Appendix D    MARY LEFEVRE (7-004) and DAVID DESHLER

     This Appendix concerns Mary LeFevre (7-004, 1715-1774) sister of Philip LeFevre the gunsmith.  She was the fourth of six children of Isaac LeFevre and Catherine Feree: (1) Abraham, 1706-1735; (2) Philip, 1710-1766; (3) Daniel, 1719-1781; the subject (4) Mary, 1715-1774; (5) Esther, 1717-1751; and (6) Samuel, 1719-1789.   Franklin D. Lefever, Co-compiler of THE PENNSYLVANIA LEFEVRES received this material from a Deshler descendent, and finds it interesting because it is the only known account of any of the early LeFevre women.  The genealogy book traces only the male line who carry the LeFevre name.

     NOTE:  The following information is derived principally from statements of David Deshler's granddaughters, Elizabeth (Roberts) Canby and Ester M. Roberts; also from a family history privately published in 1945 by Henry Canby.

     David Deshler was born in Heidelberg, Germany, about 1711, and was an only son.  He came to America when a young man circa 1730, having been sent for by his mother's brother, John Wister, who had a store on Market Street, Philadelphia, No. 97.  Here David bought two lots and built a good house, to which he took his bride, Mary LeFevre, where his children were born, and where his youngest daughter was married to Robert Roberts in 1774.  In the Market Street house one upstairs room was 22 feet square.  There was a front and back staircase for escape in case of fire.  In the garden there was a fine old grapevine which bore excellent grapes, brought down by a twist of a stick with a hook on one end.  A lemon tree was also remembered in the garden.

     David Deshler was a hardware merchant, a private banker and importer of East Indian goods.  In the Gentlemen's Magazine for 1775 is a curious old advertisement of his wares, and of goods he had recently received from the East Indies.

     In 1765 David Deshler was one of a Committee appointed by the shop-keepers of Philadelphia to draw up an agreement by which they bound themselves not to buy British Goods until the Stamp Act was repealed.  The Committee consisted of John Ord, Francis Wade, Joseph Dean, and David Deshler.  The original document is in the Museum of Independence Hall, Philadelphia.  A full account of this is given in THE HISTORY OF INDEPENDENCE HALL, page 54, with a copy of the original documents.

     "As honest as David Deshler" was remembered as a saying, and he must have been wealthy.  In 1772-73 he built a country home in Germantown for a summer residence, sending out masons and carpenters from Philadelphia.  He superintended the work himself, so that it was well and thoroughly built.  In 1993 it is still standing.  After his death in 1792 this house became the summer residence of George Washington during his Presidency when Philadelphia was the capital of the country.

     There his widow's daughter, Catherine Roberts, and her children spent every summer with him very happily.  His youngest granddaughter Ester M. Roberts remembered him well, until a few years before her death in 1876.  She remembered sitting upon his knee, receiving gentle reproofs for any neglect of good behavior at meals, etc.  She also remembered how he used to sit in his high backed chair with his Bible or Penn's Works on a stand by his side, and "read aloud to them when they were quiet."  He was a gentleman of the old school, good, generous and polite.  He always wore knee-breeches.  His usual dress was a suit of "olive silk velvet" with silk stockings and bright silver buckles on his shoes.  He also wore a cocked hat and carried a cane with an ivory top and a silver band with his name engraved on it.  He and his wife became Quakers after his marriage.  The dates of their burials were taken from the records of their meeting.  Edmund H. McCullough, a descendent, has a copy of his will which gives the location of his place "Fairfield."

     March 20, 1739, David Deshler married Mary LeFevre, a daughter of Isaac and Catherine LeFevre of Pequea, at or near the present site of Paradise, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  They were married in a civil ceremony by His Majesty's Justice of the Peace, which probably meant there was no suitable minister available to them in the country.  (Another civil ceremy in 1739 was also conducted in Paradise for Daniel Ferree, Jr. and Mary Carpenter.)  Her parents were both born in France, belonged to Huguenot families who had suffered religious persecutions which followed the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and finally found refuge in Pennsylvania.  Her maiden name was Fiere (Ferree.)  A Canby descendent reportedly had a relic of Isaac LeFevre, a tiny hymn book, which with a Bible in possession of another branch of the family, was buried after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.  It was buried and dug up by Isaac when he escaped to Germany.  It has no cover, and the pages are water stained.  Alfred Harcourt, the publisher, is descended from this LeFevre famiy.  Very interesting accounts of the Ferree family can be found in Watson's Annals Of Philadelphia, volume 2, page 112, and in a History Of Lancaster County published circy 1843, chapter 2, pages 90-97.

     Mary LeFevre was born August 24,1715 in Lancaster County, and ws therefore four years younger than her husband.  Their first meeting was quite romantic.  David Deshler took a journey in and around Lancaster to collect monies owed to his uncle, John Wister.  He was overtaken by a violent storm near nightfall.  He asked for and received shelter in the home of Isaac LeFevre.  Here he saw a lovely girl spinning by the fireside.  He "looked and loved," and soon found more occasions to travel again that way.  He won her heart and hand and her parents' consent to their marriage after which he carried her away to his house on Market Street in Philadelphia.  Mary (LeFevre) Deshler wore plain caps after they become Friends.  She was very good and kind to the sick and poor, and from her French parentage was well versed in making many kinds of nice broths for the sick.  She paid a poor woman, a butcher's wife, five pounds for a receipt for making an excellent salve, still in use and called DESHLER'S SALVE, though at first called Butcher's Salve.  She died February 25, 1774, aged 59 years, of scarlet fever caught from caring for one of her grandchildren who had been taken to her house to escape the disease but was seized with it there and nursed by her.  David and Mary Deshler had six children of whom three died young, Isaac, Daniel, and Salome.  Three lived to be married, Mary who married a Lewis, Ester who married John Morton, and Catherine who married Robert Roberts.


This account was compiled by Margaret T. Canby, a great-great-great grandaughter of David Deshler on May 22, 1862, and is relayed here in 1992 by her descendent, David Deshler Watson, of Alexandria, Virginia.

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