DeShazer is a rather uncommon surname, especially in colonial times, so one would think that it would make research a bit easier. Not so with the family of Henry and Keziah (Williams) DeShazer.
Keziah Williams, daughter of Matthias of Cumberland County, Virginia, was born c1760. It appears that she died sometime in the 1804-1806 time frame, probably in Buckingham County, Virginia. At the very least, Henry and “K.” DeShazer are named as the parents of John W. DeShazer, born in 1793. Keziah married Henry DeShazer (sometimes called DeShazaway) on Christmas Day, 25 Dec 1788 in Cumberland County, Virginia.
Little is known about this couple. A big part of the problem is that while Cumberland County, where they married, has quite complete records back to the time of its formation in 1749, while Buckingham County, where the DeShazer family moved, is similar to Morgan County, Tennessee, which was mentioned in yesterday’s Williams post. Buckingham County suffered an almost complete loss of its records in an 1869 county courthouse fire.
Henry DeShazer’s father has never been identified, although he named a son Abraham and an Abraham is found on a tax list in Cumberland County in 1784. By 1810, Henry was living in Buckingham County. The household configuration at that time was one male over 45 (Henry), one male 16-26, 2 males under 10, one female 16-26, and one female under 10. It appears that Keziah died before 1810, possibly by 1804, with Henry remarrying c1807. It is further possible that Keziah died soon after giving birth to son John W. in 1793. There is no further mention of her after that time, but with the lack of available records, this is to be expected. It is certain, however, that Keziah lived her life in Virginia.
Henry’s Revolutionary War pension application gives most of the information known about this man. About 1817, Henry left Virginia for Kentucky, first settling in Lincoln County and then, before 1830, in Mercer County.
Henry had children by a likely second and/or third wife. These children include William, born c1808, Virginia; married (1) Rebecca Cloyd, 2 Oct 1828, Lincoln County, Kentucky (2) Susan Devine, 22 Oct 1841, Mercer County, Kentucky; Jane, born c1810; married (1) John Cloyd, 17 Jan 1827, Lincoln County, Kentucky (2) John Leonard, 14 July 1836, Mercer County, Kentucky; Jesse, born 11 Sept 1811, Virginia; died 28 Apr 1885, Mercer County; married Ann Gabhard, 16 Jan 1840, Mercer County. She was born 3 Dec 1815; died 31 July 1862; and James, born c1816, Virginia; married Sarah May, c1842.
Henry died in August 1843, in Mercer County, Kentucky, where his estate was administered. Heirs included spouse Elizabeth and the following children: Abraham, John W., Nancy Ann, William, Jane, Jesse and James. Elizabeth, probably born c1784-90, did not survive long past her husband, as her estate sale was recorded in January 1845, also in Mercer County.
Keziah’s likely children include the following:
- Nancy Ann, born c1789, Virginia; died between 1850-1860, probably Marion County, Missouri; married Richard Holt, 6 Oct 1806, Prince Edward County, Virginia. The marriage bond states that she is the daughter of Henry Deshazer. Richard was born c1787, Virginia; died 1850-1860, probably in Marion County, Missouri. There are Holt descendants today.
- Abraham, born c1791, probably in Virginia. He died after August 1843, as he was an heir of his father, but I can find no other evidence that this man ever even existed. Abraham was apparently out on his own by 1820, as he was not in Henry’s household for that census.
- John W., born c1793, reportedly in Amelia County, Virginia; died 17 June 1862, Charlotte County, Virginia, aged 69 years; married Sally A. Middleton, 5 Nov 1823, Charlotte County, Virginia. The bondsman was John Middleton. John’s parents were named on his death record as “Henry and K. DeShazer.” Sally was born c1800, Charlotte Co., VA and survived him. John and Sally had one daughter, also Sally, who married William B. Hawkins. They had a daughter who died young and a son. William D. Hawkins, born about 1866 in Virginia, but living in Christian County, Kentucky by 1870. William D. Hawkins died in 1934 and is buried in Hopkins County, Kentucky. He had several children and appears to have descendants today.
- Female, born c1784-94, Virginia; died after 1810, but before August 1843. (This is probably a daughter who died quite young with no children.)
- Permelia, born ?1794-1804, Virginia; died before Aug 1843; married John Hazelwood, 6 Jan 1827, Lincoln County, Kentucky; Henry DeShazer gave his consent, so 1804 might be too early for her birthdate. It is unknown whether Permelia was a daughter of Keziah, but no Hazelwood heirs were named in her father’s estate and it appears she had no surviving children.
To any Henry DeShazer descendants out there who are reading this, please leave a comment. I would love to know more about this family.