Rufus Monroe DeShazo

Rufus Monroe DeShazo

By William C. Scott, Jr.
His Great Grandson

This article appeared in the  "Shelby County Historical Society Quarterly"   magazine, dated April 2000.
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Rufus Monroe DeShazo served Shelby County, Alabama in two public offices at the end of the harsh reconstruction period imposed on the South. He was elected Sheriff in 1877 and served until 1880. He was then elected County Tax Assessor at the August elections that year.

His election to the office of Sheriff occurred after those installed by carpetbagger rule vacated many state offices. He stated to his family that he supposed his service as Sheriff was done in a satisfactory manner since the people then elected him County Tax Assessor. He served in that office during the period 1880-1884.

R.M. DeShazo was born on September 23, 1837 in Talladega County Alabama. The family moved to a farm near Montevallo when he was three years old. He grew up there and attended school for a time. Later he attended school at Bold Springs where his brother John was a teacher. In 1856 he joined his father who had moved to Kosciusko, Mississippi and served as a teacher in the school there through the fall and winter. After returning to Alabama he worked in a general store at Perryville until Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South. At that time he returned to Montevallo and joined the Confederate army with several of his brothers and many other family members.

Colonel Thomas D. DeShazo, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired have published a history of the Confederate military service of Captain R.M. DeShazo and of his brothers.

During the war, which followed, he was promoted through the ranks from private to Captain of Company "G" 20th Alabama Infantry, CSA. He served on active duty until late 1864 when his physical condition had deteriorated to such an extent that the Army transferred him to Home Station service. He served there until the war ended in early 1865.

He returned to farming and worked in two large Birmingham, Alabama mercantile stores until 1903 when he owned and operated a general store in Pelham, Alabama. He operated the store until his death in 1917. He is buried in the old Pelham Cemetery. The grave is marked clearly showing his service in the Confederate Army.

Two of the events in his life, which he recorded, highlight the history of this era. His company in the Confederate Army was detailed to help bury the dead after the battle of Chickamauga. His statement about the experience was  "I saw places where I could have walked a considerable distance on the dead without touching the ground."

His comments about the difficulty of travel in the 1850's involved his trip to bring $2,900.00 in gold from Kosciusko, Mississippi to Montevallo, Alabama to pay for the old mills purchased for his father. He stated that the gold was placed in a leather money belt, which was fastened around his body under his clothing. In his words, "At that time there were very few railroads in this country and I had to travel anyway I could. Sometime by rail, by stage, by horseback, and on foot. I made the trip safe and delivered the money all right."

Captain DeShazo served his people in war and in peace with a strong sense of duty.