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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Independence County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Col. Robert M. Desha, a prominent farmer of Independence County, was born in that county in the year 1847, and is a son of Col. Franklin W. and Elizabeth (Seavey) Desha, of Washington, D. C., and Independence County, Ark., respectively. The parents were married in Independence County, and settled upon the land now occupied by the Desha family, and where the father died April 30, 1869. He was a graduate from the law and literary department of the Transylvania University, at Lexington, Ky., and became a successful lawyer as well as one of the most influential men in this county. He was prosecutor of his district at the outbreak of war, and was also a member of the convention that declared the State of Arkansas out of the Union. Upon reaching, his sixteenth year he entered a business house at Clarendon, where he occupied a position of trust for some time, and then went to Kentucky, to attend college. He commenced to practice his profession at Batesville, and continued in the law at that point for twenty-five years. At the outbreak of war between this country and Mexico, he enlisted in Company D, First Arkansas Mounted Infantry, in which he held the rank of lieutenant, and on the occasion of the captain’s death, at the battle of Buena Vista, Lieut. Desha was promoted to fill his place. During the Civil War he again enlisted and organized what was known as Desha’s battalion, which he commanded until after the battle of Shiloh, when he resigned on account of ill health, and returned to his home. Mr. Desha was at one time a member of Capt. Rutherford’s company in Price’s raids through Missouri, and was afterward severely wounded at the Fitzhugh fight, in Arkansas. After his return home he again resumed his practice and became one of the most promising men of Arkansas, as also one of the wealthiest. His father was Robert Desha, a son of one of Kentucky’s most famous governors in the early days. Robert Desha entered the United States marine service, and was for a good many years a captain in that body. Col. Desha’s mother was a descendant of the famous Bledsoe family, whose name figured so prominently in the early history of Tennessee; while the Desha family are of French descent, the name being formerly De Shaze. The mother was a daughter of James and Martha Seavey, of Virginia, who were married in Alabama, and moved to Batesville, Ark., in 1829, being then among the first settlers of that country. Mr. Seavey was of Scotch descent, and served under Gen. Jackson in the War of 1812. He afterward became a prominent farmer in Independence County, where he resided until his death, in 1835, his wife following him the same year. Their daughter, Mrs. Desha, is still living, and has been a member of the Presbyterian Church for over forty years. She was the mother of eleven children, of whom two sons and two daughters are yet living: Robert M., Benjamin, Mary and Lizzie. Col. Robert M. Desha, the oldest, now owns about 700 acres of land, and has some 250 acres under cultivation in valuable bottom land. In politics he is a strong Democrat, and from 1882 to 1886 he was one of the best sheriffs Independence County could ever boast of. He is very largely interested in stock dealing, ginning, milling and farming, and is a model and influential citizen. He belongs to Mill Lodge No. 285, A. F. & A. M., and has held all the offices except master. As far as popularity is concerned, Col. Desha has a host of friends in Independence County. He is an active politician and of value to his party, his services being well appreciated. He also belongs to the Royal Arch Chapter and Eastern Star.

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This family biography is one of 158 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Independence County, Arkansas published in 1889.  View the complete description here: Independence County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Independence County, Arkansas family biographies here: Independence County, Arkansas Biographies

View a map of 1889 Independence County, Arkansas here: Independence County, Arkansas Map

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