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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches
John Odenheimer Deshong
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(A biographical sketch taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)
John Odenheimer Deshong, Sr. (1841-43, 45-47, 50-52, 54-56, 59-60, 62-63, March 6, 1864, to June 6, 1881), son of Peter and Mary (Odenheimer) Deshong, was born in Chester, September 6, 1807. He was educated in the private school of the borough. When he came of age, in 1828, he established a general store at Fourth and Market streets, in which occupation he was remarkably successful. In 1843, he withdrew from general merchandising, devoting his attention to the lumber business, his yard being located on Fifth street, the house of the Hanley Fire Company occupying part of the site. In 1850, he built the fine old mansion on Edgmont avenue, now known as the Deshong House, in the park bearing the family name.
While catering to the needs of Chester and the neighborhood, he operated largely elsewhere in wholesale lumber dealings, with the result that in six years he accumulated wealth so rapidly that he retired from active business. Possessed of abundant means, his insight, clearness of deduction as to the possibilities of success in business ventures and confidence in his own judgment in the selection of investments, he exhibited ability in financial affairs that was soon recognized in trades circles, and it is to such men opportunities are always presented.
In a few years Mr. Deshong had earned a position among the shrewd capitalists of the eastern section of the State.
While personally he always refused to be a candidate for any elective office by the people, although repeatedly urged for such positions, his advice was always sought by Whig and Republican party leaders. He was appointed by the Legislature one of the Commissioners in the Act of February 14, 1866, incorporating the City of Chester.
His services as director of The Bank of Delaware County, and later The Delaware County National Bank, covered nearly half a century, and he was regarded as one of the strong men of the board. He was a director of the Chester Gas Company and one of the largest owners of its stock. John O. Deshong, Sr., died May 28, 1881, aged 74 years.
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© 2001 John A. Bullock III.
This page last updated 10/17/05