My gggrandmother was Sedora Desha, b. 1839 in Pennsylvania and I have been searching for years for information about her father's family. The following is what little I have on her parents, but can tie them to no other Desha family members to date. I would greatly appreciate any information you might have.
John (possibly John Marcus) Desha, born in Pennsylvania, possibly Bucks County. Born about 1812.
m. Martha Ann Bennett, also born in Pennsylvania. (However, the 1850 Louisiana census from Jefferson Parish shows her as being born in Delaware but the 1860 census lists Pennsylvania). According to the census records, she was born 1811 or 1812. (I have seen something at one time that her middle name might have been Elizabeth).
1. William J. Desha, b. 1832
2. George Desha, b. 1836 or 1837
3. Sadora Elizabeth Desha , b. 3-26-1839. She married Nathan Henry Way in 1861 in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. They had five children. I have seen her name on one census as Ladora. but Sadora is correct, I think.
4. Oscar Marcus Desha, b 1842. Served in the Civil War.
The first three children were born in Pennsylvania. Oscar was born in Louisiana.
John (shown on the census as J. Deshay) appears in the 1840 census for Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. He is not shown in the subsequent census for either 1850 or 1860. so I'm assuming that he either died or absconded prior to 1850.
Sadora was my gggrandmother and so I have a lot of family records from Sadora and Nathan forward. However, I've been looking for twenty plus years for information on John and can find no siblings or parents at all. I just KNOW that with a name like Desha -- if that was the spelling at the time -- that he HAS to be connected to the Desha line that produced Governor Desha of Kentucky and Mary Desha, one of the founders of the DAR, since that line of Deshas also lived in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, but so far, I cannot connect John.
Would appreciate any information on John, Martha or any of their children.
I have found nothing on John. On the 1860 & 1870 census records Martha is shown as being from PA. On the 1900 census, their son George shows that his father was born in Washington D.C. and his mother in New Jersey.
I did better on the kids. George Mortimer was married by a JP in Orleans Parish on 12/21/1868 [VEG 67, pages 142-143a] to Sophie E. Meynie. He died in Orleans Parish on 10/22/1909 at age 74 [147/page 944] and his obit was in the Daily Picayune on 10/23/1909 [pg 8, col 5]. Oscar M. was married by a JP in Orleans Parish on 11/26/1868 [VEG 678, pages 112-113] to Catharine Hatton. He died 7/21/1889 at age 47 [95/page 624] and his obit was in the Daily Picayune on 7/22/1889 [pg 4, col 6]. The marriage records and the death records can be obtained by mail. The obits can be found at libraries. The death records would likely give the place of birth of the deceased as well as the names and places of birth of the parents. It would be worth getting copies. The obits would likely give the place of birth of the deceased. The third son, William J., must have died in 1858. He is not on the 1860 census. I found an obit for a William J. who died in NO on 6/27/1858. His obit is in the 6/30/1858 issue of the Daily Picayune [pg 2, col 5]
I also found a Justice of the Peace marriage for Sedora E. and Nathan H. Way in Orleans Parish [1/29/1861 - VEH 678, pages 349-350.
George and Sophia [d. 8/29/1918] had at least the following kids:
 Frederick Fulmer 10/1869 - 10/1941
 Hector Charles 10/1871 - 9/1935
 Christian Mortimer 9/1873 - 11/1935
 Viola 11/1875 - 8/10/1941 [mar. William A. Mills]
 Blanche Katie bn ca 1878
 John Nathan Way 4/1880 - 9/21/1928
 Emma Rose 12/1881 - 3/10/1918
Oscar and Catharine had at least the following kids:
 Genevieve bn ca 1870
 Ophelia bn ca 1872
 Oscar Martin bn ca 1875 - 10/11/1878 @3
 Harry Marcus bn ca 1880
If needed, I can give more precise info on the deaths [vol and page #] and obits [page and col]. They can also be found on the Orleans Parish Website. There are also complete birth dates for the children of George & Oscar.
Hope this helps in your research.
Thank you. I had some of this information, but not all, so I appreciate every tidbit. Alas, John remains elusive.....
John apparently died some time between 1841 (last child, Oscar, was born in 1842) and 1859, since he did not appear in the 1860 census. How accurate/inclusive are the death records/obits for the New Orleans area during this time? Thanks.
Where was the family living in 1850? Was it Terrebonne Parish or Orleans Parish? I searched, but did not find, a death record for John in Orleans Parish. If he died in Terrebonne Parish [and was Catholic] it may be possible to find a death record there in Father Hebert's books. Unfortunately, if the death was not reported in Orleans Parish, there would not be a record. As I mentioned before, it may be a good idea to get the death records of John's two sons in order to learn the place of birth in PA. Also, the place of birth of John and Martha should also be listed on those documents. They can be obtained at the Louisiana State Archives in Baton Rouge. The charge is $5.00 and the service is usually quick.
Using the info from the 1900 census which shows that George's father, John, was from Washington, D.C., I found that an R.M. Desha [perhaps Robert Mortimer ?] was in D.C. in 1820. What is interesting is that I had already found mention of an R.M. Desha, Louisiana Lodge No. 88, who was a visitor to the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas. The meeting was held on Sunday, December 30, 1838. I'm not sure what this means, but if it was a lodge in Louisiana, then I suppose that R.M. Desha lived in Louisiana. I did more research on R.M. Desha and found that he was a paymaster of the U.S. Marine Corps in the early 1800s in D.C. He was apparently well-known and "important".
George's oldest child is Frederick Fulmer and I figured that Fulmer might be a family name. I found two men in PA on the 1820 census named Frederick Fulmer. One was in Bucks Co. and the other in Philly. I found the genealogy of the one in Bucks Co. which dates to Germany about 1700. Mortimer was probably also a family name and there were Mortimers in PA. All this is interesting, but in order to do research in PA, you would need to have a town or at least a county of birth of the Desha children and their parents. Otherwise, you'll just be "spinning your wheels".
I have them in Jefferson Parish in 1850. I'm not sure whether they may have been Catholic or not. I DO know that my gggrandmother (John and Martha's daughter) married Nathan Henry Way and his family had been Quakers in earlier generations when the family lived in the Nantucket area. I'm guessing they were not still of the Quaker faith at that time Nathan and Sedora married. I have seen marriage records for them and I think they were married in a Presbyterian church (if my memory serves me correctly. I could be wrong.) Thank you for the tips. I will follow up on what you recommend.