this time, our Great-great-grandparents (Larkin and Lece) have five children who likely still live at home. They are: Erastus 18; Larkin Columbus 15; our Great-grandfather Marcus, 13; and the twins, Samuel Lewis and Sarah Elizabeth, 7.
The American Civil War broke out shortly after the 1860 census. This must have caused a great disruption in the lives of these people and all four of the DeShazo sons joined the Confederate Army. By some rare luck, none were killed, although Erastus was captured and held prisoner until war’s end. He ended the war in poor health and was the first of these siblings to die. Civil War records (provided by Dick DeShazo, Benson, AZ.) show their enlistment’s to be:
· John W. DeShazo: Private, Company G, 33rd Mississippi Infantry Regiment
· Erastus W. DeShazo: Private, Company D, 15th Mississippi Infantry Regiment;
Private, Company A, 8th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment
· Larkin C. DeShazo: Private, Company H, 3rd Mississippi Infantry Regiment;
Company A, 8th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment;
Company D, 8th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment
· Marcus E. DeShazo: Served in Featherstone’s Brigade (this information came from a news article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, 1923, wh.)
Cousin Dorothy Clements, granddaughter of Marcus DeShazo and daughter of Homer and Viola DeShazo, recalls that when she was about 7 (that would be 1928) Marcus came to her home in San Angelo for a visit. While there, Viola took Marcus to the elementary school to speak to the children. Dorothy recalls from his story that Marcus was in the Confederate Army at the close of the Civil War and that when he was dismissed, he walked back to his home in Choctaw County, Mississippi. He told the children, that during the walk, he passed by a tree that whistled. Hearing of something like this brings home the realization of how different life was a century and a half ago. Soldiers today, go home by airplane or some other form of transportation. In those times not long ago, walking a hundred miles or so was not uncommon. Marcus did not even have the convenience of a horse.
The census of 1870 was a rare, thorough one, listing all of Larkin and Lecy’s children and all still live in Choctaw County, Mississippi. Shortly after this census, the county’s name was changed to Webster.
In this census, Mary Dacus (DeShazo) and Thomas Jefferson Lamb are both still living and their children are: Luther Franklin age 14; Lecy Florence, age 11; Lucinda E. (who goes by Lizzie) age 6; John Larkin age 4; and Lenora, age one. The Father supports the family by farming and Mary is keeping house. They still live near the town of Greensboro. Notice that Mary has named one of her children after her Mother “Lece.” Also, you will see the Lenora name pop up with other family members later. This again shows the family had close contact and great affection for each other.
Continuing to refer to the 1870 census, John Walker DeShazo, is no longer a mechanic. He is now a Minister of the Gospel. John and Mary have six children: Nancy, 14; Susan, 12, Martha, 4; Samuel, 5; Anna, 2; and Ruth, 1. Living with the family is a domestic servant who has one child. They live near the town of Cumberland, which is also in Choctaw County. Having a servant shows the family is prosperous.
The 1870 census shows Erastus DeShazo, age 28, has also become a Minister of the Gospel. His wife is Mary (Head) and she is age 21, born in Mississippi. They have a daughter, Florence, age two, and a second daughter, Lenora, age one. This family lives near the town of Bellefontaine, which is located in what soon was to become central Webster County.
Next door to Erastus, lives his Mother, Lecy DeShazo. Her name is recorded as Lucy in that year’s census. She is age 56, now a widow, and has no employment listed. Still living with her are the twins, Samuel Lewis and Sarah Elizabeth. Sarah uses the name Bettie, a diminutive form of Elizabeth, and continues to use this name the rest of her life and is buried with that name on her tombstone. Samuel and Bettie are age 16 at the time of the census. It is nice to know that the Mother, Lecy, lives next door to one of her children, Erastus. It shows that the children cared for and loved their Mother.
By 1870, Larkin Columbus has married Elizabeth Jane Lamb. He and Elizabeth are both age 25 and Larkin Columbus farms for a living. They have two daughters: Mary, age 3, and Luella, age 1. Their home is also near Bellefontaine.
There were many families in Webster County with the surname Lamb. Likely they were related. In all, three persons with Lamb surnames married DeShazo’s. In the History of Webster County, Albert Latham writes about some of these families and their marriages to the DeShazo’s are mentioned. The following is excerpted from his articles.
Green Berry Lamb
Green Berry Lamb was the son of Nicholas and Temperance Lamb and was born in Jasper County, Georgia, on August 27, 1812. In 1841, he married Mary Ann Jacks, who was born October 25, 1818. He joined the Methodist Church in 1827. He died December 15, 1891 (age 79) and she died July 7, 1880 (age 61). Both are buried in North Union Cemetery, Webster County, Mississippi. Children were:
1. Nicholas Warren (1843-1888)
2. Elizabeth Jane (1845-1884) who married Columbus DeShazo
3. Temperance (1847-1927) married Green Morgan
4. Albany (1848-1938) married Jack Morgan
5. John (1850-1868)
6. William (1854-1910) married Matilda Lollar
7. Elvira (1855-?) married Ed Simon
8. Mary A. (Molly) (1860-?) married W. D. (Bud )Pollan
John Wesley Lamb
John Wesley lamb, another son of Nicholas and Temperance, was born in 1802 in Jasper County, Georgia. On November 15, 1825, he was married to Lucinda Digby, daughter of John Digby and Belinda (last name unknown) who was born in 1810 in Jasper County. James Betts, Justice of the Peace, performed the ceremony.
The family moved to Randolph County, Alabama, around 1835 and came to Choctaw County, Mississippi, in 1848. They settled on the place now owned by Roy Gatlin.
Being a devout Methodist Exhorter, he established the Lebanon Methodist Church in 1850. Both John Wesley and Lucinda died in 1874 and are buried in the Lebanon United Methodist Church Cemetery.
John Wesley Lamb is known to have had slaves.
The Lebanon Methodist church has on display a color portrait of John Wesley and Lucinda (Digby) Lamb, a gift of Reverend W. C. Lewis, a grandson.
John and Lucinda had ten children, one of which, Thomas Jefferson, married into the DeShazo family. Other than this child, I will omit naming the other siblings as they are not part of the family history. wh
Thomas Jefferson Lamb, second son of John and Lucinda was born in Jasper County, Georgia on April 7, 1833. He married Mary Dacus DeShazo. Mary Dacus was born October 28, 1833. Thomas died June 4, 1899 and Mary on June 16, 1915. Both are buried in Ebenezer Presbyterian Cemetery in Webster County. Their children were:
1. Luther Franklin, born July 6, 1856. He married Augusta Nowlen on January 12, 1878. Luther died October 15, 1915 and is buried in Oaklawn Cemetery in Dallas.
2. Lucy Florence was born January 2, 1859 and married William Martin Holland, December 18, 1875. She died June 15, 1930 and is buried in Maben Cemetery.
3. Lizzie was born September 23, 1863 and died July 8, 1896. Lizzie married Reverend J. P. Moore, a Presbyterian preacher.
4. Larkin was born 1866 and died April 5, 1925. He married first, Lee Hill on February 28, 1888; and second, to Edna Bennett on March 28, 1900.
5. Lenora was born June 7, 1869 and died November 11, 1940. She married James Thomas Avent on January 28, 1891.
6. W.W. Tobe was born May 21, 1876 and died July 3, 1896.
7. Annie was born May 10, 1876 and died June 4, 1925. She married Henry P. Gunter on February 4, 1897.
With thanks to Albert Latham for the preceding.
Great-grandfather Marcus Evander DeShazo also shows up in this 1870 census. By now he is married to the young girl mentioned previously, Martha Jane Florence Cooper. As said before, Martha is the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Cooper. The Cooper family was found living next door to John Walker in the 1860 census. By1870, Martha, at just 15 years of age, is married to Marcus, who is 23. His occupation is listed as farmer and Martha is listed as “keeping house.” They have no children and have found a place to live near the town of Bellefontaine. That would put them in close vicinity to Larkin and their Mother, Lece, with her twin children Samuel and Sarah.
Martha’s parents also remain in Mississippi and continue to live near Greensboro, the county seat of Choctaw County. They farm for a living. Following is an extract from a book titled Webster County Mississippi History. This is about the Cooper family and the article I’m extracting from was written by Louise Hill.
The Coopers, who now live in Webster County, were descendants of Sir Peter Cooper, an Equerry (an equerry is an officer of a royal household in charge of the horses) in the royal household of King Charles and one of the eight Lord’s Proprietors of the Carolinas.
Three of his great-grandsons moved to Williamston, located on the Roanoke River, about 15 miles inland from Albemarle Sound, in what is now the state of North Carolina. Williamston is located in Martin County. They moved to the Carolinas to seek freedom of worship and adventure in the new land. One of the three brothers, William Cooper, moved to Tennessee where he later married a Miss Williams. The other two brothers cannot be accounted for.
William and his wife had five children, four of which are known. They were:
1. Joseph William Cooper (10/18/1822 to 6/5/1876)
2. Henry Gilbert Cooper (8/8/1825 to 10/4/1886)
3. Martha Cooper who’s married name was Ward
4. Eliza Cooper who’s married name was Moore.
Two of William’s sons, Joseph and Henry, became dissatisfied with Tennessee and moved to Mississippi around 1835, where they settled in Choctaw County. Later, they both married sisters with the family name of Moore.
Joseph’s wife had the maiden name of Elizabeth Jane Moore (1825 – 1907) and the two were married about 1842. This family settled near Walthall on a farm near Little Black Creek. This marriage was blessed with eight children:
1. James H.
2. Mary Katherine
3. Sarah Alice
4. William Casper
5. Joseph Leroy
6. Martha Jane Florence (who married Marcus Evander DeShazo)
7. Louisinda Annie
8. Riley L. Byron
This source gives Martha’s birth-date as January 15, 1855. However, her tombstone reads January 10, 1855. wh
The preceding was extracted from an article written by Louise Hill. WH
These census records of 1870 show that the DeShazo family has stayed near to each other in what was then Choctaw County and Mary Dacus’ family also lives in this county. In 1874, a new county, Webster, was formed in honor of the statesman, John Webster. This county was created from parts of Choctaw and other adjacent counties. The DeShazo family members all lived in that part of Choctaw County that became Webster County. The towns they reported living near (Montevisto, Bellefontaine, Greensboro and Cumberland) were included in this new county. These place names still exist today, although the communities are quite small. Maps show them all to be within a ten or fifteen mile radius of each other. Travel in those times was slow, since it would have been on horseback or carriage, but still, these communities were close enough together that the families could see each other, given an hour or two ride.
Of course the family has aged. The Mother, Lucy (or Lece), is now 57. We have to presume the father, Larkin DeShazo, is deceased since no mention is made of him in the census. His age would have been 69 were he alive.
Erastus, Marcus, Larkin and their Mother, Lucy, all live near Bellefontaine. Although there is no record to support it, this is probably where the DeShazo family initially settled after moving from Alabama.
In 1884, Erastus Wiley DeShazo died. He ended the Civil War in poor health and remained that way and was the first of the children to die. His widow, Mary (Head) DeShazo remained in Mississippi. By this time, it is likely that the DeShazo family Mother, Lece, has also died as no further mention of her can be found in available records. Parents are often the glue that holds families together and with their passing, children often go their own way and that is what begins to happen to this family.
1884 was a sad year for the DeShazos for in that year, Elizabeth, wife of Larkin Columbus died along with a son. Wife and son are buried side-by-side with a double headstone. The headstone gives Larkin’s name as Reverend L.C. DeShazo. Their son is unnamed. Elizabeth died May 3, 1884.
Recall from the preceding that the last two children of Larkin and Lece were the twins: Samuel Lewis and Sarah Elizabeth. According to records received from Dick DeShazo (Benson, Arizona), who is the Great-grandson of Samuel, Samuel Lewis married Sabelia Gertrude Hull when he was at the very young age of 16. His new wife, Sabelia, was born in March, 1855. Depending on the exact date, which they married, she would have been either 15 or 16 years old at the time. It was Sabelia’s headstone that I found at Scott’s Chapel Cemetery while looking for Martha.
According to Dick DeShazo, writing about his Great-grandparents, Samuel and Sabelia, he stated “They were married in 1870 in or near Starkville, Mississippi. My grandfather, Robert Neal DeShazo, was born in Starkville, MS. That is on his birth certificate. Their first nine children were all born in Mississippi.”
Samuel’s sister, Sarah Elizabeth (Bettie) DeShazo, married a man by the name of Daniel Webster Nowlin. He went by Dan. It was a short marriage and Bettie became a widow when Daniel died in 1876. This family was still living in Mississippi at the time Daniel died and had two children. The children’s names were Annie Lenora, called Nora and Edgar Ottis Nowlin, who went by Ottis. Annie Lenora married Sim Lewis and they had several children but only Eula, the eldest and Simmie Webster, the youngest lived to adulthood. Simmie Webster Lewis was the father of Carolyn Sue (Lewis) Myers, who provided much of the information that is in this paragraph. Carolyn is married to Robert Lewis and they live in Arlington, Texas.
The U.S. Census taken on August 6, 1870, shows a family headed by David Nowlin living next door to Larkin DeShazo and his family. David Nowlin is a farmer, married with seven children. David’s wife is Martha. She is 41 and David is 56. The oldest child living with the family is named Daniel W. Nowlin and he is a school teacher by profession. With both geography, opportunity and name being right, I believe this person is the same Daniel Nowlin that married Sarah Elizabeth.
In 1887, Bettie, now a widow, joined with two of her brothers in a move to Texas, taking Nora and Ottis with her. At the time, Nora was said to be 14 and Ottis, 12. That places their years of birth as 1873 and 1875, respectively. Since Bettie was born in 1853, she would have been 20 years old at the birth of her first child.
Via a telephone call, cousin Carolyn Sue (Lewis) Myers (Arlington, TX), has provided the information that follows about the twins Sarah Elizabeth and Samuel Lewis. Carolyn Myers is the Great-granddaughter of Sarah, who she always knew as Aunt Bettie. She is married to Robert (Bob) Myers.
Sarah Elizabeth DeShazo always went by the name of Bettie. Bettie died in 1946 at the age of 92 and Susie has memories of her. She recalls that Bettie was a stickler for wearing bonnets and always insisted the girls have one on before going outside. Bettie’s first husband was Daniel Nowlin. By him, she had two children—a girl by the name of Anna (or Annie) Elnora (called Nora) and a boy named Edgar Ottis Nowlin. Edgar preferred the name Ottis and that’s what he always went by.
Daniel Nowlin died when the children were still young and Bettie stayed single for a while. Later, she, with her family, joined her twin brother Samuel and his family and made a move to Texas. At the time of the move, Nora was 14 and her brother Ottis was 12. The families came by train and disembarked around 1887 at the towns of Petty and Honey Grove. At this time, Samuel and Bettie were 34 years of age.
Bettie and her children lived in Petty while Samuel moved to a farm near the next town west on this rail line, Honey Grove. These towns are only three and one-half miles apart. Honey Grove is in Fannin County, northeast of Dallas, while Petty is in Lamar County, immediately to the east of Fannin County. Both counties are located along the Texas-Oklahoma border and the county line is about half way between the two towns. The rail line on which they traveled is still in service today. After living in Petty for about five years (this would be 1892), Bettie met and married Mr. Isaac Richard Minshew. This marriage produced no children. After marriage, they moved to Milam County and settled at North Elim School near Cameron, Texas. Cameron is about 30 miles west of Bryan-College Station.
Following is some information about Honey Grove, taken from The Handbook of Texas, Online.
HONEY GROVE, TEXAS: Honey Grove is on U.S. Highway 82 fifteen miles east of Bonham in east central Fannin County. The first Anglo-Americans who settled in the area arrived from Tennessee in 1842. Within a few years a community developed on a rise that provided residents a view of the surrounding countryside, timber on one side and prairie on the other. Near the site in a grove was an apiary from which the community received its name. In 1846 a post office branch opened to serve the growing community. A decade later the population of Honey Grove reached 300. Residents voted to incorporate in 1873. By the mid-1880s the tracks of the Texas and Pacific Railway had reached the community. The railroad established Honey Grove as a retail center and shipping point for area farmers. In 1890 it had a population of 3,000, 100 businesses, seven churches, two schools, two banks, and two weekly newspapers. By the 1890s a prosperous stone quarry was operating just outside the town. (This ends the description of Honey Grove from the Handbook of Texas, Online. wh)
Shortly after, or perhaps at the same time that Bettie and Samuel made their moves to Texas, Marcus DeShazo and his family followed. According to my Father, Marcus’ move was made in 1888, the year Marcus would be 41. But, the obituary of Georgia (DeShazo) Millsap, daughter of Marcus and Martha, says the family moved to Texas in 1890 and that is more likely to be the correct time. Marcus also settled on a farm near Honey Grove in the county of Fannin. At the time of the move, there were seven children in the family. All were girls and all were born in Mississippi. The names of their children at this time and their years of birth were:
Mary Lou (Lou) 1870
Tressie Lee 1881 (My Grandmother)
Of these children, Mary Lou, who has chosen to go by the name of Lou, has married William (Will) K. Bailey. Their marriage was in December of 1886, when Lou was only 16. Lou and Will do not choose to come to Texas with the rest of the family and remain in Webster County. Eventually, they hear enough about Texas from the rest of the DeShazo’s and have a change of mind. Around 1903, Will and Lou move to San Angelo. I have no information as to why this city was chosen but eventually it became the home of other DeShazos and their descendents, numerous of which still reside in and around that area. Lou’s life was cut short when she died from influenza in 1919. By then, she had four children, two sons and two daughters. Following is the obituary that was printed in the San Angelo paper at time of her death.
Influenza, contracted on Christmas night, later developing into pneumonia, caused the death Wednesday of Mrs. Lou Bailey of 912 Volney Street, wife of W. K. Bailey, a local baker. The funeral service was conducted at the residence Thursday after noon at three o’clock by Rev. H.E. Draper, pastor of the First Methodist church. Burial followed in Fairmont Cemetery.
Mrs. Bailey was born and raised in Mississippi and came to West Texas from that state more than fifteen years ago. The family resided on a farm on Lipan Flat for four or five years prior to moving to San Angelo. The husband, two sons and two daughters survive. Mrs. Luther Gurley and Mrs. Merritt Perkins are the daughters. George Bailey, one of the owners of the Ragsdale Auto Supply Company, and Everritt Bailey, a younger brother, are the two sons. Mrs. Will Stephenson and Mrs. W. B. Roberts, who recently moved here, are sisters, While Dan and Walter DeShazo are cousins. The deceased was forty-eight years old.
Mary Dacus Lamb, the oldest child of Larkin and Lece, is reported in the 1900 census as living in Eupora, one of the larger towns in Webster County. Mary Dacus is the last of the Larkin and Lece children still living in Mississippi. All of her brothers, except Erastus, who has died, and her one sister have moved to other places.
Mary Dacus lives in the home of her son-in-law, James Thomas Avent, and daughter Elnora, who reports her name as Nora to the census taker. Her husband James, gives the name Jim Tom Avent. Mary’s husband, Thomas Jefferson Lamb, died June 4 in the year preceding this census. It is wonderful to know that Mary has loved ones to live with and help take care of her.
Some of the descendents of Mary Dacus and Thomas Lamb still live in Mississippi. At the time of the 1900 census, Mary is 66 years old. Mary’s son- in-law is shown to be a farmer, however, all the family’s neighbors have occupations that townspeople would have including telegraph operator, merchant, clergyman, dentist, physician and cook. Mary died in 1915 at the age of 81.
This census of 1900 also shows that Larkin Columbus has moved from Mississippi and is living in Carroll County, Tennessee. Larkin has been called to the ministry and his profession is Minister of the Gospel in the Methodist church. He and his wife Lula have four children.
John Walker, has also moved with his family to Tennessee. He and his brother Larkin are full time ministers and continue that occupation in Tennessee where they live for the remainder of their lives.
The following is from DeAnne Sharp, a DeShazo relative:
Columbus DeShazo. and his second wife, Lula Mae Burton, are buried at the
Elizabeth Methodist Church Cemetery in Friendship, Crockett County, Tennessee.
John Walker DeShazo and his Second wife, Fannie E. Cole, are also buried there.
On the Crockett County genweb site, John W. is mistakenly listed as John N.
John Walker's daughter, Lecy DeShazo Vaughn, is also
buried there. Lula Mae Burton's Mother,
Martha J. Burton is also buried there with the wrong
name of Mary J. Burton on her tombstone. Larkin C. died in 1928 not 1929.
In the 1800s, as the west was opening up, railroads replaced the covered wagon for settlers making the move west. To encourage business and development, railroads advertised heavily to get people to move into these new states and territories. New settlers brought them both passenger traffic and freight business hauling agricultural goods produced in the new lands and bringing in needed supplies for these communities. Railroad advertisements were full of promises of fertile lands and bountiful rainfall and whatever puffery was necessary to persuade people to pull up their roots and make the move.
When the DeShazos moved west, this advertising likely gave them lots of encouragement. From stories left behind by Bettie, we know she and Samuel came by rail and it is almost certain that Marcus and Martha did likewise. With two adults and six daughters to move, I doubt there would have been any other possible way to do it! The Texas and Pacific Railway line that runs through Petty and Honey Grove is still in use today and would have been the most practical and economical means to make the move from Mississippi.
The first surviving son that Marcus and Martha had was born in Texas. That son was Homer Crowder DeShazo, born January 1, 1891. His obituary says he was born in Paris, Texas but perhaps that refers to a hospital location rather than where the family lived. Paris is the nearest large town east of Honey Grove.
I often wondered where Homer’s middle name came from. In correspondence with Dorothy Lee Clements, daughter of Homer, she tells me that the name Crowder came from the mother’s side. But, my research of the Cooper family did not turn up anyone with the name Crowder. Maybe it was just a friend.
At some point, both Marcus and Samuel decided Fannin County was not the place they wanted to be and decided to move to farms near Aquilla, Texas. No reason is known for this move nor is the date available, but it must have been after January 1, 1891 since Homer was born in Paris on that date.
The town of Aquilla, near where both families settled, is quite small today and offers little for the residents. It appears to be on it’s way to a ghost town. But, at one time it was a vibrant place. Aquilla is located south and a little west of Hillsboro, in Hill County. Hillsboro is south of Fort Worth, about an hour and- a-half drive. The town’s historical marker reads as follows:
Aquilla Historical Marker
Named for Aquilla from the Spanish word for "Eagle" creek. (Aquilla is a corrupted spelling of the Spanish word for Eagle. wh). The town site was surveyed in 1879 when the Texas Central Railroad was built through Hill County. As businessmen and citizens moved here, Aquilla grew to be a main shipping point. At one time it had 13 retail stores, 3 hotels, a health spa, 4 churches, a school and other businesses. One of the earliest chartered state banks in Texas opened here in 1905. At the towns peak (1910-1920) ranchers, farmers and drummers (traveling salesmen) filled the streets. Presently a sound farming economy prevails.
The Marcus DeShazo family grew steadily and it was a large family. He married Martha Cooper in 1870 when he was 23 and she was 15 and they had their first child that same year. In all, they had 12 children:
Daughter Mary Lou 1870
Son Walton died at birth
Daughter Lona 1874
Daughter Willie 1877
Daughter Connie 1879
Daughter Tressie Lee 1881
Daughter Florence (Flora) 1883
Daughter Georgia (Georgie) 1886
Son Homer Crowder 1891
Son Marvin 1893
Son Harry 1896
Son Elvin 1899
The four sons, Homer, Marvin, Harry and Elvin, were born in Texas. All of the older children were born in Mississippi.