An American Family History

Mary LeFevre Deshler

LeFevre is also spelled Ferber, LaFevre, LaFever, Lefebre, LeFever,and LeFevere. It is from the original Northern French surname Lefebvre or Lefèvre. It means smith.

Yellow fever is a viral hemorrhagic disease. It is transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes. The symptoms are fever, chills, anorexia, nausea, muscle pain and headaches.

George Washington ( 1731/32  – 1799) was the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and first president of the United States (1789–1797).

Mary LeFevre Deshler was born on August 24, 1715 in Paradise, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Her parents were Isaac LeFevre and Catherine Ferree.

Mary married David Deshler on March 20, 1739. They were married in a civil ceremony by His Majesty's Justice of the Peace. They became Quakers. They were members of the Friends Meeting House on Race Street in Philadelphia.

David was born about 1711 in Heidelberg, Germany. He was the son of Captain David Deshler and Maria Wüster [Wistar, Wister].

He came to America about 1730 to join his uncle, John Wister, a successful Philadelphia merchant. David also became a successful businessman. He sold hardware, imported goods from East India and functioned as a private banker. According to Hotchkin people said "as honest as David Deshler." He was also known as a dandy who wore

olive-coloured silk velvet, with knee buckles and silk stockings, bright silver shoe buckles and the usual threelooped hat

David and Mary Deshler's children included:
Ester Deshler Morton (1732, married John Morton),
Isaac Deshler (1747, died as an infant)
Mary Deshler Lewis (1735, married Elias Lewis),
Sarah Deshler (died 1750-1751),
Catherine Deshler Roberts (1752, married Robert Roberts), and
Samuel Deshler (died 1751).

In 1765 David Deshler was one of a Committee appointed by Philadelphia merchants to draw up an agreement not to buy British goods until the Stamp Act was repealed.

Mary on died February 25, 1774, aged 59 years, of scarlet fever.

David bought a 2-acre lot from George and Anna Bringhurst in 1751-52 in Germantown and constructed a four-room summer cottage on it. Twenty years later he built a 3-story, 9-room addition to the front. The house is at 4782 Main Street, Germantown, Philadelphia. Sir William Howe, commander-in-chief of the British Army occupied the house during the battle of Germantown in 1777. George Washington lived there in autumn, 1793 and summer, 1794 during the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia.

David died on March 20, 1792.

Scarlet fever is a rash that is caused by strep infections.

Children of Isaac LeFevre and
Catherine Ferree

  • Abraham LeFevre
  • Philip LeFevre
  • Daniel LeFevre
  • Mary LeFevre Deshler
  • Esther LeFevre Harman
  • Samuel LeFevre
  • The Society of Friends (Quakers) began in England in the 1650s, when they broke away from the Puritans. Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, as a safe place for Friends to live and practice their faith.

    Germantown Township, Pennsylvania was originally settled by German Quakers and Mennonites in 1681. It was divided into settlements, called Germantown, Cresheim, Sommerhausen and Crevelt. The township became part of the city of Philadelphia in 1854.



    from The Colonel and the Quaker by Francis von Albede Cabeen

    Once during these times, when his [Colonel Alexander Andrieson] carriage was being driven through the streets of Philadelphia, with his wife and children in it, they encountered a body of militia with whom the driver had an altercation, inciting them so much that the soldiers broke the glass in the carriage. But for the intervention of David Deshler, who fortunately was in Philadeuphia [sic], and passing, and led the carriage away from the men, serious consequences might have ensued. It seemed a singular coincidence that his neighbor, Deshler, should be passing at the moment, for he was well known as a strong supporter of the American cause. He was one of the most prominent men in Northampton County, and, with John Arndt, was Commissary of the Supplies for our army. When the United States and state of Pennsylvania had no funds in 1780, he advanced money from his personal means.


    from An Historical Account of the Old State House of Pennsylvania by Frank Marx Etting

    The Shopkeepers of the time also appointed a Committee, and entered into an agreement not to buy British goods till the Stamp Act should be repealed. Their committee consisted of John Ord, Francis Wade, Joseph Deane, David Deshler, George Bartram, Andrew Doz, George Schlosser, James Hunter, Thomas Paschall, Thomas West, and Valentine Charles.


    Early Philadelphia: Its People, Life and Progress by Horace Mather Lippincott

    As early as 1768 David Deshler lived where is now number 223. Deshler built the house on the Market Square in Germantown where President Washington lived during the yellow fever outbreak of 1793.

    "Honest David Deshler " was famed for his attire. He favoured olive-coloured silk, velvet knee-breeches and bright silver buckles, and astonished the plain trustees of the old Academy in Germantown when he attended his first meeting in his full dress "regalia."

    The Huguenots were 16th and 17th century French protestants. About 500,000 Huguenots fled France because of religious persecution. They relocated to Protestant nations.

    from Ancient and Modern Germantown, Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill By Samuel Fitch Hotchkin

    No. 4782 was built in 1772-3 by David Deshler, who had come here from Heidelburg, where his father, whose wife was a sister of Casper and John Wister, was an aide-de-camp to the reigning Prince. He was in successful business in Philadelphia. "As honest as David Deshler" was "an old saying."

    Mrs. Deshler bought a salve from a butcher, which was called " Butcher's Salve" and afterward " Deshler's Salve." Dr. Wistar put the recipe in his Pharmacopoeia. . .

    David Deshler's wife, Mary, was a granddaughter of Madame Mary Ferree, a French Huguenot widow, who owned much land in Pequea Valley, where a Huguenot settlement arose, favored by the Indian King Tanawa.

    David Deshler's daughter, Mary, married Ellis Lewis in 1763 .. .

    David Deshler dressed in

    olive-coloured silk velvet, with knee buckles and silk stockings, bright silver shoe buckles and the usual threelooped hat-a costume that well became his handsome face and manly form.

    His wife died in the Revolutionary days, but he lived until 1792. The wife never lived in the Germantown house, but Mrs. Moses Dillon, her granddaughter informs me that she died in Philadelphia before the house was finished. David Deshler occupied it as a summer residence with his daughters and granddaughters. His will requested its sale to settle the estate.

    Europeans who made the voyage to America faced a difficult journey of several months.

    from History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania by Lehigh County Historical Society

    Deshler Family
    The name Deschler is of Swiss origin. The direct ancestor in America was Capt. David Deshler, who was aide-de-camp to Prince Lewis, of Baden, Germany, in the war of the Spanish Succession. He married, in 1711, Maria Wuster, born in 1690, daughter of Hans Casper Wuster, and Anna Catharine, his wife.

    David Deshler, son of Capt. David Deshler and his wife, Maria Wuster, arrived at Philadelphia, on the ship Hope, on August 28, 1733. He entered the counting house of his uncle, John Wistar, and became a leading hardware and paint merchant. The Philadelphia Directory of 1767-1768, records the following:

    David Deshler, Director Phila. Contribution, hardware, paints, etc. Opp. Butchers Shambles, Market St. Sign of Green Frying Pan.

    David Deshler built the historic Morris Mansion,at Germantown, but died at his home on Market street on March 20, 1792, aged 81 years.

    He married, March 20, 1738, Maria, daughter of Isaac and Catharine (Feree) Le Fevre. She was born Sept. 24, 1715, died on Feb. 25, 1774. They were the parents of six children, namely:

    Isaac, who died Sept. 18, 1749.
    Samuel, who died Aug. 17, 1751.
    Sarah, who died Oct. 11, 1757.
    Mary, married to Ellis Lewis.
    Esther, married to John Morton.
    Catharine, married to Robert Roberts.

    The first three of the above named children died unmarried. The three sons-in-law were merchants in Philadelphia. This family were members of the Friends Meeting House on Race street, Philadelphia. The archives of this Meeting House record the marriages of their three daughters, the death of the three above-named children, and the death of their noble parents.

    The family were of the nobility in Germany, and at least three branches were honored with escutcheons.

    Colonial Maryland
    Colonial New England
    Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
    Quakers & Mennonites
    New Jersey Baptists
    German Lutherans
    Watauga Settlement
    Pennsylvania Pioneers
    Midwest Pioneers
    Jewish Immigrants

    ©Roberta Tuller 2020
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