Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Haw River in Alamance County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Nathaniel Polk DeShong

The Southern Diaspora

 
 
Nathaniel Polk DeShong Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
1. Nathaniel Polk DeShong Marker
Inscription. Nathaniel Polk DeShong descended from Huguenot immigrants who settled near the Haw River about a mile and a half north of here. He enlisted on June 21, 1861, at 17 years of age under Capt. James W. Lea “for the War” in the 6th North Carolina State Troops at Camp Alamance (5 miles west). A slight man who handled animals well, DeShong was detailed as a teamster and ambulance driver on February 6, 1862. In that capacity, he removed the wounded from the battlefields of Antietam, Maryland, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and never forgot their screams and moans.

DeShong returned to the Haw River after being paroled at Appomattox Court House in April 1865. Although his father owned six slaves before the war, they lived in the house with his family instead of in separate quarters, as was sometimes the case on small farms. When DeShong remarried in 1865, the former slaves made a rolling pin from a single piece of wood and smoothed with elm bark as a wedding gift.

Like many Southerners during the postwar depression, DeShong and his second wife, Catherine McRae, headed west to Texas, where he put his experience with horses to good use in Paris, in Lamar County. He never forgot, however, the “crystal-clear streams, towering oaks or corn higher than your head” of Alamance County as he reminisced to his children.
Nathaniel Polk DeShong Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
2. Nathaniel Polk DeShong Marker
Perhaps inspired by his stories of treating the wounded, some of his descendants entered the field of medicine. His youngest daughter returned “home” here in 1994, almost 130 years after her father left.
 
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 36° 5.374′ N, 79° 21.984′ W. Marker is in Haw River, North Carolina, in Alamance County. Marker is on State Highway 49, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located at the Haw River Historical Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 201 East Main Street, Haw River NC 27258, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Thomas M. Holt (approx. 0.3 miles away); Henry Jerome Stockard (approx. 2.3 miles away); The Harden House (approx. 2.3 miles away); Built to House the Alamance Gleaner (approx. 2.3 miles away); Originally a Wing of the Union Hotel (approx. 2.3 miles away); 1763 Providence (approx. 2.3 miles away); Montwhite Building (approx. 2.3 miles away); Providence Church & Cemetery (approx. 2.3 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. civilwartraveler.com.
Haw River, NC image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
3. Haw River, NC
(Submitted on August 13, 2011, by Dave Twamley of Durham, North Carolina.)
2. Haw River Historical Museum. (Submitted on August 13, 2011, by Dave Twamley of Durham, North Carolina.)
 
Additional comments.
1. My Grandfather
Nathaniel Polk DeShong is my maternal grandfather. He was born in 1844 and I was born in 1944. My mother, May DeShong Crawford and her twin, Mary Sutter were born when he was 63 years old. They were the 14th and 15th of his 16 children.

I was able to visit the museum in Haw River in June of this year where they have his story and some of his belongings, including the rolling pin made by his slaves as a wedding gift. There are not many grandchildren of Civil War soldiers still living today. My grandfather died years before I was born, but I still retell the stories that he told my mother and her siblings of the terrible tragedies he witnessed. He was an ambulance driver (he had a wagon and mule team) and picked up wounded and dead from battlefields in NC, Maryland, Penn, and Virginia. He was a prisoner of war and paroled with the army of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9th, 1865.

I would be interested in hearing from other descendants of the DeShong family. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor
Haw River Historical Museum image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
4. Haw River Historical Museum
   
    — Submitted July 16, 2015, by Clara Wassom of Baxter Springs, Kansas.

 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
You Are Here image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
5. You Are Here
Former DeShong family slaves, ca. 1890 image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
6. Former DeShong family slaves, ca. 1890
Nathaniel Polk DeShong, 1861 image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
7. Nathaniel Polk DeShong, 1861
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 13, 2011, by Dave Twamley of Durham, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 817 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on August 13, 2011, by Dave Twamley of Durham, North Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement